13 Jun 2012

How Getting Creative with White Balance can add a little Zing to your Product Photography!

Ok, so how to add a little something to a pic by fiddling with the white balance a bit? First, I took a standard pic of my daughters sneakers. What do you mean that's not something you usually do? Just go with the flow and stop arguing with me ok!

Standard pic of daughters sneakers:

This was taken with two Speedlights to light the sneakers, an sb700 to camera left on a light stand firing into a black-backed umbrella and providing the main light from the front. There is also an sb600 with a home made gobo shooting onto the white wall behind the subject (sneakers) to provide a second soft light from behind.

The result is not bad lighting wise, but what if we wanted to add another element to this to change, and hopefully improve, the look?

So what I did was attach the incandescent filter that comes with the sb700 to the front of the sb700 that was giving me my main light. It was on a light stand shooting into a black backed umbrella from camera left a little up. (See the set-up/pull-back shot further down.) The pic below is of the sb700 with incandescent filter attached and firing, while the sb600 is providing the light against the back wall. The cameras white balance is set to incandescent, so the sb700's light is correctly balanced and the sb600's light turns a lovely blue!

And here is the sb600, complete with home made cut-from-cornflakes-box-covered-in-silver-duct-tape gobo. It is held on the flash with a spare modelling balloon "borrowed" from my wife who uses these things to make balloon animals at childrens parties. Yeah, I know, but it works! ;^)

This combination now gives me a result that I like a little better! See for yourself:

And here is the promised set-up/pull-back shot:

The orange cloth is a cheap microfibre cloth which is great for cleaning surfaces, products, camera lenses, and my glasses. Never leave home without one. The table is a cheap fold down variety that is quite sturdy, but light weight. You can get them cheap at Netto in Scandinavia. That might be a bit far to travel for a cheap table if you live in the US or Africa (or elsewhere) so rather look out for one locally. But if you do decide to get one at Netto, look me up when you get to Malmö, I'll buy coffee!

One last piece of equipment that I used in this shot was the Nikon SG-3IR, which is a special cheap plastic flippy flappy thing that attaches to the cameras flash hotshoe and covers the built-in flash to filter out any light from the flash while still letting the infrared light through to maintain communications with the remote flashes without influencing the light on the subject (sneakers). It looks like so:

The photo of the sneakers was taken with a Nikon D90, AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G, Aperture Priority mode, ISO200, 1/60s, f11.0, implementing Nikon's fantastic CLS system, hand held and processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.

Have a great day!


  1. Thanks for the great tip / advice, Lanthus, something like that Nikon SG-3IR gadget I was looking for!


    1. They are the cheapest Nikon product there is, so if you shoot via CLS there really is no excuse not to get one! And they work really well too.

      Have a great day Uwe!

  2. I love the effect...you're such a genius...well, behind the lens anyway ;)

    1. Thanks Phil!

      When you guys coming to visit? 8^)