A simple softlight still life with a detail light.

So we have a simple goal here, to capture a still life quickly for an image for an online auction site to sell some unused items to clear some space for some more used items…

My illumination of choice currently is Softbox’s nice and close. And for a still life such as this, relatively straight forward.

Single softbox illuminated still life

One Softbox to my immediate left.

I know, I can hear Joe McNally and David Hobby in my ears too… so, I am not outside, so all the light is my own… no ambient to deal with… with the white backdrop behind the items (and close) there is enough soft light to go round, as Zack Arias would say one light is all you need… but with out loads of time to play with, it is a little flat…

All I need now is to bring a little detail in, to add some texture, and form to the items… because frankly the image above is a little flat.

Gridded Flash bottom right

Gridded Flash bottom right

A good polish, and where exactly do I need to add my detail light…? with a Grid and straight across…? Not quite right, so lets move it…

The key light is turned off here, so I can see what is going on, Key light was set in the previous step, so when we are happy we can layer it back into the mix.

Gridded Flash Bottom Center

Gridded Flash Bottom Center

Straight on now for the second light, so I get a reflection off it, already got a nice one from the softbox guitar top left. Nope, still not right… It just doesn’t look right. so keep moving…

Lets move it again, nope… should I give up now…? Nope… keep going… keep exploring… Turn the amplifier a little anti-clockwise so that I can pick up a reflection off the grill…

Flash behind Scrim

Flash behind Scrim

Back to the second light here, trying to get it right… I really like the look of it now… so lets explore the setup…

Setup shot for final image

The Breakdown.

Bring in the scrim modifier, clamp it under the softbox, place the flash on real wide directly behind it, and now my soft box is double height. Now I can see that nice crease in the guitar body, bottom left. I think we are done.

Final image

The Final Image

What did I use here:

  • My trusty camera
  • Two small off camera speedlights.
  • A 28″ square Westcott Apollo softbox
  • A Westcott Illuminator/Reflector 4 in 1 kit
  • Pocket Wizards TT5’s, and AC-7 and an AC-3
  • A Peter Honl Grid and strap
  • A Manfrotto background stand set, and a Manfrotto light stand.

Final image details

Both Speedlights are on TTL, with no adjustment.

Shot taken at an effective focal length of 61mm (I’m on a APS-C sensor)

F/11.0, 1/125 sec, ISO 200


3 thoughts on “A simple softlight still life with a detail light.

  1. Thank you guys for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it. I will continue to write simple articles that hopefully are easy to follow, so that you can repeat the process. Just keep creating images.

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