The title of this blog post sounds way more glamorous than it really is. It’s just a quick behind the scenes look at how unglamorous a photo shoot can be.
You would be surprised to know what type of simple equipment and resources a many photographers work with. It’s not all big fancy lights and set ups . Sometime the set ups and ideas are rather simple. There are many photographers that take the DIY approach to photography. I do this DIY approach often since I am a PhD. student and my photography budget is quite limited. I alway ask myself why didn’t I choose a cheeper hobby like collecting leaves, watching birds, or running, something not so expensive like photography.
I wanted to take this time to show you how I created the cactus image I showed from the Texas post a few weeks ago. I feel that many of you will be surprised of the equipment used to get the final image. To create the white background I just used old white cutting boards. Yeah, they were a little stained and had some scuff marks on them but you can make them pure white by blasting a little flash on them. When shooting white backgrounds typically light them first so that they are generally 2/3rds to 1 full stop brighter than my key light (main light). I can see this in many cases because the highlight priority warnings on the back of my screen are blinking at me. If you are really fancy you can dial in the proper lighting ratio with a light meter. Since I don’t have an extra 400 bucks laying around I just wing it by checking the histograms and the back of the camera. You can see the background lights on either side of the cactus. If I remember right, they were set to about 1/16th power. The Key light (one lighting the cactus) was about 1/32nd power. Those power settings are for all of you camera geeks out there that like to know that kinda stuff. The key light which is sitting on a cooler was set up after I got the background lights set. It is alway easier to set one set of lights up at a time instead of turning them all on and trying to adjust all of them at once.
The reflection of the cactus was pretty much getto rigged out of an ATV windshield. You can see the bottle of cleaner next to it to get all of the dust off of it. This smooth reflective plastic surface is what gives you that nice reflection you see. I am sure by now you are looking around the cabin seeing the bottles of alcohol and boxes of food and such. There might have been a little drinking going on while shooting these pictures. Maybe that is why I am still picking tiny cactus needles out of my hand. I never have set up pictures or pictures of me taking pictures because most of the time I am the only one with the camera. So it was nice of my father to snap a few pictures of me setting this cactus photo shoot up.
Hope you all enjoy. Hit me up in the comments or email if you have any questions about the setup or how to set up a shot like this.
I just noticed I misspelled windshield. I am just to lazy to go back into photoshop and fix the spelling. I guess I forgot that whole i before e thing they taught us in grade school.
The final image.