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Thread: Lighting really makes a difference!

  1. #1

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    Lighting really makes a difference!

    I am a complete novice when it comes to studio photography, so I am studying it to develop some skills. I completed an exercise today recommended in the book, Light: Science & Magic, so I could see the effects of lighting shiny metal. Despite that I knew what to expect thanks to the book, it was really amazing -- and very, very educational -- to experience it.

    In all three images shown below, the only thing that changes is the lighting, which is shining directly on the subject (no reflected light was used). The spatula is placed on white foam core. They and the camera remain exactly in the same place except when I reshot the second image and accidentally moved the tripod just a tad. Exposure was for the desired effect in the flat part of the spatula. All images are in color, not black-and-white.



    Image #1: One light placed within the area called the family of angles.

    Lighting really makes a difference!




    Image #2: One light placed outside the family of angles.

    Lighting really makes a difference!





    Image #3: One light placed exactly as in Image #1 within the family of angles and a fill light placed outside the family of angles though not in the same place as Image #2.

    Lighting really makes a difference!
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 24th July 2012 at 12:55 AM.

  2. #2
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Thanks for sharing your experiment with us. Very interesting.

  3. #3

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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Yes that final shot really looks 'alive'. Lighting is certainly a tricky subject but it can make all the difference.

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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Very interessting experiment. Looks like you had a lot of fun while learning.

    bye
    Robert

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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Thanks, everyone!

    I replaced the second image with another shot of it. I kept wondering why the image that I replaced wasn't absolutely black in the flat part of the spatula even though it was considerably darker than the first image. Once I realized my mistake, I reshot it and, sure enough, just like the book explains, it comes out absolutely black despite that a very bright light is shining directly on it.

    Geoff: You mentioned that the last image comes "alive." Thank you for that. If I were making a serious product shot of the spatula, it would surely be similar to that one rather than either of the other two. Even so, I would work at making it more attractive. The last image serves its educational purpose for me but not much else.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 24th July 2012 at 11:19 PM.

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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Hi Mike!

    As far as I am concerned Light: Science & Magic is required reading.

    One item of note is the quality (hardness/softness) of the shadow produced by your experiment. This quality and whether or not the shadow is even present, can be controlled as well and will make a big difference in the ultimate results of a shot that is for the money (product shot).

    Lighting is only so good as the shadows it does or does not produce and shadow is what makes light what it is. Yen/Yang thing!

    If you would like to know more about provided light, this is a great resource. I especially like the chapter on lighting glass.

    Nice work, Mike.

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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    You're absolutely right about the shadows, Terry, in a true product shot. I plan to shoot an image of a baseball soon and the shadow I have in mind will make or break the shot.

    You mentioned the chapter about lighting glass, which is actually my ultimate goal -- making attractive images of wine bottles and wine glasses, allowing me to combine two favorite hobbies.

    By the way, I wonder if you are aware that Light: Science & Magic is now available in the fourth edition.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 24th July 2012 at 01:53 AM.

  8. #8

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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    I like your experiment, Mike. And thanks for bringing that book to my attention. I just ordered a copy.

  9. #9

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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    I hope you enjoy the book, Arlen. If you're not familiar with the terms, direct reflection, diffuse reflection, polarized reflection, family of angles, and the like, they'll soon be in your dreams when you sleep.

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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Told ya so

  11. #11

    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Thanks for this thread Mike as I have been giving more thought to lighting. I just order the book and will read it cover to cover several times for sure. Then my next step will be to pick up a 580EXii for the 60D later down the road. Unless someone can recommend a different speedlite other than the new flagship speedlite it is just out of my reach and probably too much flash for the 60D???

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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl in Louisiana View Post
    will read it cover to cover several times for sure.
    I wrote a few notes in the margins and many notes in a Word file. The Word file summarizes the most important aspects and refers to specific pages in the book that provide a complete discussion.

    Enjoy your speedlite. It will be interesting to learn whether the book influences your decision about that.

  13. #13

    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    I wrote a few notes in the margins and many notes in a Word file. The Word file summarizes the most important aspects and refers to specific pages in the book that provide a complete discussion.

    Enjoy your speedlite. It will be interesting to learn whether the book influences your decision about that.
    I found this site http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/02...-strobist.html and have been reading through it and viewing the photo gallery which has some awesome photo's using speedlites. I really think that a speedlite would help improve the quality of some of my photo's once I get one and learn how to use it. I have been reading through the Portraiture lessons here and seen what other have been doing with lighting.

  14. #14

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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl in Louisiana View Post
    Thanks for this thread Mike as I have been giving more thought to lighting. I just order the book and will read it cover to cover several times for sure. Then my next step will be to pick up a 580EXii for the 60D later down the road. Unless someone can recommend a different speedlite other than the new flagship speedlite it is just out of my reach and probably too much flash for the 60D???
    The 600EX-RT is the same power as a 580EX II (although slightly higher guide number due to the better zoom).

    The problem with speedlites is that you'll want to get it off-camera ASAP - and eventually get more than one (I'm up to 5, but planning on another 3!) - and then you need to trigger them. At that stage the 600EX-RT's capabilities eat the 580EX II alive (I used to have 4 of them).

    My advice would be to suck it up and start with a 600EX-RT and ST-E3-RT.

  15. #15

    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    The 600EX-RT is the same power as a 580EX II (although slightly higher guide number due to the better zoom).

    The problem with speedlites is that you'll want to get it off-camera ASAP - and eventually get more than one (I'm up to 5, but planning on another 3!) - and then you need to trigger them. At that stage the 600EX-RT's capabilities eat the 580EX II alive (I used to have 4 of them).

    My advice would be to suck it up and start with a 600EX-RT and ST-E3-RT.
    Thanks Colin,
    Will give it serious thought as it will require a longer waiting period before I can come up with the first one.
    Another book I was looking at picking up was Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites (Paperback)
    by Syl Arena. Do you have any suggestions on this book?
    One other question, What would be the best off camera setup (mobile)? as I would be using it more of an all around type flash to start with.
    Last edited by Carl in Louisiana; 25th July 2012 at 11:53 AM.

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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Thanks Mike for directing me here. Looking forward to reading the book.

  17. #17
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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Thanks for posting this !

  18. #18

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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Mike, as I am now retired (for good this time), I am seriously interested in this subject.
    Cheers Ole

  19. #19
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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    I read years ago a French version of a Steven Biver book where family of angles term is explained; I intend to buy it and re read it soon.
    Thank Mike to push me to improve my knowledge in lighting

  20. #20

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    Re: Lighting really makes a difference!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    ...
    In all three images shown below, the only thing that changes is the lighting, which is shining directly on the subject (no reflected light was used). The spatula is placed on white foam core. They and the camera remain exactly in the same place except when I reshot the second image and accidentally moved the tripod just a tad. Exposure was for the desired effect in the flat part of the spatula. All images are in color, not black-and-white.
    ...
    And your exposure, different shutter speeds. Your spatula is now like a mirror.

    I've that book but I never read it. It's to much dedicated to studio work. What I don't do, yet.

    Might be interesting what will happening with a constant exposed background.

    George

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