Photographing Kittens is Harder Than I Thought

July 3rd, 2017

Untitled photo

Spent an hour photographing Oliver yesterday.  He was more interested in tearing down the light tent than posing for his portrait.  For this shoot I used a Neewer light tent. 

So what is a light tent you might ask....A light tent or light box is a contraption with translucent sides that diffuses light coming from multiple sources. This allows for even, nearly shadow-less lighting against a simple, solid background. 

And how do you use it.....The standard set-up for light tent photography is to place the tent on a table, with the light sources directly opposite each other on each side. My light source was two speed lights set at 1/64 power.  Placing the tent up on a table makes it easier to see and maneuver, as well as easier for shooting.  The backdrop is attached at the top inside the tent and should fall freely down into a gentle curve at the back and then across the bottom of the tent.

To photograph you subject, place it carefully inside the tent, and start with it in the exact center. Moving your subject forward or backwards relative to the light can change the lighting and shadows. Experiment to get the look you want. You can also experiment with pointing the speed lights slightly at an angle, rather than straight on at the tent. Be sure to leave space between your subject and the walls, so that you can zoom in or position your camera to see only the backdrop and not any edges.  It's best to start with objects that don't move (unlike a kitten-Oliver really didn't want to stay in the center or look at the camera).

How to set up the camera............Consider the ambient light and choose an aperture and shutter speed that produces a black image. You do want to avoid direct sunlight shining in or at your tent, as it will be difficult to balance such a powerful light source.  Choose your aperture based on the look that you want to achieve in the image.  For this picture I set my camera at f9 at 1/60.   Also, consider bracketing at -1, 0, and +1 exposure, so you can see which gives you the best results. (For white backgrounds, you may get better results around +1; while for black backgrounds, you will get better results around -1. If a full stop is too dark or too light, try a half or a third of a stop.).

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