You have heard me talk about the “Sunny Sixteen” rule before. This is a very useful rule of thumb that allows you to shoot without using your camera’s light meter. The rule is:
If your shutter speed is set to 1/ISO (e.g. 125 ISO at 1/125th sec, 200 ISO at 1/200 sec, or 400 ISO at 1/400 sec, etc), then on a fully sunny day at noon, f/16 will give you the right exposure.
Like this, at f/16:
And if it is not sunny?
||Soft around edges
This rule is a rule of thumb, so feel free to vary – I often expose two thirds of a stop higher – but since the sun is always the same brightness, it holds well. And it is nice to be able to expose without light meters, if only in order to be able to check your camera.
Bonus question: how do you expose the moon?
Answer: f/16. The moon at noon (there, so any time here, including night) is as bright as the earth at noon- they are the same distance from the sun!
So. You want to shoot a wristwatch:
Watch at full size: it’s gorgeous.
But not all shots—especially iPhone shots like this one—start out that way. This one is no exception. It started differently:
As you see, I did a few things, and all watch (and most product) photos are like that.
- I changed the geometry. To avoid reflections I had to shoot at an angle. I had to use the “Transform” pane with manual adjustments to fix that.
- I changed exposure settings (blacks especially).
- I removed noise.
- I used the brush adjustment tool to increase contrast on the face.
And lastly, I removed any imperfections:
And that’s how it is done. So when you see a perfect watch photo and wonder why you can’t do it this way, rest assured that the pros don’t, either.
…that you can’t get blurry backgrounds with an iPhone? And I don’t mean fake backgrounds, like with a newer iphone with two lenses, either. Here:
- Get close!
- Have plenty of light
- Get close!
That’s all. Simple, really. Get close and your background is comparatively far, so it gets blurred.
For most photography, I recommend keeping post work to a minimum. Quick crop, perhaps a small exposure adjustment: done. For some types of photography, like press photography, adjustments of any other type are forbidden.
But for some, they’re necessary. Even an iPhone product shot like this, of my Glycine watch, needed some TLC:
That’s one of my watches. Click on it to see the full version. And notice how perfect it looks. No dust at all, no smears or scratches, great contrast, and so on. All watches always look hyper-perfect in all ads.
And that’s because they’re hyper-edited. Things like focus stacking, and expensive editing.
In mine, above, I removed every speck of dust using the healing tool in Lightroom. Then I increased local clarity and decreased exposure on the watch face. I added a tad of sharpening and then noise reduction. And although small, the effects of these edits are important.
The good news: most of these edits are easily doable in Lightroom. For a commercial advert, you need Photoshop, but for everything else, Lightroom is fine.
It is minus 28 degrees Celsius. Yesterday, I taught a Creative Flash Photography workshop in Timmins, Ontario. Here’s a sample!
Some creative gel use:
A snapshot showing the setup for the next shot:
And here’s the shot!
…which also works in B/W:
A simple one flash grid portrait:
And two together:
Fun was had. Flying me out to anywhere for a workshop like this is worth your time: hands-on learning so beats only reading a book or watching a video!