Photography Experiment: Photograph Light, Not Objects
I figured I’d experiment with some light this morning so I setup my own little make-shift studio in the study. This is the setup, it’s quite simple! Just need the camera, some white paper, a few lights (scavenge the house, your partner will love you for it), and some reflective surface.
As I don’t have a fancy macro lens I used my Canon 50mm F1.8 on my tripod. I set the camera to aperture mode and F22 to get as much depth as possible. This is the result, not very exciting! Just used the study lamp and no flash or reflective surfaces.
Realising that you need alot of light to make it work I set all 4 ceiling spots towards the orange (you can see it on the shadows). I also brought the standing light from the living room to as a reflective light to give the orange some shine (the strongest light we have)! With this picture we’re moving towards something that potentially can look good, but the shadows are all too much and very firm. Need to spread and soften the light!
So how could I soften and spread the light? Many people use light tents and I’ve read articles on how to make them. But I figured why not use a reflective surface like kitchen foil? That should give a good spread. I also started using the flash and on the shot below this is directed into the kitchen foil to not be too direct. After some experimenting I managed to produce the image below, which technically does the right things (I think): Provides shine to the orange and no hard shadows.
Still not too exciting though! But then again I don’t believe professional studios can get away from doing some fixing in Photoshop or Lightroom or whatever. Althought it’s sharp it could still be slightly sharper (is it the lenses fault? Shouldn’t be any camera shake).
The next step was to bring it into Photoshop. I used the Dodge tool to whiten the grey areas around the orange. I changed the levels just slightly so as to make it a little brighter and then used the sharpening tool to just improve it that little extra. This is the result:
Didn’t spend too much time on the Photoshopping, but I think the result isn’t too bad. Just needs cropping and inserting into a fruit magazine ;). I got some more examples in my smugmug, so check it out.