Saturday, December 31, 2011

Guitars at Long Island Photo Workshops

Back in August of 2011, I was teaching at the Long Island Photo Workshops. This is one of the many photos I took as demonstrations during the week. This was a three light setup with an additional bounce.

Let's take a look at the setup below to see how this shot was created.

As I mentioned, I used a total of 3 Speedlights for this photograph. The main or key was placed on a boom and the modifier is a Lumiquest Softbox LTp. I had my assistant Benny hold a 42" reflector to bounce additional light under the brim of the musicians hat. The other two Speedlights were wrapped with cinefoil or black wrap. The rear light was fitted with a full CTO and directed on the garage door just above the shoulder. This light not only adds some color to the image, but also acts as a separation light. The other Speedlight was directed to the tattoo on the arm.

Here is another photo from that same session.

Two Speedlights used here for this shot. On the left (Key Light) a straight hard light with no gel on the flash. I get a blue cast from this light because my white balance is set to Tungsten or Incandescent. On the right, another Speedlight place on the ground with a double CTO on the flash. A very cool shot with such little gear. Here is the setup shot for you to review.

By the way, if you would like to see a complete list of light gear it use you can see my public wish list at B&H HERE.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

New SSBR Web Site

I'm excited to announce that I have redesigned my Small Strobes, Big Results web site. Actually, my wife Debbie is the one who did this for me.

You will also see that I am now selling my popular SSBR Umbrella Adapter Flash Mount on the site. For those of you that already own softboxes and are looking for a convenient way of mounting your flash, this will help.

Like a lot of you, I own several soft boxes and speed rings which fit my larger studio lights. I wanted to be able to use my existing boxes and speed rings with my small flashes without buying a new dedicated speedlight softbox. I use to use a Justin Clamp to mount my flash on my speed ring, this method added weight and was a bit clumsy.

The SSBR Umbrella Adapter Flash Mount is constructed of high grade extruded aluminum that has been anodized flat black and fitted with a high quality cold shoe. Mounting my speed ring on the top of my umbrella adapter allows me the ability to pitch my soft box for more controlled lighting. I find that this product works for about 99% of all flash and speedlight combinations. If you find your flash is too tall to fit into the center of the speed ring, you may need to pick up a taller stud to accommodate a proper alignment for your flash. Shown below are both the extended reversible stud height and the standard stud height. Like I said, I find the standard stud height that comes most umbrella adapters work 99% of the time.

I have also added 4 SSBR workshops on the calendar for 2012 here in Denver, If you would like to have a workshop in your area, feel free to contact me for more details.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Which Direction Should I Light?

Ever ask yourself, "Which direction should I light from?" Paying attention to the existing light will give you your first clue. Lets take a look at the following photograph and I'll explain my process and choices for doing what I did. I have photographed in this same location several times, this time I remembered to shoot a set up to share with you.

When I look at the scene before me, I see a long bank of window which I can use as a out of focus as a design element as my backdrop. With the windows on the right side of the frame, it makes sense to me that I should light from the same direction. Doing so allows for a more natural looking light, basically duplicating the lighting pattern that exists.

Lighting choice are many here, I could place my subject in the hard light of an open window if that were the type of light I wanted. I could perhaps place a silk over the window and use the sun as my light source, the silk would act as a large softbox producing a soft quality light.

Space permitting, I could assemble a large softbox or just bounce my light. The day I was photographing, this company was having their board of directors meeting. There was a lot of traffic around the executive floor and the choice of a softbox would just impede movement through this narrow hallway. Bounce was the right choice, and as you can see, look quite natural.

In the photo below you can see the actual setup, I aimed the flash high on the wall about the same height I would have placed another modifier. Special notice should be taken when looking at this photograph. I have a flag or gobo on the far side of the flash, this prevents the light from the flash directly hitting the subject. I want all the light reaching my subject from the bounced subject. I bounced my light on a section of wall between two windows.

On this particular day, I had 3 additional lighting setups on the executive floor. You can see a small card taped to my flash reminding of the setting for this particular shot. I can walk over to the set, look at my note and set my camera to the proper setting.

The card actually serves two purposes, a note to keep me straight and it serves as a small flag preventing flare in my lens.

If you are interested in learning more about the world of corporate and annual report photography I have some great news. This summer, August 5-10th, 2012 I'll be teaching a workshop at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops titled "Corporate Photography & The Annual Report". If you think you might be interested, contact the workshops at Santa Fe to secure a spot.