Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Santa Fe Workshop "Small Strobes, Big Results"

I'm currently teaching at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops in Santa Fe, NM. We are into our second day of the workshop and we're having a blast. I have 14 excited students that are just loving there time here, and so am I!

This is my first time teaching a 5 day workshop and I just love it. I hope I have other opportunities to teach here. Apparently, the waiting list for my workshop could have easily filled an additional class. Wow, that just blows my mind.

The photograph at the top of the post was from a morning demonstration illustrating a portrait technique using only one SB-800 strobe and two reflectors. This beautiful young lady featured in the photo is the workshop assistant that has been assigned to my class, eat your hearts out Erik & Ian!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Colorado Biz Bank

No sooner did I get back from Philadelphia, I received a call for a quick executive portrait for an annual report. The design firm and client wanted these two executive photographed outside with rock or some sort of natural stone around them. Weather dictated that the photograph would be shot inside instead of out. This image needed to be completed and delivered to the printer on Friday.

I was able to scout the location with the two designers working on this annual report the day before the shoot. The only natural stone available to us anywhere within the building where their office are located was between a stairwell and elevator lobby.

Here is the lighting set up for the shot.

I shot this using 3 SB-800 Nikon strobes using CLS (Creative Lighting System). I was able to control the strobes via the build in command unit on the D700 I was shooting with.

Even though the two strobes used for the background lights (group B) did not have direct line of sight to my position behind the camera, the CLS system worked great. The lights used for the background where bounced into the ceiling and both where fitted with full cuts of CTO in order to provide warmth to the wall behind the subjects. The lighting in the elevator lobby is the available ambient light from tungsten fixtures. The elevator lobby is through the doorway behind the gentlemen on the left

The key light or (main light) was 2 tall panels connected together with a white fabric. I positioned a SB-800 across the doorway where the two subjects where standing and directed the light into the panel system. I placed 2 gobos around the head of this strobe in order to control flare. Just above the subjects heads where 3 small spot lights that where effecting the shot. We used black foil in order to cover the lights during the exposure. There was also 3 florescent light in the hallway which we turned off via turning the tubes in their fixtures. The florescent fixtures would have contaminate the scene with a green color cast if left on while dragging the shutter for the elevator lobby exposure.

Friday, March 13, 2009

City of Brotherly Love

Wow. What a wonderful visit to Philadelphia, thanks so much to everyone for making me feel so welcomed. I just love Philly, what a beautiful city with warm and friendly people.

My visit to Philadelphia started off with a speaking engagement at the local chapter of the ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) held at the "Power Plant Production Studios" in downtown Philly. I was simply overwhelmed by the turn out, it was my first speaking engagement at an ASMP meeting. I've been a member of ASMP my entire professional career, I never imagined that one day I'd be making a presentation at an ASMP chapter filled with peers and friends. I'm very humbled.

While in Philly I conducted 2 Small Strobes, Big Results Workshops at Eastern State Penitentiary. I added the second workshop due to the overwhelming response and sell out of the first one. Thanks very much for the wonder turn out.

I want to also thank our wonderful models, Lauren, Andrea, Don and Belito for there time and modeling skills, fantastic work.  

Here are a few of the images for our workshop at Eastern State Penitentiary,  I'll try to do another post regarding the approach to each of the photos at a later date.  I have an assignment to shoot later today and I'm headed to the mountains for a one night get-a-way for my sons birthday.  I'll be headed down to Santa Fe to teach my one week Small Strobes, Big Results workshop on Sunday. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bounce Light Technique

I have a regular client here in town that occasionally needs portraits shot of newly hired employee's. This company must be doing well if they're are adding staff. Anyway, rather than packing all my gear and heading out to their offices, I have their new hires come to my place.

When shooting portraits, you typically push the background out of focus in order to drive the viewers eye to the subject. By doing so, I'm able to use my home as an environment similar to an office setting.

Let's look at the lighting I used to create this portrait. I used 2 SB-800 strobes to light this portrait. For the main or key light, I used one of my favorite techniques, bouncing light into a wall or something similar.

Where do I bounce my light? I first imagine where I would like a "window" of light coming from, that tells me where I need to bounce the light. In this situation, I used the cabinets in my kitchen as a bounce source.

Just imagine a softbox in the location where the cabinets are located.

If you find yourself needing a softer light source, spread you light out and illuminate a larger section of wall.

The background light was another SB-800 placed on a coffee table and pointed up to the ceiling. Both strobes where fired via CLS both at 1/16 power. This is what the illumination on the background looks like without the subject standing in.

When using a bounce technique for lighting, the key is to imagine where you would normally place a modifier like a softbox if you where using one. The softness of the light produced from this bounce technique is in direct proportion to the size of the area illuminated.

Friday, March 06, 2009

ASMP Philadelphia Chapter

I'll be in Philadelphia, PA in the next 2 weeks. Not only will I be conducting my Small Strobes, Big Results Workshops at Eastern State Penitentiary, I'll be speaking to the local chapter of the ASMP in Philly. I'll be speaking at the commercial studios of "Power Plant Productions" the evening of March 19th. The event starts at 7 PM, I'll be there for a meet and greet starting at 6 PM. It is my understanding that ASMP members are free and there is a small cover charge for others. I'm looking forward to meeting all of you that attend, should be a fun night.

I should also mention that I have 4 space available for the second Eastern State Penitentiary workshop being held on the 21st of March.

Since I'm mentioning availablity of workshops, I also have space available for the, April 13th workshop in San Francisco, CA. We'll be shooting in and around the pier buildings along side the docks. This will be a unique location with lots of potential.

I have just two more workshops to mention, Orange County, CA. April 16th and Denver on April 25th. Please contact me if you are interested in attending any of these workshops.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Realizing Your Dreams in Commercial Photography

About two weeks ago I had the pleasure to speak with Dr. Audri Lanford, host of the podcast "7 Photography Questions". Audri interviewed me for her podcast that airs each Tuesday on iTunes. We spoke at length about breaking into the field of professional photography and realizing your dreams and goals in photography.

I've had an opportunity to noodle around the 7 Photography Questions website and I can tell you that there are some wonderful interview in the archives. Past interview include: Tony Sweet, Joe McNally, Brenda Tharp and many others. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to this wonderful resource of information.

As a reminder, I have a few spaces remaining for the April 13th San Francisco and Orange County, CA Small Strobes, Big Results workshops. Please email me for more information or visit SSBR.