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Every other month our blog posts a tutorial showing how to take at home the pictures we create in the studio. If you have a question about our suggestions please don’t hold back - write to us.

Would you like Via U! to create your photography instead of doing it yourself? Anywhere in the world you live, we are here to help.

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I am an advertising photographer in NYC. My pictures help large corporations sell more and keep their brands looking fresh. I am also the founder of Via U!, an online studio dedicated to creating photography that helps people selling in Etsy increase their sales too.

20. May 2011 16:15

Are You Ready to Flash?

How to use daylight and light from a flash together to take pictures that make your product look truly special. It's also truly easy to do.

Light is the most important control you have when photographing your product. Here is how mixing light from the sun and light from a flash you can create pictures with brilliant, richly saturated colors.

I use an inexpensive flash with the simplest of controls. To make the light softer I tape a piece of tracing paper in front of the reflector. What it’s indispensable is that the flash you use can be set in “manual” so it puts the same amount of light each time it goes and that it has a plug for a PC cable to connect it with a camera.

Many cameras don’t have a PC socket. If yours is like mine and it doesn’t have one you can use a “Hot Shoe Adapter” to provide the terminal needed to connect it with a flash.

Normally the PC cord that comes with a flash is only a few inches long. You can get a “Flash Sync Extension Cable” to be able to use the flash away from the camera. The extension cord I use is 8 feet long and it costs $12.

To diffuse the light I used a piece of translucent acrylic (plexiglas). I like the one that is less dense, it lets more light go through. I also used a spring clamp to hold it.

To find a place where to take the picture I put my equipment in a backpack and went hiking.

To carry a lighter pack I planned to take with me only what was absolutely necessary and use whatever I would find around to put the picture together.

The closer you put the acrylic to what you are photographing the softer the light becomes - further away and the light will have more contrast.

I used a plastic container as a light stand and a wooden stick to hold it in place.

Connect the PC cord and the extension cable to the flash.

Because one needs to move the flash around to adjust the light I find it easier to put the camera on tripod. However, holding the camera in the hands makes it easier to try different angles.

Connect the PC extension cord to the to socket of the “Hot Shoe”...

... and we are ready to boogie.

Because a flash gives a lot of light in a very brief burst you can then use the shutter speed to make the background darker. A flash lets you change day into night!

When using only one light, the sun, the only control it is to make the whole picture darker, or lighter.

The flash makes, for an instant, the purse to be lighter than the background. A background that is slightly dark will show richly saturated colors, if you make the background even darker it will help to make your product more prominent.

Where should I put the flash?
Well... it could be anywhere. The right place is whatever direction the light makes things look best. Controlling light is a fantastic creative tool. Try anything you think it might work, don’t be afraid of making mistakes.

To control the amount of light on your product move the flash closer or further way. The acrylic sheet is an option, I used it in this picture but most often I don’t.

The lovely red purse a loan from:
Thirtyfive Flowers
Hertfordshire, UK
Thank you for loaning us your baby Louise

 

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Comments (17) -

Rita
Rita
5/20/2011 9:40:24 PM #

your tutorials are amazing!  by the way I found you on craigslist!

ella es tanya
ella es tanya
5/22/2011 7:21:39 PM #

very good!

Sharephotography
Sharephotography
5/23/2011 11:32:54 PM #

Great!

Kmuzu
Kmuzu
6/6/2011 1:15:34 AM #

Very nice and well thought out tutorial. Thank you.

ArtDirDave
ArtDirDave
6/16/2011 3:36:56 AM #

Hey just stumbled across your blog and wanted to say great work, I have booked mark this to return too. Love the help and tips you provide, helps keeping me thinking creatively and outside the box!

PaperFlora2
PaperFlora2
6/17/2011 9:41:32 AM #

great posts thanks so much for sharing the info. found you from a post on Etsy photo workshop

NYhop
NYhop United States
7/26/2011 3:33:01 PM #

Thank-you for sharing this

Sonia of VistaLatina.com
Sonia of VistaLatina.com United States
9/19/2011 2:02:27 PM #

Just found your blog.  Great info.  Thanks for sharing!

BettyD
BettyD United States
10/18/2011 11:44:02 PM #

Hi,
I found you through Chuck Green's Design Likes. I'm so glad I did. Your tutorials are amazing, and fun!
Betty

Hotel Photographer
Hotel Photographer Australia
12/19/2011 2:25:42 AM #

These look great, will definitely take a look at some of those tutorials. Thanks for sharing these!

Bobbi Mercouri
Bobbi Mercouri United States
12/20/2011 10:06:13 AM #

Fantastic post. Thanks from us newbies.  
Question #1: will this equipt. work on a Sony camera?

#2, how can you see through the lens on a dark day to focus?

paolo
paolo United States
12/28/2011 4:49:28 PM #

wonderful, easy to follow tutorials! for sure will keep coming for more in the future!

Story Tellers Vintage
Story Tellers Vintage United States
1/5/2012 10:46:18 AM #

Beautiful results!  Thanks for the great tips!

CT Wedding Photographers
CT Wedding Photographers United States
7/31/2012 3:04:25 PM #

Cheers for that thrilling weblog website posting! I knowledgeable studying the item, that you are a superb copy writer. My spouse and i truly extra your blog in order to my preferred and will glimpse ahead of time regarding additional up-dates. Great job, Keep it up..

CT Wedding Photographers
CT Wedding Photographers United States
7/31/2012 3:06:53 PM #

Amazing Post Really Impressive

Fremantle Photographers
Fremantle Photographers United States
8/21/2012 3:16:29 AM #

I was looking for something like this ,Thank you for posting the great content……I found it quiet interesting, hopefully you will keep posting such blogs in future…

Ashley
Ashley United States
10/3/2012 10:17:54 AM #

I stumbled across your blog here.  Awesome.  I am very new to product photography and this was great help.

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