November 24, 2009 – Dallas Shooting Supplies is a relatively new web based shooting supply company. The company is owned by Morgan Richie and Vic Cherubini Jr. who both have a passion about rifles and weaponry. Vic was coming home for the holidays, so I asked him to bring some of his guns so we could do a photo shoot.
I had not seriously photographed weapons before, so in preparation of the shoot, I spent a couple of hours scouring the web for ideas on composition, lighting, and tips on how to make guns look their best. The best sources turned out to be stock photography sites, all of which had hundreds of examples showing guns at their finest. I collected my favorites and used these images during the shoot for guidance.
Unlike most things we shoot in the studio, these objects have the capability to shoot back. I am quite comfortable handling guns, and respect their power. At age 11, I participated in the Brooklyn Boy Scout Marksmanship Program, and every Saturday for two years we took the LL train to the US Armory in Bedford Stuyvesant. The first two weeks of the program were all about gun safety, and I can still see Mr. Prebble pointing to the NRA sign on the wall with the three basic rules we all memorized by heart:
- ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
- ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
- ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Since Vic Jr.’s time in the studio was limited; we divided the shoot into two parts. For the first hour we concentrated on taking photos that required Vic’s help as either a model or to hold the guns as needed. The next two hours I worked in the studio with the guns, ammo and props setting up shots heavily inspired by my stock photo reference shots.
I used a combination of Lowell Tota lights and a large Britek softbox. The camera was a Panasonic FZ50, ISO 100, and most shots bracketed around F9 at 1/15 on a tripod. To the right you will find some sample images from the shoot. I learned a couple of things worth passing on.
- Fingerprints which may not be obvious in the studio appear to jump out when viewing the image on a 30" monitor. The next shoot I will use latex gloves after cleaning the exterior of the gun.
- Reflections - looking through the viewfinder I could see details in the reflected areas of the breech that were completely washed out in the captured image. Next time, I will be using a polarizing filter to knock out some of this glare.
- Props - props really make a difference. I will take more time before the shoot to find ancillary items to make this still life art form really rich in detail.
Posted by Vic Cherubini on November 24, 2009
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