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Every other month our blog posts a tutorial showing how to take at home the pictures we create in the studio. If you have a question about our suggestions please don’t hold back - write to us.

Would you like Via U! to create your photography instead of doing it yourself? Anywhere in the world you live, we are here to help.

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I am an advertising photographer in NYC. My pictures help large corporations sell more and keep their brands looking fresh. I am also the founder of Via U!, an online studio dedicated to creating photography that helps people selling in Etsy increase their sales too.

1. August 2011 15:54

Making an Ordinary Plastic Bottle Look... Extraordinary

How to take photos of a product plastic container and make it look great? Here is a step by step tutorial showing how to create highlights that can make plain materials look out of this world.

Make a background sweep using wrapping paper and empty boxes. It is a good idea to put a few heavy things inside the boxes so they are not empty anymore.

Please take a look at this post


To diffuse the light use a piece of translucent acrylic (plexiglas). This piece is 12” x 24 but certainly you could use a larger one. A larger size is more flexible and will allow you to take pictures from higher camera angles. Acrylic sheets come in different thickness and densities. This one is 1/4” thick and translucent. It gives maximum transmission of light and it’s use in light boxes. A good all purpose piece for objects the size of a bottle is 24” x 24”

It’s important that the edge closer to the camera stays free of anything that blocks the light.  You can use two spring clamps in the other side to hold the acrylic in place.

To control the light you will need to move the flash from the front to the back. The closer the flash is to the acrylic the smaller the area with light will be. Leave about 2 feet of space between the acrylic and the edge of the table to have enough the space to play.

If you place the flash so that some of the light goes out of the acrylic the highlight on the bottle will have a bright edge that will make glossy surfaces look... glossy.

Placing the flash at the center creates a highlight with soft edges.

You may like putting highlights that start from the back of the bottle.
This is one case when bigger would definitely have been better, I ended up putting the flash at the very edge of the table after all.

If you like to make a larger highlight you will need to spread the light more. Put a second piece of acrylic between the flash and the bottle.

To create a highlight on the other side of the bottle use a reflective material to bounce the light from the flash. Here I used a piece of shiny silver cardboard that is 12 x 18.

You can buy one in an art store or make your own

You can control the size and shape of highlight by rotating the silver card and by moving it closer, or further away, from the bottle. The closer to the bottle the card gets, the bigger the size of the highlight.

Putting the card close to the lens moves the highlight to the center of the bottle.

Isn’t amazing the options a piece of cardboard can give?

This is where I ended up putting things to photograph a matte plastic bottle...

... and for a glassy bottle.

Cleanser is a loan from Steam Bath Factory, thank you Tabitha.

To make shout look brawny I did not use the card at all and let one side of the bottle stay dark.


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21. June 2011 09:36

Fire, Silicates, Beasts and Humans

Clay is a naturally occurring aluminum silicate composed of fine-grained minerals. These minerals are typically produced over long periods of time by the gradual weathering of rocks by water and collected in deposits by gravity. Clay contains low concentrations of carbonic acid and other diluted solvents. The combination of these molecules impart plasticity to the material and the property of hardening when fired or dried.

 

“I grew up in a rural setting, so throughout my life I have engaged in
constant observation of animals of all kinds, both wild and domestic.
They all have different roles, jobs, and methods of communication, so
this serves me well in my work.  If I have an idea for a sculpture that
needs a certain motif, for example fragility, innocence, or speed, I
might use a deer or a bird.  Different animals have been messengers in a
myriad of mythologies throughout the ages, and I might employ this for
different themes in my work as well.  On a base level, animals come in so
many shapes and sizes that I might use a particular animal because its
body type alone fits my composition.”

Tomas Schneider
Erie, PA USA
http://www.schneiderworks.com

 

“I make my sculptures to share what I cannot say with words. They are my way of reminding both myself and the world of how life actually is. My sculptures find themselves being created from half remembered scowls on the street, from speeches of jaded politicians, and from an enjoyment of bicycling in the rain. However, when all these parts are pulled together, something different comes out. The resulting creature doesn’t care where it came from. It is simply here to share its enjoyment of life.”

Eva Funderburgh
Seattle USA
http://evafunderburgh.com
“I read about the role of animal figurines and pottery decorations in ancient times, I don't remember exactly, something to do with hunting and taming the spirits of the beasts... or maybe they just made toys for their kids. These guys were inspired by computer games , but I present them as allegories of human behavioral traits.”

Veronica Solomon
Berlin, Germany
http://www.behance.net/gallery/Ceramix/102069
















































“Several years ago my wife, Connie and my two sons, Noah and Galen and I, spent time backpacking in Central America. The colors and imagery of the rainforests, the tropical flowers and the coral reefs of the Caribbean have greatly influenced my work. The colors on the surface of many of my pots, sinks and sculpture are anything but subdued! The work seems to bring smiles to people’s lives, and that happiness in returned to my family and me tenfold!” The "Guardians" is a series created in remembrance of Arrow, a Russian Wolfhound.

Ken Sedberry
Bakersville, NC  USA
http://www.sedberrypottery.com







































Nathan has worked as an illustrator of children books for many years. It is only recently that he started working in ceramics. He thinks of his work as “ceramic illustrations.”

Nathan Halpern
Jerusalem, Israel
http://www.nathanhalpern.com





















































“For me, the animal/human form in this group of work is used to give a hard, permanent material like fired clay a bit of gestural animation.  If find the juxtaposition of these two things interesting- immovable ceramic that won't even bio-degrade that looks like it will get up and walk away at any time.  Using animal forms also gives each pot more personality and wit.”

John McMillan
Virginia, USA
http://www.jonmcmillan.com








































Veronica Solomon
Berlin, Germany
http://www.behance.net/gallery/Ceramix/102069














































Mike lived in the Osaka-Kyoto region of Japan for several years where he traveled the country extensively, studying local folk pottery— both ancient and modern. Once back in the US he started making pots in the “Jappalachian” folk tradition in rural South Georgia.

Mike Henshaw
Georgia USA
http://www.mockingbirdpottery.com




































“There exists a tiny space between the conscious realm and subconscious sleep, the wake of life, or the slipstream of consciousness.  This often overlooked and briefly occupied slipstream is a very powerful space – a space where time loses its grip and mythologies are born. I make a daily effort to be observant and diligent while in this space and to try to record what happens there. This self portrait as a robot panda was inspired by a dream. ”

Tomas Schneider
Erie, PA USA
http://www.schneiderworks.com




































































Juliana Morozowski

When Juliana designed the “The Cheshire Cat” tea set she was playing with the concepts of  Donald Norman. The main issue being that emotions have a crucial role in the human ability to understand the world and that , by virtue of their sensual appeal, aesthetically pleasing objects appear to the user to be more effective. “I decided to design some products that could bring childhood references.  I like the story of Alice in Wonderland and I’m a great fan of the Cheshire cat.”

Juliana Morozowski
Florianopolis, Brazil
http://www.behance.net/jmorova

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