Swing Away


Working of the inspiration from my golf hobby, I decided to shoot something that would be a little harder… a golf club. Why would that be harder? Because it’s metal and shiny… which can be a potential nightmare if it’s your first time trying to light something so reflective. My hats off to all the jewelry photographers in the world.

For this setup, I wanted a little harder light than I usually use so I used a an SB80DX and an SB800 with only the diffusion domes. I used another SB80DX with a Rosco 80 blue gel on the black seamless paper background. I triggered the lights with CyberSyncs and SU-4 mode on my SB80DXs. I had the CST on the D90 and a CSRB on the SB800. The SB800 fired the SB80DXs which were using their built-in optical slaves (SU-4 mode).

Here’s the setup shot:


For my camera setup, my D90 was in Manual, f8, 1/125th, ISO 200, Flash WB. I used the Nikon 16-85mm VR lens @ 85mm. I had the camera on my tripod to ensure extra stability. The reason I used the Flash WB preset was because I knew I would need a warmer WB setting while shooting something metal with no finish on it. A cooler WB setting would have left the image feeling a lot more cool than what I would have wanted. Since I shot RAW, I could have fixed it in post… but why do that when you can do it in camera?

I had to move my lights around quite a bit to get the exact look I was going for. I tried to think about where my light was coming from and where I would get reflections and really hot specular highlights. The two speedlights that were lighting the golf club were set on VERY low power. The SB800 was at 1/32 and the SB80DX was set to 1/64. The background SB80DX was at 1/4.

This was a fun, yet challenging subject and I had a good time working out the problems I encountered. Each day, we should challenge ourselves as photographers. It’s another way we can sharpen our skills and grow as artists. So what are you waiting for? CHALLENGE YOURSELF!


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