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Still life photography lighting: 3 things to know

Still life photography lighting is important for creating great still life photos. It creates mood, offers context, and helps make dynamic shots. In this article, you will know:

  1. The benefits of using constant lighting for still photography.
  2. How to choose lighting equipment?
  3. How to light still life photography?

Benefits of using continuous lighting for still life photography

Because customers frequently require both video and stills from the same shoot, many still-life photographers are increasingly using continuous light sources, which brings them the following benefits.

Precise control over lighting for still life photography

When photographing still life, product photos, macro, or any subject where you have the freedom and time to build the light, shoot-what-you-see lighting is very useful. It offers fine control and exceptional light quality, making it ideal for taking both exquisite still-life shots and expert product photography. For instance, the COLBOR CL60 provides you the choice of a color temperature in addition to intense continuous illumination. The brightness may be adjusted with a simple dial that ranges from 0 to 100%.

Instant feedback to adjust lighting setup

This implies that all of the aspects that contribute to 'excellent' lighting, such as shadow control, light quality, and proper lighting ratios, could be examined and altered by sight. Before shooting a single photo, you could assess the quality and brightness of the light, direct the shadows, and observe how two or more lights interact. Most of all, you don't have to be a master of light; all you need is a decent eye. Lighting becomes less mysterious and, consequently, more enjoyable.

What to look for in video light for still photography?

Color consistency. Still life photography lighting requires color constancy. It is is essential when shooting a product for e-commerce, reproducing artwork, or crafting an advertisement campaign for a well-known brand. You'd be shocked at how much variation some lights can create, and how much of a pain this may cause in post. Some low-quality lights may exhibit a 1000 Kelvin difference from shot to shot. For less color essential jobs, you can manage with +/- 300k, but preferably it should be closer to +/- 100k.

Light control. Some lighting kits include controls for adjusting the color temperature and brightness. Such controls may not be technically required for beginners, but as you learn and advance, they will become more useful.

Portability. Lighting kits range in size from the size of a laptop computer to the size of big duffel bags when folded down. You should also examine how difficult it is to disassemble and reassemble the kit. If you need to transport your lights to other places, the size when stowed, weight, and convenience of installation are all important considerations.

How to set up lighting for still life photography?

Here we talk about the setup of still life photography lighting with natural and artificial lighting.

Tips to use window light for still life photography

Control the light. The first step in still life photography, as with any other type of photography, is to discover your light. The key is to figure out when is the optimum time to shoot your window and work around it. You must experiment to see what works best for you. Curtains can be used as modifiers. You may also use white and black card scraps to reflect and alter light. A silver foil coated piece of foam board or even a mirror can be used as a stronger reflector to bounce light back into the scene.

Create your set. To begin, position a table near your window. Simply set your still life items on a table with a gorgeous surface and begin shooting. Consider how the light falls and how the light on your subject appears from various angles as you walk about. When you've gone over your photographs, select where you want your backdrop to be. Backgrounds can be basic or complex. These may be a giant sheet of paper or card, or cloth draped over a large cardboard box. Instead, you may purchase tabletop photographic backdrops that resemble various surfaces. These are not cheap options, but they are really useful if you perform still life photography on a regular basis.

Use a tripod. Using natural light for still life photography requires using tripod if you have one. You may discover that you need to utilize fairly lengthy shutter speeds to achieve a well-exposed photograph, in which case a tripod will come in handy. A tripod can also aid with your composition. Once your camera is securely mounted on the tripod, you can begin to position items and compose your photographs.

Studio lighting techniques for still life photography

Front Light. This still life photography lighting is in the axis of the subject, and it lights the subject frontally, more or less directly at 90°. The bright contrast is weak, the light is flat, or there are no shadows to enhance the subject's three-dimensionality. Hence, the front light is particularly crucial for color rendering; nevertheless, little reflection on polished objects might detract from the typical look, and it provides little depth to the subject overall.

Sides. The light source is to the side of the camera; the illumination is still in front, but the shadows are deeper and the contrast is higher. It is chosen because it provides excellent color rendering and successfully emphasizes the subject's three-dimensionality.

Back-light. The light source is behind the subject, casting shadows toward the camera. The subject has a great contrast. It is difficult to employ, but it may be used to create depth to the image.

Light from above. The light source is high up on the subject; this is a highly beneficial orientation in photography because it may cast shadows that accurately depict the texture of the subject. A huge softbox is frequently used in this location to light equally throughout the set and enhance the shadows.

Light from the ground. The light source lies underneath the object. It is rarely used, however it might be beneficial for achieving depth effects or eliminating shadows on a transparent plane.