Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
Sekonic light meter
“Using a light meter can save a lot of faffing around trying to get the exposure right in-camera,” says Max. “By taking a reading of the light that’s falling on the scene rather than the light that’s reflected, you’ll get a much more accurate exposure setting. I always expose for the ambient light only, with any lights in the scene switched off, and then turn the lights on to add interest, or use reflectors.”
Macbeth colour card
Another challenge is getting the white balance right, especially if you’re using multiple light sources,” says Max. “The solution is to place a Gretag Macbeth colour chart in the scene and take a shot. The colour chart contains a calibrated white point, so you can use it to set the white point manually in Photoshop, and then apply the same white point to the version without the colour chart in it.”
“When it comes to interior and still-life shoots, reflectors are essential,” says Max. “Most rooms only have windows on one side of the room, or two at the most, which makes for very mono-directional light, even in very brightly painted rooms, which tend to reflect light around a bit more.
“The result is strong shadows on the side of the object that’s facing away from the window. By reflecting the light back into these shadows, you can soften the light and reveal detail at the same time.”
“These little gadgets are terrific for close-ups with extremely shallow depth of field. I often use my 70-200mm to crop right in, and then set an aperture of f/2.8 to ensure that only a fraction of the frame is in focus.
“Because it won’t focus closer than a meter, though, this doesn’t work for small objects. Canon’s EF12 and EF25 extension tubes enable me to focus much closer in, while still keeping depth of field to a minimum.”
PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Interior photography tips for during the shoot
PAGE 3: Final tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day