July 20, 2017

3 Really Weird Things That May Save You from Bad Lighting

Having deodorant, tape, and white paint in your lighting gear bag might raise some eyebrows, but they'll save your shot when the lighting is not so great.

If you've ever done work for product shots, you know full well that getting the lighting just right is crucial for capturing high-quality images. But even when you try your best to create beautiful shadows and reflections, your effort isn't always going to pan out, which is why you might need to use a few items that are very effective (but very weird) at hiding these less-than-desirable lighting issues. In the video below, photographer Phillip McCordall shows you how to use spray deodorant, white electrical tape, and white paint to do just that.

These tricks might seem pretty bonkers at first glance, but according to McCordall, these they're used all the time by professional still life photographers. Here's a quick breakdown of how each of the three items can be used:

  • Spray deodorant: This works wonders when you've got a big, overpowering reflection, especially when shooting glassware or glass bottles. A light coat of this stuff effectively dulls/blurs reflections. You can also use photographic semi-matte dulling spray, but spray-on deodorant is cheaper and much easier to find.
  • White electrical tape: Want to add a little edge light on a subject, but can't quite get your light to cooperate, McCordall lays a strip of white electrical tape down the side of his subject to create the illusion that it's being lit.
  • White paint: Again, if you can't quite get your lighting to do what you want it to do, some white paint can help give the look of a nice rim or edge light.

Now, I wouldn't recommend relying on these tricks to get the lighting effects you're after, but when you're in a pinch, a bind, or some other kind of lighting predicament, these things will at least give you a better chance at a good looking shot.      

Your Comment

16 Comments

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July 21, 2017 at 8:57AM, Edited July 21, 8:57AM

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July 27, 2017 at 7:28PM

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I like stuff like this because even though I'm not about to start putting white tape everywhere (at least not yet) it does make me think about things a bit differently. Especially the deodorant makes you think how many other things that are lying around might help you when you're stuck. It pays to adapt to situations.

July 21, 2017 at 9:59AM, Edited July 21, 9:59AM

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July 24, 2017 at 8:18AM

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rahu
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The tape trick didn't really cut it, for me, but the paint on the rim of the glass worked nicely. Cool trick with the anti-stink spray.

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