Industrial Art – – Vortex Product Photography

Dwayne and I spent the day at Vortex making an attempt at doing their beautiful product justice.  The best way I like to describe their product is Industrial art.  They have taken something that is not supposed to be visual appealing and made it exactly that.  Vortex is one of the biggest valve manufacturers for dry goods in the world.  It is no surprise that they are world renown for their product.  I have to say that I am in love with their whole mindset.  They treat their employees with respect rarely found anymore and from the front office to the back of the factory precision and efficiency is obvious.  I am proud to say that we will soon be creating a corporate film for them that we hope can tell their company story through images.    On the technical side of things we shot two strobes at a 2:1 ratio against a seamless background.  I chose an 18% grey for this job due to the highly reflective nature of the product.  I did not want any color wash coming off on the valves from the background.  Lensing was 100% 50mm 1.2 at an aperture from 9 to 11 to stretch the depth of field over the depth of the valves.  My 50mm is quickly becoming one of my favorite lenses.  We also chose to shoot tethered today to make sure that our specular highlights “which are abundant on these highly reflective valves” remained intact.  I simply checked that the information was still there by taking the exposure slider in lightroom all the way to the bottom.  If bright white remained that meant detail was gone.  A simple aperture adjustment was normally all it took and confirmation was quick and efficient using this method.  This was my second shoot tethered to my laptop and I’ve pretty much decided that in controlled situations this will always be my workflow.  Dwaynes freakish strength came in extra handy today as some of these valves push the 200lb mark.  Today was another day of new challenges and new solutions.   Tomorrow will be another I’m sure.


Matt W.

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