Next week I’ll be teaching another Profoto Webinar. We’ll be looking at the many looks of the 1-light portrait. Learning how to work with a single source of light is critical to becoming an accomplished studio portrait photographer. Working with a single light simplifies things, it removes the distractions of shadows and highlights that are created from other light sources. It allows you to focus on shaping the light using position of light and various Light Shaping Tools. We’ll be covering all of those things in the webinar, but in this article I want to focus on one thing: the position of your light. Read More
Shooting portraits on-location can give you terrific results. If the light is right things are a snap, but what happens when we have less than ideal conditions? With a bit of knowledge, and the right tools, you can even shoot outside at almost any time of day. A few months ago I was faced with a challenge. I needed to shoot a portrait using soft light the harsh desert light at mid-day. The light was absolutely horrible. Here’s how I tackled the issues.
Step One: Control the Ambient Light.
The first thing I do when shooting on-location is to control the ambient light as much as possible. In this scenario I was shooting in an area with no shade at all. I set up a large translucent umbrella to shade my model. This softened the light and also took my exposure on the model down by about one stop. You can see in this photo that my model is in shade but the background is still in the sun.
I used my light meter to find the correct exposure for the background. In my test shot you can see that the background is exposed properly but my model is underexposed. An underexposed model means I would be able to use my flash to shape the light hitting her. This was shot at ISO 100, 1/200 @ f/11. Read More
Question: what is the common denominator between an African drum and a Profoto TeleZoom Reflector?
Answer: the shape. We learned this from Brooklyn-based portrait and editorial photographer Nigel Morris, who had a hard time finding a suitable bag for his beloved reflector.
“Those of you that follow this blog, know that I am a, “if all else fails, look to music instrument cases for a solution” type of guy,” Nigel writes. “The thought hit me one day. There is a drum that is similar to the shape of the Telezoom, I just have to find out the proper name for said drum, and then hit the big name music stores.”
The drum turned out to be a djembe, and thus, Nigel had found a solution.
For the record we would like to add that we do have a bag for the TeleZoom. But hats off to Nigel for his creative, out-of-the-box solution.
Those of you who have read our flipbook for portrait photographers are already familiar with David Bicho’s stunning images of a model covered in food ingredients – oil, salt, flour, cocoa and licorice, to name just a few. Still, we think the images are too good to not share with the rest of you. Enjoy, and big ups to David for sharing his work and expertise with us!
“It wasn’t about the food,” says David. “The real reason was that I wanted to shoot one face but with different textures. I’ve always been fascinated with how different a face can look depending on how you light it, and I wanted to explore this phenomenon further by experimenting with different facial textures.”
As with most experiments, David did not know exactly what to expect. For instance, he soon learned that oil and salt do not mix very well. Instead, what was supposed to become a beautiful, crystal texture ended up looking like a skin disease. Ingredients such as flour, cocoa and licorice, on the other hand, turned out even better than he had hoped for.
Obviously applying flour, cocoa or licorice creates very different textures. Still, if we look at the portraits David shot, he evidently managed to maintain a consistent look and feel throughout the entire series.
So how did he do that? The short answer is: with lighting. Read More
Freezing fast moving subjects can be the most demanding job for a flash because it requires the flash duration to be extremely short. Otherwise we get blurry edges and small ghost trails around the subject.
One way to get really fast flash durations is to use a ProTwin head, a special flash head with two flash tubes inside and two power cords so you can power each tube with a different generator. This splits the work load in half for the generator(s) and you’ll be able to get a much shorter flash duration that with a regular head.
If you want to see the lighting setup and read more about this, Popular Photography did a short article about the picture where you can read more about the setup and the technique.