I have to thank Tyler Kaufman for turning me onto this next video. Sports photographer Peter Read Miller recently shot some of the top NCAA college football players for the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. There really isn’t any super informative information in this video but it’s still great to see how the top photographers in the world pull off cover material for magazines like Sports Illustrated. From the video, it appears that these shots are lit with only 3 light sources: One large parabolic reflector as a key, one smaller parabolic reflector as a kicker, and a spot gridded flash head for a rear rim light. If you’ve ever shot in this style you know that small hard rim/kicker lights can really edge out your subject. If you click the full post and look at the super high res final image you can see how the larger side light makes the highlights broad but still harsh. It’s easy to think that a barebulb speedlight to the side of your subject is sufficient for a rim light but adding that one extra modifier can really make a huge difference in your final result.
I’m sure many of you have heard the saying “overcast skies make for amazing photos”. While it’s true that soft overcast light is usually more flattering on people’s faces, it can also make your photos super boring and even gloomy. So what can you do with your bag of tricks to spice up a photo session during cold, rainy, or overcast days? Damien Lovegrove explains how you can use a “dingle” (or more commonly a Cookie) to bring some pseudo-sunlight into your portraits . This clip is from Damien’s Speedlight Mastery DVD and he does a great job explaining this super useful technique that can be applied to many of your own shoots at almost zero cost. Next time you see those interesting shadow patterns while thumping through your girlfriend’s fashion magazines you can imagine the dingle that created them!
A big part of what makes commercial photography so interesting is it often requires photographers to incorporate the latest graphic trends into their work. In other words, in order to cut the mustard in commercial photography, you not only have to be at the top of your game but you also have to produce something eye catching in a market full of interesting media. That’s exactly what photographer Gary Land did with his latest Adidas ad featuring soccer superstar Lionel Messi. However, his arsenal of Profoto lights and heavy photoshop has caused a bit of controversy over on the Strobist website where many photographers are claiming the final image is a bit overkill. I personally love the final image and think the direction Gary went is exactly what separates the boys from the men. However, I can appreciate the purists point of view who think great advertising photos should remain true to real life and capture a more realistic vision. Check out this great behind the scenes video of the latest Adidas shoe ad and let us know what you think in the comments. Check out Gary’s interesting website as well for more inspiration.
In this weeks episode of The Slanted Lens, Jay P. Morgan shows us how to light and photograph a glass bottle. This video is also about superimposing products into real scenes so that the product looks it’s best. Tutorials like this are priceless for anyone who is interested in product photography. Glass can be extremely tricky but Jay makes things super simple for us.
Douglas Sonders has always created some pretty interesting behind the scenes videos of his photo projects. Recently he shot the band Blink 182 for the cover of Alt Press Magazine. The behind the scenes video below doesn’t show much mainly because Douglas only had about 30 minutes with the band and had to shoot 3 separate covers with each band member individually as well as 1 complete band photo. The lighting is pretty straight forward though with a few rim lights, a soft over head key light, and a ring flash. Check out the full post to see a detailed video on how Douglas photoshopped the final images for print and how he uses the Nik Software Viveza in his workflow.
Patrick and I were invited to shoot a behind the scenes video with beauty photography Sam Yocum in NYC a few months ago. I’ve always been struck by the lighting and flawless models, makeup, and retouching that can be seen in high end Beauty work and so I couldn’t wait to see a real professional work…Check out the video below to see a little on how Sam works as well as a very detailed tutorial on how he approaches his post production. Click the full post to see a bunch of Sam’s beauty images.
I’ve been saving my money for months so that I can make the switch over to Profoto and take advantage of their new D1 Air Monolights. Not only are these things small and light but they are also completely wireless! You can now control your studio lights (on/off, flash power, modeling light) all from the Profoto Air Remote. You want to know what the best part is? WE ARE GIVING A SET OF THESE LIGHTS AWAY to the winner of our behind the scenes contest. Check out the full post to see 3 videos of these incredible lights in action.
Usually when I hear someone is shooting a sexy calendar my stomach churns a bit as I imagine poor photography, less than stunning models, and ridiculously boring scenes. Thankfully this military themed calendar from Hot Shots is definitely not one of those poorly executed photoshoots. The final images are not yet public but they do have a bunch of them within this behind the scenes video so watch closely. The lighting is perfect, the photoshop is inspiring, and the amount of production value everyone put into this is something everyone should notice even if you aren’t shooting sexy military bikini babes (which who isn’t really?). If anyone comes across more of the final images let us know. In the mean time, enjoy a break from your typical Tuesday afternoon!
The team over at [Framed] has created another great BTSV, this time with underwater fashion photographer Mallory Morrison. Mallory, a dancer for 23 years, uses her history in the field to help direct her models under the water. I’ve attempted underwater photography like this before, and it is so much harder than it looks. Check out the video below to see a master at work.
Photographer Scott Bourke gives us a complete overview of how he took a fantastic product shot of a few bottles of beer. Scott uses a single flash and 4 reflectors to create a very professional looking image that any photographer (no matter how little gear they have) is capable of creating. As I have always said, photography is all about good lighting and good lighting does not mean expensive lighting. Let’s hope that Scott is going to enter our BTSV contest. Check out the full post for the final image and a BTS diagram.
last week Jay P Morgan showed us exactly what softboxes do to light sources. Each softbox shape can be used to create a unique look and in the video below Jay shows us how he chooses the correct size to light a specific shot. Keep in mind that if you don’t have enough money to buy multiple sofboxes, you can change the relative size of a single box by moving it closer or further away from your subject.
Understanding how different sized softboxes work usually requires a bunch of tests or just good ole trial and error. Luckily photographer Jay P Morgan has done all the dirty work for you and shows how different sized Photoflex softboxes create unique spreads and quality of light. I find smaller softboxes are great for location portraits because of their compact size and soft yet edgy light. However you may prefer something larger depending on the specific look you are trying to achieve. If you enjoy Jay’s videos, check out some of his older posts we have featured on Fstoppers.
So your band is about to go on tour and the obvious question is “what are we going to use for our backdrop?” Most bands would normally use a projector, an LED panel, or just some plain old stage lights. What the Japan based band Androp decided to do was much more interesting. Using 250 Canon cameras equipped with external flashes, the band wired everything together and programmed them with Arduino open source software to display different patterns of light and text. You really have to watch the full video to even grasp how cool this turned out. Check out the behind the scenes video below and jump to the full post for the final video.
Everyone knows Annie Leibovitz is one of the most, if not THE most, well known photographer in the world. Her images evoke a strong sense of story, drama, and beauty. It’s not surprising why so many advertising agencies choose Annie to take their clients’ portraits. In this video Annie Leibovitz puts Profoto co-founder Conny Dufgran in front of his own lights for a series of environmental portraits. Like most of Annie’s behind the scenes videos, you really have to pay attention to the details because she isn’t going to spell it all out for you. The first time I watched this video I noticed how much feathering she does with her medium octaboxes, how she controls fill light with large black cards, and even a little on how she directs her subjects. I also like the magic arm trick she uses to get her softlighter closer to her subject…I might have to steal that one. If you have any tips you have taken from Leibovitz share them in the comments.
Last time we featured a video from Mike Tittel, he was showcasing his edgy lighting look on some female tennis players. This time he has taken his photography team to the salt flats of Utah to photography the Brazilian sport Capoeira. For this shoot, Mike pulls out a few Profoto 7Bs with 2×3′ gridded softboxes for many of the shots. However it’s his natural lit shots that really grabbed my attention which he lit using the very helpful 4×6 California Sunbounce to fill his subjects. After the video, head over to Mike Tittel’s Website to check out more of his work and click on the full post to read how Mike lit these shots in his own words.