Owning a nondescript, black suitcase makes baggage claims a frustrating experience. Having rescued my luggage from the hands of over-zealous travellers several times, I decided to design a solution that would prevent any further mistakes. Luckily my case is hard-shelled, making it a perfect surface for opaque white vinyl lettering.

Self initiated

The Process

Photographing my old, beaten-up suitcase in order to make look like a high-end product shot required a unique approach.

With only two lights and a lighting design which required four, I had to improvise considerably. I ended up taking three different photographs, moving my highlight to a different position for each one and then compositing the images in Photoshop afterwards.

First, I shot a base photo lit simply with a silver umbrella the right of the camera and a second light on the rear top of the case. Then I shot two more images to get the desired highlights:

Flat, basic lighting

Top and handle highlight

Rear and left edge highlights

With the photography completed, I then composited the three images (right). 

With the highlights composited, I then had the task of removing the wear and tear (viewing my suitcase at 600% in Photoshop made me realise just how much it's been through), the address label and the red marker tape from the case. Once the retouching was complete, I removed the original background, created a new one that felt like a studio environment, and dropped the suitcase into position.

A three stage animated GIF show the compositing process