By Douglas Gritz
Reid Bruggeman is a Denver blacksmith I got to know when he had his workshop in the back of the building where I have an office. He had all kinds of neat tools in his shop, several of which I helped him load in. Blacksmithing is visually interesting so I approached Reid about shooting a portrait of him. He agreed and I got a fantastic shot.
Reid has since moved on to a bigger space in a commercial district farther east of Denver. He creates high end custom furniture and finishings, such as railings, that are works of art. With his big space he recently put together a spiral staircase.
Reid called me up last to ask if I would be interested in creating commercial photography of some of his furniture pieces. He had a listing on a website and that site required photos of his work. I said “Sure!” And headed over there this past Saturday.
We needed a living room-type space to photograph the furniture in. So Reid cleared out his front office and enlisted the help of an interior designer to put together an environment for the furniture. When I arrived it all looked really good, but after deciding on a camera angle I suggested we move a few things around to help balance the scene.
I brought in three lights. One I bounced off a large bounce board to help bring the ambient light up. Then I used another to simulate daylight streaking in through a window. Finally, I had a third opposite the light simulating the sun to help create an edge light on the furniture and bring out their three dimensionality.
One of my biggest challenges were the baseboards of the office space. There are that black plastic rubber stuff you only find in offices. So Reid asked if there was anything I could do in Photoshop to mitigate that. So in Photoshop I created selections of all the baseboard areas in each photo, filled with a brown color, softened the edges, then overlaid a texture. The goal was to make them look a little more like wood, but viewed smaller you only really see the brown, which is still a vast improvement over black rubber!