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Thread: Metering For Still Life

  1. #11
    Pali K Pali K's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    MD, USA

    Re: Metering For Still Life

    The final result is quite spectacular Ian!

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    Re: Metering For Still Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Pali K View Post
    The final result is quite spectacular Ian!

  3. #13
    Indiana, USA chassis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Indiana, USA

    Re: Metering For Still Life

    Quote Originally Posted by IanBarber View Post
    Thanks Chassis.
    I still have a fair way to go to make a negative that matches my visualisation.

    This is one I did yesterday using a continuous light inside a soft box. The image on the ground glass looked very nice and low key but the negative looked much brighter.

    Attachment 186097

    I scanned it but had to do some heavy lifting in Photoshop to get it to look how I visioned it in my mind

    Great still life Ian. The background for me is very well done, and the foreground fabric is interesting. It might be interesting to make very small adjustments in camera, subject and light position, to see the effect it has on specular highlights. Christopher Broadbent commented on managing specular highlights during his years on this site. His still life and portrait work are at, or near the top, for me.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Doncaster UK

    Re: Metering For Still Life

    I also agree that the work from Christopher Broadbent is superb. I have looked for some time to see if he has produced any articles on his lighting workflow but never seen anything.

  5. #15
    Indiana, USA chassis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Indiana, USA

    Re: Metering For Still Life


    With some digging there is lots to be found and learned from Mr. Broadbent's posts. The below is a very coarse extract from this site. The topic begs to be summarized or edited into something more useable.


    Read the first few pages of dialog between cjbroadbent and Brian K

    Re: October Still Lifes
    Quote Originally Posted by Denis Pleic View Post
    .... "the guy uses Photoshop rather heavy-handedly, which is quite obvious"...
    There was no such thing as Photoshop when most of these photographs were taken. They are mostly Ektachromes and BW prints. The problem, in those not so distant days, was to preserve the mood in the final tranny that was consigned to the client right the way through to the printed page.
    I purposely blocked shadows and haloed highlights to prevent the process printer from flattening the picture with his contrast masks. Normally, to please the client, the process printer would open shadows and remove 'reflections'. I had a bad reputation with printers.
    I'm not a great user of Photoshop - apart from Curves, Desaturate and Resize to make the thing web-presentable. Since anything large-format on the web has to go through the scanner, I often scan twice in order to force my way into the shadows and hold back a bit on some highlights in a napkin or such. Now I have to pay for obstructing the printer.
    I tone-map the thing back into shape and the result usually looks just a bit short of the original tranny.
    There is a lot of set-building and painting going on in my studio. I use a coloured chalk, sanded gesso, and I hang gels over parts of the window-light. Sometimes I place a warm inky-dinky in axis with the window. When I use fill, usually a white sheet behind the camera, it is lit with blue gel to simulate sky in the penumbra. I feather foregrounds and backgrounds with scrim and black flags. There is quite a lot going on BEFORE the exposure.
    Here is a true digital photoshopped image I believe that things can now be done with more delicacy on digital than on film. The file you give the client is definitive and goes from you to the printed page direct.

    Re: Still-Life Images, 2011
    The pears are looking great with one source.
    Interesting to see your setup. I would have the brolly somewhat higher - but that's your thing.
    You might have to keep the highlight on the pear under control; maybe with less exposure and a much wider and more diffuse fill reflector which will drop out as you balance the shadows the more gamma.
    Instead of picking up a reflection on the pear's shadow side (not cricket) to get separation, you might try reflecting some light onto the background just behind the right side of the pears.

    Re: April Stlll-Life
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark MacKenzie View Post
    ..Is hard bounce without any kind of diffusion aimed at a white board? The shadows seem deeper in this one.
    Hard bounce is using a semi-silver reflector to direct light at the subject. Lots of clout but nuanced reflections. Better than a brolly for metal surfaces, bad for noses. Sorry the second jewelers shot is not really up to standard.

    Re: September Portraits
    Quote Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
    ... is that a fashion that has crept in due to influence of 35 mm digital photography with obsession on lack of vignetting and pixel peeping for clairity to the last mm of the frame?...
    I was taught that the camera should be invisible. "Shoot it [Large Format] like a Leica", "Keep camera-work out of the shot", "Don't intrude". That means stopping down and lots of light. Or rather, lots of modulated light. Because lighting is all there is left to create some mood.
    This is done with 2 flash heads and lots of black paper on 5x7.

    Re: books on "still life" lighting?
    No need for books. Just a web image search for Roland de la Porte, Chardin, Cotan. A single, natural source of light, one main subject with supporting elements making the most of the available chiaroscuro.

    Re: A primer on lighting (newbie)
    My advice to a novice (others may protest).
    Lighting is a forest - too many trees. Take the woodchopper's approach. Get into the middle and chop down one tree. Then chop around.

    Have a look at Irving Penn's portraits. Aim for that simple north window light look.

    To be sure of success with the first tree, buy, borrow or rent one 1200ws strobe with a stand and an umbrella. It is the nearest thing to a window light to be had for small money and it is directional. Put it just above and off your left shoulder pointing, neither down nor at, but across your subject. If strobe is too expensive, use a 600W movie lamp with an umbrella adapter but your subject will have to hold still.

    You don't light the subject - he lights himself by pointing his nose at the light, or at the camera or away from the light. Three very different moods.

    For the next tree in the forest; make the shadow side of the subject separate out from the background. A little slave strobe on a clip, real daylight mixed in or even your one umbrella well placed, will light the area of the background behind the dark side of your subject (never, ever light your subjects head from behind to get separation - that's 'salon' photography and bad television).

    One umbrella works. It's easy. You may never need any other lighting gear for the rest of the job.


  6. #16
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Houston Texas

    Re: Metering For Still Life

    Peli K:

    I have had good results by metering with my Minolta IV-f in incident mode. I have a spot attachment for it but rarely use it indoors. This meter is capaqble of metering ambient only and ambient plus flash. . . .or flash olnly. This meter is now old and discontinued, but there are many great current meters that will handle these metering modes.

    I compose, focus and calculate the bellows correction, then meter the scene. To be candid, I frequently bracket the shot using both sides of the film holder, either opening up or closing down a bit for the second exposure based on intuition .v . .an informed guess.

    Do not over think this. Everyone here has taken a lot of bad pictures. As you go forward, the ratio of good to bad images will improve, but there will always be negatives that you do not like.
    Drew Bedo

    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

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