Improvisation with Pods… Lighting for Dramatic Effect

Improvisation with Pods… Lighting for Dramatic Effect

I have promised myself that I will get out and shoot more for myself this year. These “improvs” are part of the process. I limit myself to one subject and one hour. And the subjects can range over whatever happens to be near me or catch my eye.

This time it was pods I picked up while walking the dogs on Friday afternoon.

I used only speedlights for this set of images as I was curious as to how much I could do with them in an hour. The bigger guns can take more time, and I thought it would be pretty cool to work with some small strobes and modifiers.

I used the SpeedlightProKit grids and the small SpeedlightProKit softbox for these shots. One boom (LumoPro) and three stands rounded out my gear. Err… along with the three speedlights, that is.

One hour from beginning to shoot till wrapping it up.

Here is what I got.

A little video showing my setup/

Let us know if you are doing any improvs and share the links.

See ya next time.

Creative LIVE, April 5, 6, 7, 2012

Still Life for Article on the Challenges of Home Gardening / Pesticides…

Still Life for Article on the Challenges of Home Gardening / Pesticides…

… or something like that.

I don’t remember the particulars on the slant of the article.

Late on a Monday, the art director called in a panic with a rush job. Could I do an illustration for a publication that was going to press on Wednesday. We had to shoot it, approve it, scan it, get it separated and into the layout in a day.

Sure, we can do that. She faxed over the page layout and the ideas for the shot and we went out to get the props instead of heading to a planned dinner. (You gotta have a very understanding spouse in this business.)

I started out at the local hardware store and they had the scoop thing, as well as some very course fertilizer. They also had some very nice work gloves that I bought. I had an idea, but I know I needed gloves anyway, so I got them and we headed back to the studio.

On the way, I dropped in on a local nursery down on Baseline and about 32nd St and made one of the guys an offer. Trade the brand new gloves for his pair of ratty old gloves. Well, it was a deal he couldn’t turn down.

So back to the studio and it was now going on 6. The AD was waiting and we got going on the shot.

She wanted:
Black and white.
“Gritty and Earthy”
It will be framed by copy.
Small area bottom right to be used for copy (call out).

More After Jump.

Some Fun Videos of Lighting Setups

Some Fun Videos of Lighting Setups

These were quick and fun little videos I did while Regina was shooting at the one-on-one workshop she won at the Lighting Essentials Contest last winter.

She has a great little studio for shooting and making great images, and with 7 lights and all kinds of modifiers at out disposal, we simply did a lot of fun lighting setups and had a blast.

I will not apologize for the crazy video moves… it ain’t about the video, folks. I was simply having fun and thought I would share them with you.

Let me know if you try any of these, and they can be done with hot lights, speedlights or studio lights. Share them at the Flickr page or post a link to them in the comments.

Here ya go… (hit the jump)

Four Umbrella Madness: Shooting with Regina in Utah

Four Umbrella Madness: Shooting with Regina in Utah

We were having so much fun with Regina (our contest winner) in her Utah studio that I decided to do a bunch of videos of a few of the setups. (Here is Regina’s blog post on the past weekend.)

This one was made possible when Regina said she had four matching small umbrellas. I used to do this setup and haven’t done it in years, so we got them all out and built the “4 umbrella madness” setup.

Basically this is best with as small an umbrella as possible. I had 4 22″ Speedotron soft white umbrellas when I used to do it. Regina’s are 32″ Westcott’s and they were lovely.

Four AB800’s were at barely above minimal power settings and we placed them all around the camera. For the first shot of Clarissa, we had her about four feet from the bank of umbrellas. We used no fill on the sides, allowing the edge of her shoulders and arms to go dark from reflecting the dark studio.

Here is Megan’s shot from this setup, video to follow.

Carisa is about 4 feet from the umbrella bank

Next we moved her in close to the umbrellas – about 2 feet away. The light wraps more around her face and shoulders here.


Next up is Megan’s shot of Carisa at 2 feet from umbrella bank.

Carisa is now about two feet from the bank of umbrellas

More of Megan’s work can be seen at her Flickr site.

Bonus Video: Using the Four Umbrella Beast with the model against the backdrop can produce a subtle “ring light” look to the image. With the larger 32″ umbrellas, the soft shadow surrounding the subject is a bit wider, but it still looks pretty cool. My original setup with the 22″ umbrellas produced a smaller, edgier shadow around the subject. This is a fun little video, but no sample at this point… hoping we can get one in soon.

An additional video from the shoot.

More from the fabulous weekend at the entrance to Zion National Park and the wonderful Regina Pagles coming up. We have lots to share.

Discussing “Sculpting with Light” with Photographer Rick Gayle

Discussing “Sculpting with Light” with Photographer Rick Gayle

Rick walks us through his lighting thoughts while actually doing a shot. You can hear him discussing the thought process he uses, and you will learn a lot of great little lighting tips and tricks to make your next photograph even better.

Rick’s Website.

Rick’s Blog

I recommend signing up for Rick’s email updates if you are at all interested in real professional info and shoots – including some incredible behind the scenes at his food shoots.

Big shout out to Rick for doing this for you Lighting Essentials folks. And a big shout out to Charles Tibbs for handling some video duties as well. Appreciated, guys.

Photography by Rick Gayle

Photography by Rick Gayle

Rick will be doing a workshop for those interested in professional food photography. Here’s the link. This workshop will include a food stylist to show you all the tricks and answer the questions you may have about shooting food. Rick is a wonderful teacher – as you can see from the video – so this workshop comes highly recommended by me.


Twitter / Facebook / Workshops / About.Me / My Book, Lighting Essentials on Amazon

And if you like the articles here, LIKE them on FB or click the little G+ thingy. I appreciate your kindness.

Rick Gayle, Photographer: Phoenix, AZ

Rick Gayle, Photographer: Phoenix, AZ

I have known Rick for a long, long time. I did not know that he had a blog until this morning.

Funny how stuff like that goes around.

Rick’s blog is full of images and stories and shows a level of creativity that is rare indeed these days.

I will contact Rick for a sit-down interview later this Spring, but for now – take a look at his blog, read about how finding some apple cores leads to a brilliant photograph and take in his tasty lighting.

Rick Gayle Photography

Rick Gayle Photography

Photograph by Rick Gayle

Photograph by Rick Gayle

Photograph by Rick Gayle

Photograph by Rick Gayle

If you are interested in shooting food and still life, Rick provides a ton of wonderful behind the scenes shots, styling tips and lighting info.

Rick Gayle Photography

Posts to jump to immediately:

Summer Still Life

Photography Improv

An Apple a Day

Holiday Pancakes

Rick Gayle Website.

Rick Gayle Blog.

Beautiful work, Rick.