Today I've been shooting Vans.....................

I've had these Vans shoes in the wardrobe for a couple of months, bought them in a sale at the local Vans shoes shop. I didn't buy them to photograph them but I was looking at them the other day with just a desk lamp lighting them from behind and I felt I had to replicate what I was seeing using flash heads, or as it turned out flash head.

I set up a grey background and used a Bowens 500 Pro head with a 7" reflector and a 30º grid with a red gel gaffer taped to it to light it. The shoe was placed on a stand with a Manfrotto studio clamp attached so the shoe had a stable platform to sit on. The shoe is filled with socks to bulk it out a bit otherwise it could have looked a bit flat.

The main light came from six feet away, six feet up and at an angle of about 30º to 40º from the front of camera. This was another Bowens 500 Pro head mounted on a Manfrotto Aluminium Senior Stand with casters, the head had a beauty dish with barn doors to control any spill. For many of the images I had the lights at almost their lowest settings as I wanted a very shallow depth of field, about f5.6, except for the shot at the top of the whole shoe which was shot at f18. Only one light was used to illuminate the shoe, a piece of silver card was used to reflect light back into certain parts of the shoe.

Sometimes it pays to play with lighting set ups and make a note of how you've achieved certain images, you never know when you'll get a product in that would look good using a particular set up. Just remember to make a note of everything, distances from lights to object, to camera distance, what grids or light modifiers you've used, f-stops, etc. I've got a heap of note books that I've filled with lighting set ups, even of ideas that haven't worked to well, you can always come back to the ideas and refine them.

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