Product composition critique pls


Watch the Birdy!
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Jul 8, 2005
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Victoria, BC
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So, having never really had to or been inclined to do this sort of work before, I thought I would give it a go. I'm hoping for some good input on how I can improve here.

First of all, I know the background is rubbish, (it's just a piece of black cotton I had around) and I know the lighting needs work (just a quick three light set-up, 250 w/ shoot-through umbrella 45 camera left, 250 w reflector umbrella above right and a kicker up high) - what I really would like comments and suggestions on is the actual composition of the image. Assuming that this was a commission to shoot these shoes for an advertisement (It's not, just me practicing), how can I improve the placement/composition?


My own observations are that the left-hand shoe shouldn't be quite so close to the edge of the box, and that a fourth light is required to reduce the shadow on the top of the box where the shoe is sitting. Given that the name is prominently visible on the box, would having it also visible in the shoe be critical? (I tried - gold lettering on pink? Tricky!).
I personally think these are great, although I'd probably try to straighten the backdrop just a little more and probably make the background more black. The shoes look fine in place, although you can't really read the golden writing as clearly.
I think you are on the right track, but the shoe on the left seems to blend in with the pink box that they're on.

I was thinking that the one that's showing the side profile of the shoe could actually go on top of the shoe box angled so that you can still see the gold lettering, and the other shoe could be down in front showing more detail in the bow & the design inside.

Perhaps a CPL could cut down on the reflectivity of the gold lettering, and at the same time making it more readable?
Maybe move the bottom shoe just a little to the right to compensate for the top shoe being so close to the left edge of the box.

Just my.02 cents
Assuming that this was a commission to shoot these shoes for an advertisement ..., how can I improve the placement/composition?

Well... IF this WAS an assignment, I bet it would have come complete with a layout and art director.

Your composition is OK. I wonder is you really need to include both shoes to tell the story.

I think the lighting is where this needs the most work. It all seems pretty flat to me. I wonder if a "clam-shell" approach with a large reflector/board in front might not be a better approach.

You chose a very challenging product for this exercise.

How right you are Pete, and yes, I realize it's a challenging assignment, but it doesn't cost anything to play! Agree with you on the lighting; I was going for more 'Sears Catalogue' than 'high fashion drama'

This is version two; moved to a four light setup, with one directly overhead at minimal output for s second fill light, and tried a green background as a contrast too the pink and black.

I like version 2.
However, it took me a minute to search out for the brand of the shoe it is hard to read on the box.
The gold leaf in the name is giving me fits; the box is ever-so-slightly shiny and I think my kicker in front is killing the gold; I'll work on some more variations this evening.
The gold leaf in the name is giving me fits;

To light up that gold, place a large white card in front. You may have to monkey with it a bit so it doesn't come into view, possibly cutting a hole in it for the lens.

You can control just how bright it gets by controlling the amount of light coming off the board.


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