Have you ever needed to take a picture of an object but wanted to create a quality image rather than just an iPhone snapshot? Well it’s easier than you think using your speed lights, some diffusing material, and a little trial an error.
I took 3 sheets of paper and taped them together and added an extra piece underneath it all to create my “soft box.” I set up my speed lights to hit the paper and blow it out so it would appear to have no detail or texture as well has illuminate the subject. I wanted to create some really nice diffused reflections in the chrome areas of my subject, in this case an old Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex medium format camera that normally sits in my living room. I also wanted to bring out the texture in the black sides which is also a direct reflection directly off of the dark areas of the camera.
With a little trial and error I adjusted the flash power on each unit until I liked what I saw and refined the position of each of them. I shot at F8 to allow for enough depth of field to get the front in focus while the sides/rear fall from focus which helps draw your eyes to the front of the camera.
One of the key concepts with this is getting the light source much larger, relatively speaking, to the subject. If you notice in my actual setup picture, the speed light directly behind the Rolleiflex is pointing up towards the ceiling which is in essence creating a large light source from above. You also want to give some depth to the image by varying the light of the two flashes, left and right of the soft box, to show some tonality rather than light all sides equally which gives the subject a very flat two dimensional look.
So grab some paper and tape and get to work seeing what you can create with the simplest of means. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you get.
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