Same Lighting (almost) with Different Result

These two photos were made using the same exposure, background and almost identical lighting setups. The difference in the lighting was to move it to a lower angle but I used the same power setting and 10º grid as before. Another difference is that the camera angle changed, moving down and to the left from where it was for the first photo. This first photo is the one planned, the second one I did while not thinking it through as I should have.

You can read more about this photo here.

Nest Egg

Nest Egg

I was baking banana bread because I wanted to use a few bananas before they went off. The idea for the photo was an afterthought and it shows. While getting the ingredients ready I thought “Hey, why not make a photo of a muffin when they are finished?” Why not indeed. That was all the planning I did. Not taking the time to plan out how you want your final photo to look when you have complete control can cause quite a bit of frustration and more than a few bad photos.

Hot Chocolate and Muffin

Hot Chocolate and Muffin

This photo just does not work for many reasons. The hot chocolate does not look very appetizing. Marshmallows or a whipped topping would have been better than seeing the slang currently depicted. The camera angle is all wrong for both the cup and the muffin, too high over head. Is that actually a muffin or some sort of cookie? The muffin has been flattened so it has no depth and it was a pretty big muffin. The cup holds two regular size cups of hot chocolate but here, there is no sense off scale, again caused by a poor choice of camera angle. With no planning several things went wrong. I was working against the clock trying to get things setup while the muffins were cooking. For that reason I got lazy with the lighting, the most important part of any photo! Never get lazy with your lighting, ever. You see where it got me.

There are several lessons to learn here:
1) Don’t get lazy and try to make the same lighting fit a new subject. Every now and then it will work but remember, you are flirting with disaster. Strike your lighting when you are finished striking your set. This will force you to start lighting from scratch.
2) Take time to plan your photos. Don’t start with one prop and try to make everything fit around that one item.
3) Choose your props wisely, size matters. Plates and cup that are to big will make other objects appear smaller.
4) Plan for your photos. Planning is a good thing when you can plan. Obviously in the studio there is no excuse for not planning.

I’ll bake more muffins and one day I’ll get the photo that I am looking for. But today, well, today was just not that day.

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