A few weeks ago, I flew to Los Angeles to shoot a commercial project for Mitsubishi. They had a custom Outlander built by RIDES Magazine and were in need of press shots. Studio shooting can be among the most challenging of all types of photography, but with a little patience and some care, its really not that difficult. Here's how we did it.
“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”. I’m sure we’ve all heard this saying at one point in our lives. Even though I never took the advice (In your face Mom!) it can easily be reworked into something I firmly believe. “Film for the job you want, not the job you have”.
One of the first very important skills I acquired in my Australian Photography course was the ability to breakdown lighting and determine approximate camera settings in images taken by other photographers. If you understand how the direction of light and its degree of diffusion are controlled and how they affect images, it should be easy for you to train yourself to "read" lighting in the images you see in magazines, on billboards and in your favorite photographers’ portfolios.
7 years of shooting Automotive Editorial Photography has taught me to streamline as much as possible. One area I've simplified to fit my needs is my lighting kit. I used to rent gear wherever I could, but after you use your own gear long enough you almost develop a relationship with it and now I definitely prefer to use my own lights.
Automotive Editorial Photography will teach you many things. Mostly though, it'll teach you how to make something out of nothing and how to operate quickly and efficiently. I can't tell you how many times I've shown up to shoot a car only to be told it can't be moved from where it sits. It's those situations that will really test your mettle as a photographer and I've actually grown to love those challenges. One challenge from last year that I really enjoyed was a RIDES Magazine cover that would require fitting and lighting 10 cars. Here's how I did it.
When we talk about on-location mixed lighting we usually mean shooting with light sources of different nature, such as natural ambient light and artificial, or shooting with lights of different color temperatures (tungsten, fluorescent, flash, etc.).
There are dozens of cool effects that one can achieve when mixing ambient light with controlled lighting, but today I would like to talk about mixing lights in studio - impulse (i.e. strobe or flash) and continuous. I love this technique and hope my article inspires you to try it out too.
As an architectural and interiors photographer, I own more lights than I even want to think about. Pelican cases full - hot lights, speedlights, monolights, color balanced bulbs, and modifiers to go along with all of them. Lowel recently released the very polarizing GL-1 Hotlight to much controversy: people mocked it or loved it. And truth be told,
What do you do when you find yourself in a restaurant without a decent window to shoot by? You will have to create your own light. If you are new to food photography and never had to use artificial light to light a dish, you may find yourself unsure of where to start. You don't need multiple flashes and a bunch of modifiers to create a beautiful shot. All you need is a flash, a light stand, a large diffusion source, and a piece of white foam board. Here is how I use these tools to create a beautiful backlit shot.
When people think of high end commercial automotive photography, they’ll sometimes call to mind images of cars with that distinct light streak down the side. That light streak that so many automotive photographers lust after is actually not a product of black magic, as it seems to be when you’re starting out, but actually incredibly easy to replicate with a technique called light painting.
Living in NYC and having to drag gear around I have become very particular about my camera and gear bags. Comfort, size, weight, and protection are the deciding factors, then I worry if I look cool or not (you can’t go wrong with a black bag). I started looking for a small light stand case that would fit nano stands, a small umbrella and a monopod. This is usually what I use for reception lighting at weddings. After searching through all of the camera stores online, I finally stumbled across the StandBagger.
There are times when I find myself shooting the same stuff or using the same lighting setup over and over again. Repetition helps to improve and fine-tune my skills, but sometimes it just feels boring and degrading, let alone useless for my portfolio.
But as much as I dislike feeling stuck and repeating myself, I now realize how such times in fact help me to become a better artist and shooter. It's usually the desire to entertain myself and experiment that leads me to new personal artistic discoveries. It's when I'm bored and want to "spice it up", I start searching for new lighting ideas, tricks and techniques.
Since we released Peter Hurley's: The Art Behind The Headshot, the internet has been trying to replicate his signature look without shelling out thousands for his Kino Flo lights. The guys over at SLR Lounge put together a great video that comes up with a similar look by using only 1 light, 1 bank, and 3 reflectors. I think the results are fantastic.
This week the ever talented Benjamin Von Wong has taken a particularly difficult challenge of shooting not only a cover album for classical artists, Homzy/Kesler Duo, but their music video for their latest single, 'Curiosity', on the same day. In the behind the scenes video Benjamin walks you through the lighting he used for the photography portion of the shoot.
What is "perfect lighting?" It will differ for every style of photography and every photographer's style. For my food photography, I think the perfect lighting is the soft, beautiful, natural light found from a large window with indirect sun coming through. Unfortunately, most of the locations where I have to go and shoot food don't have this light that I am looking for. In order to get the shoot done, I have to to create the light. What if I could create this "perfect light" and have it for every assignment?