Some help with lighting and color please.

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by redbourn, Oct 31, 2015.

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  1. redbourn

    redbourn No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Some help with lighting and color please.

    Just my second attempt at using a softbox and reflector.

    I wanted to get some shadows which my natural light photos didn't have.

    I've got shadows here but don't like them much.

    Should the light box have been higher and pointing down more?

    In Lightroom 5 I couldn't get the pastry to look the original color which was less yellow and more brown.

    Any guidance would be very welcome.

    Thank you - Michael pie alternative.jpg


     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It would help if you could show a diagram of the lighting set-up you used. In general lighting from higher above is the way to go IMO, because that tends to replicate the ambient light (sun, ceiling lights... they're all above and light down). What bothers me about these shadows is that they're coming toward me; you appear to have lit from the background, which again isn't often ideal.

    Try this: set the plate on the edge of the table and use the centre line of the plate as your lens axis. Place your key light 30-40 degrees to the left or right of that, with the light hitting the table at somewhere between 75 and 45 degrees - this is your key light, your main source. Have the light fairly close and lower the power appropriately (the closer the light the softer the shadow). You want shadows, but softer and less distinct. That will get you started and you can add lights, flags & reflectors as necessary.

    It's also important to plate the food correctly; I like to have the higher items toward the back. As far as your colour question, white balance is critical. If you're going to get serious about this, then you need to buy a good white balance tool so that you can correct your colours (and of course you need to calibrate your monitor too). My preference is the X-rite color checker. It's pricier than many other options, but it's the best.
     
  3. redbourn

    redbourn No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for the suggestions and I will try them tomorrow

    I do have the Spyder calibration and will try recalibrating tomorrow-

    Michael
     
  4. redbourn

    redbourn No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ok I did my best to follow your suggestions and have attached what I shot this evening.

    I obviously need to learn how to use my reflector better - big shadows under the bottom of the plate.

    There is some juice on the side of the plate and I tried to remove it with paper towels but it really only smudged it.

    The kind of advice you gave was very helpful and thank you.

    I shot the photo and all f stop up to f 11 and did one at f 22,

    Michael lighting setup.JPG fish lightiing.jpg
     
  5. redbourn

    redbourn No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The photo of the setup only shows props and not the food. set-up.jpg
     
  6. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes.

    Just because someone else put his light down low doesn't mean that is the best way.

    Also, I think your light was too powerful ( in post #1). Turn the power down.
     
  7. redbourn

    redbourn No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks, I will make the light higher next time but I can't turn the power down.

    I understood that closer gives softer shadows but maybe I'm wrong.

    Am here to learn ;-)

    What what I need to do that?

    Michael
     
  8. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would say that is a big improvement already. The shadow under the plate doesn't bother me too much, but you could easily soften it by adding some small pieces of white card to act as reflectors much closer. For work like this, you will often wind up using a number of small reflectors to control individual shadows as opposed to one large one, the way you would in portraiture.
     
  9. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It does, but of course it requires you to lower the power appropriately. Is this a continuous light that you're using? If so, can you connect it to a dimmer switch? Failing that you could use a cut or two of ND gel over the light to reduce the exposure.
     
  10. Scatterbrained

    Scatterbrained Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you're having issues with certain colors, even after correcting white balance, try a different camera profile. The ColorChecker Passport will create a custom camera profile based on your camera and the spectrum of the lighting being used. However, if you're using Adobe Lr/ACR there are already a few different camera color profiles saved. Personally, I've never liked the Adobe Standard profile and have found that it only looks good on one of my cameras.
     
  11. wfooshee

    wfooshee No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I commented on your other thread about not knowing where the camera is supposed to be, but this is clearer.

    I have to say that the reflector is probably not contributing to the lighting as much as you think it is. You've got it almost the same distance from the subject, maybe a little more, as your actual light, but you have to realize that the light from the reflector, by the time it reaches the reflector and back to the food, has gone at least three times as far as the light from you primary source, so it's only 1/9 the intensity (inverse square rule.) It's going to be even less than that, actually, because the primary light is not facing the reflector, so the reflector is only catching spill light.

    You know, if you only have the one light, you might want to try putting it low in front of the table, firing up, hidden, as it were, and hang the reflector over the food, such that the reflector produces all the light seen by the camera. Not sure you'd get what you're looking for, but it might be worth a try. Maybe behind the table instead of in front. Just thinking out loud......

    Aside from the lighting, you're seeing a depth-of-field issue, which I'm not sure how to tell you to address, other than stopping down the aperture or moving the camera back. Maybe look at some of the DOF calculator pages you can find with a little Googling, and setting your focus at a distance that gets your nearest and farthest sections within the "focused" selection of the DOF.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  12. redbourn

    redbourn No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks.

    It is continuous light. I could get a dimmer but would that change the temperature? I believe it's 5500.
     

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