My last on location shooting was for the Zurich based bed-manufacturer Furrer Wohnen. They have two beautiful bed which they produce by hand in there little workshop. I had the chance to photograph those beds in an freshly renovated apartement which wasn't less beautiful. In this post I will talk about how the pictures where created using a combination of daylight, a studio-flash and a flashlight, as well as how it was staged and post processed.
The freshly renovated apartment has this amazing wooden wall that you wont see in todays houses anymore. They made for a perfect background for the modern styled beds. As the old windows where matching to the scene, I wanted to capture them in the picture as well. Also to deliver a sense of a real bedroom. As all the chosen colors where grayish, brown and natural, the pictures where set to be calm. All in all the location really was spot on and added so much to the final product. It would have been a complete different style of images if I had to fake the background with Photoshop. If there is a chance to shoot at such a location you have to grab the opportunity.
Staging and Lighting
One difficulty of the room was, that there where different angels. To calm down the final picture and not have to many lines in it we staged the bed like it would be in most bedrooms anyway, straight in the middle of that one wall with the wooden sheathing.
The bed then where staged for its first shot just plane without anything. We would start from there and go further to a fully staged and covered bed.
As I had that one window in the picture-frame, I also was keen to light the scene with as much natural light as possible. Although it was an cloudy day, the sun sneaked in from now and than, causing some harsh, visible daylight on the floor and bed. I decided to cover the window with a large 100x200cm diffusor. That gave me that balanced light from the window.
To light up the hole scene - old buildings tend to have smaller windows and therefore are darker - I set up my portable studio-flash. To create a moody and evenly lighted scene I worked with a 70x90cm-Softbox with inner and outer diffusor as well as an grid. This combination was placed in front of the bed, slightly sideways to the window to add light as it came from the window.
After the setting of the studio-flash the scene looked better. But shooting against a window and the light caused the nearer side of the bed to be to dark and unattractive. To light up this side of the bed i used my Speedlight and set it to a pretty low power. To soften the light more, I added a small softbox to the Speedlight, too.
Both flashes where triggered with an Youngnuo 603 II-Transciever which tend to work without any issues.
You will see the whole setup in this sketch following up:
After setting the light, we shoot the bed in different staging-versions. To ensure the same picture frame time after time the camera was of course mounted on the tripod.
To make sure the client was, although not post processed, was satisfied with the pictures I tethered those via Lightroom to my MacBook Pro. After working several times with this system I tend to change that because the connection is pretty unstable. To reconnect the camera every sixth or seventh shot takes to much time. But it was well worth showing the pictures to the client during the process and I would recommend to everybody to do this.
After wrapping up the shoot on location the pictures had to undergo post-processing. I tend to take it as simple and easy as possible, making most of the work during shooting.
First things first where the usual stuff: white balance, exposure, contrast, highlights and shadows, blacks and whites. Nothing special there, just tweak it a little bit to get more out of the picture. As it was an interior shoot I made sure all verticals are indeed vertical.
Due to the large diffusor in front of the window I had to get this out of sight. I made sure to make an extra exposure of the room metering for the window and a second one metering for the outside, of course both without the diffusor. Synchronizing those two exposures with the changes I made to the base image and matching the exposure let me bring all three files into Photoshop.
Its to easy to compose all three images together with the masking-options. Brushing out the diffusor in no-time and have a nicely light picture was done in a few minutes. Repeating the same for the outside-view and I also had a good view outside the window.
The next step was to bring out some of the debris that are in so many picture. This includes some sockets, dust and other imperfections in the floor or wall.
And there we go, the final image was finished.