Many of the products I shoot on set, whether they are gadgets, gizmos, or medical devices as pictured here, have some sort of illuminated screen, readout, buttons, LEDs, etc. that must be accounted for and depicted in the final images. This shot of was no different. This interesting invention is actually what amounts to a gentle dental jackhammer for tooth extraction. It was originally tested by veterinarians on canines, and has now been approved for human use. They approached me to create photos for the product launch and needed a real sexy shot for an upcoming trade show display.
The first step is getting the shot set up. This thing has six foot cords connecting the wand to the control box in the background and a foot switch to control the intensity. We did some shots of the whole apparatus for their marketing literature but we wanted a shot that showed only the cool parts of the unit for the back-lit trade show display. For this shot, a coat hanger was used to position the wand in the right position and secured to the wand with butyl, a very sticky black substance used to weather seal windshields during installation. A hole was cut in the background paper to allow the cord to be plugged in, and proper exposure of the wand and f/stop for the background was determined. Finally, critical focus on the wand was made, and with all the lights/strobes in the studio set to off, a timed exposure of between 1 and 2 seconds was recorded to see how the screen and LED showed up.Because of the two-second exposure, you’ll need to shoot this in total darkness on set to get full saturation from the lights and it is very important to move carefully and not bump or kick the camera stand in the dark (been there, done that.) The camera was set to 2nd-curtain sync (as it almost always is) and a 2 second image was made with the Alien Bees firing right at the end to light the wand and control box. Eventually, the client went with the version below and the trades show was a great success, but I still like the drama of the lead off one above more