DSLR - Using Your Digital SLR by Editor: Andrew James

By Editor: Andrew James

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When photographing products, still life, and people on sets, three lights are usually required: a main light, a fill light, and an accent light. For smaller product work, a main softbox in conjunction with a fill light might be enough. Products with unique shapes, textures, and reflective surfaces require special treatment, often using reflectors. With a camera digitally tethered to a computer, you can follow changes in lighting and composition on a monitor. LOCATION CASE HISTORY I recall a location job requiring extensive planning and execution.

My favorite work is photographing events. I love capturing a large group of people united in shared moments. At corporate events, the challenges include gathering the necessary groups of sponsors, committees, and VIPs; adequately showing very large venue interiors; and quick turnaround of image files to meet media needs. It can be tricky to light interiors without reflections, odd shadows, or glare. I usually bring an assistant to event sessions to facilitate setting up, composing groups, and running errands.

I’ve called on other photographers I knew in other cities to investi- To create the set, I constructed a foam core enclosure about four feet high and eight feet wide on three sides. The fourth side was seamless white paper, and I could crawl into the setup on one edge of it. In the center of the front foam core wall, I cut a hole just wide enough for the front element of a Komura 210mm lens on a 4x5 view camera, and I photographed using chrome film. Here’s the fun part: Inside the enclosure, 2-foot tall sheets of foam core along the inside wall of this enclosure were positioned about a foot away from the walls at a slight angle away from the center.

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