Holy butts. Sometimes the fact that I'm an artist and I'm allowed to get weird slips my mind. I don't have a boss, I'm allowed to create what I want, I'm allowed to try new things for the sake of playing, and I'm even allowed to start a blog post by saying "Holy butts." That rocks.
Have you ever wanted to create a dramatically lit portrait but you have felt limited by your lack of camera gear? Pye Jirsa over at SLR Lounge has just released a very technical video showing how you can accomplish complex lighting with just a single on-camera flash. The results are pretty incredible, and I would have never thought these images were created with such a simple lighting solution.
It has always driven me insane that I had to stock multiple sets of softboxes that are largely identical but designed for use with either studio strobes (of a specific brand) or speedlights (via some sort of proprietary bracket). I even jerry-rigged some disconcertingly terrifying setups over the years involving a few Justin Clamps to mount my speedlights onto speed rings. Unsurprisingly, things didn’t go very well. That is until I discovered Cheetah Stand’s Speed Pro MKII bracket, which is a hefty bracket specifically designed to help you mount a small flash into Bowens-style speed rings.
“Expect the unexpected” is great advice for anyone, especially for a photographer. Making the necessary preparations for a photoshoot is essential to success, but what about matters that are beyond your control? We will review three of the most common obstacles that can potentially derail your next session, and how to best handle them both preemptively and after the fact.
Elinchrom has been renowned for its light shapers for a long time. Many photographers have been using the Rotalux line of softboxes even on other, more expensive strobe brands such as Profoto or Broncolor. The Rotalux system was also known for its quick and simple way of assembling the boxes. A couple of months ago, the Swiss brand announced a new line of light shaping tools: the Litemotiv. They might look very similar to the Rotalux system, but they are very different in many ways. Elinchrom was kind enough to lend me both sizes — a 120 centimeter softbox and a 190 centimeter softbox — and give them a try. Here are my impressions after a month of use.
So a few weeks ago I found sometime to shoot a personal project, a summer inspired beauty shoot. The idea behind the shoot was to focus on summer and to play with bright and vibrant colors. Prior to the shoot a spent days experimenting with new techniques and different ways of introducing color into my shoot. In this article I want to share a couple of techniques I used to create colorful effects in camera and also how I recreated one of those effects in Photoshop.
In the final part of the Dramatic Beauty Portrait Tutorial, we will look at how I do my Black and White conversion. This image is a dramatic image so it calls for a punchy and high-contrast black and white conversion. In this tutorial, I will show you how I stack blending modes and adjustment layers to get my image exactly where I want it. You can follow these steps in your own images or use the techniques and customize them for your own use. In the video you will also see how to use layer masks to create targeted adjustments for your high-contrast black and white portraits.
For those of you who get into situations where you have limited time to set up, manually light and fine tune it to how you would like, well-known photographer Joe McNally shows how quick and easy using TTL can be when pairing an Air Remote with a Profoto B1 strobe unit. This would be great for event shooters, and setting up for quick portraits. Read on for two other videos on high speed sync and lighting ratios.
Since I started doing makeup on most of my projects, I discovered that some very basic makeup tools could have helped me in a big way on previous shoots. Before learning about makeup I had absolutely no clue whatsoever on where or even how to apply some very simple cosmetic products. Looking back now, I see how much time I have lost in Photoshop not knowing these simple things. My goal with this article is not to teach you makeup from A-to-Z but rather to give you a few easy tips you or your models can use to diminish your postproduction time. Less time in front of the computer means more time behind your camera, and who does not want that?
In my opinion, mastering negative dodge and burn is the key to any beauty retouch. There are many steps and many hours that go into a great retouch, but negative dodge and burn is as essential, if not more so, than any of them. The term "negative dodge and burn" is one that I first heard from fellow retoucher Pratik Naik. It was the concept of having a specific process of removing distractions and smoothing tonal transitions through dodge and burn that was responsible for one of the biggest jumps in my own personal retouching game.
From St. Louis’ Bruton Stroube Studios comes the impressively cinematic tale of food preperation as it battles the elements within the kitchen. At just over a minute in length, “Cooking Up A Storm” manages to breathe an extraordinary amount of drama and depth into the culinary practice. This short film is testament to what a skilled production team and sound designer can bring to seemingly oridinary situations.
In Part 3 of the Dramatic Beauty Portrait Tutorial, we will finally get into the first main step of the skin retouching process. Basic skin retouching involves addressing subtle skin and texture issues on our portrait images. We will not only look at techniques for skin retouching in Photoshop, but also discuss the theory behind our decision process during the retouching process. I will also show optional techniques for those looking for quicker or alternative options during their portrait or beauty retouching. In case you missed it, during Part 1 of the tutorial we went over the lighting and shooting of our image and in Part 2 we looked at the "pre-editing" process.
Anyone who likes to bring a light or two on-location knows the frustration of wanting soft, controllable light that won't weigh you down or break the bank. The Westcott Apollo Orb is, without a doubt, one of my favorite lighting modifiers. As you'll see below, the Apollo Orb has just about every feature you could ask for in its unique, somewhat-brolly-box-style design, all at a modest price point.
Zach Arias has a new educational site called DEDPXL where him and a group of his friends write on their experiences, struggles, and successes. Commercial Photographer Sid Ceasar is among those writers. A few months ago he produced a video appearing as Sid "The Muppet" Ceasar and talks about inspiration, getting out and making new work, and why surrounding yourself with creative people is so important.
A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to shoot with the Broncolor Siros Monolights for the first time. Until now, my light of choice has been the Profoto D1. I, like many of you, have seen reviews on Broncolor's new monolight, and like many of you as well, have been a bit skeptical about their delve into competing with Profoto's D1 and B1 Series for the high-end monolight market. The Siros is available in two models, a 400W/s monolight and an 800W/s monolight, and for this shoot I used five Siros 800s. In this article I will give you my complete lighting setup, gear list, a retouching preview, and complete review of my experience with the Siros Monolight and BronControl app.