Wednesday, February 29, 2012

YWAM School of Photography: Rembrandt Lighting Assignment

I gave the class an assignment on making a Rembrandt light portrait using just one light with a 10º or 20º spot grid.

Most everyone in the class has never even turned on a studio strobe before.

Here is the assignment:

Rembrandt portrait using one grid light


Please get the best possible expression.  You need to see a triangle on their cheek.  Be sure the triangle includes lighting their eye.

Monobloc with 10 or 20 degree grid
You may use any power setting you choose.  Be sure skin tone is properly exposed and correct white balance.

Choose the lowest ISO setting for your camera.  Use a portrait lens 85mm - 100mm or if you don't have full frame then 50mm will be OK.

You may use a black background as well.  No other lights to be used in this assignment.

Here are some of the students results:
Photo by: Lauren R. Tercero
Photo by: Deborah Mataia
Photo by: Francisco Leon V.
Photo by: Katie Suderman
Photo by: Sarah L. Quinones
Photo by: Hastings Franks
Photo by: Annett Rek

Monday, February 27, 2012

A little modification to an older project

"Is there any any any chance you can take out - remove the 1 slide at the very beginning that the slide show starts with that says... petting farm....- am just trying to remove petting farm any where i can find it on the website."
I was thrilled to see something I did a few years ago can be modified and help my friend's business. She just wanted to change the focus of her business.

Many businesses will add new things and drop other things and the cool thing with that slide show that I produced I just had to make one modification.

It wasn't too difficult to make the change due to the format.  Had I shot this all in video I could still make the change, but the time would have been a lot more.

Have you visited your website lately?  Should you change your focus for your business?

I recommend looking every once and a while at what you offer and what you could offer.  Sometimes the best thing you can do for your business is to stop doing some things. Some of those things may look like they are keeping you in business, but they could be consuming the time you could put into something more profitable.

Some photos are more timeless than others.  Look through your website, blog and other materials and see do the people in the photos look like how people dress and style their hair today?  If not you may need to create some new content.

One of my new clients is putting a new photo every day of the year up on their website.  It doesn't rotate.  Guess what?  They now have increased their traffic to the website.  People don't want to miss the photo since if they skip a day they miss out on some content.

By the way if you want to have fun at my friends farm then go here for information

Friday, February 24, 2012

SWPJC Student Workshop Moments

I am at the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference where we are holding a Student Workshop prior to the regular program.

I just wanted to share some moments from our time going out to a Cowboy church last night where they gave use horseback rides, fed us and sang some songs with us.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2 bags I don't leave home without

ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60 V2.0 is the main bag I use everyday.
When I travel I use the ThinkTank bags to help protect my gear and carry all my camera and computer gear.

I use the ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60 everyday.  I always carry my Apple Macbook Pro and iPad with me.  I enjoy the fast response of the iPad to just see content and prefer to do work on my Macbook pro.

I always have a camera with me but it isn't the Nikon D3S I am carrying all the time.  I prefer to carry my Nikon P7000 because it is light and pretty versatile if I just want a photo of something I came upon.

When I travel with my pro cameras and am flying I use the ThinkTank Airport Security™ V 2.0.  It is quite common to be stuck on a small plane and have to check my cameras at the door of the plane.  I have had good results with nothing ever breaking when flying with the roller bag.

ThinkTank Airport Security V2.0
I think it is important to carry what you need to a job and I find that I need a lot more than just a camera.  I need backup gear so I need two of almost everything.  That becomes a lot of gear.
In this example you can see 2 cameras, four flashes and numerous lenses and other gear.  I too carry a lot and need not only to be able to carry the gear, but work out of the bag once on location.  I find I can easily get what I need without having to empty the bag to find that piece of gear I am reaching for.

I recommend these two bags in tandem to get your gear on airplanes and to your location to shoot for your client.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Improve your Flash photos by not lighting everything

How do you get this result? [Figure 1]
When this is where you started? [Figure 2] Nikon D3, 85mm, f/1.4, ISO 200, 1/500 on Matrix metering.
Maybe you want the light on even less of the face like this. [Figure 3]
I started this photo shoot with figure 2. I started with a back lighted subject. Most all the light is on the background and the subject is in the shade.

This is the setup.  I used a fill flash on my Nikon P7000 to take this photo.  If you look behind the model you can see the shadow from the house and see how all the sunlight is hitting the background. Nikon SB900 on light stand with Radio Poppers PX helping be sure the signal from the Nikon SU800 is not lost outside in all the sunlight.
I suggest doing this assignment yourself and take some notes just to be sure you are remembering all your settings.  While the Nikon will capture the camera settings it doesn't show the SB900 settings in the embedded information, only that it was used.

Shoot all these combinations and you will have 16 different photos to compare the results.  Add + series and you would have 28 total different ones to look through and compare.  
As you can see in these shots the background is consistent through each series and the skin tone gets brighter and darker due to the flash changing while the Camera setting stays the same.  You then change the camera setting and re-shoot the series with the flash.
Here you can see me changing just the camera settings on the Nikon D3. The ISO stays the same. The aperture stays the same and by dialing this under the shutter speed will change automatically because I am using the exposure compensation to change it. Had I chosen to shoot this in Shutter Priority and not Aperture Priority the Aperture would change from each setting instead of the Shutter Speed.

Since the flash is off camera and I am using the Nikon SU-800 to control the flash, I am changing the SU-800 and not the SB-900.  Here is what those changes will look like.

You can continue to go through to the -1, -2, -3 respectfully to get more combinations.  The reason I am only changing A and not B or C is the Nikon SB-900 is set to Channel 1 Letter A.
Camera setting at 0 and the flash is set to -3.  Also the Flash is zoomed to 200 so I am just lighting her face and not the outfit. [Nikon D3, 85mm, f/1.4, ISO 200, 1/1000]
Camera -1, Flash 0 [Nikon D3, 85mm, f/1.4, ISO 200, 1/2000]
Camera -3, Flash +3 [Nikon D3, 85mm, f/1.4, ISO 200, 1/8000]
Now let's back up and talk about the Zoom on the Nikon SB-900 flash.  The next three images are all shot with the Camera at 0 and the Flash at 0, but I am zooming the flash all the way as wide as it will go at 17mm to 35mm and finally at 85mm.
Zoom at 17mm [Nikon D3, 85mm, f/1.4, ISO 200, 1/1000]
Zoom 35mm [Nikon D3, 85mm, f/1.4, ISO 200, 1/800]
Zoom 85mm [Nikon D3, 85mm, f/1.4, ISO 200, 1/800]
When you push the shutter you can never see it happen, but the Nikon Speed light system fires a pre-flash to set the exposure and then fires the flash.  Now remember the camera is set to Aperture priority and the camera is in matrix metering mode trying to figure all this out for you.  When the flash was at 17mm the light from the flash is falling on the model's black robe and the camera wants to make it darker and thus shortens the shutter speed to 1/1000.  When the flash is just hitting the face with the 35mm and the 85mm zoom setting then it is at 1/800 shutter speed.

I mention this to say when you are in TTL mode shooting in some form of auto there are variances due to each scene.  This is why you want to shoot this type of test before you shoot a real job.  Just change the model's shirt to white and everything will change again.

Let's mix it up a little more by adding a snoot to the SB900.

I am using the LumiQuest snoot on the Nikon SB-900.  This narrows down the light to an even smaller spotlight.
I didn't move the flash or camera, but the model moved ever so slightly in these two examples.  This is where you can use the Depth-of-Field preview button to have the flash fire a continuous light that you can see where it is hitting the subject.  I can tell you from experience that you don't want to do this a lot without letting the flash cool down between doing this.  I burned out the tube and had to have Nikon repair it.  Use this sparingly. [Nikon D3, 85mm, f/1.4, ISO 200, 1/5000] 

I pushed the depth-of-field preview button and then had the model stay still to get the light where I wanted it. [Nikon D3, 85mm, f/1.4, ISO 200, 1/5000] 
As you can see everything is the same as without the snoot in the setup.  By using the snoot the exposure changed a great deal even tho I am only having the Camera at -3 and the Flash at +3