February 2021 // The Post-Production Edition

From Image Capture to Final Delivery | Matt Monath

UTILIZING PLATES & COLOR CARDS

Even with all of the prep in the world, things happen during shooting that may end up becoming hiccups in post-production. The preventative solution? Shoot some plates and use a color card. Plates are shots of the blank background in the same lighting scenario as your master select, with the products removed. Color cards are used to put into extra images while shooting, as a resource for the retoucher to ensure color accuracy. Both of these are vital for proper product photography and quality retouching. I think the mark of a good photographer is to thoughtfully provide everything the retoucher needs, with plates and color cards being key items. Let’s say you’re working off of someone else’s images instead of your own, and you see styling cubes that can’t be removed accurately. Take a look at the shots below, featuring the PlayStation 5 remote, shot for Business Insider. You’ll see I provided the before, the after and the plate shot. In the before shot, you see the acrylic styling cubes under the controller, which was necessary for getting the best angle for the product. Since they’d need to be removed for the final edit, I shot the plate of the blank background as well, so the cubes can very easily be masked out—much easier than having to clone in the background. With a colorful shot like this, as well as any product shot, having color accuracy can be a little tricky without a color card. As a photographer, always look out for the retoucher. And as a retoucher, it may be good to have a chat with the producer beforehand to make sure you get an extra shot with a color card and any plates needed. And if you’re both—well, make your life easier. Stay organized and don’t forget these key items in every product shoot.

plate

before

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