I recently submitted the photo below of a Heckler & Koch 45 Compact Tactical to a social media contest with the firearm producer. By receiving 2,500 Likes on their Facebook page I stand to win free H&K gear; as promised here is how I safely took the shot.
From the start I had many ideas on how I wanted to capture this photo but I knew safety was going to be the biggest priority. This was reflected in the comments that I received after the photo was posted.
For safety sake, and given that I was not too keen at pointing my loaded gun at my camera or my head, which was directly behind the camera, I built this picture using two different photographs. I could have done all of this with in one take but I wanted to demonstrate to people to always treat a loaded gun with respect.
To achieve this shot I took a single photograph of the unloaded gun (empty mag & barrel). I then removed the barrel from the gun and placed in one round (Hornaday - 45 Auto 185 gr FTX Critical Defense) and took a separate photo of just the barrel with the round in the chamber; see the picture below. At no time was was the firearm loaded and fully operational. The camera used for the photograph was the Canon 5D Mark III DSLR and a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens supported by a Really Right Stuff BGE11-L: L-Plate, BH-55 ball head, and Gitzo tripod. The firearm/barrel assembly was held by a Manfrotto 1052BAC Alu Air Cushioned Compact Stand and 175F Justin Spring Clamp.
For consistent lighting in both shots I used the same colored gels for my Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites (x2) which were fired via a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT; a California Sunbounce Mini Reflector was also utilized for the background of the shot giving a shimmering metallic look. For the separate barrel/round photo I used a handheld LED light to better illuminate the single round down the barrel.
Remember, firearms aren't toys, BE SAFE!