Set Shop Photography Tutorials
Steve Sint

Steve Sint

Digital Still Life Photography: Art, Business, and Style

Steve Sint has spent a great deal of his life walking down aisles backwards. Over a 40 year career, he has photographed over 4,000 weddings, taken over 2 million photographs, and shot over 1 million portraits for his own studio and others in the New York metropolitan area. As a commercial photographer he has photographed thousands of executives and still life subjects. His client list includes, or has included, the American Broadcasting Company, Time Inc., Hearst Publications, Yves St. Laurent, AT&T, NCR, National Semiconductor, Miller Freeman Publishing, MacGroupUS, and Hachette-Filipacchi Magazines. His photographs have appeared on the covers of over 60 national magazines including LIFE, Omni, Stereo Review, and Modern Photography.

As a columnist and contributor his words and photographs have also appeared in Studio Photography, Lens Magazine, Modern Photography, Popular Photography, View Camera Magazine, Railroad Model Craftsman, and he has authored 7 books on photography. In his most recently published book, Digital Wedding Photography: Art, Business, and Style, he shares his experience with his readers in the breezy, knowledgeable, and accessible style his writing is known for. At this point in his career he limits his assignments to 50 per year for a select New York clientele, photographs and writes about things he enjoys, and still finds time to lecture on professional photography, create and produce tutorial videos, conduct workshops on wedding, portrait, and still life photography, while still finding time to work on his model railroad.

His newest book, Digital Still Life Photography: Art, Business, and Style, was released in January 2013.

This video focuses on two different topics. The first topic explains some tips that can help keep you safe when working in a photographic studio. The second is how to use an in-camera masking technique that allows you to merge two images of a still life subject into a single image using Photoshop to get perfect registration of the images.

This tutorial is not about lights, it’s not about fill cards, it’s not about cameras, tripods, or models; it is about fixtures. Not those ceramic things on the ceiling you screw a light bulb into but fixtures that hold the subject (or subjects) you want to photograph in the position and attitude that you want them in when you photograph them. Sand, material, cast iron angle plates, steel blocks, armature wire, hunks of wood, and blobs of FunTak can all be fixtures and this tutorial shows you how to use them to position your still life subjects the way you want them positioned.

This tutorial covers constructing a V-flat, using wind machines, and suggestions for full length lighting and posing. We are going to start off by building a 4X8 foot “V-flat”. If you accept the premise that a soft box can emulate window light; representing a window that you can position where you want it and has a repeatable color temperature, then you might be able to visualize that a “V flat” can emulate the light coming through a doorway. Furthermore, while a “V flat” might be more difficult to position than a soft box because it is so much larger, you can more easily adjust the lighting it provides to emulate light coming in through the bottom, middle, or top of the doorway.

This is the first tutorial of four that is going to focus on portraiture. We are going to use two fill cards to create a different kind of portrait lighting. The first card will be used to create a light I’ve named a “scoop” because it scoops up the rays of a light from a flash head behind the background and throws it over the top of the background to light our subject’s hair. The second fill card is going to be used to create a type of lighting called a beauty light. It’s called a beauty light because the position of the lights and the fill card we will be using will minimize both vertical and horizontal wrinkles and other imperfections on our subject’s face.

In previous tutorials I described working with light modifiers and fill cards. The subject of this tutorial is combining the information featured in those two tutorials to light a complex still life subject; in this case that subject is an antique Cartier watch. This video shows you how to light such a subject in a step-by-step manner. We will be taking you on a journey that explains specifically why each light and fill card is added to the lighting design to get the effect we are looking for.

This tutorial is about fill cards and why photographers use them. It starts off be explaining the differences between how the human eye works and sees thing versus how a len’s aperture works and how the camera sees things. It goes on to illustrate how the placement of a single fill card can alter the look of a resulting image when a fill card is used. Next, it describes a way to construct a simple fixture that will allow photographers to position a fill card exactly where they want it quickly and easily.

This tutorial is about the lights photographers use. It starts off by describing the two basic lights available to photographers: hard lights and soft lights. With that out of the way, the tutorial moves on to compare two different types of soft lights: umbrellas and soft boxes. The tutorial describes a way to improve the catch lights a soft box creates in reflective subjects. Finally, the video explains how to make a simple diffusion frame that, when used with a light mounted on a second light stand, can replace a bank light.

A light table is a piece of photography studio furniture whose top and rear wall is made from a piece of translucent acrylic plastic (one such brand is called Plexiglas®). Often called “a sweep”, the acrylic tabletop’s rear edge extends past the table’s flattop so it can be flexed upwards to create a background without a horizon line. Additionally, because the table’s top and rear wall is translucent, you can place a light (or lights) under the table or behind it to eliminate shadows altogether.

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