Well this type of shooting has been a learning experience. ..
Well this type of shooting has been a learning experience. I had been working on this for a while, but then this thread really pushed me when I noticed it last week. Not perfect, but I learned a lot that I could definitely bring over to other types of shooting. I have some white background too, but I'll post the black first. The beer bottle and glass I took advice from these forums and did a warm set up, then pulled my glass and beer out the freezer in a quick switch.
I followed the instructions (thanks to who wrote them) and after 90 mins of my strobist studio flashing continusly came up with this shot. The best of 89 bad ones. However I did fix my light stand.
See photo here
The problem is that the black cloth is clearly visible and looks horrible. Even the vase (I didn't have any bottles) isn't that wonderful.
Can anyone help me perfect this without photoshop.
Also I found continual flashes in a dark room gives me a migraine.
Your photo is private so I can't look at it. However I can give you a few pointers:
The first is that most shoemount strobes are capable of completely overpowering indoor lighting. I always shoot with a lsmall ight on in the room; I just shoot one frame with the strobes off and if the frame is completely black then I know the light isn't contributing to the exposure. For some kinds of work, I can leave all the room lights on and not worry about it at all, but when working with glass you have to be a bit careful. Bounce the light off a ceiling or wall and make sure there is no direct light falling on your subject and you ought to be fine.
Here is how I set up my exposure. I shoot in manual mode and set my shutter speed for the max sync speed. On my camera with Pocket Wizards that seems to be 1/160 enen though the manual says it should be 1/200 (most cameras these days are faster than this). The shutter speed doesn't affect the flash exposure, but it does reduce how much of the ambient light contributes to the exposure. I set the ISO to 100 (or 200 if that is as low as your camera can go) and set your strobe to 1/4 power (we'll go higher than that if needed, but 1/4 is usually high enough for table top photography. Then I set the aperture to f/8, take a shot and chimp the histogram. Then I adjust either the aperture or the flash power for proper exposure depending on my DoF needs. I prefer to keep the flash power low if I can for fast cycle times.
As for your black background, the issue is almost certainly that you have spill on it from your strobe. A black cloth typically meters only about 2 stops under middle grey (though some are darker). Your camera, on the other hand, is can render detail as much as 5 stops below middle grey. What this means is that for a dead black background you need 3 stops less light on the backround than you put on your subject. So to darken your background you need to control spill from your strobes, diffusers and reflectors (including unintended ones like walls and ceilings).
The simplest thing to do to control spill is to move your background further away from your subject; the farther back you place the background the easier it will be to control spill. Also, get your light as close to your subject as you can because falloff can help you quite a bit. If you can arrange for your light to background distance to be at least three times your light to subject distance, that will give you three stops. Beyond that, shoot your scene with a wide angle lens and try to figure out how the light is getting to your background. Gobos can help in some situations. Also try angling your lights and diffusers away from the background if you can.
Once again I cannot photograph bottles as we don't have any so I started with vases. Three photos are side tungsten lighting. (And how do I post pics into here please?)
C & C please, you guys are making me better.
Typically you don't need to shoot in complete darkness. If you are shooting at, say, 1/200s, f/8 and ISO 200 most indoor lighting will be irrelevant unless it is directly reflecting in the glass.
That said, your lighting doesn't have much contrast; I am not seeing much more than about a stop between your highlights and shadows. I have a couple thougts on that. First, is the strobe on camera firing or just acting as a trigger? You'll get better contrast if all the light is coming from the off camera strobe. Second, you are probably getting some fill from the white wall to camera left; either hanging a black cloth on that wall or pulling the setup out into the middle of the room will improve your contrast as well.
I collect glass bottles, so I guess I shouldn't even try to avoid this one.
My first attempts below. (I get closer daily to just going out to buy that SB600...)
Same settings as above
I don't know if this is breaking the rules or not, but being a non-drinker (almost three years sober) I don't have a plethora of glass bottles laying around. What I do have is a ton of vases compliments of my fiancee. I just did a darkfield/lightfield set up for these but will be playing with other setups later this weekend.
Thanks for the assignment and ideas!
I'm glad that you liked them! Sorry I forgot to grab a setup shot of the high key bunch. For the HK setup I just got rid of the gobo and replaced the black granite with white poster paper.
I really need to get some white acrylic for that kind of thing. I love Home Depot. They sell so much photography equipment and don't even know it.
Hopefully I am not too late but I am going to work through the monthly and weekly assignments over the next few months...
Hi Chris, welcome to the Class!
While we're waiting for Ken to give you an in-depth feedback - your setup pictures are not showing...
That should fix the setup shots.
OK, so I have my subjects. I am new to photog and I dont have any real equipment, no remote flash or reflectors and what not. Any advice on How I can do a setup with standard household items? I am on another fourm and they told me to come check out your asssignments. I like the way you have this setup and hope to start sending in some shots.
Here are my bottles. I am assuming with the transparent bottles and the colors I shoudl be able to get some good pics.