I was recently asked to shoot for the manufacturer of the UK’s No1 chimney liner DURA FLUE and wholesaler of all chimney related products. The company, Flue & Ducting Ltd. They have depots in Stockport, Somerset and West Yorkshire and pride themselves on being an innovative and forward-thinking company.
During their initial enquiry where they said they had some wood burning fireplaces photographed, I envisioned a variety of small metal stoves. Little did I know that yes, they wanted a couple of those but their main goal was to capture their beautiful range of Lime Stone Fireplaces.
The brief was that they wanted these fireplaces as the normal E-Commerce white background product shots however they were also looking to show their beautiful fireplaces in situ, within a home! Obviously to do this normally, you’d have to contact their past clients that have these fireplaces already in place or hire somewhere to put them in place which wouldn’t be ideal, easy or cheap!
To get around this, we decided to shoot the fireplaces in my studio where we could control the light and the look before I’d then cut them out and install them in to room sets using Photoshop. Dropping images on to other images can look awful when not done properly so there was some pre-shoot preparation to ensure that we knew the images we were using before we shot the products. This small amount of time was invaluable.
All the room sets that we chose allowed us to only require one image per fireplace which would act as the E-Commerce image and the Room Set image. We’d then shoot the fireplace empty, with their smaller stove and then the larger stove. Simple! Well, not quite.
Flue and Ducting Ltd built a chimney breast which could be carried in to the studio and set up. We then built each fireplace one by one before cleaning them thoroughly, setting up the lighting to fit with the fireplaces designated room sets and then get their images. The chimney breast itself was around 9-foot-high by 6-foot-wide and 3–foot-deep and it was heavy.
I set up a Green Screen to help with the cutting out process and then the make-shift chimney breast was put in place. Once that was done, it was time to take in the Fireplaces. Each one weighed around 300 kilos and because they were made of large single pieces of limestone, you had to move them carefully to avoid any damage. Something that everyone on the shoot managed to do to perfection.
Each fireplace took around an hour to build and then around an hour to shoot the 3 options which were empty, with the small stove in place and then again with the large stove. Dismantling didn’t take quite as long but it still took some time as we had to be extremely careful as these would eventually be installed in someone’s home or a showroom.
To take advantage of the time when I couldn’t do anything to help with set up, I would sit down at the computer and started working on images that we’d captured. Each image would be cutout and placed on a clean white background and even though we cleaned them as much as we could, I still had to remove streak marks and dust that was present due to the amount of dust we were producing moving so much heavy gear around.
Each of the 7 Fireplaces had 9 images. The empty fireplace on white then with the small stove and again with the large. Each stove had 2 images each which was with and without fire then each room set had an image of each stove type both with and without fire.
We also shot some close-up images of these stunning fireplaces to really show the stunning quality Flue and Ducting Ltd pride themselves on.
Installing the fireplaces on to the room sets was something I loved doing. As I said earlier, this can look terrible when not done carefully however I love doing things like this as it requires an almost obsessive eye for detail. I have this! The lighting matching the room direction light was a real help when we shot each fireplace however some room sets required streams of light and shadow to fall over the fireplace. They also had to be carefully lined up to match the wall, the floor board directions and we had to ensure shadows were in place where shadow would be cast.
With shadows, you must consider there are 3 different types of shadows that will be cast. The contact shadow where the product connects with the floor and anything else. The directional shadow cast by any light present in the room from windows or artificial light. You then have the ambient shadow which can be created by light reflecting off of the walls, floor and ceilings.
The client was delighted with the results as was I. We saved a great deal of time and money by shooting them all in the studio. To shoot at 7 different locations and then to capture the E-Commerce product shots of each fireplace would have taken around 9 days if not longer. To shoot them all in the studio took just over a day and a half! The retouching took around the same so we saved around a week by shooting in this way! I’m sure you can see from the results that the saving of time did not compromise the quality of imagery.
You can see the beautiful product selection Flue and Ducting Ltd offer by visiting www.flue-ducting.co.uk.
I hope you love these as much as I do. If you have a product that would be equally as challenging and you can’t fathom how to get it shot then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I have no doubt I can be of assistance and come up with a plan that will work for you and your marketing requirements.