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Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

Currently reading

Your Beauty Mark. All You Need to Get the Hair, Makeup, Glow, and Glam.
Dita von Teese
Progress: 208/256 pages

Book photography - part 1

This is going to be a very infrequent series focusing on book photography. I decided to do this after reading QuirkBooks, "How To Photograph Your Books for Instagram".


I spent a little while as a professional photographer but am now happily an amateur shooter. I have a general web site of advice for beginners here, for those who are interested in general photography.


Part one is going to be a very basic look at natural light and some of the cheapest modifiers you can get your hands on. The series will be very infrequent as it will depend on when I've got various things set up.


So ... why use natural light? In particular, you want to use morning and afternoon light; not mid-day light. This is because that light is coming to you after travelling through a lot of atmosphere and cloud. This, "diffuses," the light and makes it more pleasing to the eye. It's what is responsible for soft shadows.


Mid-day light is overhead and hasn't travelled through as much atmosphere. It's why the shadows are harder (unless there's lots of cloud) because the light is less diffuse, and you get well defined edges to your shadows.


Artificial lights are similar to the mid-day sun. They haven't been diffused and still have, "hot spots," to them, which results in glare.


So, once you've got the light coming in through your window ... what then?


Well, you can use paper to bounce light back.


This picture has been taken with just natural light coming in from the window to the left. Notice the shadow underneath the curved lip, and also to the right, where the light just isn't touching.


Now here's the same picture, but to the right I've got a large sheet of white paper. This is bouncing the light back on to the small chest of drawers and is providing light where we otherwise wouldn't see it.


Mobile phones have perfectly good cameras inside them these days. If you just give them enough light, then they can perform wonders without the need for expensive equipment.