I’ve already written a blog post on ‘The Kitchen Studio‘, where I look at how easy it is to set up an existing room for simple but good quality product shots. I’ve now taken that a step forward, and have added my bathroom to the list. Or to be more precise, my bath!
This is probably the simplest lighting setup you could wish for, provided that what you are after is a shot of a product on a white background – perhaps for something to go on eBay or another auction / selling site.
I tested this out by shooting my trusty old Nikon F801s. This is a favourite film camera of mine (and it’s definitely not for sale), and is a good test for the ‘studio’, as it’s black, and therefore we can see how well the white surroundings bounce light back into the shadows.
First step, get it in the bath! Why? Because you’ve got a ready made studio in miniature already there (assuming your bath is white of course!). There’s a gently sloping white background, white sides on the left and right, and a polished white floor which even gives us a reflection. It doesn’t matter what colour your walls are (in this case I’ve got dark grey tiles on one side) as the light bounces around the inside of the bath, not the walls. You can always shoot in raw and correct the white balance later if it has any effect.
The downside? It can be tricky getting everything lined up if you’re using an SLR without a ‘Live View’ LCD panel, but after a little trial and error you can usually get it all in the right place. Using a camera with a panel makes it nice and easy though, so my X100 was perfect for the job.
Next, how to light it. It’s really simple. Do you have a white ceiling? Then simply bounce a single flash off it and you’re done – that light will diffuse beautifully and spread around everywhere. I used my Lumopro on full power, held a couple of feet above the subject (so as not to overspill direct light into the bath and give hot spots) and fired with a remote trigger on the hotshoe of the X100.
The result can be seen in the image in this post, and it’s pretty good if I do say so myself! Lovely soft light, even illumination and filled in shadows, and all from a single flashgun. And a bathtub!