Gum Paste Roses – Project 365: Day 94

by matt on May 25, 2010

My wife’s passion is cake decorating.  She will spend hours and hours making intricate flowers out of sugar and gum paste.  These are a few that she made recently.  They are all made by hand and I just love the detail that she puts into them.

To get this shot I used my standard 2 flash setup.  The first flash was positioned camera right with a shoot through umbrella.  I set the flash on 1/2 power.  The second flash was positioned camera left and used a Lumiquest Softbox III.  I set this flash to 1/4 power.

You might be wondering how I determined those to be the correct settings on the flash.  It was all trial and error.  I’m sure there is a more refined method for dialing this in and if anyone knows what it is I’d love to have the information.  But what I do is set my camera with the aperture I want to use and fire off a few test shots.  If I like what I see on the screen I start taking more shots.  If it’s too dark then I bump up the power on the flashes until I like what I see.  If it’s too blown out then I dial the flashes down a bit and take a few more test shots.

If you use this method I think you will find that over time you learn to know what initial settings you should start with and you will spend less and less time with the trial and error shots and get dialed in much quicker.  I like to play around with different flash power settings, adjust the zoom factor of the flash (how wide or narrow the beam of light is), the aperture and the shutter speed of the camera.  I like to shoot in manual mode so that I can have complete creative control over these aspects.

For this shot I used an aperture of f/11 which I thought gave me ample depth of field (the area in focus).  I used a Canon 5DII and a Tamron 28-75mm lens.  If you want to know more about this shot or have specific questions I’ll do my best to answer them.  Feel free to leave any questions in the comments or use the contact form.

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