About wizwow

I am in love with light.

Also known as Don Giannatti, photography has been the focus of my life for most of my adult years. I have written three books for Amherst Media (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble: keyword 'don giannatti'. Lighting Essentials is my flagship blog and ezine with a slightly different slant than most photography related blogs. If you are interested in becoming a better photographer, check out www.project52.org. Thanks for visiting.

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Here are my most recent posts

“What is Wet?” – Project 52 Assignment

Some beautiful work from the Project 52 assignment on ‘wet’.

From the assignment:

WET…

Shiny, smooth, liquid… wet is – well, wet.

And we have to show “Wet” in a photograph. For a client who wants to keep things dry.

You can approach this one in three ways:

You can show something very, very wet. And make the photograph speak to the power of being wet, and how that may be a challenge down the road a bit.

You can show something very, very wet that is purely for the fun of being wet… as long as it shows the detail of the ‘wetness’.

You can show something repelling the wetness from it’s surface. Like a deck protectant, or a sealer for cloth.

The title of the shot would be “Wet” and obvious to anyone looking what that referred to.

How do we show “Wet” – in a photograph?

Wet things are shiny. Wet things have highlights and speculars that show them to be shiny. We will have to have some context around them – or within the subject itself – to make the call that it is indeed wet and not ‘just shiny’… and that means probably some added detail to the wet areas.

We want to see big, ‘liquid’ highlights on this shot – so softbox, scrim or overcast sky with lots of control. White cards are important, and your subject should be chosen with care. (Note… natural wet areas do not count… lakes, streams, rain etc… unless there is a reason or context present in the subject.

Get More Info on Project 52 Summer 2015 here.
Enrollment starts July 3, 2015

An Easy Set Up For Still Life: with Virginia Smith

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I needed a quick and easy set up for the small jobs I so here and there. Branding samples, food photography, accessories for the styling that I do on the side. I love window light, shadows and color so this is my easy set up for my style. The elements are:

* a diffused window (inexpensive white sheers from any big box store will do)
* an assortment of colored art papers available at any art supply store
* odd pieces of wood or a piece of paneling
* squares of vinyl flooring that looks like slate or stone, even wood
* wide painters tape

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All these elements are about 24×24 inches square. They are taped in place along with whatever props I may need in the background to set a mood (dresses, branches, fabric…). Sometimes I place my surface right against the background, sometimes I place my surface away from the background. I have latitude next to the window to use the light and shadows that fall as well as time of day. The shadows are stronger late in the day as in these test shots. I can use a reflector to soften the shadows but I tend to prefer them strong.

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If I find the backgrounds too smooth, I will add textures that I have created from old paintings, walls, rocks, dirt and whatever else looks interesting.

arroyo branding

Fast, easy and fits my Modern Vintage style.

The items needed for the setup.

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Virginia Smith (Modern Vintage Photography)

SUMMER-SCHOOL

The “Test Shot” with Stephen Collins

Objective:

Shoot rare military memorabilia (medals, daggers, insignias, etc.) for inclusion in to an auction catalog and online viewing portal. Images must be large (3000-4000px, .tiff), with no specular reflection, especially the dagger blades (ornate etchings), yet show depth and texture of every item. Some edge specular was acceptable and desired.

Background:
I was invited to a test shoot; Determine my ability to produce the image quality required. Of course, the people inviting me in, are not photographers and did not completely communicate the details of how, what or where I’d be shooting. So I loaded up the car with a little bit of everything and off I went.

During the test shoot it became obvious I needed to “MacGyver” a better solution than bouncing a soft box off tabletop white seamless. I needed an indirect, side lit solution, height adjustable with the camera directly overhead.

Using what I had around the house, I needed only two extra pieces of foam board. The three black boards are taped together, creating a trifold. The two holes cut for the storbs hold the trifold in place nicely and are not affected by heat from the modeling lamps.

I was originally thinking black board for zero reflection on the knife blades. While that did work, adding a white board clamped to the center board, is much better for a uniform, non-specular reflection. And, now I have both options should the image call for a change up. I also included two white boards on each end to provide more uniform lighting.

Final Shot:

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Light stand (one side) consists of: Standard light stand with optional sand bag
Swivel umbrella adaptor with double stud adaptor
> Paul C Buff mini boom arm
> Pole clamp connected to large spring clamp holding 3×4’ white foam board reflector

Stephen Collins

Website

<a href=”http://www.lighting-essentials.com/category/summer-school/”><img src=”http://www.lighting-essentials.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/SUMMER-SCHOOL.gif” alt=”SUMMER-SCHOOL” width=”200″ height=”158″ class=”alignright size-full wp-image-8897″ /></a>MANY OF THE TUTORIALS DURING “SUMMER SCHOOL” ARE BY <a href=”http://www.project52pros.com” target=”_blank”>PROJECT 52 PRO</a> MEMBERS EITHER CURRENTLY ENROLLED OR ALUMNI.