Saturday, March 29, 2008

Strobist: Lighting 102: Assignment - Cooking Light

Strobist: Lighting 102: Assignment - Cooking Light

This was a first assignment from the online course Lighting102 from which put into practice some of the things I have learned so far, namely:
  1. Changing the position of the flash - angle
  2. Changing the position of the flash - position
  3. Changing the apparent light size
  4. Specular Highlights
It was fun because it helped me focus on the above four things, rather than trying to figure what I could shoot.

My wife did give me a few strange looks as I went through the kitchen draws to find some things to shoot, but once I had explained what I was doing, she rolled her eyes and gave me that understanding / knowing look and let me shuffle off to the "lab".

I experimented with a number of instruments, lights and material to create the specular highlights.

I've taken still life before with on camera flash which have generally looked flat and boring, but this time having off camera lights really made the shots pop a lot more and allowed much more creativity.

Moving my lights around and being free to moving around with the camera with changing the lights made it a lot more easier to "look for shots" before taking them. I also spent a lot of time moving large pieces of paper around to get the specular highlights. All in all I am really please with with I have been able to achieve.

Lightin102 is really proving to be an eye opener in changing the way I look at taking photos. Below are a few of the image that I took. the rest can be seen on my Strobist Photo gallery.

The image below was my final image I submitted for the assignment. I chose this one because I liked it, and also because it includes several items I have learned over the last four courses. The red and white specular highlights are from a reflective board I placed over head - I especially light the outline of the spoon. The image also has a well defined depth of focus, and the colours, I find, are very sensual.

This was my setup for most of the shots I took. I alternated the background underneath and at the back of the object as well as the top piece of white foam with different colour paper on it. The white foam was resting on the umbrella and the back board, which meant it fell down every now and again - really high tech stuff :-)

The next two images of the Cheese Slicer I included to show the difference by adding in a specular highlight overhead (white foam board) which really adds another dimension to this image. This image on the left has no specular highlight. The image on the right has the white foam board over the top creating the specular highlight.

The next two pictures show the difference of having a red and yellow reflector above the objects.

I included these shots of the teaspoons and the cheese slicer below just because I love the lines that the specular highlight created.

Hope you enjoyed this - I definitely had fun taking the images.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions about this article and I will endeavor to answer them as soon as possible.

Previous lessons from Lighting102:


Paul.GT said...

I was sruggling with specular heighlights until i read your blog.i will be trying some tonight can i email you a picture to see if i amon the right track..

Emmett Photography said...


Thanks for your comments. Please do email me the images to and I'll happily review them. Please make you you take shots of your setup as well.