Features of photographing a item photo in the light brush technique

flash on a black background created by a light brush

On the technique of photographing the "light brush", I briefly told in a previous article. Today I want to talk in more detail about the features of the application of this technique of photography in item photography.

Thanks to the use of this technique of shooting, you can save quite a pretty sum on the purchase of expensive photo equipment for a photo studio. In addition, tools for shooting like this need a lot less in comparison with the usual photographing of the item.

Just "light brush" is able to create spectacular beautiful item photos, which sometimes can not be shot with a constant or pulsed light.

The principle of the light brush

Before beginning the story about the features of this technique of shooting, I want to briefly explain its principle of action for those people, who do not quite understand what kind of light brush this is and with what it is eaten.

The principle of the light brush is quite simple: the reflected light from the surface of the object, reaching the photosensitive element of the camera, creates an image. No matter which camera, digital or analog (film), the principle of operation is exactly the same. The room (studio) is at the same time submerged in total darkness.

In other words, everything that the light got into during the open curtains of the camera shutter will be seen in the photo. And those places where the light did not hit - will remain black. Lighting the object with a flashlight alternately from all sides, we exhibit this object completely. Thus, our small flashlight acts as a large soft box, which evenly distributes light on the item.

That the item in the photo looked natural, three-dimensional, see the photo below, you need to simulate a photo umbrella or softbox for this. How to do it, I'll tell you now.

video head kingjoy vt-3510 looks volume

Imitation with a light brush of a photo umbrella or softbox

How to achieve a volumetric image of an item using a single LED flashlight

In the photo above, we see a photo created with a light brush, using a conventional small LED flashlight, at a cost of 1.5-2 US dollars. But if you did not know about this, you might think that there could not have been without a photo umbrella and a flash. So in fact?

To achieve this effect, the object should not just be evenly illuminated, but also that the lighting should look natural, using at least a drawing and filling light source. And to be absolutely good, it would be worthwhile to add a control top or side, well, and the background is not so much to highlight.

We simulate the light from the photo umbrella

If we imagine what this setup should look like under normal conditions, in the imagination we immediately see a photo umbrella on the right at the top - the drawing, and the second one slightly to the left, closer to the center - filling light. And of course the third light source is the background light.

Now, when our imagination holds this picture in mind, we begin to drive a flashlight around the object, as if washing it with a ray of light. But the time of "washing" at the point on the right at the top is slightly longer, in comparison with the "washing" of the remaining surfaces of the object.

At the location of the supposed photo umbrella with a drawing light, you need to drive the flashlight radially, that is, along a ring resembling the diameter of a virtual photo-umbrella. In this case, the ray of light must be held on the object, not "slipping" on the background. The movement of the flashlight must be constant before closing the shutter curtains or end of the exposure of the frame. If you stop for a moment, we will immediately get a sharp shadow, and perhaps a resumption.

How to avoid overexposures and glare when shooting light/shiny items

Shooting items with a mirror (shiny) surface

Photographing items that have a mirror (shiny) surface, - the task is not simple. Because of the specifics of shooting with a light brush, we do not see where and at what angle the reflection from the flashlight beam flew into the lens. We can naturally guess the trajectory of the flare, but it's very difficult to control the glare, but it is possible, and even necessary.

overexposures and glare when shooting light shiny items

In the photo above we see a flare that literally knocked out part of the item. If you see that a similar flare appeared on the first frame, without changing the position of the camera and objects, immediately duplicate this frame but with different lighting angles. Sometimes two frames are sufficient to kill all such overexposures and glare.

Shooting items with a white (bright) surface

The same problem mentioned above may occur when shooting light or completely snow-white objects. To avoid over-exposure on white objects, you must significantly reduce the intensity of light, expose a very short time, or use the direction of light from the camera at an angle of 20-45º.

overexposures when shooting light white items like VGA-DVI converter

But, as practice shows, to get a snapshot of a white object without overexposures, it is often necessary to apply all of the above listed methods of combating overexposure.
In the photo above there are just two problem areas: a white VGA-DVI converter case, nuts and a mirror-reflection connector. Actually, here I had to use the entire available arsenal of combating overlighting and flashing.

Exposure of items with light reflection coefficient

Light and dark items are exhibited in different ways

The reflection coefficient from the white and black surfaces is completely different. Therefore, when shooting items, for example, as in the photo above, you should reduce the power (light intensity) of the illuminator and / or the duration of exposure. Conversely, if the item is dark and also has an anti-reflective coating, for example, as a Nikon COOLPIX P530 camera, see the photo below, the light intensity and / or the exposure time should be increased.

coolpix p530 top view anti-reflective coating

Shooting items with a glass surface

Sometimes you have to shot items with glass elements, for example, a camera. To illuminate the front of the camera, we naturally direct a beam of light at an acute angle to work through all the dark areas of the object. As a result, we get colorful lines on all lenses of the lens, see the photo below.

nikon d80 glare on glass surfaces

To get a high-quality picture with well-designed areas under the glass, you need to expose such areas point-like, as if short flashes. We can not avoid glares at the same time, but the glare will have a natural appearance that will not spoil the picture, see the photo above.

The problem with dust during macro shooting of the items

How to avoid the appearance of dust on items and background

Shooting all small things in macro photography mode, you will constantly pursue the problem of the presence of dust on dark items or a black background. At once I will say that you will not be able to remove this problem 100%, no matter how you do not wipe items before shooting. In any case, a few dust particles still have to clean up in Photoshop.

dust on black item mini ball head and background

In some ways, it is possible to reduce the presence of dust on black items, if the shooting is not in a dry and slightly humid room. For example, if you use a humidifier in the studio, you can significantly reduce the level of ubiquitous dust.

You can also use rubber gloves when arranging black items, in addition to dust particles do not leave your fingerprints. But to work in rubber gloves is not very convenient, fingers sweat quickly, and it's not comfortable to work.

Mini compressor for help

If there is a mini compressor, I advise you to use it not only for preliminary purging of items before shooting, but also during shooting. If the object is not made of paper, and its weight is enough to keep the balance under the stream of air directed to it, you can use a mini compressor to remove dust, as they say, on the fly. The flow of air from the fan is not very effective. Sometimes a fan can, on the contrary, catch dust on items.

Is it worth using the technique of shooting "light brush" in the shot item?

"Light brush" - not for everyone

On the question, which is given in the title of the final part of the article, everyone will independently answer. The majority will say: "No, this is not mine...". Or, after the first practical classes, he will say: "Something this brush did not inspire me...".

Honestly, for the first time when I decided on such an experiment with the "light brush", it seemed a bit dreary to me: a dark room, it is not clear how to light the item, horrible overexposures or underexposure.

But after a while I somehow got used to all these shooting conditions. And for today I do not see an alternative to the "light brush", because what else way can I easily take and get a spectacular shot without spending hundreds of dollars on studio equipment.

If you have not tried "the taste" technique shooting "Light brush", I advise you to try. How to know, maybe it will "tighten up" you as well as me in due time. That's all. Thanks for attention.

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