Set Shop Photography Tutorials
Steve Sint

Steve Sint

Digital Still Life Photography: Art, Business, and Style

Steve Sint has spent a great deal of his life walking down aisles backwards. Over a 40 year career, he has photographed over 4,000 weddings, taken over 2 million photographs, and shot over 1 million portraits for his own studio and others in the New York metropolitan area. As a commercial photographer he has photographed thousands of executives and still life subjects. His client list includes, or has included, the American Broadcasting Company, Time Inc., Hearst Publications, Yves St. Laurent, AT&T, NCR, National Semiconductor, Miller Freeman Publishing, MacGroupUS, and Hachette-Filipacchi Magazines. His photographs have appeared on the covers of over 60 national magazines including LIFE, Omni, Stereo Review, and Modern Photography.

As a columnist and contributor his words and photographs have also appeared in Studio Photography, Lens Magazine, Modern Photography, Popular Photography, View Camera Magazine, Railroad Model Craftsman, and he has authored 7 books on photography. In his most recently published book, Digital Wedding Photography: Art, Business, and Style, he shares his experience with his readers in the breezy, knowledgeable, and accessible style his writing is known for. At this point in his career he limits his assignments to 50 per year for a select New York clientele, photographs and writes about things he enjoys, and still finds time to lecture on professional photography, create and produce tutorial videos, conduct workshops on wedding, portrait, and still life photography, while still finding time to work on his model railroad.

His newest book, Digital Still Life Photography: Art, Business, and Style, was released in January 2013.

Some young photographers, many who are just starting out on their photographic journey, get so hung up on not having the equipment they feel they must have to create the photographs they want to make, become paralyzed. Paralyzed to the point of not making images but worrying about the equipment they think they need instead.

One of the great things about still life photography is the ability to take a Mulligan. In golf, a Mulligan means you can redo a shot and not take the penalty stroke for having done so. Not only can you redo a still life photograph at a later time, but you can also leave a photograph (or an element of a photograph) set up for days as you think about or work on it.

No matter how free wheeling your shooting style is, no matter how creatively you like to dance around with your camera in your hand as you create your images, the simple fact is this: If you subject does not move then there is good reason that your camera should not have to move either during the image capture part of the process!

This tutorial is about choosing accessories and props to enforce the concept and message a studio photographer is trying to make. Importantly, it does not deal primarily with choices about cameras, lenses, lights, or other photographic equipment, but instead it deals with the choices a photographer must make about choosing and finding the props needed to make a photograph a success.

Grip equipment is made specifically for professional video, cinema, and photography industries. It is designed to hold a light, a flag, a scrim, a foam-core board a fill card (or reflector), or even a camera securely in a specific place and at a specific attitude for the duration of the imaging creating process yet still be able to be easily readapted or broken down to be stored or reused at another time, in another way!

This tutorial illustrates a technique for creating a way to use lighting transmitted through a glass of scotch liquor (or any other transparent colored liquid). It also deals with overcoming lighting problems that arise during any studio shoot, how to identify what the problem is, and how to correct it. It also shows how to make a fixture to suspend and hold a bottle exactly where the photographer wishes to place it. With a little imagination, fixtures of this type can also be used to exactly position other products or props.

Many products studio photographers use are positioned outside of a photograph’s borders and never seen. Another group of products, featured in this tutorial, are some Set Shop specialty products meant to be seen within the frame of the photograph. Because these products are seen, and therefore become part of the photograph, they have to be perfect replicas of what they are meant to represent and in this tutorial we call them Fabulous Fakes!

The title of this tutorial is “White On White: Terror On the Set” because shooting a white subject on a white background is often enough to strike terror into the heart of a studio photographer! Because reflected light meter readings can be tricked by white on white subjects this tutorial starts off with an explanation of the differences between reflected light and incident light readings.

The title of this tutorial is “Lighting Design”. Not every product a studio photographer shoots is a bottle of Channel #5, a Louis Vuitton Handbag, or a Rolex watch but that doesn’t mean a more mundane, or less glamorous, product shouldn’t be treated as if it is anything less than a star! Every product a photographer shoots deserves to be displayed, arranged, and lit in a way that is artful, exciting, and creative!

This tutorial starts off with a demonstration comparing the shadows created when varying the intensity between the main and the fill lights. Using a Sekonic incident light meter with the dome retracted (an L-358), so I could measure two light sources independently of each other, the tutorial illustrates the difference in shadows created by a 5 f-stop range of intensities.

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