On this very interesting video Taylor and Recher from Broncolor use several lights (Broncolor Siros 800S) to show how they create a professional dark headphone product shot on a dark background. They start by going over each light and how it is modified and on the way give some very handy tips.
The first light comes from above (and a little behind using a narrow grid) the headphones and is diffused using some Plexiglas in an angle – this provide most of the top light for the headphones but keeps some shadows which give the product depth.
The second light comes from the side and uses a small softbox and it brings some very nice gradation on the side of the headphones. This is achieved using a tiny velvet flag folded on the table just outside the image. If you move it closer to the headphones the shadows are sharper and when moved away the shadows of the gradation becomes softer – really useful technique.
The second light also controls (or lights) two small mirrors positioned in a way that they effect very specific areas in the photo (these small mirrors have a tilt option so you can adjust them to light very specific angles in your frame (just make sure that you start with one specific light and than turn on the others). If the light that the mirror shines is too strong you can add a diffuser/gel before the mirror the soften it just like you do with any other light source.
The third light just gives a little accent to the sides of the headphones and is about 3 stops below the main light (remember playing with different power levels of different lights is key to achieving depth in your product shots).
The entire shot is done with a Hasselblad equipped with a 120mm (about 100mm on a 35mm camera) although the same can be done with much lower end cameras and in general the gear needed for such a shot is not very expensive or complex but you need to know what you are doing.
You can find many more product photography related videos on our dedicated product photography on our technique section. You can also find many more helpful photography tips on our Photography tips section.