Why we think plinths are an essential photography prop

We thought it would be great to explain one of the most versatile props we tend to use across a variety of photoshoots… plinth blocks. Plinths are highly effective and extremely useful in product photography, to achieve a desired look or fulfil a particular concept. Blocks and plinths are commonly used to add depth and height, drawing attention to a particular item. These props are cost-effective and versatile as they can be reused for several shoots, only requiring repainting and cutting! Pretty handy eh?

Plinths have great stability and strength, meaning we use them to balance a set of products and even fix them to the blocks, to avoid the product from falling and ruining a set. We’ve used plinths for a variety of shoots, but we’ve found they are particularly handy for cosmetic product photography. This is because we often have to shoot different collections or product ranges, consisting of multiple-sized products with intricate designs, which can be very fiddly to arrange and ensure they remain still! For example, mascara or lipsticks that have a circular shape, are tricky to balance against one another! This is where plinths can be used to fix the product against the blocks using blue tack. Once fixed, we can easily adjust the angle of a product to create the desired look or feel. The hardest part is remembering to remove the tack in post-production, otherwise, the game is given away…shhhh!

The power of using plinths for perfect results!

Below shows a perfect example of why plinths are an essential photography prop. We created a pyramid plinth, by fixing together different size blocks. With this structure, we could display a group of products (such as lipsticks) and also divide up different product categories. Although this was tricky and pretty time-consuming, it creates a lovely balance of shapes and helps the viewer to interpret the collections. We were able to arrange the products creatively in alternating heights thanks to the pyramid shape! We also tried to match the pyramid formation, by displaying fewer products towards the top of the block. We placed each product strategically, ie displaying the most eye-catching and important products towards the centre. The intricate designs, patterns and shades of colour stand out beautifully against the dark block tower.

We also shot a big job for Euronics, capturing a wide range of electrical products in different categories. Each shot contained different-sized products, therefore what better to organise them than using plinth blocks?! Our set builder made custom size individual plinth blocks. This was super useful since we could move them freely – which also made moving heavy items a lot easier since we were able to push the products on the plinths rather than lift them! The concept of this shoot was Black Friday, advertising discounted products. The plinths acted as a podium for each appliance, as if on a shelf in a shop waiting to be sold. With the individual blocks, we were able to adjust the angles separately and create distance between them. As a result of a gap between the blocks, the balloons were able to sit comfortably in between.

Below shows a selection of shots where we experimented using all kinds of shapes to add visual interest.

In commercial advertising, plinth blocks can not only be used to rest or group products, but also to replicate a product’s structural shape and colour. A lovely example is a shoot we did for Ridge Wallets. The products are made from metals such as aluminium and titanium, which means that the products were pretty heavy and hard to balance! Plinth blocks helped us to creatively arrange the products and add dimension to the image. The angles of the blocks added perspective and reflected the angular shapes of the products. We painted them a dark charcoal colour to complement product designs and the mood of the shoot.

Have a playful approach

Over the years we’ve created all sorts of different-sized plinths for various concepts. A great example of how you can use plinths to create an illusion is to use thin-cut plinths to raise a product from a surface. In the image below, you can see we elevated square plinths from the surface and placed the products on top. This added another layer to the image, giving the illusion that the products are hovering over the water!

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog, and that we’ve inspired you to experiment with plinths in your work!
If you’re interested in where to find really great props, why not check out Mad Props online, they have some brilliant shapes.

If you need a product photographer, then please do get in touch we’d love to help! Call us on 01202 280157 or email us at hello@dephotographic.com.

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