122

I can see three very clear aspects that all three photos share, so let's concentrate on those. Two can be done in camera, the third is a software process. I didn't have time to costume a collection of actors or find a nice medieval-style location... but I have a toy bear & my living room, with a bookcase in the corner. I didn't set up any lighting for ...


41

Directly with regards to the lighting: Much of her recent work has strong light sources from behind the main subject(s). About 45° (either to the side or a combination of to the side and above) from directly behind the subject seems to be the most common angle in her examples on instagram. She's not afraid to let the highlights go to get the shot she wants. ...


34

I'm chiming in to introduce you to: the tub trick. Tubs are great: they're white they're shiny Combined, you get a place to set things that'll bounce around the light and provide for a mostly white background. Here's my tub complete with window lighting: And here's the shot, placing the item on the rail and cropping out the rest: I did use the ...


32

1. Some theory The first thing you need to understand is the inverse square law. This is that the light intensity decays quadratically (1/x^2) when you are further apart from the light source. I normally post this diagram flipped, but I am posting it like this to match your window. If you put a softbox to the right side of the couch the light will ...


31

No, changing the exposure or using an ND filter will not help you with this, since both will only brighten or darken everything by a certain factor. Your problem is the large relative difference between the bright and dark parts, the dynamic range. And your eyes can capture a much larger dynamic range than the camera's sensor. In order to have a photo ...


30

Taking the pictures Use a joss stick: there's plenty of smoke and it lasts a while. When the room gets smokey, open the windows to get rid of the smoke, which will increase contrast in your pictures. I use a telephoto; it minimises the size of the backdrop needed. Make sure the backdrop is black. Use a flash camera left or right, and use a snoot to ensure ...


30

Well, you could play around with the white balance and give the pictures a more warm tone. You can also tune the saturation of the colors to make the grass look greener, shift some of the yellow into green, stuff like that. Other than that, maybe wait for a sunny day and shoot during the golden hours or so. Edit: Oh, and shoot raw, that way you have more ...


29

That's a nice silhouette! You're running into the same problem that anyone runs into when photographing a very backlit subject: a lot of light is coming from the background and creating a drastic difference in ideal exposure between the background and foreground. Given this, you can handle the situation a number of different ways: Change the Exposure to ...


28

Yes, this can work. I know because I've taken photos of children lit only by their birthday-cake candles and they've come out nicely. First, some general tips, without regard to your specific camera. These are probably most appropriate for a DSLR or other advanced camera which gives a lot of photographer control: Use manual exposure. The camera's automatic ...


28

The trick is very easy, actually: bring your own lighting. The existing orange sodium-vapor lighting is missing important parts of color spectrum, so those colors will never be reflected from anything. Filtering will only further reduce the colors available for recording. The "good" examples in the question look very much like one would get with a couple ...


27

The hardness or softness of a lightsource is determined entirely by the number of angles light is coming from (not the number of angles it's going to, that is the spread of the beam). A lightsource producing light from many angles will have the effect of filling in shadows, and provide a gradual falloff (transition from lit to shadow). This is because as a ...


27

You can definitely improve on the standard "cloudy day" look with some preparation at shooting time and a bit of post-processing afterwards. As you shoot... Switch the camera's white balance setting to cloudy: this will help keep the tones a bit warmer. Compose to avoid large amounts of sky: you can play with the rest of the photo in post-processing but a ...


26

The use of flash actually pre-dates electric lighting, the first flashes being entirely chemical. Nowadays the main reason for using flash is that a flash can be considerably brighter than continuous lighting because it only has to be on for a very short time (while the photo is being taken). A continuous light source that was the same brightness as a ...


26

This effect was done by shining light directly in the same path as the lens. A half-translucent/half-reflective mirror (as in a "two-way" mirror) was placed in front of the lens at a 45 degree angle, and a beam of light directed on to that. Like this: subject \ darkness \ <-- light \ ^ ...


25

There is a Wikipedia article on top-left lighting, which cites as its primary reference the papers Where is the sun? and Is light in pictures presumed to come from the left side?. These papers support the conclusion that people prefer lighting from the left when resolving a convex-concave ambiguity, although the second notes that the correlation is weak (...


25

I think "several fluorescent fixtures that I use to light my studio" is the key here. I'm guessing that the very high ISOs are accompanied by very short shutter speeds. Fluorescent lights cycle, and there are color variations within the cycle. Repeat your test with incandescent light or sunlight (or a strobe with high-speed sync). See Do fluorescent ...


24

You need to adjust for the color temperature of the light source. Additionally. when the light source is of such a limited spectrum as appears to be the case here, you need to add more light that covers a wider portion of the visible spectrum. The relatively bright sky in the background fooled your camera's Auto White Balance into thinking that is what ...


24

Are you open to the possibility of getting yourself a flash as a quick before-Christmas gift to yourself? In my experience — and especially back when I had young, enthusiastic children not interested in sitting still — adding a flash was the best thing I did for my family-around-the-Christmas-tree photos. On-camera flash is annoying and doesn't provide good ...


23

Mike Stimpson (balakov on Flickr) is an absolute maestro of Lego photography, and best of all he maintains a separate account - Balakov's Setups - where he shares his behind-the-scenes shots, showing his full lighting setup and more. Here are a couple of examples:


22

Balancing for fluorescent lights is harder than say tungsten. The reason for this is that tungsten bulbs produce the same sort of spectrum (set of intensities at different wavelengths) as a daylight balanced flash, just shifted. A fluorescent light doesn't have the same bell curve shaped spectrum, it produces a set of spikes at very particular frequencies. ...


21

I've shot plenty of wedding cakes (all on location) and whilst the techniques vary I can offer some general advice on the location side of things to complement Stan's fine answer on lighting techniques. Lighting wise I use a bounced hotshoe flash whenever there's a white or neutral ceiling. Otherwise it's ambient light. One way cakes are not like people is ...


21

The important thing is to use a bounce flash (indirect flash) to avoid reflections, which is what makes the most photos look so unprofessional and ugly. There are some good explanations and tutorial on how to use a bounce-flash correctly, which would be way too much here: Lighting tip - 4 ways to bounce a flash Homemade Bounce Flash instructions In ...


19

Mirrors reflect, there's nothing you can do about that (except spray the mirror with something but clients are unlikely to go for that). All you can do is position the mirror and camera so that what's reflected is as unobjectionable as possible. A good idea would probably be to position the mirror to reflect a plain wall or ceiling. If you get further away ...


19

In the immortal words of the late National Geographic photo editor Bob Gilka, "Kid, if you want to be a better photographer, you're going to have to stand in front of more interesting stuff." That said, welcome to the sometimes not-so-wonderful world of the commercial/industrial photographer. As often as not, making a dramatic, exciting picture of something ...


19

In case there are multiple crazy lights casting different tones from different directions; you only have JPEGs; or you just need a quick solution, an easy way to fix color cast is to go for black and white. Here's what I got in Gimp under a minute (Colors -> Desaturate -> Average), including some increase of contrast using Curves tool:


19

The idea is I will be down below, looking up at them to take the photo, so a flash would be useless. Only if you limit yourself to a camera mounted flash. The key to such a shot is to get the lights off the camera and onto the subjects from angles other than the optical axis of the lens. You'll probably need at least a couple of off-camera flashes with ...


18

Soft boxes typically have a more focused and sometimes more powerful quality of light while remaining soft. The biggest reason you might want to use a soft box over an umbrella is to control the spill of light. Where an umbrella will reflect light into a scene as well as transmit through the material, a soft box will force all light to either die or be ...


18

I think I would have used flash to overpower the extreme purple. But sometimes you can't do that, which can mean a lot of work in post. Here is what I would do in lightroom or photoshop camera raw. First thing I would do, which everyone else seems to have mentioned is to adjust the white balance. I then added a neutral gradient with even more white balance ...


18

Theatrical/concert photography is about the most challenging there is, both in terms of pushing the equipment you use to the absolute edge of their capabilities and in terms of requiring every bit of skill and experience you might have as the photographer. Photography is the art of capturing light. Most concerts don't offer much light to capture and what ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible