Guest post by Via U (a great resource for quality, affordable product photography).
Light is the most meaningful control you have when photographing your product. Here is how combining light from the sun with the light from a flash you can create pictures with brilliant, richly saturated colors.
I use an inexpensive flash with the simplest of controls. To make the light softer I tape a piece of tracing paper in front of the reflector. What its indispensable is that the flash you use can be set in “manual” so it puts the same amount of light each time it goes and that it has a plug for a PC cable to connect it with a camera.
Many cameras dont have a PC socket. If yours is like mine and it doesnt have one you can use a “Hot Shoe Adapter” to provide the terminal needed to connect it with a flash.
Normally the PC cord that comes with a flash is only a few inches long. You can get a “Flash Sync Extension Cable” to be able to use the flash away from the camera. The extension cord I use is 8 feet long and it costs $12.
To diffuse the light I used a piece of translucent acrylic (plexiglas). I like the one that is less dense, it lets more light go through. I also used a spring clamp to hold it.
To find a place where to take the picture I put my equipment in a backpack and went hiking.
To carry a lighter pack I planned to take with me only what was absolutely necessary and use whatever I would find around to put the picture together.
The closer you put the acrylic to what you are photographing the softer the light becomes – further away and the light will have more contrast.
I used a plastic container as a light stand and a wooden stick to hold it in place.
Connect the PC cord and the extension cable to the flash.
Because one needs to move the flash around to adjust the light I find it easier to put the camera on tripod. However, holding the camera in the hands makes it easier to try different angles.
Connect the PC extension cord to the to socket of the “Hot Shoe”…
… and we are ready to boogie.
Because a flash gives a lot of light in a very brief burst you can then use the shutter speed to make the background darker. A flash lets you change day into night!
When using only one light, the sun, the only control it is to make the whole picture darker, or lighter.
The flash makes, for an instant, the purse to be lighter than the background. A background that is slightly dark will show richly saturated colors, if you make the background even darker it will help to make your product more prominent.
Where should I put the flash?
Well… it could be anywhere. The right place is whatever direction the light makes things look best. Controlling light is a fantastic creative tool. Try anything you think it might work, dont be afraid of making mistakes.
To control the amount of light on your product move the flash closer or further way. The acrylic sheet is an option, I used it in this picture but most often I dont.
The lovely red purse a loan from:
Thank you for loaning us your baby Louise.