Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Photos

This is a repeat of a blog post I did last year. Also here's a replay of the Fox 43 interview.

The Holidays should be a time of joy and celebration but it often turns stressful for whomever is in charge of taking the pictures. This year, eliminate the stress and take better pictures by following a few basic tips.

Be Prepared
The night before the holiday gathering, make sure you have your gear ready. This means fully charged batteries, and an extra set. Plenty of empty memory cards. Tripod, light stands, reflectors. You may also want to have your camera and flash settings correct prior to the family gathering as well. This will ensure your pictures turn out great without having to fumble with the settings while your family is there.

Use the Right Light
When photographing the Christmas tree, avoid using flash. Flash will overpower the lights on the Christmas tree and create a harsh shadow. Also, try out of focus shots when photographing the tree.

If it's all possible, avoid using the on-camera pop-up flash when photography people. Direct flash is very unflattering and should be avoided. If you do not have the option for remote flashes, using something like a piece paper towel over the flash will help soften and diffuse the light.

Also consider using as much available light as possible. This means opening the windows and letting natural light in. If you're using lights from lamps or other artificial light sources, remember to change the White Balance setting on your camera to avoid strong color shifts.

Getting Great Holiday Family Portraits

Hire me!
But if you want to try yourself, these tips may help.

Have the family wear festive, holiday colors. You want the photo to say the Holidays so greens, reds, and whites are appropriate. Not everyone has to wear the same color, but patterns and busy prints should be avoided.
If you decide to take the photo outdoors, earth toned colors are a safe bet.

Make sure all your camera and lighting settings are correct before the family poses. This will ensure that the task will be stress free and that you keep your subjects looking happy. This is especially true for kids and babies. You'll have a time span of about 2 minutes. Make sure you spend that time getting great smiles and expressions and not fidgeting with your camera settings.

When photographing a group of people, have everyone close their eyes and count to three. On three, have them open their eyes and then take the shot. This will reduce the chances of someone blinking.

Getting Great Holiday Family Candids
Make a list of shots that you don't want to miss. A list will help you remember important shots that you may otherwise forget because of the hectic nature of the day.

When photographing kids and pets, get on their level. Perspective can make a break a photo.

Anticipation is the key. Be ready when kids open their gifts to make sure you capture their expressions.

Take a shot for every gift opened. This will help keep memories alive.

When photographing in the snow, remember that all digital cameras will have a tendency to underexpose. Change the settings on your camera to increase the exposure 1-2 times the norm.

Last but not least.....have fun!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Check me out on James Robinson's blog

James Robinson was nice enough to feature me on his blog. Check it out HERE.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Huge Light Inspiration from Joe McNally

I recently watched a video where Joe McNally used a Lastolite Skylite inside of a Irish pub to shoot a band. He used flashes shooting through umbrellas which were shooting through the Lastolite Skylite. I've seen him do this at Photoshop World in Boston about 2 years ago. The setup creates this huge soft light.

This gave me the inspiration to try this on one of my shoots. I used a strobe shooting through an umbrella which was shooting through a California Sunbounce 4x6' frame with a 3/4 diffusion panel. I also had a strobe with a beauty dish from the rear as an accent light.

Here's a shot of the lighting diagram...

...and here are some images I made with it.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Guess whose featured on Hampton Roads Bride's website?

Me! I was so excited yesterday morning to find out that my work was featured on Hampton Roads Bride's website. Kelsey L. Clayton the Assistant Editor at Hampton Roads Magazine originally contacted me a few weeks ago while I was wrapping up an Outdoor Lighting Workshop that I teach to find out if I was interested in submitting some of my wedding and bridal images to be featured on their site. With enthusiasm I replied "Absolutely!"

I gathered images from my last 5 weddings and bridal shoots and contacted the brides to let them know the exciting news. It seemed like Deja vu yesterday morning. I was wrapping up another Outdoor Lighting Workshop and I got an email from Kelsey stating that the my feature was just posted to their site. Of course I called my wife to share the great news. I also called the brides and my friend Genevieve who has assisted me in creating most of these beautiful images. Here's the link to the feature: HR Bride: Will King Photography and some more great images from recent weddings and bridal shoots.

Jocelyne and Tim's wedding



Tiffany and Stephen's bridal shoot and wedding


Sarah and Kyle's engagement shoot and wedding



Amy Ore's bridal shoot


Brittany Dye's bridal shoot


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Photoshoot with Kelly Gaita

Hampton Roads might recognize Kelly Gaita from Fox 43. She was one of the co-hosts of the Hampton Roads Show. Kelly was also chosen as the Face of Fox 43 a couple of years ago. I initially met Kelly last Fall when she interviewed me for a segment that Fox 43 had on Holiday Photos. (You can view the video here.

Kelly is now pursuing other things and modeling is one of them. We talked about taking some headshots but I thought since she was going to be in the studio, why not get some other looks. Kelly suggested some casual Fall clothing.

I thought she was a natural and the images came out great. Here are 2 shots that I can easily see as a Target ad.
BTW, I used a beauty dish situated behind a 4x6 foot California Sunbounce frame with the 2/3 stop diffusion fabric which created some gorgeous soft light.


We also did something a little edgier with darker wardrobe and with harder light. I had a strobe with a small cone reflector behind Kelly, camera left and a beauty dish in front of her, camera right. The flare was created by the light, no Photoshop tricks. I did however, cross process this image to achieve the colors and tones.

Monday, August 30, 2010

How I made this image

To my surprise, the image below is now my most popular image on flickr. It has the most views (over 5000), the most comments (26), been marked as a favorite the most times (141) and has been featured in flickr Explore.

Funk Fresh

I used a Canon EOS 7D paired with the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L
(f/8, 1/160, ISO100)

I lit it with an Einstein 640 inside of a gridded stripbox on each side and a White Lightning X3200 inside of a gridded beauty dish from above, camera right.

Only minor color and contrast corrections were made in post processing.

Monday, August 23, 2010

3rd Installment of the Outdoor Lighting Workshop

In the 1st Installment of the Outdoor Lighting Workshop , I discussed how to balance the available light with flash. In the 2nd Installment of the Outdoor Lighting Workshop , I discussed how to make some dramatic images when the balance between available light and flash is....well, not so balanced. This 3rd Installment of the Outdoor Lighting Workshop will feature images that were taken with just available light or with a simple reflector.

This image was taken with EOS 5D Mark II with a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens. Exposure settings were (f/5, 1/250, ISO100)
We used a Lastolite 48" Trigrip Reflector Soft Silver/Sunfire with the Sunfire side on the model.


For this shot, we used the same gear, EOS 5D Mark II with a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens. Exposure settings were (f/4, 1/400, ISO100)This time we used the Lastolite Tripgrip to block the harsh sun. There was enough light bouncing off of the sand to illuminate her face.


This last image was taken yet again with the EOS 5D Mark II with a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens combo. Exposure settings were (f/3.5, 1/250, ISO100)
It was taken using just available light. No flash and no reflectors.

Here are some behind the scenes shots courtesy of Eric Carlson:



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

2nd Installment of the Outdoor Lighting Workshop 8-7-10

In the the first installment, I wrote about how to balance the ambient exposure and flash exposure. This time I wanted to show images using a technique often referred to as overpowering the sun.

In most cases when using flash outdoors, you're dealing with 2 exposures: Ambient and Flash. A good balance between the two exposures is normally the goal, however, you can do some dramatic things when the balance is severely shifted.

In the image below, I used a Canon EOS 7D paired with the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L. I underexposed the ambient light by at least 2 stops and to be honest, I would have underexposed it even more if I could have. My camera settings were f/22, 1/250, ISO100. f/22 was the smallest aperture I could go to and 1/250 is the fastest shutter speed the 7D can sync with flash. I used two strobes to light this. One on each side.


Here's another example. Canon EOS 7D paired with the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L f/18, 1/250, ISO100. Two strobes.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Outdoor Lighting Workshop 8-7-10

My Outdoor Lightning Workshops have been a great success these past few weeks. Last Saturday we held the workshop at Virginia Beach bright dark and early. We started shooting and lighting before the sun came up. The goal for the day was to create different looks and from the results we achieved, I'd say we accomplished our goal.

I'm going to be breaking this into 3 different blog entries. This first entry will showcase balancing the ambient exposure with flash exposure. For our first series of shots, we wanted to capture all the dynamic colors of the sunrise and be able to light the subject using off camera flash.

My first shot of the morning was a quick exposure check. We had a gorgeous sunrise and my goal was to capture the bold and vibrant colors. I started with my Canon EOS 7D paired with the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L . (f/4, 1/80, ISO100)
OLW 8-7-10
Once I established my base ambient exposure, I had one of our models get in place for another quick exposure check. Same settings.
OLW 8-7-10
Now we're ready to add light. Since we were working at sunrise, the light was changing fast. I adjusted my shutter speed to 1/125 to ensure I still retained the same boldness of the sky. I used a White Lightning X3200 gelled with a 1/2 CTO inside Photek 60" Softlighter II camera right. When using large modifiers outdoors, it's a good idea to have your lights on sturdy support. For this setup, we used the Impact Turtle Base Century C StandNow we're ready to add light. Since we were working at sunrise, the light was changing fast. I adjusted my shutter speed to 1/125 to ensure I still retained the same boldness of the sky. I used a White Lightning X3200 gelled with a 1/2 CTO inside Photek 60" Softlighter II camera right. When using large modifiers outdoors, it's a good idea to have your lights on sturdy support. For this setup, we used the Impact Turtle Base Century C Stand
Here is the result.
OLW 8-7-10
This is what the setup looked like.
OLW 8-7-10
Come back on Friday to see some more shots with a totally different look.
Visit my Facebook page for more images.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

How I Made This: Overpowering the Sun

I'm sure you've all heard the term "Overpowering the sun", but what does it really mean? Simply put, overpowering the sun means producing enough flash power to properly expose for a subject or model while underexposing the ambient light. Typically these types of shots will have the model backlit by the sun and front lit by a flash.
Here's an example:

As you can see the I was able to keep all the detail of the sunrise without overexposing. Without any flash the subject would be in complete shadow. I added flash to properly light the subject. My flash only affects my subject therefore I keep the same vibrant look to the sunrise.

As the sun gets high in the sky and the light from the sun gets brighter, you'll have to increase the power of your flash. Why? Before we answer that, let's talk about just exposing for the ambient or available light. To be able to get the proper exposure of a bright sky, or take it even more dramatic and underexpose the bright sky, your camera has to be able to take in less light in a shorter amount of time. To be able to do this, you'll want your camera's settings to be at the lowest ISO possible, have a small aperture, and a fast shutter speed. The shutter speed has to be fast but it can't be faster than the fastest sync speed that your camera can sync to a flash. This is usually 1/200 -1/250.

I start out by getting my camera's exposure set to achieve the look I want. At this point, I'm just concerned with the available light, not using flash yet. Once I get my base exposure, I'll get the subject in place and introduce flash. I don't use a light meter so I just take a best guess at the flash power, take a test shot and view my results on the back of my camera. I may have to make 1-2 more adjustments in the flash power but at this point I'm off and running.
Here's another expample:
I used a Canon EOS 7D with the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II for this shot. My camera exposure settings were f/11 / ISO250 / 1/250.
I lit the subject with an Einstein640 inside of a beauty dish to camera left. The power on the flash was set to somewhere near half power.

Here's another shot from the same day.
As the sun gets higher and the light it produces gets brighter, you'll have to change your camera's exposure settings to reduce the amount of light coming in. Since I was already at the lowest ISO and I was stuck with a 1/250 shutter speed (max sync speed for the 7D), I simply stopped down my aperture to f/18. The thing to keep in mind is, as you change the aperture on your camera, not only will that affect the ambient exposure, it will also affect the flash exposure. For this shot, I had to increase the power on the flash to almost full power.

So "overpowering the sun" means fighting light with light. Just make sure you bring a lot of light!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Outdoor Lighting Class

We had a great turn out at Buckroe Beach for the outdoor lighting class. 3 models and about 30 photographers got to together to create some stunning images.

B&H Photo was generous enough to allow us to use some of their gear for the class and all the gear came in real handy.

We started our class with the sun still pretty high in the sky. We had the sun behind the model and used a large reflector to get some light back on her. We used the Impact 42" 5 in 1 Reflector seen being used here:
It can be used as a gold reflector, silver reflector, zebra (gold/silver) reflector, white reflector, and a translucent diffuser. Once we got the hang of being able to properly bouce light from the sun into the model's face, it worked quite well. The great aspect of using a reflector is, you're not limited to a certain shutter speed to sync to. Most cameras have a max sync speed of 1/200 or 1/250 of a second when using powered lights. Anyone who has metered an exposure in the bright sun will know that using 1/250 shutter speed will probably require an aperture of f/16 or even f/22 meaning everything will be in focus even the distracting elements behind your subject, not to mention the small aperture will dramatically reduce the relative flash power. This is where a large reflector shines (excuse the pun) I can shoot a wide open aperture of f/2.8, focus only on the subject and blur everything else out, and I'm not limited to 1/250 shutter speed. I was taking shots at f/2.8, 1/2000, ISO100, and getting great light on the model.

I was thoroughly impressed with their Impact Century Stand seen here:
Will King Shooting Natalie
The stand is heavy duty and very sturdy. We were able to mount the stand on the beach without any sand bags. The stand supported two 580EXIIs and a beauty dish in a slight wind without a hint of budge. The stand rises to a maximum height of 9.8 feet and can support up to 22 lbs.

Light stands are not a vital ingredient of making an image like a camera body, lens, or lights, but a good light stand can serve as an essential tool to make your job as a photographer so much easier and stress free. The last thing you want to worry about is having your lights fall because of a weak light stand. After using the Impact Master C Stand on two outdoor shoots, I was pleasantly surprised with the contrcution and sturdiness of them, and they are less than $100 compared to the $140 comparable Avenger C Stand.

We were able to remotely trigger both 580EXIIs using the Impact PowerSync 10 transmitter on the hotshoe of the camera and the Impact PowerSync 10 Receiver connected to the 580EXIIs. Transmitter pictured here:
                                                                           and receivers pictured here:

The setup worked very reliably and since they are radio triggers, they do not require line of sight to work. Radio triggers also work great in the bright sun where infared triggers would normally fail. We got a consistent pop with this setup from up to about 150 feet away. The range might be longer if used indoors.

All in all it was a fun gathering and hopefully our members learned a lot.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sarah and Kyle

I had an awesome engagement shoot with Sarah and Kyle this morning. The weather cooperated had provided us with some nice warm light.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Photographing Sunrises & Sunsets

Here are a few of my images I have taken this year from various spots in Hampton Roads. All of these images were taken at sunrise. I'll be using these as examples for the class I'm teaching tonight at the Hampton Roads Digital Photography Club.

Most of these images were captured with the following equipment:
5D Mark II ,
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L II








Stay tuned and I'll post some notes from the class in the next few days.