Archive for October 2009

Da jump

October 29th, 2009 — 9:22pm

I had a few minutes today, while my wife was fixing some dinner, to take a fun picture of my son Pablo.   It was getting pretty dark and I had to work quickly.  I asked him to step on top of a power utility box next to the garage at home and jump.  I was on the ground looking up with a wide angle lens.  The light on him was provided by a strobe with a 7in. reflector and no diffusion.  The strobe was on a short stand pretty close to the ground.   I captured a few frames, and I liked two - in one Pablo was getting ready to jump, and in the other one he was already in the air.  I decided to combine the two frames into a single one to create a better story - Pablo pushing himself off the cliff.  It was pretty easy and fun to do!  And he really likes the photo too!

Pablo pushing himself off the cliff

Pablo pushing himself off the cliff

Comment » | Family

The beauty of high key

October 19th, 2009 — 9:43pm

Yesterday I posted a couple of low key images using dramatic light with some references to the old Hollywood glamour style.

Here is the same model, Anna, but this time with a high key treatment, and a more contemporary fashion look, using white on white to emphasize simplicity and purity, with some symbolic reference to Nordic coldness.

Light was simple, a single Large Photoflex Q39 softbox behind a 4×6 Photoflex Light frame with a diffusion panel on it for additional diffusion. The fill was a 4×8 white foam core book. The background was lit separately. Ratio between background and the subject was 2:1 - images are straight out of the camera with exception of resizing and slight sharpening for the web.

High key fashion

High key fashion

Comment » | Photo Sessions

Gotta love your shadows!

October 18th, 2009 — 9:57pm

The more I work with light the more I enjoy working with shadows. Today I worked with Anna,  a stunning European model on stock imagery, mostly on a white background with super diffused light. Pretty conventional, commercial looking stuff. She did great, as I expected. At the end of the session and just for fun, I turned off the lights on the white seamless, put away the large softbox, put a 40 degree grid on a beauty dish, and put it a couple of feet from her, after she changed into black clothes. I directed her just a bit, and she gave me this image, the last one from a series of about four hundred. And the one I like the most because of the well defined shadows and the overall low key.

Gotta love the shadows if you’re in love with light!

Love those shadows!

Love those shadows!

For this image I converted to a platinum tone and added a bit more postprocessing to try idealize and glamourize the woman as it was done back in the 30s and 40s.  I like the black garment becoming just a shape, a pedestal for the lovely face.

After 30s Hollywood

After 30's Hollywood

1 comment » | Photo Sessions

Session with Yeasmin

October 18th, 2009 — 8:53am

On Saturday October 17th I worked with Yeamin, a lovely Indian model, on some lifestyle and business style portraits for my Getty stock collection.   It was mid-day, about 3pm and we picked shady areas to get diffused light.  It’s common for the camera not to get the color of light exactly right, hence I always shoot in raw mode and then adjust the white balance in postprocessing.  In the first image below I was working in open shade  - even though the day was sunny and with few clouds, but using a shaded area I was able to get to light across Yeasmin’s face, including a rim effect on the right side of her cheek, which I love.

Yeasmn - natural light headshot

Yeasmn - natural light headshot


In this second image, with more of a business portrait feel, I used window light, coming from camera right, and took advantage of the ledge to pose her in a natural way:

Yeasmin by a window

Yeasmin by a window

Comment » | Photo Sessions

Turn a white background black

October 12th, 2009 — 9:20am

On Saturday I taught a seminar on lighting at my home studio. At the end of the day I did this exercise to show how a photographer can totally change the mood of an image using lighting, and also how the same background can be lit differently to support the mood we want.

Picture #1 - white background illuminated with two bounce umbrellas, one on each side. The model is being lit by a very large softbox to camera left, with the fill being a large white reflector to camera light. The ratio between key and fill was 2/3 of a f-stop. Note how the white background, the open, diffuse lighting and the dress all convey an upbeat mood.

Picture #2 – same WHITE background, but with no light on it. I propped a 4×8 black foam core board on top of two folding doors to prevent the light from bouncing from the white ceiling and giving me a medium gray tone above her head – I wanted a dark, low key image with a certain monumentality created by the position of the camera and the wide ange of the lens. Almost mystical. The key light was a beauty dish with a 40 degree grid on it very close to her face. The fill was a strobe with a 7 in reflector right next to the camera, in front of her – to open the shadows on the black garment. There was also another strobe behind her, low, pointing up to her back, to create a little separation between her and the background.

The exercise shows how to turn a white background into black - simply remove light from falling on it. In order for the beauty dish to not throw light onto the background, I had to position it very close to the model so that I would expose correctly for the light falling on her face, while at the same time, the light falloff was very rapid and hence light didn’t reach the white.

Comment » | Technical

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