I should just call my posts “random photography tips” because they seem to be all over the place lately, but such is my life of late. This is something I wouldn’t ordinarily try, but I did this as a fun project with my photography students, and I thought, hey maybe if it’s something I wouldn’t usually do then it might be something new for others as well so maybe I’ll just post it and we’ll all try something new and pat ourselves on the back for thinking outside of our boxes (pun intended). After all, Easter is all about new and beginnings, right? (please don’t think I’m making light of Easter). Oh dear, that pun slipped right out before I thought about it.
Anyway. On to the photography project.
So this week with my photography students, I made a simple light box. Basically, a light box is used for two reasons: 1) to make best use of your light, and 2) to give you a plain background that won’t detract from your subject. The light box either amplifies your light by reflecting it or softens your light by filtering it. In fact, if you want to learn to “see the light” (which is something I’m constantly teaching my students to do) this is a useful tool to help you understand how light works. If you’re using a box like this one, the light will be filtered/softened and reflected. If you use one like this (which is the set of directions I semi-followed), your light is being reflected off the white walls.
First… my lightbox project with my class: Superman in a box. You can see that the image straight from the camera is more gray than white and needs a bit of an adjustment to have a white background. That was an easy fix in photoshop by simply going to layer>new adjustment layer>selective color and then adjusting the whites until they looked how I wanted. (still not quite white, but good enough for me to live with.) This is what that looked like:
For my second experiment, I took a picture of something with more of an Easter theme. I just used natural light for this one because I’m lazy like that and the sun doesn’t require untangling extension cords. Even if you’re using natural light and you don’t have a light pointed straight into the box, the fact that you’ve surrounded your object with white reflective surfaces will increase the amount of light hitting your subject. Here’s a pull-back of the lightbox set-up.
As you can see, my poster board was not quite as big as it could have been. I actually ended up seeing the edge of it in my picture (see below). Also an easy fix in photoshop… Just increase your canvas size (image>canvas size) to as big as you want it, and then duplicate your background layer. On your new duplicate layer, select (with marquee tool) a section of the plain white background and you can then stretch that into the new blank canvas space (by going to edit>transform>scale or just by clicking on your “move” tool, depending on which version of photoshop you’re using). Super easy. (see pic below)
Then you have a simple image you can play with in all sorts of ways. I found this a little too boring, so I played around by adding some textures, changing background colors, etc. and then I finally decided I needed to change my canvas size again and add a quote about Easter.
There you go. Random photography tips ranging from lightboxes to photoshop fixes, and religious quotes to top it off. I’m all over the place.
And then, to return to something I feel more comfortable with, I took a picture in my usual old style.
Happy Easter everyone.