Creating a Dramatic Dance Shot with a Speedlight and the Sun

Creating a Dramatic Dance Photo with Speedlights and the Sun

I thought I would break down another shot I did that involved pre-visualization, overcoming a challenge and using small lights for a big light look.

The shot was for a dance Calendar for Briana. In the calendar images she presents 12 different types and styles of dance. for the last shot I wanted to harken back to the film “Flashdance” for a water/splash fun shot.

Before we get going, I would like to remind everyone that the workshops in Omaha, NE and Missoula, MT are still open, but down to only one shooter each. We are so pleased to be able to bring the workshop to some of these smaller markets. If you are thinking about attending a workshop this summer, take a look at the Omaha, Nebraska, Chicago, El Paso, Memphis and Minnesota dates. More to come, so stay tuned.

Here are a few other posts you may enjoy:
Shooting on the Beach with Two Speedlights and the Sun
Deconstruction: Briana on the Pier (Speedlights and the Sun)
Tech Sheet: Beating the Sun with Speedlights
Tech Sheet: Creating an Ambient Look with Speedlights on Location

Also to remind you all that to check out the Essentials page. We have added full-featured websites to our offering as well as some very cool WordPress themes expressly designed for photographers.

So let’s go on and take a look at the steps we took to do the fun “Flashdance” shot for Briana’s Calendar.


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Mexico Workshop, April 2009

Mexico in April was a blast. We had a great time and it was an amazing weekend

Mexico was an absolute blast this year. We had about 14 models who were there for the “Girls of Rocky Point” calendar shoot. Weather was amazing, and the resort made us feel right at home. I had a chance to shoot a couple of shots with the guys and decided to share a few with you all.

We still have some room at the Cleveland workshop, and the June workshops have some space as well. Come on out and enjoy a really intense, incredibly fun and real-time-hand-on-see-do-learn workshop. Your photography will improve by several times no matter what your level.

Special thanks BTW to my wonderful sponsors, SmugMugPro and the Las Palmas Resort in Rocky Point Mexico. All the attendees to any workshop will receive a 10% discount for any vacation rental at that incredible place. Don’t let the media hype scare you off… it is a pretty incredible place and easy and safe to get to.

I also should publicly thank my friends Megan, James, Jerry, JimmyV, Evan, Alex and Jesse for coming down and working with us. Some were there only to shoot the calendar, but spent time shooting with the guys and having an all out great time. Special kudos to Jesika (who came all the way from Houston for this workshop) and Christine and Laura, from Phoenix. They came with the calendar but spent a heck of a lot of time with the workshop guys and that was wonderful.


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Small Strobes with Dramatic Results: Nashville Workshop Images

Small Strobes with Big Results: Nashville Workshop Images

I have had some great workshops over the past few weeks. This weekend it is Mexico, then some recharge time. Shooting a lot of workshop images and images for the book in Mexico as we are working on the workshop itself. I have Megan, Jerry and Evan going down for some extra shooters to cover the workshop and finalize the workbook.

Kansas City was awesome, as was Dallas. We are still collecting from those workshops. The Nashville workshop got some great images out to me right away so they are being posted now.

I am very proud of this workshop. It combines visual learning, lecture/demonstrations and hands-on, real world shooting. We are booking as we go on through the summer, so make sure you check back and see where we are going to be for the next few months.

If you are new to the site, you should check out the archive pages for lots and lots of posts on light and photographic lighting. Just hit the “Tag List” on the right side for a great introduction to the works here.

Look what is coming up:
Cleveland 30, 31

Omaha, Nebraska 6, 7
Missoula, Montana 20, 21
Chicago, Illinois 27, 28

El Paso , Texas, 10, 11
Memphis , Tennessee, 18, 19

Let’s look at a few images and deconstruct the lighting, shall we.


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Using Ambient Light and Strobe for a Natural Looking Still Life

Using the Natural Ambient Light with Strobe for a Natural Still Life

This is a cover shot that we did for the fragrance company. We wanted a larger space and a more natural looking scene for the cover so we sought out a warm environment. Our AD found a beautiful home that fit the bill.

I knew the item that I would be shooting was small, and knowing that the idea was for a natural looking space, I didn’t need the big guns, I took a small, traveling kit we had at the studio and was off.

The space was a very pretty, large living room with 18′ of north light coming through floor to ceiling louvered windows. The room was simply awash in gorgeous, ambient light.

Before I get started, apologies for slow posting… I have been crazywickedbusy… and working on a book for final publication (although private) is taking every spare minute. I would like to thank SmugMug Professional for coming on as a sponsor. Every workshop attendee for the rest of the year will receive a free one year Pro Account at SmugMug. We also welcome Midwest Photo Exchange to the LE family. A big shout out to and for their continued support.

Upcoming workshops are Atlanta and Mexico. I have openings for a few at both. The lineup for the summer is looking great. All attendees receive the workbook, a new DVD for the workshop attendees only, a copy of my book on PDF, the SmugMugPro account and more. We are currently doing weekly webcasts on New Media Marketing. As soon as we have the bugs worked out, that free weekly workshop will be available to all workshop attendees.

Well, let’s go on and take a look at how simple tools can be used to make a natural looking still life.


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Enough Modifiers to Keep It Interesting… Real Interesting

It's Like a Grip Truck for your Speedlight: Modifiers to take the small flash into big light territory.

I use my speedlights frequently when on location, but truth be told I would rather have a more robust selection of tools to modify the light. I will admit to sucking pretty bad at the DYI approach. I will simply not go into a shoot with grubby or ‘home-made’ equipment unless it really looks compelling.

That all changed with the tools that I am telling you all about on this post. There are softboxes, softlighters, grid-spots, bounces, color filters, barn doors and even some little softlight tops similar to the Stofen. The Speed Light Pro Kit is an amazing set of tools and modifiers at a price that anyone can work with.

Here’s the cool thing, at least one of the cool things, they all fit flat into a tiny space. I can throw them into a small bag or my suitcase and be off knowing I have enough modifiers to do the job. From small softbox, to tightly contained grid-spots, I have enough gear to be effective with my lighting for most challenges.

This will be an bit different post. I will run it until this weekend, updating as I go along with new images taken with the different tools. Saturday will culminate in a webcast where you can ask questions and I can show you how I use them. We are scheduling the webcast for 11AM on Saturday, Phoenix, Arizona… we are on Pacific Time here, so mark your calendars appropriately.

There will be a link here on Saturday morning, March 21, and you will be able to click and visit the webcast.

Some items before we begin. Upcoming workshops are filling, so get signed up. We are very small in our groups, and that gives us lots of shooting time as well as learning the tools and techniques that will lead to more control in your lighting.


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Spend a Day Shooting Portraits

Spend a Day Making Portraits with Lighting Essentials

Sorry for the long absence. A stolen laptop put me back a lot farther than expected. Add to that the traveling and being without internet, well, reliable internet anyway, in some of the locations. Whew… Hey, enough whining. We will make it up to you really quick with some great tutorials and lighting focused posts coming up soon.

The Monday after the recent Florida workshop was one of fun and relaxation. For me that means running all over the place making pictures and working with some of the attendees who decided to take a day from work to hang out. I wanted to do something a little different, so I decided to focus on portraiture for the day. We had some models come in from Miami (long drive – thanks girls) and one of our models from Sunday took the morning off to come along. Let’s take a look at some simple techniques to make portraits on location with minimal tools.

First some housekeeping: Kansas City is the next workshop. I have some openings. We have a place and will be notifying everyone of the address. This KC workshop is really going to be a lot of fun. See the Learn to Light page for more information.

We have our February Contest winners announced and the new contest is underway. See the contest page for all the details.

I have a lot of requests for the workshop, so we will be setting up some more dates this week as well. Filling out the summer and entering fall.

April 2009

Dallas 4, 5
Nashville 11, 12
Atlanta 18, 19
Mexico 24, 25, 26

May 2009

New York 2, 3
Washington DC 9, 10
Detroit 16, 17
Cleveland 30, 31

Let’s look at some pictures and talk a little about the art of portraiture.


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