Light is the most meaningful control that you have when photographing your product. Here is how combining the light from the sun with a flash lets you create pictures with brilliant, richly saturated colors.
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 PC cords that come with a flash are only a few inches long. You can get a “Flash Sync Extension Cable” to be able to put the light anywhere you want. The extension cord I use is 8 feet long and it costs $12.
To diffuse the light more 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 backpack I planned to use whatever I could find to help put the picture together.
The closer the piece of acrylic is 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.
I find it easier using a tripod when taking pictures with flash. I put the camera where I want it and that frees me to work with the light. However, holding the camera in your hands gives the freedom to explore 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 short burst you can then use high shutter speeds to take the picture and make the background darker. A flash lets you change day into night!
When using one light, the sun, the only way of controlling it is to make the whole picture darker, or lighter.
Mixing daylight with the light from a flash makes, for an instant, the product 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 the product more prominent.
Where should I put the flash?
Well… it could be anywhere. The right place is whatever direction of the light you feel 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.
I am an advertising photographer living in NYC. My pictures help large companies sell more and to keep their brands looking fresh. I am also the founder of Via U! , an online studio dedicated to assisting artists selling in Etsy increase their sales too.