Drawing inspiration from the Outdated Masters, Natalia Balanina, a photographer within the Netherlands, gathers plums from her personal backyard.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 contemporary lychees—virtually bursting with sweetness.
Every of those three photographers, hailing from completely different elements of the world, has a novel type, 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 supplies loads of potentialities for experimentation and creativity, whether or not you’re going for that darkish and moody look or one thing comfortable and ethereal. And it doesn’t price a factor.
Gentle from the aspect or again
Lighting your topic from the entrance can create a flattening impact, so in case you’re searching for dimension and texture, place your mild supply (e.g., the solar, a window) to the aspect or regulate your topic accordingly. Backlighting is another choice that may be notably interesting when taking pictures sheer or translucent objects, equivalent to drinks or oils. Experiment with completely different angles to see how and the place the shadows fall.
For those who’re utilizing window mild, contemplate not solely the path of the sunshine but in addition your topics’ distance from the window and the background. For those who 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 comfortable, romantic, directional mild, it’s not your solely possibility. The blue hour, as an example, would possibly work for cool, moody photographs. You should utilize an app like Solar Surveyor to see the place the solar is at completely 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 images would possibly 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 may also be ultimate for comfortable, even mild.
Attempt guide mode
The issue with pure mild is that it’s ever-changing, so it may assist to shoot in guide mode and regulate your settings in actual time for that excellent publicity. In still-life pictures, your aperture is more likely to be your most necessary setting, as your topic gained’t transfer; you’ll be able to open it as much as create a pleasant background bokeh impact, or you’ll be able to shut it right down to hold each element in crisp focus. Preserve your ISO setting as little as attainable to chop down on seen noise.
(For those who’re taking pictures indoors with window mild, use a tripod. That means, you’ll be able to decelerate your shutter velocity and seize sufficient mild for a correctly uncovered photograph.)
Play with modifiers
Simply since you’re utilizing pure daylight doesn’t imply you’ll be able to’t management and manipulate it. For those who’re utilizing a window, three key instruments to have in your pure mild equipment embody a reflector to bounce the sunshine and fill in shadows, diffusion material or paper to melt it, and flags to dam it out. Flags could be made DIY-style utilizing black card or foam board. For super-soft, even mild, you may also go for a lightweight tent or DIY lightbox.
Experiment to see what works greatest to your idea. A dramatic nonetheless life within the type of the Dutch Masters, as an example, will profit from a small mild supply and loads of flags to dam out every little thing else. A light-weight and ethereal nonetheless life, however, will profit from plenty of diffusion (within the type of sheer curtains, for instance) to reduce exhausting shadows.
(On out of doors shoots as properly, a transportable reflector and diffusor may also come in useful.)
Experiment with backgrounds
Your background can remodel the temper of your images, so contemplate how numerous colours and textures mirror mild. For plenty of mild, go for white; for the photograph above, Joanna Wojewoda selected a white background with subtle mild for that fashionable brilliant 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 under.
For those who’re utilizing a light-colored background, keep aware of the shadows. If you wish to decrease them, hold your background farther away out of your topic. In some circumstances, nevertheless, shadows would possibly improve the story you’re telling; in that case, transfer your background nearer.
Contemplate your props
As along with your backgrounds, your props will mirror and take in mild—and affect the environment of your photograph within the course of. Take into consideration the sort of pure daylight you’ll use, after which choose your props to boost that temper or vibe.
For those who’re utilizing a small window for moody lighting, as an example, you would possibly select cozy, rustic props to evoke a fall or winter temper. For those who’re taking pictures a summer time nonetheless life in brilliant mild, however, you may select linens in mild, reflective colours.
Edit with care
A brilliant and ethereal nonetheless life would require a really completely different edit from a darkish and moody one, so use post-production as a time to convey out the perfect points 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 assist to enter a shoot with a transparent concept of how you propose to edit it; that means, your lighting and enhancing can work collectively to create the sensation you need.
Lengthy summer time days pose the proper alternative to benefit from pure mild in your still-life pictures and experiment with completely different setups. For those who’re used to utilizing strobes within the studio, problem your self to a dreamy golden hour shoot. For those who’re used to taking pictures mild and ethereal images, however, contemplate shifting indoors and utilizing window mild for a Rembrandt–type nonetheless life.
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