Archive for January 2010

Lighting Workshop in Plano

January 20th, 2010 — 9:15am

I am offering my second lighting workshop in Plano at the end of February.  The details are available here.

There are many workshops out there.  There are excellent workshops on studio lighting for portraiture, on using portable flashes, and, of course, on doing weddings and seniors.  My lighting workshop is a bit different in that it’s more focused on the principles of lighting, across both natural and man-made lights,  with practical application to multiple situations, both in the studio and on location.   Light is light, regardless of whether it’s the sun, house lamps, powerful strobes,  ceiling flourescent tubes, or work lights, but each has different attributes - but a proactive photographer that knows how to see and control light will be able to apply a small set of principles to almost any situation to get the results he or she wants.

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Constructing an image from an idea

January 20th, 2010 — 9:06am

An idea came to mind while my daughter was practicing her piano. I envisioned a cozy little space where she’s reading quietly, with a color palette that overlapped cool and warm colors. I wanted to show her as a little person that was almost ready to have her own space.

The problem is that there is no space like that in the house-walls are mostly off white, the furniture in her room is off-white… not exactly what I had in mind. So I challenged myself to construct this cozy, intimate space for her, and then bring her in and make the portrait.

One more thing I wanted to do was to experiment with props in the foreground - I was really impressed with how Mark Robert Halper uses the foreground plane as a creative element - this image is a good example. So I used her blue lava lamp to bring the cool color palette and also the foreground element. I moved her night stand to bring the lava lamp closer to the camera.

In order to achieve the cozy space idea I took a hand-woven orange patterned blanket we just bought in Peru and threw it over her bed’s headboard. Christina was also going to sit on this blanket, which would bring the warm colors to the composition.

The lighting was straightforward. I placed an SB-800 flash with a 20 degree grid on a light stand to camera right, in a near-butterfly position. Because I wasn’t using a modeling light, I instructed my little model to spot correct placement of the grid on her face, and to help me position the light. In order to get the blue very blue, and the orange more saturated, I decided to put 2 cuts of full CTO on the flash. When I adjusted white balance in post, I went for a warm tone that made the blue bluer.

And the only thing left was camera placement to have the lava lamp well present but without dominating the entire frame. It took a few trials - I used a tripod even though I was shooting at 1/160 or so. The lens was 85mm f/1.4.

My little one was an excellent model, patient with light placement. I like the results - hope she does too when she sees her portrait in the morning. I think I got pretty close to the image I previsualized.

Click on the thumbnails below to see a larger image:

Reading moment

Reading moment


Lighting diagram

Lighting diagram

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