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Still Life Photography

 

In this module, we’ll discuss still life photography with the lensball. It’s a fascinating area you can experiment within the comfort of your home since you don’t need any high-end equipment for this type of photography.

We’ll cover the following topics:

  • Taking still life photos with the lensball
  • How refraction works for still-life photography
  • Lighting your photos with a strobe or simple torch
  • Adding interest to your photo by conceptualizing it
  • Creating stunning light paintings with the lensball

Section 1: How to take still life photos with the lensball (2:56)

Interior photo-shoot gives you total control of your background setup. You could set up your choice of a neutral plain background, for example, striped gift-wrap paper. The advantage is you no longer need to worry about the refracted inverted image.

To achieve an infinity curve, line-up your background so it curves from the flat surface onto the wall. The line between the flat surface and wall should not be visible inside the frame.

Experiment with lighting and watch out for reflections on the surface of the lensball.

The light strobe will be to the side of your lensball in the same plane of the focus. The strobe should light the background only without causing any reflections on the ball’s surface.

Section 2: How refraction works for still-life photography (5:52)

You can use two different colored papers in the background and place the ball in the centre of the line. You’ll see the image inside the ball from left to right. You can also have the refracted image horizontally or diagonally.

You can use different backgrounds to add more variety, for example, a picture, a national flag, or polka-dotted paper.

The Equipment Used and Camera Settings (7:29)

Following are the equipment used for still photography:

  • DSLR Camera
  • A strobe
  • A macro lens
  • A radio trigger/receiver linked to the camera.

Following are the camera settings:

  • Use a small aperture (f14) to avoid the shallow depth of field inside the ball. Large depth of field is ideal since the background is obscured by the infinity curve.
  • Set the shutter speed around 1/50th and 1/200th of a second. It should be within the sync speed of the flash unit.
  • Set the ISO at 640
  • Place the strobe near your subject and use a weak flash setting.
  • Don’t light the ball directly. Bounce the light off the background to reflect it through the lensball.

Section 3: Still Life lighting with a strobe (10:56)

Keep the light strobe to the side of your lensball to avoid any reflection from the lensball surface. Light the background behind the ball and bounce the light through the ball.

Avoid bouncing-off the ceiling or using a light-box. These options might be good for the majority of still life photography but with lensball you don’t want any reflection from the lensball surface.

Section 4: Still life without a Strobe (12:53)

If you don’t have lighting equipment such as a strobe or radio trigger/receiver, you can opt for other alternatives such as a torch or your Smartphone flashlight to achieve great results.

Keep your camera raw since the white balance generated by the torch or Smartphone flashlight might affect your photograph. You may need to adjust that in post-processing.

Follow these steps:

  • Place the camera on the tripod.
  • Use long exposure for around 15 seconds.
  • Focus the image then turn-off the lights.
  • Move the torch in the background behind the lensball.
  • Let the camera click the image.

Section 5: Adding Concepts to Your Still Life Image (15:27)                

Adding a concept to your still life is fairly easy. You can add an object in the frame behind the lensball which will refract inside the ball and then sharpen the object within the sphere.

Choose objects which are fairly small in size and can hide behind the ball. Let’s say your concept is “listening” or “music” then you can use small headphones. These types of images in combination with the background chosen are endless.

Follow these steps:

  • Keep the light strobe to the side of your lensball to avoid any reflection from the ball’s surface.
  • Light the background as well as the headphones behind the ball.
  • Use a macro lens and choose the aperture f10. Set the ISO at 640 and shutter speed at 1/60th of a second.
  • Take the photograph.

You can vary the concepts such as flower, petals, or food-item like sushi. Depending on your chosen subject, your photo can have a different message.

Section 6: The Equipment Used for Light Painting (18:45)

Following are the equipment you can use for light painting:

  • Your Smartphone screen light.
  • Smartphone torch or regular torch.
  • Fairy Lights to create nice patterns.
  • A colored gel to change the color of the light and create different colors.
  • Other light sources such as LED lights, Tablet screen or a pixel-stick.

Equipment Set-up for Light Painting with the Lensball (22:54)

Follow these steps:

  • Place the camera on the tripod.
  • Use a wide-angle lens to capture the wider portion of the scene and as much light paint as possible.
  • Use two pieces of black paper to cover the background wall and the table.
  • Get a piece of glass, a picture frame can provide this. Place the glass on the black paper over the table. The glass can act as a reflection surface.
  • Place the lensball on top of the glass. Place a hook under the ball to keep it from rolling.
  • Underexpose the photo by -1EV or even -2 EV
  • Correct your exposure time depending on how bright your light source is.
  • Set the aperture at f20 or f22 and ISO at 100.

Section 7: Light Painting with the Lensball (25:40)

With light painting, you can create stunning lights patterns in the background as well as inside the ball. Following are the ways to do light painting with different light sources:

1.) With fairy light:

  • Set the camera exposure to 10 seconds self-timer so that you have enough time to turn off the lights and stand in position before the camera begins to expose.
  • Turn off the lights. The room should be fully dark.
  • Move the fairy light behind the lensball.

 

2.) Smartphone Screen Light:

  • Set the camera exposure to 30 seconds self-timer and stand in position before the camera begins to expose.
  • Turn off the lights and move the Smartphone screen light in the spiral pattern behind the lensball.

3.) Smartphone Torch:

  • Place an object (a mouse) behind the lensball.
  • Set the camera exposure to 10 seconds self-timer and stand in position before the camera begins to expose.
  • Turn off the lights and move your Smartphone torch behind the lensball and then over the object (a mouse).

 

Thanks for your attention during this 5th module. I hope the creative ideas you learned in this module will help you create stunning still life photography with your lensball.