Sunday, 14 February 2010

L3 Macro flower and panels of three

Up late again, what to do?  suppose I could do some course work and club work at the same time.

I set up my soft box with a white background first then changing to a black background, I wanted to see how the same object looked with different backgrounds, how would it change the perception of the object.

I decided to keep it simple... a flower. After various attempts at clamping, wedging and leaning the flower I found the best method was to put the stem of the flower into the end of a straw, that way it was more secure and didn't wilt.

Using my Canon 5D MKII, a Sigma 50mm f2.8 DG EX Macro lens and a Canon 580EXII speedlite all mounted on a tripod, Tethered to my IMac and using the Canon software I was able to view the whole proceedings from the comfort of my chair.

Using the camera on a manual setting gave me complete control over all aspect, so I first set my ISO to 100 to ensure low noise and best quality, as I haven't got a light meter I was relying on the in camera metering and review of the picture, checking the histogram to ensure a good exposure. If I was using studio flash I would have set the shutter speed first (good practice) as told by Mr Steve!, However  as I was not using Studio flash but my speedlite  I wasn't bound by shutter speeds and as I was using a macro lens I wanted maximum depth of field, my Sigma lens is capable of f45 so I set it to that. I knew that this would greatly decrease the amount of light coming in through the lens due to the extremely small aperture I increased the flash output to +3 stops, I initially tried a few shots on a shutter speed 1/200 second, This was fine for the white background shots but this was coming out a bit under exposed on the black backgrounds, again as discussed earlier in the day in the studio, there was probably more stray light bouncing around on the white background, I opened up the aperture to f36 on the black background which looked all ok on the histogram.

All pictures were opened in camera RAW, editing for white balance, an increase in contrast and saturation for black backgrounds and a reduction in Clarity for the white background giving it a more pastel soft feel. Opened in photoshop adjusted with levels to further whiten the whites and darken the blacks. finally creating a new background layer and copying all three selected flower photos on the the new layer, resizing and saving. 

Here's the finished results two panels photographs ready for the club competition:


  1. Hi Jim, the black background is doing it for me although your flower looks stangely unreal. I think the yellow centre and pink petals are an odd combination. I think florists use a special green wire that they either insert into, or wrap around the stem. This bends to hold the flower head in any position.

  2. Hi
    good experimental work which can again add value to your product theme because you are using a table top product light tent.
    Can you add a little about whos work in advertising works in this way and how do your images compare, show me where and what you are adding to your work to achieve a higher grade mark, read the criteria and target them like mad and you will achieve more.