Softening the Light

I had to take two photos, one using just a naked light, the second using a diffuser, in this case a piece of tracing paper.

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Initally I took a photo of my amethyst gemstone, the object I am intending to use in the assignment, I shot in daylight in my room but shut the curtains and blinds. The darkness still wasn’t very apparent but I went ahead using my desk lamp with the tracing paper and acetate at parts. I was confused why the effect of the diffuser wasn’t shown and decided to try again the next day.

I researched diffusers, the effect it has and set to work. To me I was working with my indoor photo studio and collection of lights. To my family who kept wondering why the lights kept going off, I was lying in the porch with my head in a giant printer box with my iPhone torch and a scrap piece of cardboard. 😛

This time I could see the effect immediately which I was extremely pleased with as if it hadn’t worked then I was going to sit in the loft with the hatch shut, not the most calming of thoughts.

First I placed a piece of fossil in the box and used my torch which my Dad held up for me. It was quite dark and I realised I placed the stone against a similar patterned carpet which sent the camera a bit crazy but I persevered changing ISO and aperture and eventually got the photo. 

It’s slightly blurred by the effect I wanted is there. The shadows are so harsh and black on the original without a diffuser whereas the shadow fades away in the second one. 


I wanted to experiment with different angles, like front on to get some ideas for the assignment. I decided to use the inbuilt flash on the camera. The flash has wiped away detail, washing it in an overexposed effect.


In the photo with the tracing paper placed to the inbuilt flash I was surprised at the deeper warmer colours, the flash hasn’t washed any of it out. I love the warm colours. The only thing I’m confused about is the shadow, I thought it was meant to be softer but if anything the contrast is more. Still, it is an effect I like and amazing the difference a bit of tracing paper can create.

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I followed on with two more photos of a different object with a wide view point noting the same effects.


While I was doing this I experimented with placing my iPhone with the torch behind the subject. The iPhone case is a camera so I placed a strip of cardboard in front of it, piercing a hole in the front for the torch to get through.  It was essential to do this as I’m going to be using it for the assignment to show shape/form. The dust in the box and jet cat was illuminated giving a ring of light exactly what I wanted. But there’s a problem, I need to find a way for everything in the box to be darker, the cardboard is not the cave effect I am intending for. I think I’ll experiment with black paper around the box.

The photo shoot ended though not a moment too soon as Arran, my box loving cat spotted her new home for the day and politely told me to get lost.


I really enjoyed this exercise, as I do all of them. Onwards to the next exercise. 😀


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