Footwear Fashion / by Stefaan Conrad

My winter quarter spare hours were dedicated to a studio class focusing specifically on techniques used in product photography. The basic idea of product photography is trying to accurately and attractively represent an object using a variety of propping, lighting, and perspective techniques. Quite often the applied use for product photographs is in a commercial setting in which someone is trying to sell something via these attractive representations of their products, or basic commercializing. 

The final project was a series of five photographs each of which must be strong piece individually but also all had certain elements that would tie the series together. 

I decided to use footwear as the subjects for my series. Due to the lack of branding on the assignments throughout the quarter I wanted to include basic logos and marketing names in my final series. The idea was to compose my shots to include space in which to add product logos in post processing. 

As with any shoot, footwear brings with it its own set of challenges. First, odd numbers are more appealing, specifically three, but we don't have three feet so we don't have three shoes in a set but only two, hence the term 'pair of shoes.' Second, we typically see shoes with feet in them, or at least an ankle coming out, so it was also a challenge to accurately display the product in proper use, a good strategy for product photography. Third, due to lens choice and perspective, some angles can make shapes appear distorted which creates some unnatural displeasure when viewing the product, in this case a shoe with a giant toe and a tiny heel, or lace loops that look uneven and mismatched. Fourth, quite often the objects used to prop the shoe up into a dynamic position would be caught in the composition. This was remedied with the modern powers of Photoshop. Finally, depth of field becomes an issue when shooting smaller subjects like shoes. (we need not get into what happens when one tries to shoot even smaller things like rings and flowers.) Getting the entire shoe in focus required up to 13 different frames stacked together to combine the most crisp part of each image. 

Despite the challenges, here is my final series. I'd love to hear feedback because that's a great way for me to learn and become a stronger photographer.