Lighting door slabs in a studio?

Started Feb 15, 2013 | Questions thread
OP kcrudolph New Member • Posts: 10
Re: Lighting door slabs in a studio?

Barrie Davis wrote:

Duncan C wrote:

What's a door slab? Was there supposed to be an image attached to this post?

Perhaps door slab is what I call a door? Something like ths.... ?

(scroll down a little)

(bigger, but not much).....

For general purpose documentary photography, a large-ish softbox (relative to subject size) from above, and slightly in front of, your subject is a good place to start. If your door slabs are 6 feet long, you probably want a 4ft x 6 ft softbox to light it to best effect. Then you want a light stand and boom big and strong enough to suspend it over the object being shot.

Hmmm... I'm not sure that a large light source is what would be best, here.

It happens that the shots I linked appear to be taken with something that's rather smaller than a softbox, say a GP reflectoror even, (wait for it!) a Fresnel spot!
As may be seen in the samples, the light is slightly spotted, and displays the drop-off into diagonal corners that gives the mouldings some 3-D context, so that they are not entirely even all across.

I think the addtional texture is preferable as a lighting signature, but hey...(shrugs)

Fill lighting...

I would try bouncing a light from the wall behind camera as a gentle fill, but it must be done with a mind to not generating a reflection in the doors. Better no fill at all than the wood grain reflecting, I think. If the lighting is too harsh without fill, excess contrast/shadows could be eased a bit in post processing (I'm speculating here) along with straightforward cropping at the product's edge to get a cut-out effect..[??]...which would save using any background material.

Setting up....

I agree that the doors would be easiest leaned against something.... perhaps a folded stepladder that itself is leaning against a wall..?? This would help greatly in getting the same angle from one door to the next, meaning the squaring up would be much simplified. Bedding the ladder against the wall on a couple of blobs of Blu-Tack would ensure it doesn't get jiggled out of position during repeated door swaps.

For squaring up the camera, I would use a little mirror in the same fashion as for copying art works..

* Position mirror flat against the dead centre of the leaned door.
* Position camera on tripod so that the mirror is visible in the dead centre of the frame (live view?)
* Whilst keeping the mirror in centre frame, move camera/tripod bodily until the reflection of lens appears in the centre of the mirror. This part is not so simple, actually, but you only have to do it once.

Note: The centre of the first door can be found by stretching crossed strings from diagonal corners. Likewise, the centre of the mirror is found by similarly drawing crossed diagonals on it with a felt-tip pen or wax pencil ..(Chinagraph). It also helps to shine a light at the camera whilst squaring up, so that you can see it properly in the mirror. I would prefer a manual focus lens at this stage... you can swap to any convenient lens when camera is correctly squared.

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"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

Thanks for the mirror technique. That sounds like a great way to get lined up.

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5D Mark II

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