Tutorial: Black on Black, part 2

Part 1 of this tutorial was about photographing this shiny black flash head t’other way round, showing the sharp end, complete with reflector.

Here in part 2, we’ve turned it around to show the control panel at the rear, there’s no point in repeating the lighting of the body of the flash head, which is identical, but please be sure to read part 1 before moving on to part 2.

Let’s deal only with the differences between the two shots…

Control panel unlit

Control panel unlit

The next part of the job was to add another light, using a standard reflector fitted with a 20 degree honeycomb,

Honeycombed light now lighting the control panel

Honeycombed light now lighting the control panel

to light the control panel and to improve the specular highlights to the two control knobs and to also light the “Lencarta” logo on the handle. I positioned this light slightly behind the control panel, so that unwanted light didn’t reach the wrong places, but not so far behind that it failed to just catch the accessory release and the lip of the recessed area – it’s little touches like these that really matter.

I simply plugged the flash head into the mains, pressed the various buttons to light up the indicators for the various functions (except for the modelling lamp, which I didn’t want switched on because it would cause light contamination and I then took a shot. Later, I cloned a lit blue LED into place to replace the unlit one, for the modelling lamp. One of the LED lights spilled blue light onto the radio receiver, I could of course easily cloned it out but I like it…

All of the other shots were taken with a shutter speed of 1/125th, a perfectly normal shutter speed for indoor flash, but for this shot I increased the shutter speed to 1.3 seconds, because that length of time was needed to capture the LED lights. What you’re seeing in this shot is the grey background (which, without the long shutter speed, shows as black in the other shots) and you can also see a bit of each of the strip softboxes.

sf_left_backpanelObviously, in order to get the shot with the control panel illuminated, the mains lead had to be pluggged in, and as I didn’t want the lead to show in the finished shot I simply cloned the relevant part onto the shot without the illuminated control panel, and ended up with this.



Not that it’s especially important, but these shots were taken with a full frame Nikon camera, 200mm lens (to provide adequate working space) set to f/16, to provide adequate depth of field.  This type of shot is typically taken with a tilt/shift lens, to ensure that the entire length is in sharp focus, but the Canon camera that takes the tilt/shift lens was needed for the video so I couldn’t use it 🙂