So, having spent most of my time picking up anything in photography, when it comes to a commercial shoot, it took me far too long to realise that, perhaps, I don’t want to use the biggest softest light that I own.
I’ve been taking some catalogue shots for an online retailer that is expanding the range of clothes that it sells. After a couple of practice shoots it was clear I wasn’t getting the depth and dimension in the clothes that was needed to make them stand out. The problem, after moving the lights, adjusting the lights, increasing them, decreasing them, feathering them and directing them, was, that they were too big. I gradually moved from a 135cm Octabox down to Portalite softboxes, and then removing the diffusing material from the front of the softbox and using a silver deflector disc to bounce the light back into the bar silver softbox interior.
Using this harder light gives the contours and folds of the clothes shadows, that give the clothes depth. Moving away from the thought that the clothes had to be lit evenly and all over to show the viewer all of the details was the key. I was trying to give the best view of every part of the garment. Nicely, evenly lit. Clothes don’t look good like this.