I recently gained the wonderful opportunity to work with a local woman owned skincare company to shoot their product photos. I was able to work with a company that shares my values: uplifting women, simple and clean ingredients, and supporting small business; so early in my career is incredibly exciting, and something that I’m very grateful for.
Since I am mainly a portrait photographer, or at least planning on it, I did initially find the task a bit daunting. I worried that my propping and composition skills in product work would not live up to the image I had in mind for what I wanted the end photos to look like. I decided to get an idea of what Illumia was looking for, and then from there start gathering inspiration. I knew I wanted to add some depth and height, and determined that I would have something behind the product to prop ingredients on and around. Besides this I didn’t plan any further, as I like to see what’s in front of me when I am shooting and determine where to go from there.
The day of the first set of product shoots, I was feeling confident about it all. My confidence did waver a bit after I got caught in the rain, but I powered through and started setting up the products and other props with wet hair. On a very much related note, an umbrella is yet another thing that has been added to my camera bag essentials.
Once I got to actually taking the photos, everything fell into place. The composition needed tweaking every now and again but I loved how the lighting looked and the photos were coming out great! I ended up adding more props, especially in the foreground, as I went along, adding in some texture with a trail of salt leading towards the body scrub, and adding some more mint leaves for color. For the second product of the day I struggled a bit with propping, as there were no larger elements to start with, but once I added in the flowers, the image came together more. Pouring the honey and getting it to still look like honey proved to be the most challenging part of the day, but I think in the final images it still works.
We finished up with some new headshots for Illumia’s founder, Hedy Schneller. I was happy to be working within my strength with portraits during this last part, and I love how they came out. We were going for a very genuine look, so I tried to have Hedy laugh and capture her as she is. Going along with the main message of the company which is clean, simply, and honest ingredients, this approach was very fitting and helps express to potential customers that they are purchasing products from someone who truly believes in these values. I ended up including a desaturated, almost black and white, very different looking portrait, not because I thought it fit the idea we were trying to show, but rather because I loved the image so much.
With editing it ended up being easier than I thought, especially with some of the features of Adobe Lightroom I have recently started using. Utilizing masks has saved me much time. Rather than editing in Lightroom, and then having to switch to photoshop for more targeted adjustments, I am able to increase texture, change value, etc in one specific area. Texture in particular was very important for this type of work, as I wanted to highlight the texture and quality of the body scrub and enzyme. The final images came out better than I could have imagined in the beginning, and I am looking forward to continuing this work!