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Some diagrams to start with...

I like this picture. The reason I like it is becuase I think it gives a pretty good feeling for how lovely this F-bass is in real life:

Below are two diagrams that shows how the above photo was "set-up". Notice how the top of the bass looks nice and glossy? This bass has a flawless burst finish in real life, and lighting the bass a certain way can help to give an accurate representation of this in photograph terms. For example, there is some reflected light coming off the top of the bass that helps show the nice curves of the carving along the cutaways, as well as reflections of the knobs and the strings. This reflected light is coming from a white surface (the wall of my apartment) that isn't itself visible in the photo but is instead seen reflected in the surface of the bass (please see diagrams below to get an idea of the "orientation" between the wall, bass, and camera necessary to produce these reflections).

Another thing that helps make this bass look nice are the soft shadows. If i had a "real" photo studio, I'd have access to a lot of lighting equipment which would be useful for easily producing soft shadows (umbrellas, soft boxes, etc.). But since I don't have any of that kind of equipment available, you can get similar results by aiming the light source upwards at the ceiling. As you can see in the second diagram, the light bounces off the ceiling and then down onto the bass. By doing this, the ceiling itself acts like a large light source and therefore produces much softer shadows. Just directing a bare bulb directly onto the bass would have yielded a much harsher lighting effect (remember page two?).


diagram one: top view of set-up.


diagram two: side view of set-up.

I hope this all makes sense. If it doesn't, you might want to try it out for yourself. Sometimes actually doing it is all that you need to make the ideas entirely clear....


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