Chisel and Mouse in the House!…. Well, the Studio…
Not far from our Sussex photography studios is a great little company called Chisel & Mouse. Brothers Robert and Gavin Paisley are architecture nuts and produce visually arresting, detailed plaster sculptures of iconic buildings and even whole cityscapes, combining traditional sculpting, moulding and casting with CAD and 3D printing. They’ve produced a huge array of recognisable artworks and bespoke pieces for private collectors, businesses and retailers and have frequently asked us to photograph their work for posterity, publicity and web sales.
White backdrops are essential, but since the artworks are not far off white themselves, we very carefully expose them when shooting so as not to lose edge fidelity, using large, diffuse lighting as is common with product photography, but adding some obvious directionality with the cityscapes. This is important to create some areas of shadow which help emphasise the intricate form of these pieces and avoid flat, uninteresting results. Our client uses 360 degree spin composites to display many of their pieces, as you can see here, so we’re tasked with capturing multiple angles of several pieces in a time (and cost) effective manner. As with any photography job, a little planning and common sense can save you endless hours shooting or post-processing, so we constructed a large turntable on which to mount the pieces, covered in white perspex to reflect our overhead light source and products.
We’ve marked a rather daunting 37 evenly spaced points around our turntable, so we can lock our focus and begin methodically rotating to and shooting each angle. As you can see from the above, unprocessed shots, we come pretty close to our goal in-camera, necessitating only minor editing to completely isolate the pieces from their environment. By shooting from a tripod at a fixed perspective, it’s possible to automate much of this type of work in photoshop and save yourself a whole lot of grief. See our earlier post on actions here for some time-saving tips and be sure to check out more work from the talented chaps at Chisel & Mouse.