Behind the Scenes: Ableton's Making Music Book

Recently I posted some still-life work I did for Ableton's new Making Music book and I thought it would be nice to show behind the scenes and explain a little about how I photographed it!


My goal for lighting was to keep it simple and create nice contrast and depth to highlight the texture and quality of the book. I used two Profoto D1 lights, one with a large Elinchrom octobox off to the side, and the other with a stripbox to fill in shadows to suit.

The look and feel can be totally changed just by changing the position or angle of the light so I always experiment at the beginning, moving the light around the product, seeing what works and what doesn't. I also always start off with one light and then add others when/if I need them. This way I can see exactly what each light is doing and tweak where needs be.


The main thing for a brief like this, where people will be buying the product, is to ensure the exposure is spot on and colour consistency is maintained. A lot of time went into choosing all the colours for the book so I need to ensure I capture them correctly! My first step is to use the ColorChecker Passport and take a shot at the very beginning of the shoot when the lighting is all ready to go. Then when I take the photos into Lightroom to edit, I can then go back to this first photo and choose the neutral grey square with my eye dropper tool, to get an accurate White Balance. I can also create a custom colour profile using the integrated software you get with the Passport, so this way I know that all the colours are correct. Check out this SLR Lounge article if you're a bit of a nerd like me and want to know more :)

A huge thumbs up to Ableton, and in particular their Senior Designer Maggie Tang, for designing such a beautiful book and Dennis DeSantis for writing it!

See more photos and buy this awesome book here.