Our next door neighbors, Caboodle Toys is nearing production of their first toy line, and the other night, I helped them to reshoot images for their box covers and website. I cannot reveal what the product(s) is, for it is a heavily guarded secret, but it gave me a newfound appreciation for product photographers.
We did a simple setup: seamless, single softbox, nikon 105mm f/2.8 macro, and lots of little toys. I initially had the camera mounted on a tripod, but found that because we were rapidly repositioning the toys, it was easier to move in and out without the tripod. The toys were mounted on a standard height table, and i was hunched over like a carilloner at Notre Dame, and after 5 hours of shooting, I was in pretty severe pain. Clearly, having the appropriate tools (like an adjustable height table) would make this job easier.
I did tether the camera to a laptop so that we could see the images on a larger screen as they were produced. This helped enormously because what I thought I was seeing through the viewfinder was not what as being recorded. The combination of being hunched and shooting at 1:1 with the macro really threw me off. Even at f/32 the depth of field was still relatively shallow.
And of course, the detail of the lens is incredible, so every little piece of dust or nick shows up. I can understand the importance of stylists even more when working at this scale.
So my chapeau goes off to the product photographers of the world who day in and out can rock inanimate objects.