Taking Pics of Marvel Statues using a Black Backdrop - Help with Lighting


TPF Noob!
Jan 9, 2012
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Hi all! I run www.statuemarvels.com and take a lot of pictures of Marvel Comics statues, especially the Bowen Designs line. My basic set-up is this:

- Canon XSi
- Canon 24-70 mm lens (have a macro also, but haven't used lately)
- Lens hood
- Remote shutter

I shoot mostly against a black backdrop and use a desk lamp as my lighting. I know next to nothing about lighting and would appreciate tips as to how to produce better pics.

Here's one I shot tonight:


The rest of this photoshoot can be found here:
Bowen Designs Gladiator Statue Pics by HYFal - STATUE M A R V E L S

And I have an entire section devoted to my pics:

I'd appreciate anyone going through my stuff & giving me some pointers!


Cool site! Get an external flash so you can manipulate the direction of your light source. your subject seems to get a direct hit of light, you need let the light "rain"
Welcome to the forum.

Shooting this type of stuff with a desk lamp is perfectly acceptable, but you'll probably want to add another light or two. If you do add other lights, make sure that you use the same type of bulb (the same color temperature).
Looking at more of your photos, you're doing pretty well. Especially using a single light. That actually makes for more 'dramatic' lighting, which suits the subjects well.

One of the challenging thing about shooting something like that, is that the material (plastic?) has quite a bit of 'direct reflection' to it. That means that any light that is within the 'family of angles' will show up as a reflection of the light source (glare or bright spot). And because the subjects are multifaceted and round, you won't really be able to position the lights outside of the family of angles, so you have to live with the reflections. But you can change the way they look, by altering the relative size of the light source. In other words, you could try making your light source larger...try putting a diffusion screen (large sheet of fabric or thin paper) between the light and the model. The larger light source will soften the light and help to spread out the glare spots.

You could also try adding fill light, so that the shadows aren't so dark. I think they work pretty well being dark (given the subject matter) but when you want to fill the shadows, a simple reflector (could be a piece of paper) can be used to reflect some light back onto the models.

Another thing you might try, would be to add a back light, kicker or accent light. By hitting the models from somewhere behind them, you can give them separation from the background. Sometimes that might look better than just fading into the background, but not always.
Thanks for your advice! I just bought a Ravelli background stand & a nice piece of black stretch velvet. Now I need to figure out what lights to buy, but I'm so lost!

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