Photography Tips

January 13, 2015
  • Find a big beautiful window and set up a studio by a big window.
  • Make a table, pick a background.
  • Create a bounce with white foam core or get a professional one.  Use the big sheet of form core to reflect the light and fill in dark areas in the shots as needed.
  • Put it on the table and prop it up to add dimension. Avoid letting it look like a 2D piece.
  • White linen or bedsheets over the window to create a nice broad diffused light.

Diversity and Environment

  • Create diversity in your portfolio by photographing in the natural light and using artificial light.
  • Before you shoot consider what kind of background. Floors work well, table tops.
  • Don’t just plop your work on white. Think about the environment carefully.
  • Experiment with putting the work in context. For example: a coffee cup in a breakfast setup. Try to tell a story through the photo.

Artificial Light in General

  • Table lamps are useful when using artificial light.
  • Always try to create directional light to produce an interesting shot
  • Every light source has a different color. Best color source is daylight or these strobes. Notice the color and when you bring your file into photoshop, bring the product with you and adjust the color to match the actual project.

Depth of Field

  • basically the depth of field refers to the area that is in focus. The shallower the depth of field the smaller the area in focus. The deeper the depth of field the larger the area in focus. A detail shot look nice using a small f stop to achieve a shallow depth of field (the detail is in focus and everything else is blurry). A landscape shot or a general documentary shot might be nice with a deep depth of field (much of the photo is in focus rather than a narrow area)
  • The f stops determine how deep your depth of field is. F stops are measure of the aperture setting of the lens.
  • A trick to remember is that the middle f stop on any lens will result in the sharpest focus of the object.

Using the Studio Equipment

  • Make sure you light source is as close as possible to the object and big enough to photograph that source. We only have about 3 feet of working space. Smaller than the size of a bread box.
  • Don’t have to turn the overhead lights off but it is a good idea to.
  • To make the light directional turn one of the lights off.
  • Can just do it on auto. Put camera on A and turn on remotes, turn dial to F8 and shoot. Flash has to be on to use the remote strobes. The camera flash, however, will wash out your shot. 1) To solve this you can: Shoot on manual instead. or 2) cover the camera flash with your finger or 3) Use the camera flash cover that should be here next week.
  • Turn off the lights on the side to get more interesting lights on the box.
  • You need a Nikon with a popup Flash to use these lights. Can’t use Canon. But any Nikon with popup could work.
  • There is so much light in the setup that one strobe might easily do it.  Move the strobes all around until you see something you like.
  • You need to work with the setup to master the way you want it to look.


  • If you are photographing something with sheen on the white you will end up with a reflection that you don’t like. light coming in bounces out at the same angle. The best thing to do is to move the light, right, left, down. Move the light around to get rid of the reflection. Move it away from the straight on strobe at a typical angle. If it is really matte it will diffuse the light source. OTher wise you need to move the light sources.
  • Can use dulling spray on your piece to help but it will mess up your piece for other purposes.
  • Can use black and white pages of card stock to remove or add glare/highlights. The dull side of aluminum foil can also add highlights.


Associate Professor

Miami University