Making Lightbounces & Using Light
Over the weekend at my photography and food styling workshop, Matt and Adam had white foam core boards with L brackets affixed that were wonderful for reflecting, diffusing, directing, and bouncing natural sunlight.
So yesterday I went to Ace Hardware, bought 3 foam core boards ($1.99 each) and 3 L brackets (99 cents each) and for under $10 bucks, I made and have 3 lightbounces
I kept it old school with a piece of clear tape on the back of each board. I am not doing anything other than standing these up in my house so they didn’t need to be well made or re-inforced. Just having them at my disposal is what I care about.
In action: The sunlight is coming in from the right hand side (as you view this image).
The sunlight hits the lightbounces and reflects back onto the tomato to brighten up the shot.
Use it when your shot needs all over brightening up or brightening in one area. You can also hold the lightbounces in your hand, put your camera on a tripod, and tip and tilt the lightbounce as needed, too.
Next up, Mirrors.
Matt & Adam also had mini-mirrors with soldering wire and clips that they could prop over or near the food. Matt is holding one and the mirror reflects the light back onto the pasta bowl.
Since I wasn’t going to monkey around with soldering wire, I did what any smart girl would do: just find a makeup mirror or cosmetic mirror and use that. Most makeup and cosmetic mirrors “fold” in half and are perfect for the job.
Case in point, this mirror that I found at the grocery store for $5.99
Set up the mirror and watch the sunlight that’s coming in from the right reflect off the mirror and illuminate the bananas, especially right in the center of them.
I purposely did not edit these banana pictures so you could see that even though the room was dark-ish and there was no direct sunlight shining onto the bananas, by using a mirror to reflect the light, the bananas become much more well illuminated.
The major difference I notice between lightbounces and mirrors is that lightbounces brighten up the whole subject matter whereas a mirror offers a smaller and more directional placement of bright light in a specific area of the subject, i.e. the bananas are brightest in the middle of them since that’s how I directed the mirrors.
Those are my tricks and tips to help you get better images and shots by playing with light, bouncing it, and reflecting it. Light is your friend but you have to know how to use it, and how to use and harness it to your advantage.
I posted recently about an at-home studio lighting setup I bought and although I’m glad I have it, not sure if I will use it much.
After the focus on using natural light at my workshop, and having my three homemade lightbounces and mirror at my easy disposal, the thought of setting up studio lighting is super unappealing. Read: probably not going to happen often, if ever. But I’m glad I have it, just in case.
Many others have made and enjoy Lightboxes. My issue with them is that they are a small, confining, and much more time-consuming to make.
I’d rather prop up a lightbounce or mirror because then I have the freedom to have my food anywhere and not keep it in a claustrophobic little box and try to shoot in that.
Beautiful photographs with backdrops, place settings, cups, bowls, and other props in the shot are next to impossible to shoot inside a lightbox because they are not typically big enough to house everything one would want to put into an entire shot.
I prefer to direct the natural light, shoot on a wood tabletop, with silverware, a wine glass, fork, and a napkin in the shot because that tells a story and keeps the photo authentic and organic.
I have all my photography posts organized in my Popular Posts Section under the header Photography/Camera/Lens Info in case you want to read up on what I’ve learned and posted about the past few months on those topics.
From my last post on It’s In the Mail, it was fun to hear what you’ve mailed off recently and what the best things you’ve received lately in the mail have been. Sadly, many of you have just been mailing out and receiving bills. Sigh.
After all that talk about light, let’s go for something dark.
Or how about Raw Vegan Chocolate Macaroons
You can bake these in the oven. Try 350F for about 10-12 minutes and see who they look.
1. Do you want to run out and make a lightbounce or dig through your bathroom drawer and see if there’s a mirror that you have on hand and put it to use for your photographs?
After I saw Matt and Adam’s lightbounces this weekend, I knew I had to quickly make them for use at home.
2. Do you have lighting challenges in your house or when you’re taking pictures?
I do! I take lots of photos at night (and so does anyone who works a 9 to 5 and takes pictures of their dinners).
The lighting in my house because my house is a long/narrow urban townhouse lends to weird shadows, and there are many hours of the day where although it’s very bright outside, my kitchen is horribly lit or shadowy.
Nothing frustrates me more than making great food and really wanting to photograph it well but because of lighting issues, I feel I get sub-optimal images. Grrr. So using lightbounces, mirrors, and anything I can to brighten up my shot are things I need to do.
3. This post had tips and tricks for photography, do you have any tips or tricks you want to share? Not just about photography, but if you have makeup, cooking, cleaning, parenting, workout tips, you name it, share!
I have other posts with Tips:
What tips do you want to share? C’mon, give me some good ones!
Have a great day!