Probably the part of the short photography course I took that has stayed with me the most is light. We take it so for granted. Without it, we could not see colors or shadows or reflections in the mirror. Setting up the wine glass and paperweight for a photo shoot made me acutely aware of just how light plays on, and through, and past an object. Color, too, is certainly impacted by light, by too much as well as too little.
I have no strobes or flashes to use with my borrowed camera, only the pop-up flash. I have a diffuser for it, one which acts to disperse the light as it flashes, softening it so that it is not harsh and casting odd shadows in the wrong places. As a result, I took a shop lamp with a broken switch – the light was on all the time unless I turned off the surge strip – flashlights, overheads, and daylight coming in from the windows. I also used an Ott light, which has a full-spectrum (all the colors) bulb. White foam board reflected white light back onto the objects. Below, you can see the set-up, as well as the fact that daylight was behind the camera.
I bought two packages of colored construction paper, one white, one with about 10 bright colors in it. These were used as backdrops as well as to the side of the wine glass to create reflections of color from the shop lamp, and the flash when it went off. The shop lamp is so beat up I had to balance it on the foam board – no clamp!
Placing the shop lamp in different areas bounces the colors back in different ways. I set up lamps and lights in a number of ways.
For both the paperweight and the wine glass, I went through all the colors of construction paper! The paper was under the paperweight, and to the side of the wine glass. Lots of colors for really lovely reflections.
It took a lot of time to do these – but not as much as I expected once I settled on the final light and paper set-ups. Then, it was factory work! Change colored paper, click! I changed lenses for the paperweight, using the 70-300 zoom, while using the 35 mm prime lens for the wine glass. For all but one of the wine glass shots I used flash, which resulted in some reflections of light on the background. The one which I forgot to flash turned out the best, I think, which I showed two posts ago. If you want to see all the pictures, you may find the paperweights here, and the wine glass here, both on Flickr.