Tag Archives: Tutorials

How to photograph a fruit-themed still life against banana leaves

fruit themed still life photographed against banana leaves
A papaya, banana, pineapple, coconut, watermelon photographed against banana leaves in my messy garage. A $10 budget production.

Photographing a fruit-themed still life against banana leaves

In college I never understood the obsession  my photo-Illustration classmates had with surfaces.

They practically lived in the studio.

They spent hours learning how to light, pick props, arrange those props on a backdrop of some sort.

They often reshot again and again each time consulting with their instructor.

Sometimes it would be around a theme, other times they would be working on an ad for a fictitious product.

I remember one particular fellow who combed flea markets, thrift stores and junkyards for flat pieces of wood, strange plexiglass and other odd flat objects.

Over time, the communal studio became a pigsty because no one wanted to throw those treasures out. Continue reading How to photograph a fruit-themed still life against banana leaves

Painting with light1

Lights, camera & action—John Sanglang plays up to his classmates’ cameras during this long 10-second exposure. I walked behind him with the decorative Christmas lights plugged into my portable battery. I didn’t feel like tripping over wires in the dark, that’s why I used a portable battery.

I currently own 4 DSLRs and 2 Point-and-shoot cameras.

That’s more cameras than I have hands.

Even if I wanted to remotely trigger 3 and use one, I couldn’t.

I’d run out of lenses to use on all 4 bodies.

On a recent evening, I got this crazy idea that I would ‘borrow’ all my students’ cameras.

In the process I’d also teach them something about exposure. Continue reading Painting with light1

Simple beauty dish Part 1

Do-it-yourself projects for photographers abound on the internet.

Many are not worth the time, expense and effort.

Occasionally I come across one that is intriguing, easy and cheap that I can’t resist trying it myself.

A search for the keywords ‘beauty dish‘ will turn up a slew of tutorials and even videos on how to make one.

They range in complexity, design and build.

The toughest ones made of metal resemble ones sold commercially.

The low budget one, the one I am attempting, is made of:

  • a salad dish made of recyclable plastic (Smart & Final $5)
  • rain gutter hardware pieces ($4 from Home Depot)
  • CD/DVD cake cover (salvaged from my office)

Other items needed:

  • Superglue
  • 7 pieces of small nut and bolts
  • White Spray paint
  • Black Spray paint (optional to make it look nice)
  • Xacto knife
  • Dremel tool or a sharp ice pick to punch holes in the plastic surfaces

Expect to do a lot of testing before you come up with a winning design that works to your liking.
Continue reading Simple beauty dish Part 1

Children’s Portraits 2

Adding some color to the scene can make pictures more interesting. Don’t forget to show your subjects a preview while you shoot to boost their confidence. I added a red gel on this shot.

Now that I’ve decided on the location of my makeshift studio, a stairwell, it’s time to break out the light stands and speedlights.

Before beginning, I set the zoom setting on all my speedlights/ flash units to 105mm so that the light is more focused and not scattered all over.

Continue reading Children’s Portraits 2