Photo of the Day – Laptop Shot

Time for the next opportunity to showcase an image from portfolio site. To mix things up, this one isn’t a travel image but instead is from my portfolio of product photography and it’s one of my most recent shots.

Click on the thumbnail to see the full size:

Yes, it’s a laptop. But, the fun of it all is taking a fairly ordinary object in a plain setting and getting your lighting just right so that the thing just looks cool.

Getting initial lights set up is usually pretty quick for this sort of shot, but the details are where the success of the shot lives. You have to think about the highlight on the right side of the image that defines the edge of the laptop screen (a honeycombed light coming from the back right).

You have to think about how you will give the keys texture and depth (another honeycombed light, this time from the back left that just skims across the surface of the keys, but is blocked from hitting the screen).

You have to think about how you are going to give more form to the subject by letting light fall off on its surfaces (small, close lights at just the right angles without much fill, so that you can get more fall off going into a bit of shadow).

More than anything, it’s an exercise in patience. Have an idea in your head of how you want it to look then start adding in the pieces to make that happen.

4 Responses to “Photo of the Day – Laptop Shot”

  1. Austin says:

    Was glare on the screen photoshopped away?

    • dsawchuk says:

      I’m not sure I quite understand your question, but if I’m reading you correctly…

      I don’t recall doing any photoshop work to the screen. If there had not been a light on the background, the screen would have looked black due to the black background. Having a light strategically pointed at the background allowed for the nice gradient of light you see on the screen in this shot.

      • Austin says:

        Sorry for my lack of clarity, but that was essentially my question. The gradient on the screen looks great (almost too good to be natural.) And I was curious if you had to clean it up at all. I assume the trick is to not point the light directly at the screen, pointing it on the background, as you noted. Thanks for your help!

        • dsawchuk says:

          Yeah, that’s exactly right. Since the screen is reflective, you have to figure out where that reflection originates from in relation to the camera, then position you light there.

          Glad it helped!

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