Artificial Lighting

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side lit blueberries

Artificial lighting….some love it, some not so much and some just aren’t sure how to work with it. I know a lot of food photographers prefer natural light, and I absolutely love natural light too! However, when you have a 5 month old that doesn’t adhere to the lighting schedule you’d like for natural light, then artificial light is such a great tool to have in the box! I love it because I can be shooting late at night and still get the same results as any other time of day.

I love the consistency it gives me in my images and the fact that I can control how it looks. (I’m a slight control freak lol)

Lets start off by going over which lighting equipment I use.

I use a Digibee 400 from HERE. Here is a list of everything I have from their website (not an affiliate or anything for them! Just sharing where I got all my stuff 😊)

  • Digibee 400
  • Cybersync transceiver (this little guy goes on your digibee and will be how it will communicate with the camera)
  • Cybersync camera trigger (the guy goes on your camera and will communicate with the transceiver to trigger your flash)
  • Light Stand (which stand you use will really depend on the light modifiers you will be using, I didn’t get the heavy duty one because my light modifiers aren’t super heavy)
  • Umbrella
  • Black outer cover for Umbrella (I like to use this because it softens the light a little more to shoot it into and bounce off this than to shoot it directly at my subject)
  • White diffusion fabric (also goes over the umbrella)
  • Stripbox (this is what I use when I really want a moodier and dramatic look to my images)

So those are all the components to what I use for my lighting set up. I also use a reflector as well, I have had it for so long tho that I honestly cannot remember where I got it! lol But you could use white bounce boards as well!

So Lets get to it….how do I use all this stuff?

alright…so here’s just a quick little run down and some images to give you an idea of how I use my lighting

Lets start with the Strip Box

In the above images, you can see what my strip box looks like and the result of that set up (back lighting my scene)

In this image on the right here, I used the same strip box, but I used side light. It gives the image dimension and contrast. I personally love me some deep shadows and drama in my images (call me a drama queen 👸)

side lit blueberries with strip box

Umbrella Lighting

Here is how the umbrella is set up for backlighting
backlit with the umbrella

Umbrella

okay, here are my images with the umbrella, you’ll notice it is a little more lit and softened than with the strip box.

The light here is actually shooting into a cover I have over my umbrella and then spills out over the scene.

With the strip box, its shooting straight onto my scene thru the diffused material of the box. So the lighting, while its not “harsh” is a bit stronger and not as soft as with the umbrella.

Settings:

Of course, I can’t leave ya’ll hanging wondering how my settings were for this. For all the images my settings were:

ISO 100 , F/5.6 , 1/125s

With my artificial light, I never have to bump up my ISO, which is beautiful because then I won’t mess with a lot of noise in my post-production. I like to shoot with my aperture pretty closed down so that I have most of my hero shots in focus. With shutter, I shoot always at 1/200 or slower because of the sync speed of the flash. If I shoot any higher than that, I will get a dark line in my image.

Comparisons:

Here are the images side by side one last time for comparison sake:

Backlighting with the Stripbox
Backlighting with the Umbrella
side lighting with the strip box
side lighting with the umbrella

So thats just a quick little run down on what I use, kind of how I use it and hopefully this helps a few of you guys!! Feel free to message me with questions, I’m always happy to help in any way I can!! Cheers!!

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