Posted tagged ‘product photography’

GivingCity issue 3 now available for download

May 27, 2009

UPDATE: Please download the 4th issue here!

GC3 FINAL-1

Been super busy the past few months and really haven’t had time to update the blog at all. We’re happy that the new issue of GivingCity is now complete (at last!), and we can move on to the next one – and get that one done on time! Please take a look and give me your feedback. Also, please please please send the link to as many people as you can! (more…)

Layout and cover in progress

December 17, 2008

1/05/09 8:30pm We’ve just had what feels like 6 weeks off for Christmas and Hogmanay, but it still doesn’t feel like enough. Anyway, there have been several rounds of edits like I described in the previous update, with the main InDesign doc going back and forth – along with a PDF – between myself and the editors. I think we only have one more round to go which will happen tomorrow morning, then I can get the whole doc ready to ship to the printer and start working on laying out the cover, which unfortunately has been pushed to the very end of the production cycle again. Luckily, when I send the main document to the printer they have so much to do that it gives me several days to tie up loose ends, design and/or update house ads adn subs forms, and of course layout the cover. The cover design is a multi-step repeating process just like the interior, only it happens much faster – albeit with many more rounds (unless I get lucky, and everyone loves the very first one I put together, which happens once in a blue moon). The photographer is finishing up the high-resolution files now as well, so as long as I receive those tomorrow or the next day, we’re in good shape.

12/30/08 1:30am Ok, kinda lost the thread there for a while with Christmas and all that crap being squeezed in there. So as I mentioned in the previous update, Joel sent me low-resolution jpegs to use for placement in layout. So, I’d gone through a round of edits with the editorial guys on the individual layouts that will comprise the entire magazine – me sending them PDFs and InDesign docs to place edits in, and then having them sent back to me to clean up and make edits they can’t. That included the first-round layouts of the feature well shot by Joel. All those documents were then combined into one massive inDesign file which we call the official round one of edits, which is sent in PDF form to all the editors on staff, and the inDesign doc to one of the editors who will input the majority of their changes, which they supply to him as marked-up PDFs. Following those changes and edits – which sometimes may take three or four days depending on the size of the issue – I’ll work on cleaning up photography that was supplied to us, and tell Joel which images I need cleaned up for final production. I haven’t began to think about the cover yet, but that needs to happen soon as well. Some samples below include the first of two contents pages, the intro page to the whole analog section, and the opening spread of photography (low-resolution, not cleaned up) that opens the main story in the magazine.

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Amazing tilt-shift photography video

November 26, 2008

Looking for an excuse to shoot some products like this.

Clean, simple layouts in PC Magazine

April 4, 2008

Was flicking through PC Magazine after swiping it from a co-workers desk. Like many other publications at this time of year, they’re touting it as ‘The Green Issue’ on the cover.
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The contents pages are straightforward and easy to read, one detail I think is really cool is an image of the cover on the bottom right of the contents page, with arrows indicating on which page you can find each cover-line story. Not all the stories listed on the cover are as easy to fnd in the actual toc copy, so displaying it like this saves the reader the frustration of figuring out where a cover story within a regular department might be. The second contents page has a sidebar containing content from PCMag.com, I’m surprised more hasn’t been made of this. It’s basically just a box with a few lines of copy and a picture of a computer, nothing really calling attention to it.
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The product reviews in here are very clean and simple, as is the layout throughout the magazine. I especially like the way they call attention to particluar features by either calling out a portion of the product in a close-up (see below), or by making a note in red, ‘handwritten’, with an arrow pointing to the feature (also below). It’s really simple and effective without being distracting or over-designed. The product photography is all clean, evenly lit. Hard to tell if it’s manufacturer supplied or they actually shoot it all themselves.
pcmagprodmain.jpg pcmag-imagecallout.jpg pcmagnotescallout.jpg

Product pages in W magazine

April 4, 2008

Lots of white space on these product pages from the latest issue of W (March 2008). I guess with their larger format they have a lot of room to play with, so it’s nice to see they’re not just trying to cram everything and the kitchen sink in there. There’s an incredible amount of advertising in this magazine, the front of the book alone has some amazing looking photography in the ads there (as well as four contents pages!). I was surprised how short the feature on Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson was – just 10 pages. For some reason I was always compare to the feature they had a couple of years ago with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie which, while amazing, seemed to go on forever!
wcov.jpg wtoc1.jpg wtoc2.jpg wtoc3.jpg wtoc4.jpg wprodpage.jpg wprodpage2.jpg wprodpage3.jpg wprodpage4.jpg wfeature.jpg

(Still not seeing much evidence of this infestation of blue that we were assured of in print design for 2008, but I am seeing orange everywhere, and similar orange/yellow palettes a lot. Sorry – random thought.)

Saveur magazine not well-done

March 4, 2008

OK, I bought Saveur today hoping to see some kick-ass food photography and layouts but was disappointed by what I found. The opening contents page is beautiful, it has a page width column of text introducing the whole issue (devoted to butter, yet no mention of Marlon Brando), and a traditional table of contents style layout below it.
savcov.jpg savtoc.jpg

Then we move on to the front of book content and things start to get dicey. It’s not the magazine looks bad – it doesn’t – but rather that it feels like there was one template made for a front of book section and it just got used for everything. I’m all about consistency but I also believe in mixing things up a bit while maintaining consistency, to keep everything fresh, but here it feels kind of stale and less art directed, more production department. The mixture of almost elegant photography and mish-mash of fonts leaves me feeling a little confused. For example, the opener of the ‘Fare’ section is a full page photo of a traditional feast bread in the shape of a staff. The photo itself is ok, but it has to compete with the thick font used for the section header running across it in yellow, as well as an ugly block of text with equally ugly red-boxed drop cap and badly hyphenated body-copy. There’s so little text on here and what is there is so distractingly ugly that it brings the whole page to a crashing halt. On its own, and reduced in size to not compete with ‘Fare’, the photo would have been a striking opening to this section but instead it’s merely blah. Infuriatingly, it’s also been placed opposite a full-page ad with a striking resemblance layout wise to the ‘Fare’ photo opener. Is this deliberate? Am I going crazy, or does this just look bad and detract even more from the editorial? I know placement is important to advertisers, but Jebus!
savfare.jpg

Here’s some more of the templated look I mention above… some of it is kind of hard to figure out where to look first. The photography here also seems to be somewhat middle of the road. It’s not bad, but after being spoiled by the likes of Gourmet and bon appétit, you can’t help feeling somewhat let down by some of the images in here. They feel like just a little more work on the lighting, some more time on the color correction, and they’d have worked. But right now they neither make want to eat the food or spend much time looking at it.
savfob.jpg savfoodphoto.jpg savfoodphoto2.jpg

There’s also a lot of stuff crammed into the spine (like the Russia layout above), or spread across the spine, further muddling an already busy and wishy-washy layout. The opening spread to the whole butter feature well is completely underwhelming. The spine pulls the headline into the fold, as well as the deck which is made amost unreadable unless you pull the magazine tight on either side to open it right up. The mixture of photography on this spread again does nothing to compel or interest, and huge variations in quality of lighting, and little variation in composition of photography makes the whole page just blah. Turning over to the next spread, we’re greeted with a full-page picture of a cow opposite a full-page of text. Again, you can see what they were trying to do with a quirky cow photo, but none of the ingredients are right – cropping, composition, layout, colors, are all just there, nothing leaps out and grabs you, and nothing makes you want to read on. Even the bodycopy font is boring, badly hyphenated and awkwardly spaced, it looks slightly too large. The headline, deck and drop cap/intro paragraph are all competeing with one another to be the most bland, and the page as a whole comes across as dull.
savbutteropener.jpg savfeat2.jpg

Finally, I wanted to show this spread as a perfect example of a missed opportunity. It’s a spread on ’30 Great Butters’, and cotains a photo of each in its wrapper, almost all consistently shot, and each accompanied by 40 or so words describing its taste and origin. Graphically it’s almost interesting, but there’s something so…half-assed about the intro copy on the top left and the justifed blurbs below each image. I feel like I’m just being mean now, but it feels like this page could have had so much visual impact and have been made a lot more interesting to spend some time looking at. Shorter blurbs to accompany each image would be a start, and maybe a more imaginative arrangement of the butter packs themselves, while still remaining individually recognisable for shoppers.
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Another recent work post…

February 11, 2008

It’s been a while! For some reason things seem to have been hectic recently even though this is traditionally not a busy time of year. Weird. Anyway, among other things I’m about to post about, I wanted to share this, which is a continuation of the new direction we’ve been taking in the photography and layout for the cover and feature well. I showed most of 2007’s covers in an earlier post, and while I was pleased with most of them, I didn’t feel we were hitting all the right notes continuity wise. I’ve had a hard time deciding if we should treat each cover story/product as a seperate entity and create a completely different look for each feature well (which we did through 2007) or go this route and have a very similiar approach to each cover and feature well, which I’ve now decided we’ll work with throughout the year. So here’s the two most recent covers using that approach (sorry, one image is a repost from the earlier post mentioned above). Also, the one on the right is in progress but finalized – I just haven’t placed hi-res yet hence the non matching green at top and bottom… but it’s close enough for blog purposes.
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