One Year Of Photography by Howard Haby

100/365: Reveal

Over the last couple weeks I’ve posted some pretty gloomy photos, simply because of the weather we’ve been having. Nothing has changed the last couple days, so I’ve decided to focus on taking photos inside. The following photos are of one of the dried roses I gave my wife for our anniversary. They were alive when I gave them to her though. She’s got them drying upside down in one of our rooms so I decided to take one down and take a photo of it, praying the entire time I wouldn’t crush and smash it into dust. When being cautious and careful about handling something that means something to my sentimental wife, I get all nervous. My fingers all turn to thumbs and I become a complete meat-head doing something a four year old could easily do. Anyway, the photos were taken and the rose restored and my wife will never know about it. … until she reads my blog. Anyway, in the first photo I messed with the colour hues in Lightroom and came up with something nice, bringing a little life back to the rose, the second is  B&W and the third photo is what the rose actually  looks like. After the third photo, I show you how I took the photos. Really simple, and I’m not back to work yet, so I’ve got the time.

When I decided I wanted to take these photos, I felt I needed a white back ground. I’d be very surprised if someone doesn’t have a white wall or door in their home so this shouldn’t be much of a problem. With extreme care, I removed a rose from my wife’s bouquet.

In a number of posts, I mentioned that I made a softbox out of a cardboard box instead of paying the $200 or so for one. Granted, you can’t easily put it on a light stand, and it doesn’t look very professional. I of course wouldn’t use it in a shoot, (except with friends which was the case here) but at home it can’t be beat. So, the “softbox” is simply a box. I went all crazy and rounded the bottom and top, but a normal box is fine. I taped the inside with silver duct tape because it’s silver and reflective. I then glued Velcro around the edges and sewed Velcro around the edges of a piece of white fabric to hold it in place over the opening of the box. The idea of a softbox or an umbrella is to make the light from a flash larger, and therefore softer. Move an umbrella or softbox closer to a subject, and you make the light even softer (like window light) because you are in fact making that light even larger relative to the subject.  You place the flash inside, pointing towards the reflective surface and create a light source about , in this case, 50 times larger than my speedlight. The speed light alone would create some very sharp and strong shadows. Moving on.

Since I only have one flash (yet), I placed a reflector on the other side. From the photos you will see it’s a piece of cardboard that I taped up, but in this case I just draped some white fabric over it. This will reflect the light from the softbox to the other side of the flower, preventing one side of the flower from being enveloped in shadow. I got a broom stick and tied the flower to it with a piece of string and let it hang down.

I then angled the softbox slightly toward the door, just to spill light on that white door and create a nice back drop. It’s not seamless paper, but it’ll work just fine. In terms of money, with the exception of the pocket wizard and flash, this cost me nothing.  Oh, well, it cost me  however much the flower cost. I actually found about a half roll of tape in my truck that I must have accidentally lifted from work. But you could use tin foil.

There are probably a hundred ways to create these photos, and this is just how I did it. Want another way? You could cut two sides from a box, cover the sides with white paper, and place it next to a window on a bright, or sunny day. The sun is your flash, one side of the box will act as a reflector, the back side is your bright white back drop. Ta da! Don’t even need a flash. I do though, because apparently we don’t get sun in this part of the world. Well, thanks for dropping by. I hope this gets the gears turning in your head as to the possibilities of creating some good photography without breaking the bank. No matter how tempting it is. 🙂


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