Chapter 2. The Digital Desktop Photo Studio
Nature usually provides us with the light we need to take photos. However, there are times when it doesn't provide enough light, the right kind of light, or light in the right place for what we want to do. At these times, we use electronic flash or studio lights, along with reflectors, diffusers, and other devices that control the light. Professional studios spend small fortunes on lighting equipment, but that need not be the case for everyone. Ruth Bernhard took fantastic photos of seashells with the simplest and least expensive setup imaginable. As she wrote in 1945 "Before photographing I give much thought and time to lighting. I like to use small and not too powerful spotlights in combination with shaving mirrors—the five and ten-cent store variety. I seldom direct the light directly on the surface but prefer to use the edge of the light. If hard shadows interfere with the delicacy of the design, I use diffusion screens even on the mirrors. With little and soft light, and careful planning, the beautiful plastic form of the shell can be recreated".
In this chapter we explore the entire spectrum of studio lighting and other equipment. However, the emphasis is on the digital desktop studio that costs little, fits into a small space, and stores away out of sight.