Lighting for Bonsai photography
Lighting in its simplest form can be natural sunlight, Here are some of the types of light you can use including
- Natural light; Daylight or sunlight (direct sunlight can be harsh,high contrast and dramatic)
- Filtered Natural light; light or light passing through a medium for example a window or curtain
- Artificial light always on; flourescent tubes, worklights, tungsten lights
- Artificial light flash photography; on camera flash, off camera flash
- Reflected light; any light source reflected off a wall,or sheet, or card or other object
and various combinations of the above;
Example of Artificial light - Bright Frontal lighting (red eye for plants)
This is the classic result of a frontal flash with little or no other natural or artificial light. Note the dark
shadows behind each branch.
Finding a balance
Depending on your style it is important to consider the light parts of the image and the dark parts of the image.
Generally speaking it is the ratio of the light and dark parts of the image as well as colour which will affect the overall mood significantly. If you imagine a picture of a tree being light and bright versus dark and shadowy, you can evoke different emotions and interpretations of the same image using two different lighting methods.
Shooting inside next to windows.
Shooting inside next to a window can be an easy way to start. The light coming in from a window is often soft and filtered. If the light is coming in from the left hand side of the photo, you may need to place a piece of white paper / cardboard / sheet on the right just out of the photo to reflect some light back to the right hand side of the bonsai and balance things up a bit. Just be aware that external light can change with clouds coming over and reducing the amount of light coming into the window. So if you have a manual setting that worked with one photo it may change if the light changes over time.