Jay Stoegbaueron April 30, 2013
I told you that expensive equipment is not important! You have proven that all you need is a window and a lamp.
Perfect direction and quality to define the shapes of the objects, and set the mood. Also great attention to detail in the lighting to create those highlights on the edge of the leaves, bringing them to life. The contrast of the light is perfect in defining the shape of the vase and apple, but yet holding detail in the shadows. It looks from your overall lighting shot that there is something on the right side of the frame that maybe acting as a reflector, or to block some light from the shadows? Whatever you did it works.
Compositionally, I Think the near perfect attention to detail that you achieved in the lighting falls slightly short. My first observation is a spatial problem with the lemon. Between the vase, apple and lemon, together they form an arrow shape that points directly out of the bottom corner of the frame. If you must use it, (and frankly I would highly suggest losing it), tuck it in further to the front of the apple. I do not think you need it though, and its brightness definitely attracts my eye. The bright highlight on the apple does the same, and I would tone that down in post production.
The two leaves in the front are wonderfully arranged, but I would also tuck the apple in a bit tighter to get rid of that slight black space to the right of the leaf sitting on the surface. I also like the placement of the leaf leaning on the front of the vase, but it almost seems just a bit too large. It is very similar in size to the left leaf on the surface.
Speaking of the surface, the choice of black is great. Unfortunately, it is not completely black and the hint of texture in the lower left corner, as well as the two shapes that peek through to the right of the vase, (about one-third from the top of the frame), are a bit distracting. Complete black backgrounds are hard to achieve. I have found that black velvet, (not velveteen, but actual velvet) works the best.
Lastly, the APPLE NEEDS A STEM! (Just steal one from another apple).