How photographer Peter Belanger takes Apple’s incredible product photography
posted Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 1:43 PM EDT
Photographer Peter Belanger may not be the most well known photographer in the world but he has one of the most high profile gigs imaginable: product photographer for Apple. That's right, all those incredible shots of iPhones and iPods against a clean white background that litter the Apple site? Most of that, including the iPad spread at the bottom of this page, is his work, and the folks at the Verge interviewed Belanger about his commercial photography.
As you'd expect for product photography of major new technology like this, it sounds like an exacting process, requiring excruciatingly complex control of lights in order to highlight very specific materials and features of each item. As he tells the Verge:
"Because Apple products have such carefully selected materials it is incredibly important to light the product in a way that will showcase the various materials accurately. I pick an area to start with and think about how that material needs to be described. Once that section is done I move on to the next. This is how my sets get so complicated! I need to have control over each and every surface so when the client asks for a highlight to be elongated, I can do that. It’s similar to working on a file in Photoshop: you don’t do all your work on one layer. I think of my lights as layers that I can adjust individually to get the desired results."
Not all of Belanger's work is for Apple though, as he's obviously a very in-demand product photographer. You can see something of how much work goes into his images in this video from 2009, or else see some of his shooting setups on his blog.
In terms of actual hardware, Belanger shoots with a Phase One digital back with a Sinar X view camera; a Phase One 645 camera system in the studio; and a Canon 5D Mark III when outside, proclaiming his love for the 24-70mm lens. He uses Profoto and Broncolor lights, as well as Aperture, Capture One and Photoshop on the digital side of things.
It's an intriguing interview with someone who's clearly a master of a particular type of photography — and one that doesn't get nearly as much attention as less commercial endeavors.