We have all done it. Dabbled I mean. No harm in trying things out, right? But sometimes, despite your efforts, it just doesn’t feel like the genre suits you. Or you don’t suit the genre. I have dabbled in product photography when the need arises. And that is mostly to provide images for a blog article I am writing where I try to gain a nice clear and crisp product images to compliment the article context. But, some of us are just not cut out for this kind of work.
Every now and then, along comes a photographer who clearly knows how to control and shoot their genre. One such photographer is Kevin Case. I first noticed Kevin’s amazing product photography through some images of ice-cold beer that he published. Given my own affiliation with beer, I was instantly impressed. But to Kevin’s credit, he has developed a style and set of processes to allow him to shoot all forms of products. I was curious about this and wanted to get to know more about product photography and how Kevin has carved his own niche.
Please note that I am hosting Fuji X Aus blogs on my own WP site at the moment while the Fuji X Aus site is being upgraded. That way members still get the content they deserve.
Kevin, can you please tell us a little about yourself? When did you first pick up a camera? What has been your photographic journey so far?
I am 47yo married to a Latina, living on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. I first got into photography at about the age of 30 just as digital took over from film. I was lucky enough to have a neighbour that was working regularly as a commercial photographer and I asked him if I could assist him and learn the ropes. I was the voice-activated light stand, the bag carrier and the coffee runner but most important I was learning how it all worked. Back then, YouTube didn’t exist so if you wanted to learn something you had to read a book, go to school or get experience hands-on. I was fascinated by the industry and wanted to learn everything I could.
Over the years I tried all types of photography, as long as I had a camera in my hand I was happy. The thing is though I didn’t have any one direction I didn’t have a niche so a customer wouldn’t know exactly what they would get from me. I had a web page that covered drones, videos, portraits, real-estate, pets, events etc. etc. (Jack of all trades, master of nothing). So, this year I felt it was time to do things differently. I was lucky enough to get a garage at my father’s house and convert it into a studio and from there I decided it was time to rebrand my business and put all my concentration into Case Images.
What was it about product photography that led to you make it a professional career?
Photography is a tuff way to make a living and the more advanced cameras get the better the average person gets at shooting so it seems everyone knows an amazing photographer that is prepared to work for nothing and you can’t compete with that. I needed to ask myself: Who still pays for photos? What can I do that others don’t do? What can fulfil my creative passion? The answer is Product Phtography!
Your portfolio of work focuses largely on food and beverage product shots? What other types of products do you photograph?
Recently I have been shooting shoes I have also shot some bikes for Manly Cycles. Bicycles are about the largest thing I can shoot in my studio.
How did you start out as a product photographer? What were some of your early jobs in this genre?
Before I had my studio, I started doing some shots for Manly Spirits where I incorporated their bottles into the beach.
What is a hot tip or product photography hack that you use that most people would be surprised to hear about?
The less you have in a photo the more precise you have to be with lighting, the busier the photo the less technical the lighting. i.e. if you use a lot of props you don’t notice the imperfections.
What has been your favourite product to photograph?
My favourite product is always the next one. I always get really excited and passionate about the next shot I’m going to take.
You have recently shared with the Fuji X Aus group a video showing your studio and the kinds of tools of the trade you have accumulated to get the job done. What advice would you give to someone wanting to start out in product photography? Such as a basic starting kit of camera, lens and lights?
Just start doing it with whatever you have got but when you do start buying things get a macro lens, strip boxes with grids, lots of lights preferably with modelling lights, c-stands, translucent paper, Capture One, Tethering Cable, shutter release and plexiglass.
What Fujifilm X Series gear to you use to take your food and beverage shots?
I own the Fujifilm XT-3, Fujifilm XH-1, XF10-24mmF4, XF16mmF1.4, XF16-55F2.8, XF23mmF2, XF35mmF2, XF56mmF1.2, XF80mmF2.8 and XF50-140mmF2.8. Majority is the Fujifilm XT-3 with the XF50-140F2.8 (70%), XF80mmF2.8 (25%) and the XF16-55mmF2.8 (5%). (Note from Greg: Might have been easier to ask him what he did NOT have!)
Where can people find out more about your work and socials?