My friend John, owner and creator of SERFPAD®, and I got together last month to create some shots of his awesome product. I had never done any type of product shoot before, so I definitely wanted to give it a try. At the same time, John is pushing forward with his product and so pictures do help!
This product is great! So it's geared for those who have or want to have a, what I'll call, a 'PC TV' setup. This setup involves a PC/MAC computer being displayed through your TV. Why connect your computer to your TV you may ask? The cool thing about it is that it brings to your TV almost limitless possibilities. Anything you do on your computer you can do on your TV, while in the comfort of your soft living room couch.
Nowadays, we thrive on internet content. Netflix, Hulu, and Youtube are widely used and entertain probably millions of people daily. I, for one, am one of those, definitely a youtuber, and I'm greatly susceptible to Netflix binging. Over the years, people have realized our want for internet media content. This has brought the smart TV and internet connected micro-consoles era we are in. Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV are things we are familiar with. These bring the world of the internet to your 'dumb' TV. So while these devices are cool and do their job of bringing cat videos on command to your TV, something is missing. These internet devices and smart TVs force you to use a new, often clunky user-interface. They're often limited in their menu options, and as a personal opinion, not that fun to use - namely, having to use on-screen keyboards and it taking foreeever to type "funny cat videos" in the search bar. Sure, there are now options for voice search in some of these devices which helps. Solutions such as Chromecast are great, but for this you are tied down to always needing a smart phone/tablet/laptop on you. However with a PC TV setup, my TV is ready to go at all times - for anyone in the family - and I can type at full speed on my wireless keyboard and I'm not limited in what content I can access. I can access all my favorite internet video content AND I can access anything else I do on a computer (think gaming, work, social media, etc), from my TV. Who needs cable, satellite, or smart TVs when you already have the internet. No need to spend more money than you need. So how can you best enjoy a PC TV setup?
SERFPAD® is the solution. They have plenty of options to choose from depending on what you already have. Need the whole thing? Done. Already have a computer and a TV? Done.
A PC TV setup is definitely best when you have a wireless keyboard and mouse. This allows you to effortlessly search and access content from your favorite couch. However, the problem is using a keyboard and mouse on your lap isn't the most comfortable. It helps to have something to put your keyboard and mouse on. That brings SERFPAD® into the picture - SERFPAD® provides a home for your keyboard and mouse and it's comfortable to use (I tried it!) It feels natural on your lap and allows for a pleasant experience navigating the web on your TV. What's more, when you're done with your show, SERFPAD® gives you a place to hide and put away your mouse; simply slide the mouse under the mouse pad and you're set. Pretty awesome, huh?
Anywho, that's my 2 cents! No, I wasn't paid to advertise on here. As an avid Internet user, I just personally think it's a great product and it's something I'll be using in the future.
About the Images
As for the images, I used a dual light setup: One flash through a 24" softbox and the other flash I pointed towards the white ceiling for some bounce light. This second flash served as my fill light and created a nice reflection of the lit ceiling on the surface of the product. This second light gave me even lighting through the product. I used my Pentax 50mm f/1.4 SMC in the f/8 area for my lens (f/8-11 for large depth of field). Why this lens you may ask? I simply wanted to see what it was capable of and it definitely didn't let me down. I haven't had this lens for too long, so I'm still learning what it can do and can't do. My other choice would have been my Nikon 55mm f/2.8 AI-s macro, this lens is SHARP. I figured that around 50mm would work great for this shoot because of the perspective the focal length gives.
Being this was my first product shoot, I definitely did some learning. Here are some things I'd like to pass on:
- Careful of reflective surfaces. Be extra prepared for them. They're going to show your camera, your lighting modifiers, stuff around you, etc. Reflections can add or subtract to your images. During this shoot, this definitely added time to my workflow because I didn't foresee reflections being an issue. What helped greatly was use of the black side of a 5-1 reflector. Perhaps a polarizer would have helped too?
- Keep it tidy and extra clean. Man did I spend time cloning and healing out dust particles in post. While these images look pristine, there were actually HUNDREDS of little boogars (what I'm calling the dust particles) everywhere that I had to take care of...one at a time. We had the tools to do it during the shoot, but again, I just didn't foresee it. Next time, I plan on using my rocket blower and some microfiber cloths extensively. A little extra time cleaning beats out hours of being a healing and cloning Photoshop zombie.
- Make a shot list. If you don't already have one before, sit with your client and make one. While a shot list comes to mind faster with something like a wedding, it is definitely important in product photography as well. It makes for a much smoother workflow and it assures you get all the right shots your client needs. That way they're not left expecting more and are satisfied with you and your images.
Definitely fun to try something new and my client and I are pleased with the images. Great! I learned a lot and that makes me look forward for my next product shoot. Photographers, hope my tips help in your work if you're venturing out into the product photography world!