Saturday, June 27, 2009

Trying New Things

In the past few days, I've tried some new lighting techniques that have rendered some great results. Well, they're not exactly new but they're new to me.

What I have learned:

~ I've learned not to always avoid shadows. Shadows can serve to add depth and dimension. I knew this was true when lighting people to create a sense of depth and dimension, hence the genius of off camera lighting, but the shadow that get casted on the background can also add depth and dimension. I think it also adds a bit more drama and an extra element of style.

I used a single beauty dish above her. I started out by lighting the white backdrop as well. I soon discovered that the images were more dramatic when I eliminated the backdrop light and introduced the shadowing.

~ I've learned the benefit of HSS (High Speed Sync). Most DSLR cameras only have the ability to synch with flash at no faster than 1/250 of a second. If the shutter speed exceeds the camera's maximum synch speed, than the image will have a black bar towards the bottom of the frame because the camera's shutter closes before all the burst of light is captured. HSS fires very rapid multiple burst of light so the entire frame gets lit. The benefit of HSS is that it allows you to increase the shutter speed therefore you can keep the sky a deep vibrant blue but also have the subject well lit too.

Sun in the upper left, three 580EXIIs, one 430EXII. All with a 1/2 CTO, bare bulb, from camera right. Triggered by a 24" ETTL off camera cord.
5D Mark II, 24-70mm f/2.8. ISO250, 1/640, f/10

~ I've learned that contrasting colors can really make a subject stand out.

I double processed this file to make the background see cooler and Lisa seem a bit warmer.

I used a 1/2 CTO (Color Temperature Orange) gel over my light to create this effect. By choosing the right White Balance in the camera and the right colored gel over your light, you can do some pretty awesome stuff to the subject and the background as seen here where Mandy has a nice warm glow and the columns behind her are a ice cold blue.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Two Images in 1 Photo Contest

Two of my images have been selected as Finalists in Digital Photo Magazine's "Great Escapes" Photo Contest. If you like either one of these images or both, please take a second to vote for them. Thanks.



Sunday, June 7, 2009

Are you Gellin'

I just discovered the wonderful world of colored gels. I have been doing weeks of research trying to find an easy and econmical solution for a multiple backdrop support system. I wanted to be able to have several color options for backdrops and an easier way of changing them than pulling off one roll of seamless paper and putting another one on. This is not only time consuming but it requires two people.

I found several options for multiple backdrop support systems but they were all expensive, not to mention that I would also have to buy multiple backdrops. I finally stumbled on an article about gelling a backdrop. (Lighting a gray backdrop with a colored gel over the light to change the backdrop's color) I have done with before with a white backdrop with not so great results. The reason why gray or even black seamless paper is better than white is because they tend to saturate the colors in a very vivid way.

I decided on a darker gray seamless paper. I also ordered 15-20 colored gels. Got the package from B&H and gave it a whirl. The results exceeded my expectations.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Recent Portraits

I've been doing a lot of portraits ever since my awesome wife Michele surprised me by converting our garage into a studio. I've been having a great time trying new lighting schemes and using my ultra hi-tech hair blower (fan). Here are some of the recent portraits captured in my new studio:

Angelynn had the perfect hair for the hair fan. It's thick enough not go crazy but light enough to flow well. She also has the thickest and longest eye lashes I've ever seen.

Theresa was a bit shy at first but loosened up when the lights started popping. She worked it like a super-model.

Kenyatta was the perfect model for this low key shot. The shot came out great. Full of mood and character. The hat was a perfect touch.

Meet Ethan. He's a boxer. He'll box your ears. LOL. Ethan has big, beautiful, blue eyes. I thought his parents did a great job of choosing his blue shirt to make his eyes pop even more. I used a huge octabox to make his eyes sparkle even more.