Occasionally, the way forward for a product photoshoot is to build a set.
Take this one, for a new brand showcasing a range of curtains. As you can see, the set that we’ve built looks slightly crude. But in the final photograph, you can see how well it works. With a bit of skilled retouching, we’ve ended up with an image quality which would simply not have been possible on location.
The most important reason for building a set for a job like this is for control over lighting. In shooting these curtains, if we’d used a real house, we would have had to work around the ambient light in the environment, which – apart from being an unwelcome distraction – would most probably have added to the time it took us to work. And there would probably have been less room to manoeuvre on location, in comparison with our spacious studio.
All things considered, the most efficient way to do this job was to build a cheap wooden set in our studio and attach a curtain rail to it. There were a number of advantages to working in this way. Most importantly, it gave us total control over the lighting, in a way that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible. But it also meant that we didn’t need to add hiring a location to the expense of the shoot. Additionally, we had more options because of the extra space that the studio gave us, as well as the opportunity to take our time a bit more to get the shots just right.
Our knowledge of building sets, by the way, comes from our director spending so much time in other people’s studios at art college…