Here's what I'd recommend trying, for both scenarios.
If you have an empty plastic milk jug at home or empty clear film roll container, those are good light diffusers as well... just cut a film canister enough so it can slip over your flash or cut a decent size portion of the milk jug into a square and hold it in front of the flash and see how that works for you. If you want something more professional looking, Gary Fong has something called 'The Puffer', I have one and it's great in a pinch - just depends on what kind of camera you have if one will work or not.
Some other tips:
lichtmeister: How to improve your built-in flash
Flash isn't a bad thing, but you have to use it properly. If you can't or don't want to use flash, taking a photo next to a window with white thing curtains works great as well, it's a huge diffuser!
When all else fails, some cheesecloth over a standard lap will work wonders as well (just don't let it get hot).
But, what I really like using are various poster boards (I like white and black myself). You can quickly assemble a 3 sided 'box' (bottom, back, 2 sides), white bounces light in a great way and if you have 3 sides that are white you'll get some instant gratification as long as you have some control over the light output.
Sometimes what happens in 'Auto' mode is that the camera will adjust the exposure for any black parts of the subject, which will of course blow out some of the shiny parts, especially if you use direct flash (direct flash will also give 'hot spots').
Some other things to consider:
Distance to subject
Distance from subject to background
Distance of light source
Here are my thoughts on this...and yes you can give me change for my 2 cents.
Glass is a great medium to you but you do have to watch for reflections. Another thing I noticed is that many or you, not all, photo the gun while it's lying flat. Elevating the gun and photo ( I want to say shoot it but I need to distinquish the difference..LOL) it that way will help with reflections as one peoster said when shooting objects with relective surface.
Don't be afraid to use black reflective material to bounce the light and even colored gels in front of the flash.
Buy those clear plastic rods...if they get seen in the shot...easy to clone.
I say all these things because as many of you know it's so very difficult to find a way to photo something that hasn't been done. That's why I use Topaz and Nik software to give the photo and edgy look...or i try anyway.
the cameras built in flash with an attached mini soft box diffuser
ambient lighting was a dimmed overhead chandelier
background: leather jacket with draped silk scarf
not too sure what caused the shadow in at the bottom unless it was the camera lense itself and I didn't take into consideration the reflectivity of the silk
Yeah, it's the lens... More likely the lens hood. Creative setup!
@Thunder - the white version is nice but the black version is better
Thanks, didn't even think about the hood, just so used to it being there - regarding your lighting, are you using soft boxes or are those shots purely bounced light? or a bit of both? The lighting is fantastic, especially in that very first shot, it has an almost foggy quality, in a good way. As for the heels and jewelry.....just had to do something a bit feminine :rolleyes:
Originally Posted by Thunder71
Thank you very much!
Lighting is something I've been struggling with but coming to understand more and more... it's an ever learning process, since photography is all about light it's important to get a good grasp on it.
One of these days I'll take a photo of how I typically do product shots like this... it's nothing fancy, I assure you.
I do use a flashhead (Nissin Di866, which I love). However I mounted a reflector on it (white) that is adjustable so I can direct the light where I want it. My flash head typically points up and I use the reflector to aim it. If possible, I limit all other sources of light to have more control. For that shot I had 4 pieces of white posterboard (1 on the bottom, one on each side, and one behind) and the Kahr was places on a piece of glass that I borrowed from our entertainment center.
If you look at the shadows they are more toward the viewing angle, which means in this shot I had the flash mostly bounce off the back piece of posterboardand slightly aimed to the right. I felt this would give it more dimension and help it stand out against the all white background. Seeing as it's mostly metal, the exposure had to be just right, and it took a few attempts to do so (that's the nice thing about digital photography, instant feedback).
Love your signature by the way ;)