Ladies and gentlemen, hold onto your hammers and tighten your tool belts, because today we’re diving into the world of dramatic publication photography of products. And no, this is NOT a drill! Well, actually, it kind of is… but more on that later.
Remember those glossy magazines you used to subscribe to? They’re not just relics make you dread cleaning out grandpa’s basement after he moves to Legacy Island Retirement Village. They’re alive, kicking, and looking better than ever, thanks to the magic of professional photography. And today, we’re going to let you in on a little secret: how to light a cover-worthy shot using only Halumin.
You might have caught a glimpse of a recent Popular Mechanics cover. You know the one with the power drill that looked so real you could almost feel your thumb throbbing? Yes, folks, print isn’t dead. It’s just been hiding in the toolshed, waiting for its moment to shine. And shine it does, thanks to the ingenious use of the Halumin H18, a lighting modifier that’s as revolutionary as the RPMs on that high speed hole in the door waiting to happen.
Setting up our freestyle set with Halumin is as easy as assembling IKEA furniture, but without the cussing, missing screws and unintelligible instructions. It’s actually really easy. With one Halumin H18, two speedlights, and a couple of accessory legs, you’re ready to roll. From packed-up to set-up faster than you can say “I should’ve hired a handyman.”
Next, we’re doing a bit of a balancing act with a length of 2×4, clamping it to the table at a jaunty angle. Now, we nestle the Halumin around our makeshift wooden ramp. Halumin’s Open Cylindrical (OC) light is designed to make your products pop. Just reset that breaker and you are good to go.
Speaking of blackouts, the Halumin blackout strips are our light control secret weapons. Strategically placed, these little strips help us craft a carefully balanced tableau where no object is left in the dark, yet none is overpoweringly bright. We use two blackout strips to even out the light in areas where the subjects sit too close to the edge of the staging area. In this case below the 2×4 and above where my had will go holding the drill.
With your camera armed with a long lens, it’s time to capture that perfect shot. Remember, folks, distance is your friend here. A wide-angle lens close to your subject can make Halumin show up in the frame, so it’s best to step back and let your long lens do the work when you have larger subjects..
Drill in hand, you channel your inner Bob Vila and strike a pose. Click goes the shutter, and voila! A cover-worthy image of a drill that’s as real as it gets, right in your own makeshift studio.
Full disclosure, for this tutorial I made a few sequencing errors and drilled the hole without shooting the picture. Then I realized the mistake in editing and went back and shot this smoke and sawdust to spice it up. This should have all been captured in one shot, but years of inhaling construction adhesive are clearly wearing on my memory. You can easily capture this image with all its sawdust and smoke in one exposure using only the H18 for lighting. Just remember to protect your precious Halumin with clear plastic if you’re going for this effect. You wouldn’t want sawdust in your Halumin any more than you’d want it in your eye.
I’m your drill sergeant, Jeremy Mason McGraw, signing off. If you’ve got questions or want to share your own Halumin adventures with me, drop a line in the chat window below, and let’s keep this conversation going.
From power drills to cupcakes, fly fishing lures to luxury handbags, Halumin’s Open Cylindrical (OC) lighting geometry brings a whole new perspective to the world of product photography. It’s not just about capturing an image; it’s about telling a story, evoking a feeling, and delivering a message. That’s what dramatic publication photography of products is all about. It’s about making your audience feel, see, and understand the story behind the product.