Yesterday we started learning about lighting and using it to strengthen the story you want to tell. Yesterday you experimented with direction of light.
Today we talk about modifying it.
Let’s first look at the most common ways to modify light.
Three Ways to Modify Light
Reflectors/Bouncers - I am sure you know the most commonly used budget reflector – the white foam board. Reflectors or bouncers are used, as the name suggests, to reflect the light coming from one direction to another desired direction. As a result of this, the quantity of light in the scene is increased.
Reflectors are used mostly used to modify directional light (side light in most cases) and reduce shadows by increasing the amount of light.
So since reflectors increase light in a scene, when would you not use them in telling your food story? What do you think?
Diffusers - Diffusers are mostly used to soften the harsh light that be causing hard shadows in the scene. Simple and cheap diffusers can be found in your home. Yes right now. That white trash bag you use? Put it on the window pane. There. You have a diffuser to use.
Since diffuser creates soft light, in which story would you not use a diffuser?
Blockers - You should have stopped being surprised by now. Yes blockers block light. They remove light from a scene. Most common blockers in your house? Window blinds. Technically window blinds remove light from the scene, so there you go.
More professional blockers are, guess what? Black foam boards. You can also buy mesh/screen sheets that can be used as blockers.
They are used to remove light from a scene when you need less light than what’s available. Place them at an angle between light source and food subject. In all the three light modifiers, I find blockers to be most tricky. You can only learn the skill by using them.
What Should I Use
We talked about three types of light modifiers. What next? The question is which one should you use in my next photo? This depends very much on the light you have.
If you are showing an elegant breakfast early in the morning but have too bright light, you may want soft light and more quantity of light, so you may end up using both reflectors and diffusers. If your shot is more moody and grungy, then? You may use blockers and diffusers to reduce and remove light from the scene.
Note on Photo Uploading:
We now have a new place to post photos. Moving forward, we will be using facebook group and creating lesson-wise photo albums for each lesson. This group is available for participants of this course only. You can request access to join this group by clicking here. It may take upto 12-24 hours to process your request.
Let’s look at today’s assignment
Today Assignment Step by Step
Time estimated: 30-60 mins
Step 1 – Today again, select the subject. Ideally use the same food subject, you have been using last couple of days.
Step 2 – Set up the food subject in a way that the source of light is on one side. Take a photograph using all the principles we talked about in last few days.
Step 3 – Now, start with reflector. Find a reflector – something like white foam board. Or foil. Place this directly opposite to direction of light and see how shadows change. Take a photograph.
Step 4 – Next move the reflector from being directly opposite to at an angle. Take a photo. Change the angle again and take another photo. You can change the angle in vertically as well as horizontally. At every change, see how the shadows change. For this exercise, the goal is to increase the amount of light in the scene.
Step 5 –Do step 3 and 4 with a diffuser (trash bag that is). Take photo when you change an angle.
Step 6 – Now compare these photos just like you did yesterday. Recall your story and the specific elements we discussed yesterday. Which one of these photos compares closely with your story?
Some of you will ask, so I’ll answer in anticipation of your questions – How do I set the reflector or diffuser or blockers? Time and again this question has been asked… so here’s my secret… This works best if you have a husband or wife or girlfriend or boyfriend. They make the best reflector stand and come with voice command and everything. Ohh no, you don’t have to thank me. Good luck.