There are two challenges with photographing Good Smile Company’s Dead Master figure for me: the dark outfit tend to blend into the background…and dust. While there’s not much I can do about the latter besides brushing the figure and spot removal in post-processing, I did manage to stumble onto something neat about the former.

The original plan was just to blast some green light on the the background. Since that shtick is getting old, I figure I’d mix it up by shooting the green-gelled flash through a glass vase in hopes of producing some interesting effect.

Spoilers alert: it didn’t. But while shooting through the uneven glass surface did not yield any interesting patterns on the curtain, it did scatter the light in all directions. So now the green light was not only cast on the curtain backdrop, but also onto the back side of the figure, producing an attractive rim light on the left side of the image. At this point all I had to do is add some rim light on the right side to separate the figure from the background some more.

The takeaway from this that experimentation — no matter how insignificant — will always be an opportunity to learn. If the idea works, great! If not, then you’ll have learned why it didn’t. And if you’re extra lucky, you might discover something new completely by chance.