Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nikon Learn And Explore Interview

Last year while attending Photo Plus East in New York, I participated in an interview for Nikon's Learn and Explore Educational Division. I was teamed up with another photographer by the name of Steve Vaccariello. Steve is a fantastic fashion shooter and I was thrilled to share an interview with him. You can watch the interview HERE.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Santa Fe Workshops - March Small Strobes, Big Results

I just wanted to make a quick note regarding my up coming Santa Fe Workshop this March 20 - 26th. I'll be teaching my popular Small Strobes, Big Results workshop, there are a few more spaces available, so if your interested in learn how to effectively use your small speedlights, this workshop is for you.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Following a Layout

Quite often, photographers are asked to duplicate an established lighting pattern set forth by previous work. Such was the case with my recent assignment for Market Sense.

I was contacted by a photo agency in New York to shoot this assignment. I was provide the following pdf showing me an earlier Ad shot by another photographer. Apparently, several of these Ad's are being shot around the county, I just filling the need here in the Denver area.

When I spoke with the client about the assignment, I asked if they wanted the same lighting pattern as the comp. I was told they wanted it lit in the same manner, perhaps another variation where the subject is lit from the other side. With that in mind, I ran a few tests over the weekend.

My thought was to place two Octa's on either side of the subject, one serving as a key and the other as fill if needed. I have two large Octa's, one is 5 foot and the other is a 7 foot Octa. I'll be placing the larger octa (the 7 foot one) furthest away from the subject. Because I need to allow for space for copy on the right side, I will need a larger light source coming from the right side to maintain the quality of light. Remember, the small the light source the harder the quality of light. In the diagram below you can see the planned set up, I say planned because I haven't yet shot this assignment. This is the sort of planning I go through before arriving on location, you need a plan of attack.

You can see in the diagram above that I plan on bring panels with me to use as gobo's, I want to be able to control the density of the gray background.

To be honest, I thought about bring my dynalite power pack and heads for this assignment. After my first test at home, I realized that I just had to much power. It may sound strange, but I use my 7 foot Octa with only one SB-800. You may think to yourself that a single SB-800 would not cover a 7 foot Octa. Just photograph the surface of your modifier to find out, you will find that the complete surface of the box is evenly illuminated.

OK, back from my shoot. The location they had us scheduled for was way to small for our set-up, so I got permission to set-up in a small lobby area near the service department. Here is the location and a few set-up shots.

As it turned out, I only used a gobo on the smaller Octa to prevent flare on the lens. I also added two smaller softboxes at the rear of the set. I used them as kickers or rim lights. I first shot using the larger Octa on the right first along with the smaller box on the left. I then turned those lights off and activated the others for the variation my client wanted. We had our subject for a total of 10 minutes. Here is a sample of the photos took, I have placed my subject in the comp that I was provided.

Monday, January 10, 2011

One Large Octa

For the past 8 years at this time of year, I shoot about 50 headshots and 2 executive portraits for a client of mine. This year like every year, I receive a layout to follow for the executive photos. This year, the photos were to be used as double page spreads with a huge text box on one of the pages. For this particular photo, the text box was on the right page.

When we scouted locations a week prior to the shoot, we of course had no idea what sort of weather we were going to have. The truck was much to large to place inside the garage in case the weather went south. I also did not have any control over the timing of the photo, availability of our subject was based on meeting taking place during the annual meeting being held.

I chose to bring my Lumedyne pack just in case I had to over power the sun. This would assure fast recycle times and allow me the DOF needed. Here is the set up shot, photos provided by my assistant for the day Brian Hatch. As a note of interest, I met Brian on Facebook while he was working as a medic in Afghanistan.

I can't stress this enough, you need to test your lighting prior to the subject arriving on set. I used one of my friend Jonathan who works in the communications department with my client. This is Jonathan standing in before the boss shows up.

As it turned out, it began snowing just as I took the last photo of the session. I could have easily made this photo using my SB-800's.

I have an up coming Small Strobes, Big Results workshop here in Denver on Feb 12th. If your interested in attending or to find out more information click HERE.