STEP BY STEP / Strike a balance
1 Read the meter
Set your Nikon on a tripod and put it in manual mode. Take a meter reading by looking through your viewfinder and noting the light meter. Aim for around the centre of the meter for this situation, because we have no bright highlights or dark shadows.
2 Set the speed
At 24mm, an aperture of f/5.6 kept the organ in focus from front to back. Starting at the flash sync speed (1/200 sec), decrease the shutter speed until you get the light meter reading the correct exposure. During the shoot we experimented with speeds of 1/125-1/20 sec.
3 Light it up
Put a flash trigger on your Nikon and your flashgun. Put the flashgun on a light stand and set the power to 1/32 power. Put a diffuser on the light to spread it over the entire subject. If it’s not bright enough, turn up the flashgun power, but don’t touch the camera settings.
4 Move it around
Move the flash around to get different looks and frame it so you can still see the lighting underneath. We side-lit the keys and turned the Nikon side-on to the keys to get that shine on the front of the black keys. Because the light was diffused by an umbrella, the keys were lit evenly.
5 Frame your shot
Try out some compositional tricks to see what works for your subject. If you’re shooting a symmetrical subject, frame up to emphasise that symmetry. By framing the console straight-on you can see the butterfly switches bowing around the horseshoe shape at the edge.
6 Add a model
Use a model to bring your subject to life and to add a sense of scale. If your subject is something that can be used, then capture it being used. Jason is actually a theatre organist, so he jumped up on the bench and ran the organ through its paces for a few shots.
1/20 sec 1/125 sec