How would you light this?

Whiskeyjack

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This was taken outdoors with ambient light. I'm sure a zillion of these exist but I saw this technique of shooting oil and water in Understanding Exposure and thought I'd give it a go for fun. C&C always welcome. I love to learn.

 
Personally, I would light it from below, with a flash.

From above could work too though. I would try both. If you're relying on some sort of background being under it, obviously the light would have to come from somewhere else.
 
Would using some sort of lighting under like... a pane of glass with the subject on top work? Raised I guess?
 
I was thinking something like the liquid being in one of those square Pyrex dishes, elevated somehow.
 
That's basically what's going on. There's a scarf underneath giving that coloring.
 
If you light from below with a flash you can have problems where the flash light appears in the shot (big blown out area). It's easier to light it light waterdrop photography and bounce the flash light off a surface underneath the oil (which is often your patterned/coloured surface).

Of course you could also use a softbox setup or similar, however practically its easier to reflect the light up than it is to get a softbox and flash underneath a glass dish of oil (its also safer too :p)
 
If you light from below with a flash you can have problems where the flash light appears in the shot (big blown out area).

Something like this might avoid that:
8820501144_9d483d485f_b.jpg

Obviously I did not wait for the ink to dry long enough...

You would have to bounce some light onto the background as well.

On the back of a receipt for cheap beer.
 
That actually helps immensely! Thanks! I wouldn't care so much but I posted a few of these on Facebook. My mother, a textile artist, jumped on the idea of doing a joint art show with similar images to these done in textiles and shown side by side. Now I have to get good at it. Ha!
 
Where I tried to write 'camera', you can see a mistake I make frequently, lol. I'm often thinking of the next word/letter before I'm finished writing the first one, so I totally skipped the R at first, lol.

If you have a flash with a bound card, that might put enough light onto the background. A second flash would probably be ideal though.

As long as the flash is not actually in the field of view of the camera, I think you can avoid the massive blown out area overread was talking about.


Or you could do what I think he was suggesting, which is place a bounce card beneath the oil, and aim the flash at that.
 
Hmm Will you get enough light from the background onto the subject or are you just going to end up overpowering the colours with the flash colour that way - could work with a gelled flash (ie a colour cast on the flash light itself). That said the other way is just aim the flash at the background and have that light bounce up.
 
That said the other way is just aim the flash at the background and have that light bounce up.

I think that would work too. Exact same set-up, but aim the flash at the background instead of the water.
 
I'll try both when my brother is here this weekend. He's bringing L glass for me to play with!
 
Heck if you've two flashes you can fire at once you could both reflect light and use direct coloured light.
 
With two flashes, I think I would use one to light the oil and the other to light the background.

The problem with the drawing I posted is that there is no light on the background. You could bounce light into it, but a second flash would be better.
 
I always like to draw my lighting diagrams on the back of gas-station receipts for 12-packs of Bud Ice. Wow! Kindred spirits!
 

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