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Strawberry Splash

Discussion in 'Lighting Tutorials' started by MichaelSewell, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    10Mins_065 copy.

    This image was developed for use with the food photography side of the business and has become quite widely recognised since we started using it a few years ago.

    The spoon was clamped to a lightstand out of frame to the left, ensuring there was a stable target for the strawberry. (Note: By strawberry, I suppose I should possibly use the plural rather than singular, as we went through a full pullet).

    Let's start with the background, which is a large sheet of diffusion paper suspended by a bar. On the other side of a the paper is a Godox Witstro 360, firing through a standard reflector with a blue gel fitted. The head was carefully (meaning trial and error) set to be on a level with the camera and spoon. As you know, the characteristics of the light from a standard reflector means it's strongest centrally and fades due to fall off around the periphery. The white area the other side of the splash is caused by mild over exposure from the light, which becomes progressively bluer towards the edge of the frame, eventually heading towards the underexposed grey of the corners.

    The output was 1/16th

    There are two accent lights, one either side. Both are Witstro 360s with their dedicated beauty dishes fitted, complete with grids. Each one are a little further back than the spoon, and slightly higher. Both were firing at 1/16th output.

    The main light is a fourth Witstro 360 firing through an 80x80 folding softbox, just to my left, at a similar height to the spoon (you can make out the bottom of the softbox reflected in the underside of the spoon). It was firing at 1/32nd

    1/125th sec ISO400 f8

    Notice the higher ISO, whilst the Witstros are firing at quite a low level. Why not just up their output?

    The Witstros utilise IGBT circuitry, the same found in speedlights etc. As you turn down the power, the light output is physically cut off, reducing both the flash duration and the recycle time.

    Standard studio heads are not fitted with IGBT circuitry, and turning down the power actually increases the flash duration, often exhibited by the blurring of hands in children as they tear around the studio! The short flash duration brought about by the IGBT circuitry freezes the motion of the milk.

    An advantage to having reduced recycle time meant that I could use high-speed drive and shoot at 10 frames per second, increasing my chances of getting the moment of impact, although you wouldn't have thought so if you had seen the milk and damaged strawberries littering the studio floor by the time we had finished.

    Budget Version:

    Just use cheap speedlights for the same effect. You may need to increase your ISO further, or move your speedlights nearer.

    Worth bearing in mind:

    Plastic sheet. A big one!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2016
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  2. cephotography

    cephotography Mu-43 Regular

    47
    Jan 29, 2016
    I need more lights...
     
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  3. Tall Guy

    Tall Guy Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Sep 15, 2015
    Jeff H
    As an amateur sitting here reading your tutorial I am amazed that you would take the time to describe your methodology of your work. Your work is fantastic, your descriptions are clearly understood and the efforts you put forth to pass on your knowledge is very much appreciated.

    Thank you
     
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  4. Sniksekk

    Sniksekk Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Apr 7, 2015
    Zenyatta. :)
    Play alot?
     
  5. Ramsey

    Ramsey Mu-43 Top Veteran

    719
    Jan 9, 2013
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Thank you for the walkthrough. Two follow-up questions: 1) What is the FL used? 2) What did you use to fire the flashes (as in wired or wireless triggers and if the latter, which ones)?
     
  6. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Thank you Jeff
     
  7. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Sorry, Rubbish at abbreviations. FL?
    If FL = Flash Light, I used the Godox Witstro AD360 which are available in various re-branded forms including Cheetah Stands etc

    The Godox Witstro 360 are triggered by the dedicated transmitter, which allows remote adjustment of the flash power output. An excellent investment if you do a lot of location work.
     
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  8. Ramsey

    Ramsey Mu-43 Top Veteran

    719
    Jan 9, 2013
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Sorry, should've made myself more clear. FL= focal length.

    Thx
     
  9. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    'T ain't you, Ramsey. It's me and my age :)

    I'm far too focused on lighting, I'm afraid :(

    My food and product photography tends to be at maximum focal length on either a Nikkor 24-70mm or M.Zuiko 12-40mm
    This avoids introducing distortions, and also makes it easier to have the lights as close as I wish without impacting on the frame etc.
     
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  10. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    @Ramsey@Ramsey
    And as a further aside, I've been using the E-M1 and 12-40mm exclusively for food since its purchase just over 12 months ago. I was surprised at just how well suited it is for the job.
     
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