do I need to use a speedlight for this type of still life photo

Started Apr 11, 2013 | Discussions
ocean76
Regular MemberPosts: 246
Like?
do I need to use a speedlight for this type of still life photo
Apr 11, 2013

Hi,

I have a very old (mid 1900s) typewriter which I want to shoot.

I want to a side lightning hich hopefully would give the typewriter a dim, mystical and old effect but the thing is I am not very good at flash photography and lighting setup.

I am thinking to use just 1 simple table light (from a side) which has a bulb of 60 watt and 2700 kelvin...(soft light which will create a dim ambiance)

my equipment is:

1) nikon d7000
2) black background
3) 1 soft light from a side (60 watt and 2700 kelvin)
4) Multi-Disc Light Reflector for reflecting the light if I need to...
I just wanted to ask if this equipment is enough for my purpose or do I need sth else?

I also have a sb-600 nikon speedlight and 2 umbrellas with flash sync but I am not sure whether I need to use those also or is it useless for this purpose?

In fact, what I have to learn is:
to shoot a still life photo, if my lighting is powerfull like 500 w x 2 from both sides, do I still need a speedlight or the speedlight is only needed for the cases when the light is very dim.

Also can you pls recommend me a good book about still life photography (with flash..)
I have just bought the Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It: Learn Step by Step How tob Go from Empty Studio to Finished Image (Voices That Matter)

by Scott Kelby but I'll return it because the whole book is about the portrait shooting techniques and there is no info about still life photography.

thank you

Nikon D7000
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Peter Berressem
Forum ProPosts: 10,647
Like?
Re: do I need to use a speedlight for this type of still life photo
In reply to ocean76, Apr 11, 2013

ocean76 wrote:

Hi,

I have a very old (mid 1900s) typewriter which I want to shoot.

I want to a side lightning hich hopefully would give the typewriter a dim, mystical and old effect but the thing is I am not very good at flash photography and lighting setup.

Set up the shot sideways near a window. Use card boards etc. to shield the light partly, i.e. block the light from hitting areas you want a dimmer lighting. Use your reflector for fill lighting.

I am thinking to use just 1 simple table light (from a side) which has a bulb of 60 watt and 2700 kelvin...(soft light which will create a dim ambiance)

You sure can make do with tungsten light. Check the "continuous" chapter here:

Photoflex light school

I also have a sb-600 nikon speedlight and 2 umbrellas with flash sync but I am not sure whether I need to use those also or is it useless for this purpose?

Inanimated objects don't require flash.

A book often mentioned in forums is " Light Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting" though I think it goes far beyond your needs.

Hopefully you've got a sturdy tripod.

-- hide signature --

cheers, Peter
Germany

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
drh681
Forum ProPosts: 11,603Gear list
Like?
Re: do I need to use a speedlight for this type of still life photo
In reply to Peter Berressem, Apr 11, 2013

I'd say you need several speed lights.

but what you want can be done with what you have.

Peter's advice is good.

You might look for a copy of Light Science and Magic.

-- hide signature --

Photons by the bag.
Gravitons no longer shipped outside US or Canada
-----.....------
You got a camera, now go out and get a life; or at least a picture of one!

 drh681's gear list:drh681's gear list
Nokia Lumia Icon
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
AlbertInFrance
Senior MemberPosts: 2,361Gear list
Like?
Re: do I need to use a speedlight for this type of still life photo
In reply to drh681, Apr 11, 2013

You definitely don't need flash for still life. I recently ran a 'how-to' evening at the local camera club. It was entitled 'The DIY Studio'. I bought two clip-on lights, costing about 5 euro apiece and put the rest of the setup together using 'stuff' from around my home.

I took along a few bits and pieces from home as subjects and asked the members to bring things they wanted to shoot but didn't know how. I managed to satisfy them that home studios don't need to cost much and that there is precious little you can't photograph with a bit of thought about lighting.

-- hide signature --

Albert
Every photograph is an abstraction from reality.

 AlbertInFrance's gear list:AlbertInFrance's gear list
Canon PowerShot G15 Fujifilm X-E1 Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG Macro Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Zalafoto USA
Junior MemberPosts: 46
Like?
Re: try light painting!
In reply to ocean76, Apr 11, 2013

You haven't mentioned a tripod in your gear list. If, you have one, you can also try light painting. For still life it is a great technique to try. You can use one light source and use it to light your subject as you wish. That light source can be a flashlight, or a flash. There are many tutorials and illustrated articles on the subject. So, what you need is a camera set on manual exposure and a fairly long exposure time, a tripod to eliminate camera shake, one lightsource and you to move it around your subject.

-- hide signature --
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
hotdog321
Forum ProPosts: 10,047
Like?
Re: try light painting!
In reply to Zalafoto USA, Apr 11, 2013

Just about any light source will work if you have a tripod and a good eye. I like the previous poster's idea of light painting! This would be a terrific subject and lots of fun. Don't forget to shoot close-up detail shots of things like the keys and typebars! Neat project.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Ohnostudio
Regular MemberPosts: 486
Like?
Cookaloris
In reply to ocean76, Apr 11, 2013

Unless you modify your light, there's going to be nothing "mystical" about it

http://lowel.com/edu/light_controls/cookaloris.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucoloris

-- hide signature --

Don't aspire to be like someone else. Be better.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
drh681
Forum ProPosts: 11,603Gear list
Like?
Yeap, light painting!
In reply to hotdog321, Apr 11, 2013

I used a flash light with a blink mode to make this one:

I just counted the number flashes in particular directions and varied the distance for sharper or softer.

-- hide signature --

Photons by the bag.
Gravitons no longer shipped outside US or Canada
-----.....------
You got a camera, now go out and get a life; or at least a picture of one!

 drh681's gear list:drh681's gear list
Nokia Lumia Icon
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
ocean76
Regular MemberPosts: 246
Like?
Re: do I need to use a speedlight for this type of still life photo
In reply to Peter Berressem, Apr 12, 2013

Peter Berressem wrote:

You sure can make do with tungsten light. Check the "continuous" chapter here:

Photoflex light school

Thank you Peter, Ive been reading the articles for a while now and Ive learned a lot, thx again..

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
ocean76
Regular MemberPosts: 246
Like?
Re: try light painting!
In reply to Zalafoto USA, Apr 12, 2013

Zalafoto USA wrote:

You haven't mentioned a tripod in your gear list. If, you have one, you can also try light painting. For still life it is a great technique to try. You can use one light source and use it to light your subject as you wish. That light source can be a flashlight, or a flash. There are many tutorials and illustrated articles on the subject. So, what you need is a camera set on manual exposure and a fairly long exposure time, a tripod to eliminate camera shake, one lightsource and you to move it around your subject.

-- hide signature --

Hi Viktor, it really is a superb idea.

I do have a tripod and I'll try light painting asap.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
ocean76
Regular MemberPosts: 246
Like?
Re: Cookaloris
In reply to Ohnostudio, Apr 12, 2013

Ohnostudio wrote:

Unless you modify your light, there's going to be nothing "mystical" about it

http://lowel.com/edu/light_controls/cookaloris.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucoloris

-- hide signature --

Don't aspire to be like someone else. Be better.

this is a bit advanced for me but thank you, I'll try it in the future..

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
leecamera
Regular MemberPosts: 495
Like?
Re: do I need to use a speedlight for this type of still life photo
In reply to ocean76, Apr 12, 2013

One light, and a box of small different shaped mirrors and white cards.

That's how I do my food photography and I find I can produce exactly the effect I need - although my client may look on bemused with little mirrors fixed to stands by Blue-tack.

Tripod is essential as you don't have much light.  Block off extraneous light with black cards or snoot the main light with black-foil (you can get it from pro lighting suppliers).

It's nice and straightforward as you see exactly what you get.  Shooting tethered makes things even easier.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Zalafoto USA
Junior MemberPosts: 46
Like?
Re: try light painting!
In reply to ocean76, Apr 12, 2013

ocean76 wrote:

Zalafoto USA wrote:

You haven't mentioned a tripod in your gear list. If, you have one, you can also try light painting. For still life it is a great technique to try. You can use one light source and use it to light your subject as you wish. That light source can be a flashlight, or a flash. There are many tutorials and illustrated articles on the subject. So, what you need is a camera set on manual exposure and a fairly long exposure time, a tripod to eliminate camera shake, one lightsource and you to move it around your subject.

-- hide signature --

Hi Viktor, it really is a superb idea.

I do have a tripod and I'll try light painting asap.

If you can set the exposure time long enough and you have time, you can even use gels to create interesting effects. For example you can try to use your flash on a fairly low setting and just pop it manually. If you use a flash you would expect harsh shadows, but if you flash a lot of times from a different location, than you can end up with soft shadows. Takes time to get a hang of it, but a fun way to get artsy!

-- hide signature --
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Ohnostudio
Regular MemberPosts: 486
Like?
Re: Cookaloris
In reply to ocean76, Apr 12, 2013

ocean76 wrote:

Ohnostudio wrote:

Unless you modify your light, there's going to be nothing "mystical" about it

http://lowel.com/edu/light_controls/cookaloris.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucoloris

-- hide signature --

Don't aspire to be like someone else. Be better.

this is a bit advanced for me but thank you, I'll try it in the future..

What's so advanced about getting a piece of cardboard or even a big piece of kitchen foil and cutting holes in it to create shadows?

-- hide signature --

Don't aspire to be like someone else. Be better.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
ocean76
Regular MemberPosts: 246
Like?
Re: Cookaloris
In reply to Ohnostudio, Apr 12, 2013

Ohnostudio wrote:

ocean76 wrote:

Ohnostudio wrote:

Unless you modify your light, there's going to be nothing "mystical" about it

http://lowel.com/edu/light_controls/cookaloris.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucoloris

-- hide signature --

Don't aspire to be like someone else. Be better.

this is a bit advanced for me but thank you, I'll try it in the future..

What's so advanced about getting a piece of cardboard or even a big piece of kitchen foil and cutting holes in it to create shadows?

-- hide signature --

Don't aspire to be like someone else. Be better.

I felt like I have to try other suggestions at first and learn to use the light properly.
Then I'll try your suggestion...

Thx again

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
AlbertInFrance
Senior MemberPosts: 2,361Gear list
Like?
Re: Cookaloris
In reply to ocean76, Apr 12, 2013

ocean76 wrote:

Ohnostudio wrote:

ocean76 wrote:

Ohnostudio wrote:

Unless you modify your light, there's going to be nothing "mystical" about it

http://lowel.com/edu/light_controls/cookaloris.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucoloris

-- hide signature --

Don't aspire to be like someone else. Be better.

this is a bit advanced for me but thank you, I'll try it in the future..

What's so advanced about getting a piece of cardboard or even a big piece of kitchen foil and cutting holes in it to create shadows?

-- hide signature --

Don't aspire to be like someone else. Be better.

I felt like I have to try other suggestions at first and learn to use the light properly.
Then I'll try your suggestion...

Nothing improper about using baffles and reflectors.

-- hide signature --

Albert
Every photograph is an abstraction from reality.

 AlbertInFrance's gear list:AlbertInFrance's gear list
Canon PowerShot G15 Fujifilm X-E1 Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG Macro Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Darrell Spreen
Forum ProPosts: 10,082
Like?
I think you want low-key lighting (samples)
In reply to ocean76, Apr 12, 2013

ocean76 wrote:

Hi,

I have a very old (mid 1900s) typewriter which I want to shoot.

I want to a side lightning hich hopefully would give the typewriter a dim, mystical and old effect but the thing is I am not very good at flash photography and lighting setup.

The examples below were done with some inexpensive off-camera speedlights -- 2 in the first case and just one in the second example.

For the first one, I connected one flash to the camera with a pc-sync cord and the other was optically slaved -- probably the simplest way to use multiple off-camera flashguns.  I recall that, in the first case, one flash was aimed into a white umbrella while the other had a home-made grid over the flash to get a spot-light effect on the book.

(Unfortunately, I can't get DPR's tool for embedded photos to work right now, so here are links to the pictures)

http://www.la-tierra.net/abq8/temp/booksg.jpg

http://www.la-tierra.net/abq8/images/books4.jpg

Hope this is helpful.

-- hide signature --

Darrell

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
ocean76
Regular MemberPosts: 246
Like?
Re: I think you want low-key lighting (samples)
In reply to Darrell Spreen, Apr 12, 2013

Darrell Spreen wrote:

ocean76 wrote:

Hi,

I have a very old (mid 1900s) typewriter which I want to shoot.

I want to a side lightning hich hopefully would give the typewriter a dim, mystical and old effect but the thing is I am not very good at flash photography and lighting setup.

The examples below were done with some inexpensive off-camera speedlights -- 2 in the first case and just one in the second example.

For the first one, I connected one flash to the camera with a pc-sync cord and the other was optically slaved -- probably the simplest way to use multiple off-camera flashguns.  I recall that, in the first case, one flash was aimed into a white umbrella while the other had a home-made grid over the flash to get a spot-light effect on the book.

(Unfortunately, I can't get DPR's tool for embedded photos to work right now, so here are links to the pictures)

http://www.la-tierra.net/abq8/temp/booksg.jpg

http://www.la-tierra.net/abq8/images/books4.jpg

Hope this is helpful.

-- hide signature --

Darrell

wowwww, this is amazing Darrell.
This is just the effect I want to create.Thank you for sharing those photos..
I was searching for a sample to show and found a closer one from a magazine and scanned it:, you can see the scanned photo below:

But then I saw yours and said to myself: this is exactly what I want.
I really really think that if I could give the very same effect as yours, that old typewriter from my grandfather would reborn again after some 30 years of staying in the attic..
If I could make it look like yours...

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads