Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tabletop Photography – Half Round Hair Accessory

A Last Look at Tabletop Photography
More tabletop coming at you again today and it is the last installment for this tabletop series. This time we are dealing with quite a different lighting problem from what we've seen in these last few examples. The crystal pieces needed a bit of on axis light to create direct reflection for more pop. Today we have a piece for which we want to mostly eliminate direct reflection. The problem is, it is half round, so there is nowhere the light can be placed that will not cause some direct reflection. What to do about this? Read on and I'll show you how I approached the problem...

The Lighting Setup
This is the initial lighting setup There is a single softbox, Photoflex Q39 (large) directly to the side at about 20” from the subject supplying the main light at f/11. The 32” silver reflector at the left fills in the far side.

Not bad, but...
Here is the resulting shot with that setup. The good is that there are no particularly bad reflections, the light is fairly even, and the shadows are soft. It isn't all that bad, but there are two problems that I would like to solve. First, the reflections on the left don't match those on the right and extend too far up the top side. The other issue is that the front left edges near the top are not lit, so kind of mush away without showing their form.

Change Setup, Try Again
Now the reflector has been moved a bit and angled to better reflect the key light and project at the same angle and height (more or less) as the key light.

Here is the result. For the most part, it is a wrap. The reflections are present, but not overwhelming. The light is fairly symmetrical, shadows are soft, and subject detail is well outlined with light. To improve this I should lower the key light just a little and put the circular mask on it to make the key light and the reflector have approximately the same projection.

Making a Wrong Turn
I raised the key light up and made one more exposure just to show what happens. You can see the change to the setup in the photo above.

This is the result, not terrible, but you see the reflection creeping up at the front right near the top. It has lost symmetry and the reflection is just too strong. Instead of gently unveiling form, the reflection is drawing viewer attention to this one area, making itself a nuisance.

Coming Next
That is a wrap for today and for this series. Next will be something completely different, so be sure to come back.

Until then...


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