Creative Concrete

Zack Gates over at Creative Concrete was interested in getting some good photographs of his products to make some promotional materials and to better showcase the pieces on his website. I was interested to work on this project because of how unique the products are. Photographing the works took a combination of product and fine art photography. These truly are pieces of art and required setup and lighting that would do them justice. I could have just safe-lit everything as if I was selling it on E-Bay but knowing how much time, effort and skill Zack puts into each piece I had to step things up a notch.

I have seen some of those TV design shows talk about using concrete for sinks, countertops and all sorts of things. If you are thinking about remodeling or are interested in seeing how concrete can improve your home or workspace, I highly recommend checking him out.

We'll start with some of the pieces Zack is currently displaying at the Arts Center. Probably not what you were thinking when I said concrete, huh? This is actually one of the safer shots of these pieces. I have others with more dramatic lighting, but this setup produced very pleasing results. A flash in an umbrella camera left provided the main light, while another flash bounced off the wall to the right provided fill.

This sweet fountain is also on display at the Arts Center. A flash behind the fountain provides the backlight while a snooted flash is aimed at the wall of the fountain to reveal the great texture and detail. (Thanks Zack for holding a flash on a few of these!)

Now we move on to Zack's office and workshop. How would you like to sit down to work at this baby? Zack managed to find a way to embed fiber-optic lights into some of his work. These lights gradually changed to all sorts of different colors. It is a beautiful desk that turned out to be quite difficult to photograph. First problem: the fiber-optic lights. Closing all the doors and turning off all the lights allowed me to control the environment. A long shutter speed of 5 seconds gave the lights enough time to burn in. Once those lights were taken care of it was time to light the surface itself. Normally I could just bounce a flash into the ceiling and be done with it but the coating/finish is very glossy like granite and acts like a mirror. You would be able to see the ceiling tiles and lights reflected in the desk. Since I had to use such a long shutter speed, I decided to take advantage of a technique called lightpainting. I held a flash in my hand and once the shutter opened I began lighting the scene little by little, repeatedly firing the flash at different parts of the scene. This final shot represents 4 flash pops. I first aimed a pop at the side of the desk, then stood on a chair and fired two separate pops at different parts of the desk and then one final pop aimed at the chair. I didn't light the rest of the room because a viewer's eye is usually drawn to the brightest part of a photo.
And after figuring out a way to light the desk we figured we might as well snap a shot of Zack sitting there. Same technique as above and this time one of the flash pops was aimed at Zack. The desk is actually a uniform brightness but selectively lighting it like this adds lots of drama. I could definitely see this material making an awesome bar at one of the new high-end restaurants popping up in St. Pete.

Zack goes to work on his next masterpiece. Flash in an umbrella to light him and another flash behind him aimed at the wall to add some depth.

This is a great example of a counter and sink combo with custom cabinets. Zack wanted to highlight the counter more so than the cabinets so I originally just light the counter. It looked a little odd so I added a second flash on the ground to pull out some of the cabinet detail while still allowing the counter to be the main focal point of the shot.

Here is a good example of an installed sink in a bathroom. The finished concrete manages to be possess both classy and organic qualities that impressed me very much.

This is a cool little end table that also incorporates the fiber optic lights. Again, I used a slow shutter and multiple flash pops to achieve a very dramatic and moody look while allowing the embedded lights to shine through.

That was certainly a challenging shoot assignment but it turned out to be very fun and successful. Thanks Zack for thinking of me for your photographic needs. And if any of you are interested, swing by to check him out.

No comments: