Still Life…Strobe vs Natural Light
June 16, 2014 § 4 Comments
Strobes or natural light, chocolate or vanilla, Ford or Chevy, Nikon or Canon…too many choices, too little time! O.K. just kidding…except for the Nikon part…everyone knows Nikon’s the best. I think I just lost half my readers! :D. Anyhow, notice I said “natural light”,not “available light”, since someone would point out that if you have strobes handy, then they’re obviously “available”. There’s always going to be people who will argue that one is “better” than the other. Coming from someone who loves natural light, strobes, or even my little $8 flashlight(see my last blog for examples of what an $8 flashlight can do). I decided to shoot a couple of still life images with a strobe…”Oranges” and “Sea Shells”, and a couple using just the sunlight coming in from my studio windows which by the way face the north…”Old Time Baseball” and “Rusty Chains”. You might think natural light is easier to use, but you’re dependent on the sun and the location of the window. “Old Time Baseball” had some problems, namely my old wall was nailed in permanently and I built a “corner” off of it. I needed a reflector to bounce light onto the baseball bats in the corner, and a little mirror to throw some light onto the hat. Since the main wall was behind my prop shelves, I couldn’t be right next to the window where the light was brightest, so I also had to use a longer shutter speed which gave me no choice but to use a tripod…I usually use one anyhow, but here, I didn’t have a choice. The 2nd “natural light” shot was the “Rusty Chains”. This was simple…just lay them right in front of the window and shoot. I still used a tripod, but I could have hand held this if I wanted to. I didn’t even need a reflector. Now using a studio strobe has plusses and minus’s also. You can direct the light anywhere you want it, but you also have to use light stands, booms, etc. It usually boils down to either personal preference or logistics. As a professional, we get paid to figure stuff like this out. One last take here is Photoshop can be the “great equalizer”. By bracketing, blending exposures, HDR, software programs such as OnOne or Topaz…my personal choices, we can make any image look just the way we want…something that was much, much harder to do back in the film days…which brings me back to one last argument…film or digital!! 😀 Hope you enjoyed this one!
Till next time…thanks!