Drawing inspiration from the Outdated Masters, Natalia Balanina, a photographer within the Netherlands, gathers plums from her personal backyard. Isotta Coda Zabetta, this time in Italy, turns her consideration to do-it-yourself pesto, made utilizing wild, seasonal garlic. In the meantime, in Vietnam, Thai Thu collects recent lychees—nearly bursting with sweetness.
Every of those three photographers, hailing from totally different components of the world, has a singular fashion, shade palette, and perspective, however their nonetheless lifes do have one factor in frequent: pure mild.
Whereas many still-life photographers incorporate highly effective studio lights for full management over the scene, daylight gives loads of prospects for experimentation and creativity, whether or not you’re going for that darkish and moody look or one thing tender and ethereal. And it doesn’t value a factor.
Gentle from the aspect or again
Lighting your topic from the entrance can create a flattening impact, so if you happen to’re searching for dimension and texture, place your mild supply (e.g., the solar, a window) to the aspect or alter your topic accordingly. Backlighting is an alternative choice that may be significantly interesting when taking pictures sheer or translucent objects, akin to drinks or oils. Experiment with totally different angles to see how and the place the shadows fall.
In the event you’re utilizing window mild, think about not solely the route of the sunshine but in addition your topics’ distance from the window and the background. In the event you place your topic near the window and much away from the background, you’ll create distinction and a chiaroscuro impact, with the background falling into darkness whereas the topic stays illuminated.
Monitor the solar
Whereas the golden hour stays a favourite for tender, romantic, directional mild, it’s not your solely possibility. The blue hour, for example, may work for cool, moody photographs. You should use an app like Solar Surveyor to see the place the solar is at totally different factors all through the day after which plan the time and site of your shoot accordingly.
Attempt utilizing direct and oblique daylight to see what fits your topic. Some photographs may work properly with graphic, punchy direct daylight, as within the flatlay above, whereas others will profit from one thing extra refined. If you end up in a state of affairs the place the sunshine is simply too harsh, search for areas of open shade to create a softer look. Overcast days can be very best for tender, even mild.
Attempt handbook mode
The issue with pure mild is that it’s ever-changing, so it may possibly assist to shoot in handbook mode and alter your settings in actual time for that excellent publicity. In still-life pictures, your aperture is prone to be your most necessary setting, as your topic received’t transfer; you may open it as much as create a pleasant background bokeh impact, or you may shut it right down to hold each element in crisp focus. Preserve your ISO setting as little as potential to chop down on seen noise.
(In the event you’re taking pictures indoors with window mild, use a tripod. That approach, you may decelerate your shutter pace and seize sufficient mild for a correctly uncovered picture.)
Play with modifiers
Simply since you’re utilizing pure daylight doesn’t imply you may’t management and manipulate it. In the event you’re utilizing a window, three key instruments to have in your pure mild package embrace a reflector to bounce the sunshine and fill in shadows, diffusion material or paper to melt it, and flags to dam it out. Flags might be made DIY-style utilizing black card or foam board. For super-soft, even mild, it’s also possible to go for a light-weight tent or DIY lightbox.
Experiment to see what works finest in your idea. A dramatic nonetheless life within the fashion of the Dutch Masters, for example, will profit from a small mild supply and loads of flags to dam out every part else. A lightweight and ethereal nonetheless life, however, will profit from a number of diffusion (within the type of sheer curtains, for instance) to attenuate exhausting shadows.
(On out of doors shoots as properly, a transportable reflector and diffusor may come in useful.)
Experiment with backgrounds
Your background can remodel the temper of your photographs, so think about how varied colours and textures mirror mild. For many mild, go for white; for the picture above, Joanna Wojewoda selected a white background with subtle mild for that fashionable vibrant and ethereal aesthetic. For a moodier look, select a darker shade background to soak up mild and create distinction, as within the case of the nonetheless life beneath.
In the event you’re utilizing a light-colored background, keep acutely aware of the shadows. If you wish to decrease them, hold your background farther away out of your topic. In some circumstances, nevertheless, shadows may improve the story you’re telling; in that case, transfer your background nearer.
Think about your props
As together with your backgrounds, your props will mirror and take in mild—and affect the environment of your picture within the course of. Take into consideration the type of pure daylight you’ll use, after which choose your props to reinforce that temper or vibe.
In the event you’re utilizing a small window for moody lighting, for example, you may select cozy, rustic props to evoke a fall or winter temper. In the event you’re taking pictures a summer season nonetheless life in vibrant mild, however, you might select linens in mild, reflective colours.
Edit with care
A vibrant and ethereal nonetheless life would require a really totally different edit from a darkish and moody one, so use post-production as a time to carry out the very best features of your lighting setup. Play with the dodge and burn instruments, or see how publicity and distinction have an effect on the general emotion of the scene. It could actually assist to enter a shoot with a transparent concept of how you propose to edit it; that approach, your lighting and modifying can work collectively to create the sensation you need.
Lengthy summer season days pose the proper alternative to make the most of pure mild in your still-life pictures and experiment with totally different setups. In the event you’re used to utilizing strobes within the studio, problem your self to a dreamy golden hour shoot. In the event you’re used to taking pictures mild and ethereal photographs, however, think about transferring indoors and utilizing window mild for a Rembrandt–fashion nonetheless life.
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