A new client here in Albuquerque, New Mexico had a saxophone he needed detailed photos of to help him sell it. He brought the sax over to my Home Studio for a pre-shoot discussion. This was very helpful from just knowing how to handle the very complex saxophone as a musical instrument itself and how to rest the sax on its stand (the ring is not obvious to put through the stand opening).
After that meeting it was me and the saxophone alone in the home studio, with my sometimes assistant and full-time girlfriend helping out with the complex 3-light setup I used for every shot. As you can see in the photo above, even though the saxophone is not that large, it still required a lot of lighting to make the sax and the background look just right.
The profile shot was one of the simplest to shoot, but required a good amount of Photoshop time to digitally remove the black stand that was holding it up. The client wanted the photos to make it appear as if the sax was floating in mid-air.
Having never photographed a saxophone before, I did research to see if there are any typical angles and views that a sax is photographed from. I found this blog post by a Perth, Australia photographer to be a big help.
I was not sure about this straight-on view of the saxophone as I had not seen many other shots like this in my sax photo research. This shot turned out to be one the client liked the most though. I provided a proofing gallery for him to choose which photos he wanted. He chose 10, more than he thought he would want when we first discussed the shoot!
It is pretty easy to make a saxophone look good in photos because it is such an interesting looking object in the first place. As long as you have the lighting on hand and a lens to get in close enough to show details, the sax does the rest!
The biggest challenge once you get all the lighting right, and your camera settings dialed in, is making sure you the photographer are not reflected in the highly reflective saxophone surface! Also, my desk and the big 55" octagon softbox were showing up sometimes too!
I really like creative challenges in my photography work and this saxophone was certainly one of them. This makes me appreciate the final edited shots all the more and now I have new skills in my mental photography camera bag to use for future shoots. Each challenging shoot I have, I learn more and then apply it to my next shoots.