Here’s an illuminating (pun intended) video walkthrough by photographer Eric Curry, showing how he went about creating a photo of a B-25 bomber. His technique for lighting the plane is similar to the real estate photography walkthrough that we featured last weekend, and involves lighting the scene a bazillion times from different angles, and then combining the different parts of the photo in Photoshop.
As he says in the video, it’s a useful technique that can be done by “anyone with a digital camera and a tremendous amount of patience.”
We always get a laugh when news organizations or governments try to pass off bad Photoshop jobs as real images, but with the way graphics technology is advancing, bad Photoshop jobs may soon become a thing of the past. Here’s a fascinating demo into technology that can quickly and realistically insert fake 3D objects into photographs — lighting, shading and all. Aside from a few annotations provided by the user (e.g. where the light sources are), the software doesn’t need to know anything about the images. Mind-blowing stuff…
Needing a portable light box, Instructables member HHarry came up with a ingenious collapsible design that has built-in lighting. He’s also written up a tutorial on how you can build one too, but be warned: the materials may cost you up to $80, and you’ll need a good amount of know-how. However, if you’re looking for a hefty weekend project and need a convenient way to light and photograph small objects on-the-go, this one’s for you.
Optical sensors are a cheap way to trigger slave flashes if you don’t want to pay for a wireless transmitter, but the fact that you’re firing your on-board flash to trigger the sensors limits your creative options. Flickr user Victor came up with the idea of turning an on-camera flash unit into an infrared transmitter by covering up the flash with a filter. The filter is simply a piece of processed (but unexposed) E6 slide film — it blocks visible light, making it completely black, but allows infrared light to pass through and trigger optical sensors.
In this video, UK photography instructor Damien Lovegrove demonstrates how you can add some pseudo-sunlight to portraits by simply placing some weeds or part of a bush — which he calls a “dingle” — between an off-camera flash and your subject.
To promote its new Xperia phones, Sony hosted a three-day hackathon on a boat to see what creative innovations people could come up with. One of the hackers decided to make a flamethrower-style flash (seen at 2:26), triggering a gas flame to flare whenever a photograph is taken with the phone. Maybe this’ll start a fire-lighting trend in professional photo studios…
About a year ago, engineer and photo-enthusiast Morten Hjerde began brainstorming ideas for the next generation of photographic lighting after concluding that most of the lights used by photographers these days are simply glorified light bulbs.
Using embedded electronics and microprocessor programming, he set out to explore ways to create a different kind of light. A light that would go where the current lights could not go. Exploring the possibility and feasibility of actual digital light. Light that could be pushed and tweaked like you push and tweak the pixels on your computer screen. [#]
He set up a company called Rift Labs, and decided to open source the design and software involved in creating this digital light source. The video above provides some interesting background on the project.
Here’s a helpful tutorial that teaches how to shoot in harsh, midday sunlight using a single reflector to soften the shadows on your subject. If you’ve never used a reflector outdoors before, it’s a great primer for getting started. Aside from buying a nice reflector for about $30, you can also find cheap ones for under $10 on eBay, use a car sun shade, or make one yourself with cardboard and foil.
Photographer Don Barnard made this video tutorial showing how to convert a styrofoam shipping box into a DIY softbox. The video is pretty in-depth and runs nearly 10 minutes, but the basic idea is to line the inside of the box with some reflective material, stick a strong light inside, and cover it with some cloth to soften the light. It’s a neat way to make a useful lighting tool for under $20. Check out some sample photos taken with the softbox here.