- by Felix Russo
HOW-TO: Still life lighting 101- Basic terms & a cardboard cove
Starting out with still life/ small object table-top photography doesn't have to be expensive. Sometimes the simplest designs work out the best. Here is a simple, economical solution to window light tabletop still life photography.
Cut open one end of a cardboard box and attach seamless paper to form a cove. Using a cove eliminates the distracting horizontal line formed where the vertical and horizontal surface meet.
Position the box, with side open and seamless paper in place on a chair, table, or stand that is lower than a window.
Select an object that is not too small or too large for the set. Avoid glassware and reflective objects — these require other lighting techniques.
Keep the composition simple — one or two items only.
Turn off the room lights. Window light should be the only source of light. You may find that the form and cast shadows are too dark. Use a white matte board or white foam board as a reflector to fill in the dark shadows and provide a fill light.
Use a tripod and bracket your exposure.