The aim was to make a simple image that is minimalist but still effective and interesting. I used the same subject matter, which is the candles to make the image simplistic and filled the negative space with black to emphasise the candle flame and ensure the picture is not too ‘busy’. The setup was in the room with the lights off, allowing the candle flame to be the only light source. My camera was on a tripod so that I could use a slower shutter speed to allow more light into the lens but reduces camera shake.
It was interesting to shoot, especially enjoyable to create the setup in my room. I found the experience to be helpful as it uses a style of photography that I often find challenging when it comes to sharp, clean images in low key lighting. This circumstance defiantly challenged me as the only light came from the candles flames. Using the tripod, however, made this much easier to accomplish and to my surprise, the flames lit up the image significantly, to the point where I had to make the shutter speed faster.
The first few pictures had too much glare from the flame and created a bright exposure around the candles that I did not want. A faster shutter speed solved the problem and benefited the overall photo as it meant that the picture would be sharper due to the faster shutter freezing the image and reducing the possibility of being affected by any shake.
I chose this image for Simplification because I felt that the black negative space made it simplistic and attracted the viewer’s eye straight to the candles. I used 5 candles to create more subjects of interest but only framed the upper part of the candles to keep the simplest style.
Overall I believe that it suited the criteria given. I found it difficult to think if an image that was as simple as possible but still captivating. I do not think this image produced an emotional response from the viewer but the bold contrast from the flames still may attract the audience’s attention.
The image appears in focus and I think that the black background improves the overall effect of the image compared to a background that showed background objects. Going outside my comfort area of natural high key lighting was interesting and satisfying when the image outcome was similar to the one I imagined. Therefore this has gained more experience and skills with this style of photography and opened my mind to more abstract ideas.
Using a simple home studio setup I captured the second image following the theme ‘simplicity’. I used low-key lighting to create a dark background with a vibrant flower exposed and reflection.
Lighting and Setup
To light the subject I used two desk lamps on either side of the flower. I positioned the lamp on the left slightly more directed at the front of the flower to ensure that it does not have too many shadows that would make the image underexposed. I did not direct the lights behind the flower because I wanted to make sure the background was black, with no details from the backdrop.
I used desk lamps because it was the cheapest and easiest setup that I could make anywhere with little space needed. I would have preferred a more professional studio set up for better control over the lighting. The constant light meant that the shutter would have to be slower to compensate for the low lighting conditions. However flash would have allowed me to have a faster shutter speed, creating the clearer picture that could also be taken handheld. However, I am still satisfied with a cheap set up that still has effective outcomes.
The background was black to make the flower the primary focus. I aimed the lights only at the rose and used a black background, which was my window blind. I think that this worked effectively and has created the desired outcome that I intended. I found it interesting to be able to change the atmosphere in an image by the lighting, however, found it inconvenient to have little control, unlike a professional studio set up where I could have had a lot of control over the positions of the lights and brightness. I found that because I couldn’t change the brightness output from the lights I had to change the camera settings constantly. I could not turn the light’s brightness down, therefore had to reposition the camera and change the shutter speed to produce darker or brighter images. I found that this made the process slower and less effective.
Camera Equipment and Settings
I used the Canon 7D with the Canon 60mm macro lens. I used the macro lens to capture detail in the flower that my other lenses would not be able to show. Macro lenses are ideal for close-up detailed images, which I thought would be more effective in this image. The camera settings were 100 ISO, aperture at f4 and shutter speed to 1/20 second.
The slow shutter allowed more light to enter the lens, creating a better-lit image in the low lighting conditions. The ISO was set to the minimum amount available for the camera, presenting less noise in the image. In reflection, I should have used a smaller aperture to capture more of the flower in focus. Only certain parts of the petals are sharp which I am not satisfied with, therefore an aperture around f12 and longer shutter may have captured more of the flower in focus.
A tripod was used to reduce camera shake and allow a slower shutter speed and lower ISO. Due to the low light, a slow shutter ensured that the image was correctly exposed. This meant it was more sensitive to camera shake, therefore I placed the camera on a tripod. Personally, I feel more restricted when using a tripod but for this project it was beneficial and made the process easier, reducing the chances of blurry outcomes.
I also used a wired remote shutter that was connected to the camera. Instead of pressing the shutter button I pressed the remote shutter. This further made sure that I did not move the camera, producing sharper images.
I applied water droplets to add more interest to the image without making it overly complicated. I am pleased with the result from the water. I believe it has created a more effective image. I find the reflections from the droplets interesting to experiment with and creates a bold contrast against the black background. I have used this technique multiple times and will continue to use it to add depth to pictures. I will also experiment with water sprays, not just the still droplets. Capturing the water in action could produce an impacting image, however, for this project the still droplets suited the simplistic theme.
I chose the vibrant flower because it created a binary opposition against the black background. The contrast attracts attention to the image and creates a statement without having a ‘busy’ image. When editing I used the levels option to make the shadows bolder and used the unsharp mask to sharpen the image. I found that the vibrancy has overwhelmed parts of the flower, making it difficult to see detail. I think this is distracting and decreases the quality value. I would make sure that the rose is not overexposed and all in focus if I were to retake this image.
I positioned the flower to the upper right of the frame. I used a low angle to make the flower appear the dominant focus in the composition. I think the positioning of the flower makes for a more dynamic outcome, leading the viewer’s eye from the left corner across the image to the top right. The low angle captures the reflection from the flower, which I am satisfied with as I think that it makes the picture engaging to view.
Overall I think the image was simple enough for the theme simplification, due to the plain background and a large amount of negative space. I think the water and reflection create an effective outcome and would use these techniques again. However, the camera settings would be changed if this was redone because I am not satisfied with the quality of the picture. The flower is not detailed enough and overexposed. The red is too saturated,, taking attention away from the finer details. Although I think the bold colour of the flower is eye catching it may have been better in monochrome to further relate to the simplistic theme. The research that I conducted presented images with very little subjects and dull colouring, usually black and white.
The topic simplification helped me think of different ways to compose images and make them interesting with little shown. This is a different way of thinking from what I am used to and found it more creative and abstract. I enjoyed thinking more creatively about the image and will use the skills developed for further projects.