Product Shots: Faking It For Real

Looking too good to be true is what a product shot is all about.  And frequently, that’s how product shots are made, too.
We recently needed to shoot a magazine cover shot for an article we’d placed, a sort of stealth product shot with a good deal of production value.  The scene is supposed to be a steaming shower, a location that is not so easy to photograph for several reasons: they're small, they're often short, they're wet.  To make the assignment more challenging, it had to be a wheel-chair accessible shower.  And to make our lives more interesting, we had a very short deadline.

Our first solution was to find a nice-looking wheelchair-accessible shower in a hotel room.  After seeing several places where there was no room for lights and a camera, we abandoned that idea and decided to buy a pre-fab showerstall and set it up in a sheltered exterior place, where we could light it and shoot it.  A trip to the warehouse store failed to turn up any units that were suitable, however. 

The ultimate solution was to use our own ingenuity, building a wall out of plywood and tile set up in a well-shaded carport, where the light could be controlled and the water flow wouldn’t damage anything.  Use of slightly non-standard materials accelerated the time for tile and grout to set, and construction was accomplished in a bit over a day.  Materials and labor were roughly comparable to the original budget for identifying and renting a hotel room. 

The shower-valve was mounted in the wall, but was unconnected to the water supply.  The shower-head was piped to a garden hose.  Steam was portrayed by dry ice on the set, later augmented in post-processing in Photoshop.  

The set looked like a mess. 
But what the camera saw looks like a steamy shower (see top of post).

By creating this image,  we were able to make our client's article into the cover story, considerably enhancing its visibility and publicity value. The client will get further value by using the same photo in their marketing materials. 
Photos copyright 2010 by Chusid Associates.

Final Product (Posted 11/1/10)