Creating natural light look with strobes

Started Apr 8, 2013 | Questions thread
Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Re: Creating natural light look with strobes

kphoto1 wrote:


I am struggling a little to create still lifes that look as though they have been lit by natural light. I do not have a window in the studio and must use strobes to create this look:

I often shoot large web images of small things on tables and need them to look very natural and window lit and am struggling to make them look real due to what could be a mixture of lighting and photoshop.

First off, I don't think your example picture looks particularly natural as window light... it is too lacking in directionality... too evenly lit, and therefore a bit flat.... too much "fill" lighting.

This is consistant with the reflections, which indicate more than one lightsource was used. This means, if light from a window was involved, it wasn't the only light... (or the only window?)

To simulate window light you must decide what size of window, and what kind of light is coming through it. Then select a light modifier or reflector panel that does the same job...

... for instance...

... a softbox of size 3 or 4 feet square is typically used to recreate window lighting for both still life and portraiture because that is a typical window size. Smaller sizes can be used for smaller subjects... just use them closer. As stated white a reflector of the same size could work just as well, with lights bounced of it instead...

If the subject is specularly reflective, the illusion of an actual window can be enhanced by splitting the front area of softbox diffuser or reflector into simulated "panes of glass" with sticky tape crossing it, and allowing the dark spacers to show in reflected highlights in the subject.

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