Drawing inspiration from the Previous 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 selfmade pesto, made utilizing wild, seasonal garlic. In the meantime, in Vietnam, Thai Thu collects recent lychees—virtually bursting with sweetness.
Every of those three photographers, hailing from totally different components of the world, has a novel model, colour palette, and perspective, however their nonetheless lifes do have one factor in widespread: 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 smooth and ethereal. And it doesn’t value a factor.
Mild from the aspect or again
Lighting your topic from the entrance can create a flattening impact, so should you’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 notably interesting when capturing sheer or translucent objects, akin to drinks or oils. Experiment with totally different angles to see how and the place the shadows fall.
For those who’re utilizing window mild, take into account not solely the course of the sunshine but additionally 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 smooth, romantic, directional mild, it’s not your solely choice. The blue hour, as an illustration, may work for cool, moody photographs. You need to 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 images may work nicely with graphic, punchy direct daylight, as within the flatlay above, whereas others will profit from one thing extra delicate. If you end up in a scenario the place the sunshine is simply too harsh, search for areas of open shade to create a softer look. Overcast days can be excellent for smooth, even mild.
Attempt handbook mode
The issue with pure mild is that it’s ever-changing, so it might probably assist to shoot in handbook mode and alter your settings in actual time for that good publicity. In still-life images, your aperture is more likely to be your most necessary setting, as your topic gained’t transfer; you may open it as much as create a pleasant background bokeh impact, or you may shut it right down to preserve each element in crisp focus. Preserve your ISO setting as little as potential to chop down on seen noise.
(For those who’re capturing indoors with window mild, use a tripod. That method, you may decelerate your shutter velocity 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. For those who’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 cloth or paper to melt it, and flags to dam it out. Flags may 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 on your idea. A dramatic nonetheless life within the model of the Dutch Masters, as an illustration, 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, then again, will profit from plenty of diffusion (within the type of sheer curtains, for instance) to reduce exhausting shadows.
(On out of doors shoots as nicely, a conveyable reflector and diffusor also can come in useful.)
Experiment with backgrounds
Your background can remodel the temper of your images, so take into account how numerous colours and textures replicate mild. For many mild, go for white; for the picture above, Joanna Wojewoda selected a white background with subtle mild for that common vibrant and ethereal aesthetic. For a moodier look, select a darker colour background to soak up mild and create distinction, as within the case of the nonetheless life beneath.
For those who’re utilizing a light-colored background, keep acutely aware of the shadows. If you wish to decrease them, preserve your background farther away out of your topic. In some instances, nevertheless, shadows may improve the story you’re telling; in that case, transfer your background nearer.
Take into account your props
As along with your backgrounds, your props will replicate and take up 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.
For those who’re utilizing a small window for moody lighting, as an illustration, you may select cozy, rustic props to evoke a fall or winter temper. For those who’re capturing a summer time nonetheless life in vibrant mild, then again, you may 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 facets 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 will probably assist to enter a shoot with a transparent thought of how you propose to edit it; that method, your lighting and enhancing can work collectively to create the sensation you need.
Lengthy summer time days pose the right alternative to make the most of pure mild in your still-life images and experiment with totally 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 capturing mild and ethereal images, then again, take into account shifting indoors and utilizing window mild for a Rembrandt–model nonetheless life.
Not on 500px but? Sign up here to discover extra impactful images.