Planning the Light

Abicor-Binzel Robotic Welding Arm

I love large photographic projects.

The challenge, the creativity required, the potential for strong imagery – all these excite in me the drive that photography first instilled so many years ago.

My original mentor, Brent White, explained that he believed there were two main branches on the tree of photography;  one branch saw the light and captured what was naturally created.  The other branch had a vision in mind, and shaped the light to create that vision.  Both branches are equal.  Both are different.  Over the years, I have decisively fallen into the ‘have a vision and create the light’ category for the bulk of my paid work.  My personal work is nearly always from the other branch, but this post is about creating the light necessary for this series of photographs.

One of the first things to address is the presence of magenta and blue lights on the hardware and background.  This is by design, as these are Abicor-Binzel’s corporate colors, and are requirements.

Another obvious trait is the implied motion as the wand works its way around the weld.  This is real, and required 3 distinctly different steps in the photography in order to make it work.  In other words, each image you see is the result of many exposures, around 30 each step of the way, times 3, equals 1.  Pretty sweet.

Planning is everything for photography like this

Thinking about photography like this is a carryover from film days, when I shot large format cameras for ad work.  Photoshop was still a glimmer in Adobe’s eye when I started this kind of work, so these were mostly completely done in camera on one sheet of film, exposed many different times and with different lights for each portion of the photograph.  Once you learn the technique, it’s like riding a bicycle to convert it to today’s technology, and it seriously enhances the richness of product photography.

Oh, and planning is everything for a session like this.  It’s like architecture with light; there has to be a plan.

Jeff Behm Photography is a full service, professional photographer.

For an equally challenging large project, see

Many thanks to Jessica Stoddard for her able assistance on this project.  This kind of work is definitely a two person job, and Jess is always super helpful.

Located in Frederick, MD.  Photographic assignments have taken Jeff all around the western hemisphere,  as well as serving Frederick MD, and the greater Washington DC/Baltimore metro region, specializing in food and jewelry and products at the highest levels.

For outstanding professional photography, call me at 724-730-8513.  Lets see what we can do for you.


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