IN THE KITCHEN: SHOOTING IN THE WARMTH!
Can’t or won’t go out? Never mind, because there are plenty of photo projects you can try out indoors this winter.
Tip 11: Photograph yourself
It’s not always easy to find willing portrait subjects, especially if you want to take your time as you work out lighting, props and angles. But with a self-timer or remote release you can become your own subject. Here, cunningly, Owen Franssen has used a flash hidden inside a lampshade, and that green carpet is actually his lawn! Sometimes, the best shots happen when you think outside the box…
Tip 12: Still life set-ups
Michelle McMahon has transformed an oily can and a handful of nuts and bolts into a rich, evocative image. Still lifes aren’t just about the subjects, but the way you arrange them, the lighting and the background. Illumination can come from torches, lamps or spotlights, though you’ll need a tripod to keep the camera in position while you arrange your props, and to allow long exposure times.
Tip 13: Tripod tips
Regular tripods are fine for most subjects because you just need a stable shooting platform for your camera. But when you’re shooting indoors, you might not be able to get the tripod close enough, even with the legs jammed right up against the table. What you need is a tripod with a centre column that can be rotated into a horizontal ‘boom’ (Benbo’s unique Trekker models, for example) or the swivelling centre column of Giottos’ MT 93/83 series.
Tip 14: Master macro
Many 18-55mm kit lenses can actually focus pretty close, but for real macro shots you’re going to need a lens such as the Nikon 105mm Micro used here by Matt Hart. There’s very little depth of field at these distances, even at the smallest apertures, so try different planes of focus to pick out different details. Soft lighting works best, so use window lighting, or an external flash bounced off a white card.
Tip 15: Use everyday utensils
It’s time to raid the kitchen cupboards, and not for tasty snacks but for interesting objects to shoot! Experiment with angles and lighting, and look for strong compositional shapes. Zoom in to focus on textures, patterns and colours. The mirror-like surfaces of these chromium-plated jars produced a strong, graphic effect that worked even better in black and white for Alistair Balharrie.
Tip 16: Nikon Speedlight flashguns
Get an external Speedlight flashgun. You still get fully automatic flash but can use it off-camera to create a wider variety of lighting effects.
Tip 17: Freeze movement
Flash is perfect for freezing movement like this – you can leave the shutter open and fire the flash manually just when you need it.
Tip 18: Conceal background clutter
By focusing your lighting over a tight angle you can hide cluttered or irrelevant backgrounds. It’s what helps to make this high-speed image by Jon Sargisson so effective.
Quick lighting tips
Tip 19: Mix it up
Combining daylight with artificial light can produce attractive cold/warm colour combinations.
Tip 20: Quality not quantity
With a tripod, it’s the quality of the light that matters, not the quantity. Try everything, from work lamps to candles.
Tip 21: Paint with light
Set the camera to a long exposure, then use a torch to ‘paint’ the light where you want it.
Tip 22: Use a desk lamp!
They’re cheap, light, easy to position and create strong, directional lighting.
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