// 6 mins read
Each year, we help LED condense a year’s worth of statewide initiatives into a beautiful annual report. Here’s an inside look at our process and the show-stopping results.
1. Creating a Wow Factor With the Venetian Blind Technique
The Venetian Blind technique is generally achieved by placing blinds, a cookie, or a gobo between the light source and your subject. First, find and set up a small light source to reduce harsh shadows. Then, experiment with the positioning of the blinds and your light source. Try moving the light further away from the blinds to produce sharper shadows. But, move it too far and you’ll begin to lose power.
When taking photos of the annual report, we wanted to use this technique to mimic the lines designed on the cover. Normally, we would have used real blinds, but we didn’t have any on hand. We decided to improvise. Using an X-ACTO knife, we cut strips out of a single piece of cardboard. Our lines weren’t straight and it didn’t look pretty, but it got the job done.
As we were experimenting, we realized that our light source was too big. We grabbed another piece of cardboard, this time only cutting out a small circle in the center. When placed in front of the light, it decreased the size of the source.
Following this technique, we created shadows on the top of the annual report.
2. Representing Movement With the Book Fan-Out Technique
This approach was more difficult than we expected. How do you prop up the pages of a book without making the whole thing fall over?
We took pieces of cardboard (yes, more cardboard; remember to recycle it at the end) and wedged it between the pages of the annual report. Then, we taped down the front and back cover so that the book would stay open, in a fanned-out manner.
To make this shot perfect, there was a lot of tinkering and adjusting until we felt we had a clean presentation and beautiful fan effect.
3. Creating Drama With Lighting
Creating dramatic lighting enhancements on your photo subject requires a bright key light and a subtle fill light. Place your key light above the base of your background, for us a coffee table, and aim it at the subject you want to add dramatic light to. The photos show how our subject, the annual report, and the light worked well together to create a dramatic look.
During our photo shoot, our key light was large, causing unwanted light to spill onto our backdrop. Ideally, a flag is used to block some of the light from hitting the backdrop. We didn’t have one. Enter: the cardboard… again.
We cut another circle out of the middle of a piece of cardboard and secured it approximately a foot away from our light source. The cardboard helped focus the light so it shined exactly where needed. Then, we aimed a fill light at the backdrop to give extra texture to the background. Lighting the background and book individually allowed us to control the levels of each, independently.
Wrapping Things Up
Solving problems fuels creativity. Instructions don’t always have to be followed perfectly.
The Louisiana Economic Development 2020 Annual Report served as an A-list subject, inspiring our team to try new things with lighting and photography.
When having your own product photoshoot, use these tips to achieve unique effects with the resources you have laying around. You may achieve a better, more creative outcome as a result.
Tried any of these tricks? Tag @threesixtyeight on your photos on your preferred social media outlet.