In Strobist We Trust
I’ve been an avid reader of Strobist for a couple of years now. I remeber straying upon it through some bmx photography. The regular dose of lighting education pretty much got me my current job in a way. Strobist got me into flash photography, which lead on to an interest in editing, which lead to months of playing with photoshop, which lead to some sort of portfolio, which landed me a job. It’s a tenuous link at best…but y’know. Anyway, I’m sure mostly everyone has strayed upon Strobist by now, but if you haven’t then check it out. It really is an amazing collection of information, and an amazing community has developed around it.
Anyway, I mention all this because Strobist kinda saved my bacon a little while ago. I had to get some shots of this little shiny, bullet shaped USB stick created by our agency for Saints Row 2. I just needed some standard shots, for promotional print. Anyway, these USB sticks were the shiniest, most awkward little things to light. Plus it was a bit of a rush job. I faffed around with one of the cameras at work for while with some modelling lamps but to no avail. I got a little frustrated and then promptly slapped myself before putting on my strobist hat!
My camera and strobes were at home so it was going to be a lunchtime mission! 1 hour to get something workable…with 10-15 minutes journey either way…and preferably some food involved! In the end it was no mission at all. All that lovely free lighting education had made things rather simple.
I placed a piece of glass on the coffee table, with a sheet of matte white paper underneath. Thats my nice little reflection sorted.
I took five pieces of styrofoam (formerly used to pack a picture frame) to use a reflectors. The bullet is super shiny, so I know I want large light sources and a consistently white surround. I just place the sheets surrounding the USB, with one resting on top to form a little white macro studio. There’s my nice even lighting sorted, smooth highlights accounted for and any chance of hideous reflections neatly quashed.
I’m only going to need one flash, an old speedlight will suffice, and I want the light flooding through an overlap in the reflectors. This way i’m avoiding any reflections and getting a slightly softer, non-direct main light. As I’m just using flash now, I have no need for any colour correction and my white balance is simple as pie. Just a quick clean of the bullet with my sleeve to remove an fingerprints or dust and I’m good to go. A whole ten minutes to set-up and shoot from scratch is all that was required. I mean it’s a super simple setup, but I just needed some simple clean images…and more importantly, I had time to cook a bowful of fresh pasta to wolf down before heading back to work! In Strobist I trust.