Jamie at the Window

Jamie at the Window

Jaimie at the Window: Fredericksburg, Virginia.

I really loved the feeling of light coming in the window but the shot was very blah without the addition of a light source inside.

Using a speedlight with a modifier of cards around it to give direction, I lit Jaimie from camera left. The cards were being held by a VAL (Michele) and they were a little tricky to keep in place. We were running and gunning at this point, so setting up a stand would have lost some time with the light and I just wanted a quick shot.

The cards were being used to keep the light off the wall closest to them, and for the first couple of shots they did, but when I asked Michele to move a little away from the wall, the cards started letting light hit the wall and that was a problem when I looked at them later on the screen.

Exposure: I let the light in the window totally blow out, and based my exposure on that setting. Adding the strobe was easy as it was distance and power. I got my setting from the ambient light shot I did to blow out the window, so the exposure was set. I knew how far away the strobe had to be and at what power to match my settings on the camera.

The final shot that I chose had some issues, but we did some work in Photoshop to bring the wall into compliance, and open up the shadows in the darker part of the image.

Simple Photoshop moves, but ones you may like. I am a fan of the NIK software, so I used the new Analog Pro to finish off the image.

Image before Photoshop. Note the terrible rendering of the wall here. I knew I needed to smooth that out, and adding some vignette would help give it some dimension.

jamie-window-before

Here is the Photoshop work.

Here is the completed image.

jamie-window-after

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Texture

Texture

Lighting for texture is a very important part of what we do.

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Double Portraits: David Price

Double Portraits: David Price

Bay area photographer David Price was assigned to do a double portrait. He chose some co-workers who were happy to work with him to make the shots. It is always wonderful to have people want to work with you to make images, and David took his time to make the images in the style he is working on.

You can see the delicate back light that falls from top left to bottom right on the curtains behind the subjects. This soft approach to a ‘spray light’ adds warmth and depth to the image.

Sat-2013-P52-Week-47-David-Price-2-Martha

As you can see in the setup below, David has used a small shoot thru umbrella to do double duty… the background light, and the fill light on the camera left of her hair. As the light falls down the curtains, it is brighter at the top and gently gets less powerful the farther away from the source. This additional gradient also helps the image keep dimension.

Sat-2013-P52-Week-47-David-Price-3-Setup

David also changed the direction of the light while working with the subjects. For the close shot above, he turned the umbrella to light the wall on camera right and just out of the picture. This provided a big, soft source for the face. In the second shot above, he moved the umbrella back to light the subject with it instead of the wall.

The same scheme was used in the portrait below.

Sat-2013-P52-Week-47-David-Price-1-Deborah

 

Takeaway:

A light can be used to make another light as David has done above, using the umbrella to light the white wall for an even larger source.

Assignment:

Make a shot with one light source… without moving the subject, modify that source to come from both directions – again without moving the light. Aim the light toward the subject, then aim the light toward something else that can be used to light the subject. Find an area that allows you to do this without having to move the subject.

Sources can include large white walls, shower curtain reflectors, fomecore boards or V-flats or reflectors.

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A Simple Portrait by Tomas Jansson

A Simple Portrait by Tomas Jansson

fri-assign01-Tomas-Jansson

 

This portrait of a young man was shot by Tomas Jansson, Norway.

fri-assign01behindthescen-Tomas-Jansson.

 

Tomas used a softlighter umbrella (a bounced position umbrella with a diffusion screen over the front) for his main light, and a silver reflector for a secondary light source from camera left. This very specular ‘fill’ added some extra shine to the subject’s arm and shadow side of the face.

By keeping the silver card at an oblique angle to the subject, Tomas was able to control the fall of the specular along the arm and (camera) left side of the face. The softlighter also provided some wonderful light to the book case behind the subject, giving the impression of more ambient lighting in the set. Notice the fall off in the setup shot. Also notice how far away the subject is from the background – far enough to keep the light from being blocked by him, and creating a shadow. This also enhances the feeling of more ambient light.

Takeaway:

Simple lighting can sometimes do double duty. Providing not only the main light, but also a sense of more ambient. Shiny reflectors create a sense of a secondary light source since they are specular in presentation.

Assignment:

Using a medium to large umbrella, with or without diffusion, create a shot where the umbrella provides not only the main light, but the ambient behind the subject as well.

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“Firemen”

Photographer Julie Clegg, Seattle.

mon-assign45-julie-clegg

 

A main light softbox from slightly to camera left provides the overall illumination. Julie added a fill card to camera right, and it is just out of frame. Directly behind the center fireman there is a gridded spot to add very sharp edges to the subjects. The ambient lights of the firehouse were turned on full, and they even fired up the “emergency lights” on top of the firetruck for the shot.

The result is a dramatic portrayal of a local fire station. Julie used a 16-35MM lens on her Canon to get a bit of a wide angle look (somewhere around 30MM on a FF body). The slightly lowered angle of the lens allowed her to include the emergency lights and get a feel for the ambient area around the truck.

Takeaways:

Use light to sculpt and add drama where appropriate. The angle of the camera can have a tremendous effect on the overall feeling of the image, as well as include areas that can be more (or less) interesting. Attention to detail is very important.

Assignment:

Use a second light to sculpt the edges of a portrait. From behind the subject try an unmodified or snooted ¬†or grid-spotted single light. Note the different characteristics of each of these modifiers… they are all different in presentation.

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One Light Glamour

Photographer Alicia Bonaterre (Trinidad)

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For this shot, Alicia used a single strobe in a dish reflector from slightly to the left of her camera. The hard light provides a wonderful highlight on the models legs and sculpts her form well. Using a single hard light is not the easiest tool to work with. Hard lights can throw shadows from areas that are problematic (nose, lips, arms) but Alicia managed that well with a perfect pose, and the head position coming toward the flash direction. The angle of the face, being closely aligned with the flash creates a very small shadow from the nose, and wonderfully modeled cheeks.

Takeaways:

Careful placement of the hard light, as well as attention tot he pose can create a dramatic fashion portrait. Not all light has to be soft.

Assignment:

Shoot a one light, hard light portrait and pay careful attention to the placement of the light and the shadows that are created by it.

Small nose shadows can be OK in fashion/glamour, but watch out for arms and hands and strange areas of darkness that can fall across areas of the subject.

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