THE STUDIO BLOG
I’ve been working with Helen Russell throughout 2017 and now into this year producing a whole range of product images for her website https://helenrussellcreations.com/
Helen has a quirky sense of humour which is revealed through her work. She comes up with lots of different characters and worlds, and sells these designs over a variety of products. Helen has had many different settings to show off her different products, here are just a couple of those for her tableware and diary pads.
These simple, natural towels are produced by Hammam Havlu and are created to fit in with today’s lifestyle. As Penny from the company says, they have a multitude of uses, from practical beach towels to picnic blankets, they’re shown here using the surroundings of the studio, to create a setting, alongside mid-century furniture and various contemporary and natural props and plants.
These are the type of shots I’ll be expanding upon as time goes on, I keep buying furniture and always have a good selection of smaller items in to go with them, particularly vintage industrial items as well as props evoking the coast and countryside. Here the shots shows what can be achieved using simple things like voils or curtains to suggest a window, particularly as in this case when lit through the voil.
Penny was pleased with her previous photographer, but didn’t like the inflexibility of having to order a full days shoot each time she had new products. Although its not generally advisable to shoot only one product at a time, I can do that, with a small surcharge. More usually I would photograph several products at a time, which is a better option than a full day shoot. This can fit-in more easily with clients needs and timescales.
To see the photographs in use, or to have a look at the range please check out https://hammamhavlu.com/
I’m not one for thinking about Christmas weeks or months ahead, but for work purposes it’s essential! Here is an image showing a few of the smaller props that I use to style Christmas themed products. I have an affinity for items made from wood and metal, so you’ll see a few of those there, and also things like candy canes (not real or I would quickly eat them!)
I was pleased to receive five different products from Hydestyle of London for use in their recent introductory shoot. I aimed to provide them with five images, all with different settings. The first image features one of the new backgrounds I’ve been working on in the studio, I’ll be updating the site with information on those soon as there’s quite a few to choose from!
Recently there’s been a lot of products coming into the studio where the client has requested white background shots. Here are some examples taken for Melanie of Harris and Hall, and Camilla from Camilla Thomas Textiles. These shots are generally used for press use, they can also be used as primary or secondary product shots on websites too. Primary shots can be for sites that are perhaps more fashion orientated, and the secondary shots are ideal if your website has a zoom function as the shots are in sharp focus throughout. For pricing and other examples of this type of photography, including other products such as ceramics, check out the white background gallery.
Is it Christmas time already? Well no, but as products are generally prepared for sale well before Christmas Ann from Dragonfly Dichroic contacted me to have her Christmas glass range shot. Luckily I have a large box of Christmas props available all year round!
Recently I acquired a 1940’s period fire surround, that’s now part of the furniture at the studio, which is going to be very useful for a number of shoots.
For the following shot I used a ‘snoot’ to bounce light off the wall, thereby illuminating the glass from behind. This avoids distracting reflections, but more importantly in this case also brings out the colour of the dichroic glass.
This shoot, completed for Helen Russell Creations shows a couple of different ways how textiles can be shot in the studio. The studio itself provides a lifestyle interior, which can be used to provide a very simple, clean and elegant backdrop, adding in various items of furniture, and a minimal number of props.
Helen delivered all her products personally, including a mannequin for shooting her aprons. I was informed later that the mannequin was actually called Doris!
The studio has an old fashioned book shop just over the road, the type that looks like its been there 100 years, with books piled from floor to ceiling. I picked up a few vintage books for this shoot, as Helen had mentioned books and storytelling were one of her work’s inspirations.
I’m currently in the process of creating new surfaces for the studio, to run alongside the existing ones that I have in stock. Kathy, a portrait artist from Oxfordshire runs Dotty Dog Art, and has recently launched her own range of greetings cards. She embellishes her drawings with graphics to create something really unique, and that’s the basis of her ranges.
Kathy requested a shoot, mentioning her love of old furniture paint peeling. After a little experimentation with paint, pva glue and a heat gun I came up with what you see in the photograph, which will be the first of many new surfaces. This alongside vintage books, and rusted objects such as stationery and old tools created the aesthetic she was looking for.
Lizzie from Connie and Joan contacted me after seeing my Instagram feed. The groups (as seen in the photograph below) were sent over glued together in-situ. I then laid out a second set to show the various contents of each group alongside some flowers. Fresh flowers always add a touch of elegance to an image, that artificial flowers don’t quite reach. Clients can send them via a service like Bloom & Wild, or order them from my local florist, and I can pick them up.
The studio was finished just after Christmas, and since then I’ve been locating various items of furniture, such as Mid-Century chairs, country style chairs and tables. As the year progresses, I’ll be purchasing more furniture to create various settings. Such simple images work well across a variety of media, and really puts the product centre-stage, and demonstrates how the product could fit into the homes/lives of the consumer.
The first examples of these were produced for Jan and Jill, of Perkins and Morley, and worked particularly well with their extensive range of different product types, including clocks, cushions, and tea towels. Particularly love their Highland cow cushion!
I was pleased to receive more glassware from Ann Maitland, of Dragonfly Dichroic. Ann’s business has been growing steadily over the past couple of years, and she needed some further shots for use in various online marketplaces. Her glassware, is best when illuminated from front and back, because of this I chose to use one of the studio windows. The shots are largely lit by natural light, with a softbox fill-light illuminating the surface.
Glass can be tricky to photograph, in particular when the shape is irregular, as it becomes difficult to find sources of reflections. For this shoot, I blocked the other studio windows completely to eliminate other sources of reflections.
To see more of Ann’s work, and to purchase, please check out her Etsy Shop.
Shown here are a couple of Ann’s signature dragonfly pieces.
The latest shoot in the studio has been a little bit different, a packshot shoot for Huib and Josephine, a couple who run their own perfumery producing a very exclusive collection of products. Their packaging was beautifully made and they wanted that to be reflected within the photography itself, it was necessary to take multiple images of each product, with different lighting angles, and then merge the shots in post production to truly bring out the gold and silver of the packaging.
Thanks to Jill of Rocket 68 for letting me know that a photograph of mine, a group shot featuring one of her latest ranges, Miami, has been published in the Top Drawer Preview Magazine for the upcoming popular London show in January. I’ve done quite a few shoots now for Jill who is always a pleasure to work with, her brightly coloured vintage styled artwork works well with the props I already have, with the accompaniment of some fresh fruit, as shown below.
I love nothing more than working with found natural materials and was pleased when Karen contacted me again to book in group product shots of her Autumn and a new bird range of hers. Organic shoots as i’m starting to think of them are something i do quite a lot of, and will be expanding upon in the future. Its a case of finding some time to get out there to find some more materials. This is my first posting since the studio move, and although not quite complete yet its really good to have some space to work in, and also to think in. Surroundings do make quite a different and I think gives me a chance to create more spacious and considered imagery.
Artist : Kate from Sun Pennies, the following two from Karen of New Leaf Cards