As a self-taught photographer, I’m an advocate of learning through doing. I didn’t study it, but I can imagine that reading all the Photography 101 books that are available still wouldn't prepare you for actually being on a set, with a model standing in front of you, and a team awaiting your creative direction. In my journey, experience has meant everything. Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the years that may help when shooting your own portraits.
For many years now since the digital revolution hit the mainstream, the continuing and growing complaint in the photography industry generally centers around two key points: Too many photographers out there and too many clients offering exposure in lieu of actual pay. The problem continues to worsen, but there is a way to possibly solve it, and it involves, plain and simple, revolution.
It's surprising how many friends I know that live in wine country. And yet not surprising how many of them have taken up the camera. They all ask me the same thing. "Do you know of any good resources for how to photograph wine bottles?" Well now I feel like I can say that I do, as I point to this video by instructional photographer Karl Taylor and Broncolor photographer Urs Recher.
When I started out in portrait and beauty photography, I tried to have a makeup artist for most of my photo shoots. Why? Because I had always been told it would help my retouching. This is true in most cases. As long as you work with talented makeup artists, you will shorten the time spent in front of your computer. However, this is not the only advantage. Since I learned to do the makeup myself, I have discovered how having makeup done can help your photography reach another level. Noticing these benefits, I do everything to upsell my clients to get makeup done at the studio rather than having them doing it themselves. Here is why.
In this tutorial I will show you how to setup your studio strobes for full length portraits as we shoot an editorial style lighting setup. First we will look at the entire gear list we used and you can use for a similar setup, from the backdrop to the studio heads. I will breakdown our lighting. with lighting diagrams and explanation of WHY we are placing our lights where we are. Also, in this video tutorial we share some Behind The Scenes from our shoot day.
Early in the month we brought you a video that showed how Gonzaga Manso had created an in-studio pond to get the exact shot he wanted. This week we came across "The Unseen" series where photographer Lara Zankoul creates a water-tight room to capture beautiful and surreal images in-camera. A lot of work goes into a shoot like this but this behind-the-scenes teaser video makes it look fun and well worth the effort.
As part of CreativeLive's Portrait Bootcamp the mad talent and knowledge of New York City-based portrait/fashion photographer Lindsay Adler are put to use as she breaks down the practical definitions of light. Lindsay points out that once you can describe light by these 3 basic aspects (intensity, direction and quality) then you can start to understanding how much light to use, where it needs to be placed and what kind of modifiers are needed to achieve certain looks.
I remember meeting Peter Hurley for the first time. I walked into his studio and saw him shooting a client's headshot with 4 Kino Flo hot lights (normally used for video). I asked him why and he said "The quality of light is just better than strobe. It fills the pores on a human face differently." At the time I was intrigued, but I no longer believe it.
Amongst this years Broncolor Gen NEXT line up (a pioneering group of young professional photographers lighting up the future of photography) Gonzaga Manso throws in with his beautiful concept shoot, "The Pond". This photograph is meant to express the calm, sincere and deep love that comes from getting old alongside the person you love. But what maybe more interesting, for us inquisitive shooters, is the release of this behind-the-scenes video which details Gonzaga's elaborate and meticulous set-up.
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.