The Hero Shot: Product Photography MacGyver Style

As I mentioned on the about page here, I put in my 9-5 (ish) at Minuteman Power Technologies, doing a little bit of everything related to marketing; one of those things being product photography, which was previously outsourced. Here’s a look ‘behind the curtain’ so to speak, at what’s possible when you have equal parts determination and stubbornness, with a bit of resourcefulness mixed in.

The first full shoot I took on was for our most recent product launch – the PRO-LCD Series. I constructed a much-too-complicated studio setup in a conference room, utilizing natural light from outside, flash bounced off of a projector screen, and the incandescent lights in the ceiling. Needless to say, once light was finally hitting all the right places, it was an absolute nightmare in post-processing. I finally resorted to desaturating everything except the display screen to get even coloring.


The finished product was acceptable, but I was less than thrilled with the processing it took to achieve it – there simply had to be a better, simpler way. When the time came to shoot again, I took to scouring the internet for ideas and hints, and finally hit on the right combination.

Constructed entirely from things found around my desk, the lightbox uses the fluorescent tube as the primary light source. This is bounced off of a curved piece of white coroplast, giving a smooth highlight across the gloss face many of our products have. The right side of the box is a black board which can be flipped white or black as needed to add or subtract highlights from that side.

On to the fun stuff. With the recent addition of the 60D to my arsenal, I decided it was time to revamp the product collage that represents us on everything from print ads to webpages.

This was never a necessarily bad image, but relatively low resolution and an overall disjointed feel has never been my favorite thing. So out came the lightbox and, after a few hours, a new, cohesive, 46.6 megapixel Hero shot was born.

Now these are some products I’d trust in an emergency – might even let them watch my kids for the night (if I had any).

Anyhow, I wanted to share this as I found several posts like it that inspired me to keep plugging away until I hit the right combination – I hope it will do the same for someone else!