Tag Archives: studio

Sharing your photography knowledge with others.

This weekend will be a weekend I won’t forget for a long time.aton-mebel.ru

But we have to back up a few months to put this in context. There was twitter and all things were good. Then twitter started having problems and a bunch of other services started up. One such service is Plurk. Plurk is like twitter but its more conversational and you can develop friendships on Plurk much like you can on Flickr.

About 6 months ago, I met Susan, who is @ttpus here on Flickr. Much like any other internet relation, it takes time to build up trust. @ttpus is a photographer who shoots a lot of baby and senior portraits and some weddings, mostly natural light.trailer movie J. Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only 2017

In June, she planned to shoot her own daughter’s wedding but a week before hand she decided that she would rather have someone else shoot the wedding. She took a chance on someone she knew in 140 character chunks and flew me to Iowa to photograph the wedding.

While there, we talked a lot of shop and she was interested in getting into working with models, perhaps setup a home studio, but she would need to learn lighting.

We continued to talk about this after the wedding and she decided now was the time to move forward with this part of her photography. Using frequent flier miles she and her husband picked a weekend to come to Raleigh for me to teach her.

She’s a Canon owner (5D + 40D and 2 580EX II speedlites) and she knew she needed some real studio gear. A couple of weeks prior to her visit, we talked about what she needed. She ordered the studio gear and had it shipped to me, so I could make sure I knew it before she arrived.

A couple of days later, two hot pink Alien Bee 800’s along with light stands, umbrellas and a big 5′ x 3′ softbox showed up. Having had Monolights before, the AB800’s were a piece of cake to use. For what its worth, the light from them are just awesome. She also picked up a pair of pocket wizards and enough parts that she could also use her 580EX II’s off camera much like we do in our strobist setups (small shoot through white umbrella, light weight stand, etc)

To make her trip worthwhile, I booked a couple of models. I thought “Film Noir” would be a great introduction to lighting and booked the wonderful CoriLee as our model along with Jessica Dunn to do the makeup. This shoot would tie us up from 12-5 on Sunday.

For Saturday, we added in an urban street shoot to get her experience with the 580’s off camera and booked Laurie Lu to shot in the warehouse district in Raleigh.

Somewhere along the way I got the bright idea, since she shoots a lot of babies to find a six month old to give a free sitting too while she worked with her studio lights. My next door neighbor has a 5 month old, the timing was good, so we had our baby model which we shot prior to the Sunday session, now making that an 11am to 5pm shoot.

It got even better. My day job was needing a product shot with a hand model so I picked the item up Thursday since I took Friday off to work with Susan. Since these shots are going to run in ads, I was able to score “Tear Sheets” for everyone involved.

I needed a big softbox for the product shoot so the timing was perfect.

Friday arrived and my guests arrived around 1pm. After a brief lunch, we came back to the house and she and her husband got the Studio Lighting 101 class. They learned how to setup and break down the Alien Bee’s. How to use the pocket wizards. We discovered a bad hot shoe on her 40D which explained why she was having trouble getting her 580’s to work on that camera. Using hubby as a model she learned how to use her hand held meter to get the right exposure.

Saturday, we hung out in the morning and talked for a while before my wife and I introduced them to the wonderful cuisine known as “Clyde Coopers BBQ”. We drove around where we would be shooting to give her an idea of the scenery.

Both nights after shooting we downloaded her cards and analyzed her work. It was a great weekend, but afterward we were all quite beat. They arrived back in Iowa this morning and her Alien Bee’s are en-route to meet her in a few days.

I will miss my time with them.

For me it was a great time to give back and share what I’ve learned over the years. I hope she has great success with her plans.

1 Light 4 Moods – Part 3

Bliss Softlight, originally uploaded by Miracle Man.

For this photo, I had the flash shooting through a 33″ white translucent umbrella. I had the Nikon SB800 strobe light on manual 1/8th power and about 3 feet away from the model. When you only have one light, it pretty much is the main or “key” light. Most of the time, when your doing a portrait session, you want to go for a standard “broad” lighting setup.

Broad lighting is when the subject is pretty much looking at the light source. This illuminates a majority of the subjects face. Usually you pose a portrait with the head turned slightly to where you see about 3/4 of the face. When the light lights the 3/4’s part of the face, thats “Broad” lighting.

Another lighting style is called “short” lighting and this is where the subject looks away from the light and in the typical 3/4 pose, the 1/4th side of the face is illuminated with the key light.live streaming film Sausage Party

Another way of thinking about this is broad lighting lights the eye closest to the camera, short lighting lights the eye furthest from the camera.

Usually you start portraits with the lights at 45 degrees to either side of the camera and 30-45 degrees above the subject. This is great portrait lights, but its not very creative. Its great to start there and get a few safe shots done, but you should consider moving the lights and break the rules. However a few concepts should be kept in mind.

Its all about the eyes. If your subject’s eyes are going to be open, having a strong set of “catch lights” or the reflections of your key light in the subject’s eyes is critical to pulling the viewer in. Also eyes lost in the shadows of the eye sockets are generally unattractive (unless your shooting horror shots!) so getting light into the eyes is something you should always be conscience of .

But for this photo session, we were going for a “Film Noir” look. Film Noir, is a lighting style seen in the 1940’s and besides being black and white, its characterized by strong side lighting. I didn’t want the spotlight effect as used in the two previous articles. I wanted a softer light for this shot, but with enough directionality to give some hard edges.

I set the light’s height almost level with the model and directly right of her. A shoot through umbrella acts like a round softbox giving a soft feathered light that helps wrap around avoiding hard shadows. However, since an umbrella is curved it also has the effect of “spilling” light in nearly a 180 degree radius. So this setup, put enough light on the background to give me a reasonably smooth background gradient as well.

Of course with the light this far to the side of the camera, there is risk of lens flare as the light on the near side of the umbrella is firing at the camera. Depending on power, you might have to “flag off” or block the light coming towards the camera. Between the Nikon D200 only using part of the lens’ coverage circle and having the lens hood on, I avoided any flare in the photo.

I set the exposure on the camera to avoid any blowouts in the white. Final tonal adjustments were made in Photoshop to equalize the range between black and white. But with the hot side lights and enough feathering her body, we get this mysterious yet soft photo.

The one regret. No one smokes (and our house is smoke free where this is shot), so no cigarette in the holder. Had there been one with a small puff of smoke, I think I would have used this photo for the Raleigh Flickr Group’s Summer Project. instead of the one in the first post.

Next up, Rim Lighting.