Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Photo Reflectors

One of my big challenges is learning to take good photographs of my work to use in my online store. Now that the weather is sometimes nice enough to shoot outside, I'm trying to do that more.

I keep finding myself challenged by one particular feature of outdoor shooting: shadows. If the weather is anything but completely overcast, the light is usually much brighter from one direction, making the shadowed side of the garment look dark and featureless.

Tonight after dinner I decided to make a couple of reflectors to help with that. One of them is small, for bringing light into one particular area. The other is very large and will be used to bounce light onto the dark side of an entire garment at once. The larger the reflector, the more diffuse and natural-looking the bounced light will be.

The place where I live is always full of camping gear, much of it with real problems. People leave tents with us if they lose some parts or if something breaks.

As a result, we have lots of leftover tent poles, rain flies, and more. These reflectors were made from a silver-coated canopy cover for which the frame was broken, a bunch of mis-matched tent poles, and a spring steel ring.

In a day or two I'll have before and after photos of some garments shot outdoors with the new reflectors, but for now, here are some quick camera phone snapshots to show how they work.

Of course, this example is contrived. I'd never try to shoot a shiny object with just one lamp about 18" away. It does show just what a difference a reflector can make, though. If I could get the light to look even that good with this lighting setup, imagine how well it will work with lighting that's already "pretty good". I can't wait to see the results.

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