Botanicals new product release
A returning assignment, thankfully not subject to Covid cancellation, was this shoot for Botanicals. As a photographer, I usually prefer to source the colour, shape, style and variety of the props i'm using, often finding little glassware and ceramic gems in charity shops etc, but in this case I was given instruction to use the items supplied having been vetoed and passed by the design team. Most web designs require particularly sized images to fit into pre determined image boxes, making way for inclusions of text boxes, graphs and graphics etc and this can be tricky when dealing with an essentially 'vertical' product in a landscape format.
You've no doubt seen the heads cut off product/ building/ people where the 'letterbox' style of header has been used and has not been taken into account at the time of shooting. Regardless of these restrictions it was an ideal shoot to flex some creative muscle and to use several photographic techniques to showcase these products.
An aspirational brand
Like most brands, it takes years to establish their standing in the public eye and none more so than in the fickle world of beauty and wellness. A client briefing revealed the nature of the shoot was to show the new product labelling certainly, but to position the key products in settings which made them 'attainable' and not beyong reach except to the 'spa generation'. This was quite lucky as no sooner had the job been passed on to me than the world seem to shut down - the set was my house then!
After assembling all the props, plants and products, the shoot got underway. Clearly some of the bottles were mock ups with occasional flaws, askew caps etc but this could be corrected later in post production. A shoot list outlined the image size of each product range and it's use in social media; the intended audience etc which I used to create the tempo of each image. For example the shot above, showing the complete product line up would fit nicely as a header on the main web site, the shot below for using a shallow depth of field and slight colouring for Instagram and Facebook.
The general techniques
All the finished pictures needed to look 'clean' and, due to the bottles all being dark brown in colour, I adopted back lighting as a standard to separate bottles from backgrounds. The props were neutral in tone to compliment the bottle lables, no matter the lable colour. On a line up product shot, the challenge is usually to achieve focus from the forward product to the back product but was complicated slightly as I wanted to keep the immediate foreground and background soft focussed. The techniques here is to use a shallow depth of field, pull the focus sharp on the lead point, shoot and focus further into the set until you have the back point crisp, a total of 4 or 5 images, then 'stack' the images to blend.
The rest of the shoot followed on pretty nicely, the header shots being 1500px by 400px needed particular care.