Still Life Shot for an Magazine Ad

Shooting for A Print Ad on Lighting Essentials

Well, my Volleyball client needed a new ad. That’s great. We needed it to be concepted, shot, and produced in one day. A day that had me doing other things as well. Stressful? A little, but I have been at this game long enough to know that it will get done. It always does.

Concept was easy. The software they design for Volleyball coaches currently runs on Palms and handheld devices. A lot of coaches are wanting it to run on a laptop as they are starting to carry laptops to the games for other things and it would be nice to only have one device courtside. Announcing the availability of a PC based software for laptops is the overall message of the ad. It wasn’t meant to overshadow the total message of the two available software packages, but to let those who are currently using the older software that a new tool was now ready.

We always strive to be a little different. Most of the ads that are in the trades are either big time products like Adidas and Nike or small, mom and pop solutions for a niche of court volleyball. I want my ads to look as good as they can and also stand out. Shots of volleyball players taken under less than ideal lighting abounds. We have been going for the still life approach since we started working together in 2002. The ads stand out. They get noticed and the client gets inquiries and sales. Score!

This ad will be running in several trades, but the first deadline was “Volleyball Magazine” for the August edition, I believe. Court Volleyball closely follows the school schedules. The printing is pretty good in that magazine so I can push the gamma a little.

Before we dissect the shot, I want to remind you all of the Missoula, El Paso and Memphis workshops. We still have a few openings and it would be nice to have you there. We are doing a special 1 day intensive workshop on the NIKON CLS system with John Groseclose in August. It will involve studio and location work with single and multiple Nikon strobes. Both manual and iTTL will be covered. Look for more information soon.

Here are a few related articles you may enjoy after reading this post:
Adding some Texture to an image.
Another shot with post production for the same client.
Finding the right mix for blending ambient and strobe.
Shooting Food on Location

Thanks for visiting and tell your friends about the site. And now for the soup-to-nuts shoot of this ad.


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Creating an Ad From Layout: Shooting for Print

Shooting an Ad from Layout on Lighting Essentials

This post looks at creating an ad from a very simple layout. The client, Dimensional Software in Palo Alto, CA, needed to have an ad produced in nearly no time. An opening in a magazine came up last minute and a fax was sent to me with a sketch of the ad that we had talked about.

We will take a look at how the shot was done, and how making the layout a part of the planning and thinking process.

A reminder to check out the recent posts below for links to some great interviews, lighting information and ideas to give you a lot to do with your photography. The tag cloud on the right, below the banners, also is a great way to find out what is on the site. You can spend all day here, LOL.

Also, you may have noticed the banner on the right side. Midwest Photo Exchange has teamed up with Lighting Essentials to provide a page of hand-picked (by me) lighting gear. From pack/head kits and mono lights, to stands, booms and reflectors, this is a page with some best-of-breed equipment chosen for durability and value. And my readers save 10%. Just click the link to see what is offered.

So, let’s get on with it and see how the ad was created in a very short time.


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Keeping It Organized When There are a Lot of Shots

Doing a Shoot that involves a lot of product can go smoother if you are prepared.

Recently I had the pleasure of working with Coni of Glacier Design and her client, Alicia on a big catalog project. It was to be a couple of dozen shots. Most are what I would call a “drop and pop,” or simple product shot. Well, of course nothing is as simple as one thinks it will be. And that challenge is met so much easier when there is some planning and preparation in effect. And that Alicia and Coni had in spades.

We knew it would be a hectic couple of days and we were pushing against a printing deadline. Alicia came with an SUV full of boxes and bag and props. We set up a few tables in on area of the studio and then placed the items in a shoot order. Coni had set a shot list so nothing would be misses so we organized the product in a fashion that would allow us to get and stage the products in some sort of order.

The product is potpourri, scent bottles, gift boxes and reeds. Most of this is pretty simple, but some of the boxes had a cellophane type material over them and that created a bit of a heartburn when trying to kill the reflection, or at least smooth it out a bit, while still maintaining light to the front of the box.

Before we take a look at this shoot, I want to welcome a new sponsor to the LE Site and the Workshops. SmugMug Pro is now a sponsor of the workshops and every attendee will get a one year membership in the SmugMug Pro account. This allows hi res images, hi def video and includes a shopping cart for selling the images you shoot. I am so pleased with their support and even more excited about seeing all the attendees getting a well designed web page with a shopping cart. And we also want to shout out to my other sponsors, BorrowLenses. com and Mighty Imaging. Thanks guys.

Also to remind everyone that the Kansas City workshop is full as is the Dallas and Washington DC workshops. I am hoping to see some of you in Mexico. At this point we only have three openings for Mexico. And don’t worry about the news, we are heading to Rocky Point and it is pretty calm there. Missoula Montana will be a lot of fun and we are thinking about adding a day to that for those who want to miss a day of work and shoot environmental portraits with me.

Let’s get on to the catalog shoot.


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Two Portraits with One Light

Two Portraits with one light on Lighting Essentials, a place for photographers

This post features two shots from this past weeks workshop in Phoenix. My Phoenix Workshops are fairly intimate affairs because I draw smaller groups and my studio is rather intimate as well.

In the first half of Saturday we work on portrait lighting and working with basic lighting setups. We start with one light and work it until we need to add a second light for some reason. Hairlight, more wrap, additional side lighting, 3-point and more are added to the mix.

For these two shots, I used a single light on the subject. The shot of Briana does have a second light for the background but it is not affecting the subject lighting.

Before we get into that… New Workshop dates are being nailed down now. I have some people wanting me to come to the twin-cities, and we are looking into cleaning up that East Coast month. Maybe moving one of the mid-Atlantic dates to a west coast. Montana is a go and so is Chicago. Watch the signup page for a location near you.

So let’s go look at how we can work with one light to create this look. Some of you who are very familiar with this kind of lighting – it is a favorite of mine – may also find some new things as well.


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Creating a Simple Spray Light for Backgrounds

Creating a Spray Light for Portraits.

One of the ways to separate the subject from the background is to use a spray light. The light creates a ‘halo’ of light to dark behind the subject and helps make a flat background more dynamic. It is a fairly simple technique with a lot of variations possible.

We can do this with all kinds of lights, from speedlights to normal reflectors and beauty dishes. Each can add its own look to the spray, and make it work within the framework of your image.

Before we get to this technique, I would like to let you know we are adding Montana to our workshop schedule this summer. If you are a photographer in Montana / Wyoming area, be watching the site for our Montana workshop date. UPDATE: Montana is June 20 and 21, 2009. Signup is active on the schedule page.

We are also having a pair of advanced workshops in Phoenix in February and March. We will only be taking photographers who are already familiar with lighting tools, but need to step out and get some real experience with models and shoot situations. Limited to only 3 photographers per day, the workshop is fully focused on shooting. We have models for the day, and will be working in studio and on location. Portfolio / Web Site review will be required. See the Learn to Light site for more information on January 26, 2009.

Now… on to some simple ways to create a spray light and a gradient background for your work.


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One Setup, Two Different Shots (from the Archives)

One Light, Two Shots in the Studio

Well this one is kind of fun. I found this in the archive box and remembered that it was a kinda fun little slide show. This “soundslide” offers a look into how I took a single lighting setup and shot it two ways.

I use a big softbox often when I am working with talent. Michelle is an ice skating choreographer and teacher. She needed some new shots and I wanted to do something a little different.

You can do the same thing with a large scrim and speedlights. Keep the fill cards in tight and watch the ratio between the lit and shadow parts of the face.

BTW, we have upgraded to WP 2.7 and man, is it cool. If you are running a WP Site and haven’t upgraded yet, you really should. It is, as they say, awesome.

But now let’s take a look at how a single setup can create two different shots can be made from the same light setup.


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