Behind the Image: Pour Shots

Behind the Image: Pour Shots

The assignment was to shoot a pour shot, and the P52 members really stepped up. These four shots caught my eye not only because they are really fun but because their approach and setups were quite well thought out.

I hope you enjoy the little critique and BTS shots by these wonderful photographers.


Erik Weaver

Frank Grieger

Michael Klinepier

Rick Savage

Behind The Image: Selections 3-12-17

Behind The Image: Selections 3-12-17

I chose nine images to look at today. These were all gathered from recent Project 52 assignments, and I think you will find them very intriguing.

Project 52 introduces photographers to the real world working environment of assignment photography. The challenge of shooting to a layout, or making a mundane product look cool is part of the working photographer’s environment. If you are interested in Project 52, or taking the workshop (it’s a year long… heh) come on over and take a look. www.project52pro2016 is the place.

Behind The Image: Still Life

Behind The Image: Still Life

The assignment was to focus on textures and patterns for backgrounds or surfaces.

These photographers created images that blended texture / subjects together to make images that are compelling and draw the viewer in.

Let’s take a look at the images.

Barbara Schweighauser created a beautiful still life, complete with compelling light and a moody presentation.

Barbara used a large light source in very close but at low power for a soft presentation. Barbara determined that the light needed a bit of a kick from the right side. Adding a fill card gave the ambient a bit more shadow detail, and the mirror gave a small, crisp edge to the side.

Greg Pastuzyn chose a shot of lemons, with lots of added textures on both the surface and the props.

Using a scrim with a softbox behind gave the textures dimension. A fill card up front balanced the shadows out. You will notice that Greg uses a scrim for the main light, and a continuous light behind the scrim. Continuous light is a very inexpensive source for doing still life work. Since the subject is rarely dancing around, longer shutter speeds can be used. Consider a set of inexpensive continuous lighting for making still life imagery.

Lavanya Reddy wanted a deep-toned image with detail in the subject matter and background.

A large softbox in close, with a fill card for shadow detail gave soft highlights down each side of the items. A fill card opens up the shadows to bring the ambient contrast down. But even with the lowered contrast from the fill, the texture is brought out and we can almost feel the slate and peppers.

Lily Dale chose a lot of different textures to reveal in her subject and a used cutting board for her background. From the liquid smooth coffee already brewed, to the coffee grounds the textures of everything allows the viewer to get a sense of what the ingredients must feel like.

Lily chose a soft box above the set, and removed the grid. She then added a white card for fill on the front, and a black card to give a negative fill (add contrast) to the left side of the image. This helps the sugar be seen down to the granular level.

Phil Kirshmeier’s image of fasteners and an old tool shows some great texture.

Phil uses a DIY scrim to give the ambient exposure and clean highlight on the tool, while his speedlight with a grid and snoot on it gives some great texture to the screws in the foreground. Building a nice scrim for still life is neither expensive nor difficult. I think you can see from Phil’s shot that it can be made with very simple materials.

Liz Carmel used a very soft side light to present the differences between the smooth tomatoes and the rough-hewn wood.

Placing the softbox behind two large scrims gives a distinctly soft lighting with a lovely soft specular highlight on the efficient tomatoes. As you can see, the scrims are very high, and by doing that the light actually wraps around the subject and creates a very soft edge to the shadow. And the shadow is far less contrasty than it would be if the light was smaller and not as tall.

Ivan Singer’s still life give the subjects several highlights to draw the viewer in. Many times the creation of multiple highlights will make the viewer stop and check out the textures.

As you can see from the lighting shot that he used four different lights to create the different highlights that ring the plate. The multiple highlights create a very interesting image. Whenever there are multiple highlights it creates a visually different image from what we normally see.





Personal Sports Equipment: Five Examples of Lighting

Personal Sports Equipment: Five Examples of Lighting

The assignment was to shoot personal sports equipment (non-team sports). The photographers gave us some very nice shots, and the ways they came up with them really rock.

Rainie Mills gave us a workout box with an example of its use. The key element in her image was to create some modeling to the athlete, premier the box and keep the background flat in order to amplify the graphic nature of the composition.

The lighting example is actually reversed. the large softbox is to camera right, with the feathered fill on camera right. The large source, in close, provides a very smooth transition from highlight to shadow and we see that as ‘soft light’. Also notice the gradation on the box due to the close light placement… you can see the light falling off. (ISL)

Albert Madrilejos chose to shoot a ping pong player just about to deliver a serve. A very simple lighting setup gave him some flexibility in how he wanted to portray the player.

With the sun coming over the players right shoulder (camera left) Albert used a bare speedlight to add a main light to camera right. This light is not that much brighter than the ambient, so the shadows do not go too dark, nor does it give that ‘flash photo’ look. Carefully blending ambient / direct sun / flash is an art worth working on. Albert does a great job with it here.

Michael Klinepier’s shot of a heavy bag being struck is both dynamic and graphic. Careful use of light and gesture turn what could have been a mundane photo into one with impact. Note the use of the ‘dust’ from the bag, and now the highlight on the bag leads us to the logo.

As you can see in the behind the scenes shot, the bag and arm are lit by a strip box to camera left. The addition of a very well placed snoot light gives us a bright highlight on the side of the bag, and opens up the logo to be brighter. To the left, a shiny reflector gives only a tiny reflection on the back of the bag… but bright enough to show us it is there. Since the exposure was so bright on the subject, the background went to darkness. Minor retouching was used to make the background fully black.

Richard Neuboeck wanted the bright orange of the ropes and climbing tools to stand out, so he designed a very low-key shoot with black and orange only. Allowing the model to fade into the black background was his goal to help the ropes stand out.

Of course, shooting someone dangling from a rope in the studio could be a tough assignment.

Richard chose a large, shoot thru umbrella for his main light. These sources scatter the light in a wide dispersion which was necessary for this shot. He hung the rope from a large ladder and added a fill to camera left to help keep the shadow side of the items brighter. He found he needed a bit more fill from the bottom as well, so that is the added fill from below.

Khemais Hajri chose a handful of golf balls for his subject, and he worked to get the lighting to capture his vision of a shot with texture and dimension. This is a well-propped studio shot, and features some great lighting. Note the specular on the front-left side of the golf balls, and the bright kicker light on the back side of them. The balls are showing their texture, roundness and color very well.

To get this light, Kam installed a large scrim with a softbox behind it. The scrim not only cut the light down (needed because it was still too bright at lowest setting) but also gave a wide, gradient light to the image. Note that the softbox is turned away from the scrim offering it more light toward camera and less away.

The addition of the small black foam boards helped cut the specular down on the golf balls and add a bit of contrast to them as well.

Plants and leaves were brought in to the set and an additional Elinchrom head was placed behind them. This light was modified with a beauty dish, and a gold reflector. and provided a very warm backlight to the set.

One last addition was the crumpled gold material to help add even more warmth. This material worked as a tiny fill light and can be seen on the shadow side of the fingers. Attention to detail is what makes studio still life work so much fun.






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