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|Category:||Studio Lighting and Flash|
Creative Lighting For Still Life Subjects - Here we show you a simple lighting technique that can be used on a number of still life subjects.
Make the most of these cold winter days be shooting indoors. Here we've used a simple lighting technique to highlight a chess piece but the same set up can be used on a number of still life subjects.
I made the composition simple by using just one chess piece, placed in the middle of the board. The camera was positioned so that I would shoot from a low angle and the chess board was rotated so that I was shooting across the corners, creating a triangular base.
Above left is the result of shooting on auto with a typical compact digital camera. The flash fires and creates a well exposed but not very interesting photo. Above right shows what happened when the flash was turned off. The chess piece has picked up the light from a window in the background, but overall the camera couldn't cope with the low light.
How to fix the problem?
As you can see in this shot, the camera picks up light from the chess piece, which came from the torch held above, and adjusts the exposure automatically to allow for the bright area. This makes areas out of the torch beam fade into blackness and the reflections in the glass create a pleasing outline or glow to the chess piece.
Try experimenting with the lighting
This version was combined with a cut out of a better exposed chess piece (taken from the same camera position) on a new layer. Then the chess piece layer was coloured gold and the background layer blue to create the contrasting colours. Diffuse glow with grain was applied to the background and I cropped and rotated slightly to give the chess piece a more angled look.
Other things to try
- Use a slave flash with a cone over the flash reflector to channel the light into a concentrated area. Try backlighting to create a rim light effect.
- Shoot from under the glass, over it and at the sides.
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