How to use slow shutter speed | What Else Michelle

Are you daring enough?

We’ve been blogging and taking photos of our DIY projects for quite some time now and we’ve been using the same photography style for quite some time too. I haven’t been in the blogging industry for that long (just almost 3 months actually) and I haven’t taken as much photographs as you guys have already. But being me, I easily get bored.

Like I mentioned in my previous posts, here and here, our house lacks sources of natural light so it’s kinda hard to photograph furniture and interiors without the aid of external flash. I wanted to photograph my revamped computer chair again, this time adding a little drama instead of just placing it against our battered main door. I wanted it to look like it’s ready for a catalog so that it’s beauty can be more appreciated.

This is quite a long post so read on to see how you your camera can surprise you with amazing unexpected images.

Since, we have this wall with peeled paint (you can read about it here), I thought it would be nice to use the texture for background before we have it repaired. I also wanted to try B-setting (bulb setting) again. The last time I used it was 10 years ago, waaaaay back in college.

Using just my Ikea Lersta Lamp, a blue and pink singlet, a tripod and my very entry-level Canon EOS 1100D, I started my experiment with light.

I started setting up my camera at around 9:45pm after I made sure that Bryce was already asleep. This is important because I had to be certain that no one would insist on turn the lights on or accidentally move the objects that were supposed to be static and I just didn’t want any distractions at all.

Here’s what I did:

  1. I set up my camera on a tripod then arranged the subject.
  2. My camera was in Tv (shutter-priority) setting, with shutter speed at its maximum, 30 seconds. Don’t worry about the aperture as the camera will automatically set it for you.
  3. I turned off all the lights.
  4. You need a light source in order for you to release the shutter so I had the lamp turned on.
  5. Once I was satisfied with my setup, I clicked the shutter button and ran quickly towards the subject, grabbing the lamp first, covering it with either of the singlets.
  6. I only had 30 seconds and I just had to keep moving the lamp and changing the cover. Sometimes, I let the light sit in a spot for about 3 seconds.

I edited this photoshop by using Auto Tone, adjusting the curves and brightness/contrast manually and erasing the outlets using clone stamp tool.

The unedited version

I really can’t tell you how exactly I got this image because that’s the thing about “painting with light.” You never really know what to expect. I just kept moving and changing the cover of the lamp so it would reflect different light colors. I guess, I held the lamp with pink cover a little longer on this one so there was a pink aurora borealis-like light around the vase. You can see a hint of blue light too. To achieve the transparent, ghost-like look of the vase, do not let it sit in place for the entire 30 seconds the aperture is open. I think I removed it after 10-15 seconds. Otherwise, it would look sold like the chair. Oh, and if you look closely on the lower left hand corner of the image, you could see my foot. I guess I didn’t move quickly enough.

Here’s another fave shot I picked from about 20 frames I did using this subject.

This time I didn’t edit the outlets and the cord. I like the dark, grunge effect of this image. Click here for the unedited version.

I pointed the light directly under the chair for a few seconds. The rest, I had no idea what I did. Click here for the unedited version.

*** Learn how you can make-over your old, boring computer chair.***

This is another DIY project I did–painted bottles using Decorfin Glass Paint.

This was just one flower that I let stay for 5 seconds before moving it to another position. Click here for the unedited version.

Back in college, we only use SLR camera. Take note, there is no “D” so it’s not digital but film! And being a student with a budget, I had to make sure that all 36 shots in my film was shot well-spent. Now that I have a DSLR, I can do 100 shots if I wanted to. Yey!!! Last night I was able to do only 47 shots in an hour and felt like I finished  a workout out too. I was sweaty from all those running back and forth, moving the lamp around, changing cloth covers and removing the vase. Hmm, this could be my new fat-burner workout…

Here’s another one that I like.

Here are some of the mistakes that I did. Well, these aren’t technically mistakes because you can actually do this if that’s the look you’re after to.

This was one of my earlier shots. I keep dropping the singlets on that spot, forgetting that it was within my frame shot.

I didn’t cover the lamp with cloth. I was probably waving the lamp directly to the camera, thus the harsh light.

That was me, not moving myself at all. I was moving just the lamp.

So tonight, I dare you to turn off your lights, bring out your flashlights or lamps and explore painting with light. This is so much fun because you never know what to expect from your pictures.

2 Comments on Are you daring enough?

  1. avatar
    Elaine Ramos
    August 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm (4 years ago)

    The end product is wonderful! 🙂


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