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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Still life and lighting highlights issue
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02/16/2013 06:34:33 PM · #1
Ok -- I'm playing with still lifes. Lighting it with a speedlight and a shoot through umbrella. How in the world do I get rid of highlights on things? I know glass is nasty, but I seem to get highlights on fruits, porcelain, almost anything I'm shooting. I like the lighting that I'm getting, shadows are nice, everything else is nice, but how do I get rid of the hot spots?
02/16/2013 06:49:57 PM · #2
Originally posted by vawendy:

Ok -- I'm playing with still lifes. Lighting it with a speedlight and a shoot through umbrella. How in the world do I get rid of highlights on things? I know glass is nasty, but I seem to get highlights on fruits, porcelain, almost anything I'm shooting. I like the lighting that I'm getting, shadows are nice, everything else is nice, but how do I get rid of the hot spots?
You want hot spots, the more the merrier.
I might even increase the power of your speedlights to accentuate them.

Hopefully that helps. Ask me again on Monday, I might have a different answer.
02/16/2013 07:08:45 PM · #3
the control of life for stills in my experience has a lot to do with reflectors, scrims, and flags. i use black foam core stuff i got from the craft store as a flag when i want to avoid specific highlights.

you might end up using the wire from those dry-clean hangers + paperclips/clamps to hold this stuff in the right position.

You can really control things in small projects by having a decent sized soft-box as your primary light source (pretty close to your subject) and then multiple flags, and reflectors to control it as you need it. Add smaller lights to accentuate or fill in details.

edit: some people use "light tents" too. These are used more for churning out a buncha products that may not need too much work - but nothings telling you not to modify and improve. Its pretty much diffuse light from all ends (use a light tent or a white sheets with light- whatever works.

Message edited by author 2013-02-16 19:12:23.
02/16/2013 07:14:10 PM · #4
You can use a sheet near your subject to create a sort of soft box, the same effect as the umbrella, and when the light hits the sheet the highlight is big enough to become vague, as long as it doesn't eat your shadows.
02/16/2013 07:18:02 PM · #5
But shouldn't my umbrella be similar to a soft box? I thought I would be avoiding the highlights by using the umbrella.
02/16/2013 07:23:07 PM · #6
my softbox has 2 layers of cloth and the corners blocked off. my umbrella tends to give a slightly harsher output, and has a bit more spill. if you got an umbrella, i'd try low power, really really close (inches) to subject, and leave no chance for reflections (flag off the corners). Try that? i haven't had to switch one for other yet - but i imagine it makes a diff. You might still consider a larger white sheet in front of umbrella to add to size of your light + diffusion.

I m not an expert, but this should work out just fine.

Message edited by author 2013-02-16 19:24:00.
02/16/2013 07:26:06 PM · #7
I'll try the really really close. I was actually trying the farther away bit. :)

Thanks. :)

Venser = snot ;P (I figured someone from PWO would be skulking around... :)
02/16/2013 07:39:13 PM · #8
PWO?

forgot to mention: reflect with something white like layers of non-glossy paper (or even cloth) generally works better for me than does foil-like silver/gold material (unless i specifically need that look).
02/16/2013 07:45:33 PM · #9
Originally posted by vawendy:

But shouldn't my umbrella be similar to a soft box? I thought I would be avoiding the highlights by using the umbrella.


A nice example of the light from each.

Softbox Vs. Umbrella

Tim
02/16/2013 07:48:09 PM · #10
Originally posted by Devinder:

PWO?

forgot to mention: reflect with something white like layers of non-glossy paper (or even cloth) generally works better for me than does foil-like silver/gold material (unless i specifically need that look).


PWO contest run by a previous DPCer. Still life is due tomorrow. :)

02/16/2013 07:49:38 PM · #11
Originally posted by atupdate:

Originally posted by vawendy:

But shouldn't my umbrella be similar to a soft box? I thought I would be avoiding the highlights by using the umbrella.


A nice example of the light from each.

Softbox Vs. Umbrella

Tim


thanks. :)

But I mean that they'll still both diffuse, and they still should both create or not create the highlights on the still life, I would think...
02/16/2013 07:54:45 PM · #12
Try bouncing the light, i.e. against a white wall near the subject, rather than lighting it directly.
02/16/2013 08:23:01 PM · #13
Originally posted by tanguera:

Try bouncing the light, i.e. against a white wall near the subject, rather than lighting it directly.


Not an option. Don't have walls, really. Mostly windows. So I need to figure out how to work with the umbrellas. Closer does seem to spread out the highlights, but has the shadows falling off way too fast. Will have to try more layers over umbrella next time around. I wonder if diffuser head on flash inside of umbrella would do anything.

02/16/2013 08:26:19 PM · #14
Originally posted by vawendy:

I wonder if diffuser head on flash inside of umbrella would do anything.

Yes.
02/16/2013 08:50:52 PM · #15
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by vawendy:

I wonder if diffuser head on flash inside of umbrella would do anything.

Yes.


+1

02/16/2013 09:27:53 PM · #16
Originally posted by Devinder:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by vawendy:

I wonder if diffuser head on flash inside of umbrella would do anything.

Yes.


+1


ok -- now the next question is... will it do anything useful... :D

Enough still lifes tonight. After all, tomorrow is another day.
02/17/2013 01:58:32 AM · #17
Imagine 3 scenarios that diffuse the light to the same extent.
The diffusion screen on the flash.
A shoot through umbrella.
A diffusion screen or silk just out of the image.
The diffusion screens are progressively further from the flash, larger and closer to the subject. The highlight they create will be progressively larger and therefore less hot given the same lightsource. From a laser to a foggy day, the highlights get bigger and softer.
02/17/2013 10:21:44 AM · #18
Shoot outside.
02/17/2013 10:38:05 AM · #19
Originally posted by vawendy:

Originally posted by tanguera:

Try bouncing the light, i.e. against a white wall near the subject, rather than lighting it directly.


Not an option. Don't have walls, really. Mostly windows.

If you have "mostly windows" maybe you can try shooting with natural light, perhaps using some reflectors near the windows to re-direct the already-diffused light.
02/17/2013 10:44:56 AM · #20
Originally posted by vawendy:

Originally posted by Devinder:

PWO?

forgot to mention: reflect with something white like layers of non-glossy paper (or even cloth) generally works better for me than does foil-like silver/gold material (unless i specifically need that look).


PWO contest run by a previous DPCer. Still life is due tomorrow. :)

Bizarre. An alternate DPC reality I didn't know existed. All the familiar names.
02/17/2013 06:41:37 PM · #21
I have a light tent that I like using for still life photos. The one I have is similar to this:
//www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/380716-REG/Interfit_INT315_24_Pop_Up_Photo.html

Message edited by author 2013-02-17 18:41:49.
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