As a working news photographer, the one job that I dread is the "quick product shot" that I am often asked to do without access to a properly equipped studio. For most of the year it only happens once a month or so, but very occasionally I'll get a run of requests. It helps to have a few standard tactics up your sleeve.
These two shots ere booth for a special "e-supplement" that we did. A special edition about the use of technology in higher education and the feel of the supplement was magazine orientated rather than the usual newspaper style that we are all used to working with.
The two pictures were taken a few days apart and that made having a reasonably consistent approach more important. The first to come up was the iPod picture and the brief was blazingly simple - a nice upright picture of an iPod that wasn't a catalogue product shot and that didn't scream APPLE at you. I was handed the iPod in the office and told that I couldn't take it away, which was unfortunate because I often do these small still life pictures at home where there is a lot more room to play around. I decided to go for the old "white on white" routine and started to play around with the iPod on a large light box that we have in the corner of the office for those rare occasions when anyone has a transparency (remember them?) to look at. With the light box switched off the plexiglas surface has an interesting reflection of what's sitting on it and with the light box switched on you get varying degrees of shadowless light. I decided to use the shadowless light and add enough light of my own actually on the player to balance out the two elements.