The assignment here was a concept image: portray ‘soft’ in a square format image layout with text overlay, for a point-of-sale display for a new cosmetic product with softness as a key feature.
In actual fact: Not. So. Much.
Shooting to layout here is not as challenging as in other situations, but nailing the concept of softness was completely open ended. So I began thinking of soft things, items that would immediately recognizable as soft. Feathers, fabrics, makeup brushes, even marshmallows came to mind. However, I also wanted the light and image itself to convey softness in addition to the item being photographed. Cotton balls turned out to fit the brief and my intentions nicely.
I lit them from high and behind, with some of the light passing thru a translucent blue backdrop for a coolness to balance the warmth of the direct light on the cotton. This created an inviting, natural light feeling. I styled each cotton ball by hand, placing them carefully into place. Iterative test shots and multiple millimeter adjustments of placement and camera position got me to the “that’s the one!” moment.
It is not often that one answers the “what did you do this weekend?” question with “I lit, styled, and photographed cotton balls.” But I can now add that to the list of unusual sentences that I have spoken.
I’ve included the layout concept version below so you can see how it all fit together.
all images/content © Bret Doss, all rights reserved