Category Archives: Product Lighting

Object Lighting

20101001_to print lemons_002 for BLOG

Here are some of my faves from last semester’s object lighting class. I especially like the lemons.

PowersM_TDAY_13_full size for BLOG

20131127_apple cran pie_9704 for BLOG

Mandy Glass-037-Edit for BLOG

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aleece cell

The assignment for Biocommunications Object Lighting was to create a high-technoidish image of a cell phone. It should have colored light and a specular (shiny) background. I tried that on Tuesday but I just wasn’t feeling it. And by “wasn’t feeling it” I mean “having a quiet meltdown alone in the studio then refusing to look at the pictures”. I knew I needed another go, and driving to school on Wednesday my idea hit me. I would need rubber bands and willing models.

abbi cell

There is a graduate of RCC, Wes Naman, who has created some amazing portraits of people with faces distorted by rubber bands. There is also a weird picture of a guy with a rubber band holding a cell phone to his head. Those were my seeds. I mentioned my idea to a handful of people, seeking approval and gauging their reaction. It really sounded like a dumb idea when I said it out loud. But my teacher, whose instructions for the assignment I would be ignoring, said go for it.

bekah cell

I shot these pictures using a Sinar large format camera with a Phase One digital back, tethered using Capture One, and it was my first time using this set up. I wrangled three classmates who didn’t know what they were getting into and asked them to 1) remove the cases from their very expensive iPhones 2) take an extreme close up of themselves using their phone 3) strap the phone to their heads with rubber bands and 4) please be very still while I try to focus.

There was minor retouching of the screens of the cell phones, to make them match as best I could. I won’t tick off a list of about a thousand things I would do differently to improve these images, because I really like how they came out and I’m glad I tried my cray cray idea. Here’s how I presented the final three images for my assignment. 

cell phone triptych PRINT copy

(click this one for bigness)

Thanks to Aleece White, Abbi O’Leary and Bekah McClure, who all participated willingly. I think they would want you to know that rubber bands around your head are, um, uncomfortable to say the least. As much as you try to not let them snap…they snap. Sorry girls.

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Up next in Product Lighting 101 is Fabric!

mandy is fabric_3339Pretty much I am in photography school because of my fabric-related business. I’ve taken a lot of fabric pictures for my knitting design business, but taking a picture of just fabric – not a garment – was a fun challenge!

I tried many different things with this cotton that came from the “utility fabrics” section at Joann Fabrics.

mandy fab_3084By far the clothesline idea was my least favorite setup. I always go into the studio with a Grand Plan and it always falls to pieces. I’m learning to go with the flow. Things improved the next day when I was able to use a fancy macro lens.

mandy is fabric_3323I got close. I use some side-light action to show the texture. I used the lines to design the frame. Overall, this was a really fun project, given the fabric-phile that I am!





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Here’s the thing. I hardly ever eat corn that’s any good. Growing up I would eat the corn that my Dad had picked that day from the field behind our house and there is no better corn than that. Now I rarely have fresh corn but savor those times when I find a farmer by the side of the road or at the farmer’s market selling a load of picked-this-morning ears.

All that is to say I have a very emotional connection with corn. LOL if you will, but it’s true. It was a no-brainer to choose this vegetable (grain?) for my first product lighting assignment. The project was to photograph something in available light, AKA sunlight/daylight/shade/overcast/downpour. I photographed corn in all of those situations, and it definitely taught me that being at the mercy of Mother Nature when lighting a product has it’s challenges.

There were a million outtakes from this project that were awful, and even the one above was awful before I adjusted the color temperature. But I am learning, and that is what matters.

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