The last shoot for 2011 was was a bit of a mix. The first theme was a body builder who transformed over the night from someone in a business suit to a masked Mexican wrestler. Secondly we had 2 new models strutting their stuff, they also mixed it up a bit with body builder.
A special thanks to our models |links| for a great job and putting up with all out crazy ideas.
We only use 1 basic light set up but changed light formers during the evening. The was we could have a similar fell and flow through the photos but have different looks and affects to match the situation. As the evening went on we added a smoke machine and coloured filters to the hair light this changed the atmosphere of the images witch was planned as a part of the transformation over the evening. Also that way we didn't have to adjust the key light.
Well that almost wrappers up the last shoot of 2011 Thanks every one who participated and contributed to all the work shops in 2011 but what we have planed for 2012 will be even bigger and better......
And finally the world famous making of video.
A long time ago when I (Scott) first started to take photos I was convinced it was the camera that could make me a better photographer. As my passion for photography grew, I immersed myself in countless photographic magazines and books. I studied the work from photographers like William Albert Allard, Mary Ellen Mark, and Gordon Parks, looking for information for insight into what camera gear they had used. My mistake was in believing that I have to use the same equipment at what they had if I wanted to take great photos. But even with all that great gear I found myself always coming back to the same camera and lens setup (An old Minolta SLR with a handful of lenses).... Why? Because it was a set up the worked for me. Many years latter Chase Jarvis coined the phrase "the best camera is the one you have with you". So basically it isn't that important what camera you use, what is important is how you use it. That said lenses do play a very important role but that is a topic for another day.
If you are using a modern camera, when you look through the view finder and press the shutter release button half way down your camera will make an exposure reading (as well as start to focus). In short it will look how much light is there available, this is called the EV (exposure value) and will be the basis for your photo depending on how you set your camera. The camera I use the most has 3 basic metering modes, naturally not every one uses the same Cameras as what I have so please refer to your camera hand book.
Your camera is only measuring the light that it can see, and may be fooled into measuring incorrectly in a variety of different lighting situations. The EV that the camera measures is also only a guideline based on the decisions made my an engineer in a lab somewhere, and my not be the correct value for the image you want to make.
The 3 aspects (settings) of your exposure are all in your control and changing any one will not only have effect the final image but also one or both of the other two settings e.g. I like to shoot with my cameras in A mode. I set the f/ (aperture) to the d.o.f that I want and I chose the ISO to match the lighting conditions (dependant on approximately what speed I want to shoot at) . If I adjust my f/ and leave the ISO where it was my camera will automatically compensate by adjusting the shutter speed. Remember you are taking the photo not the camera.
There are two great tools built into your camera to help you check and adjust your EV, the Histogram and the EV compensation both of which if used correctly will save you a lot of time latter when you are correcting/editing your images. Using the histogram can be overwhelming at first but is something that every photographer should understand to get the best results from their camera (and we will cover it at a later date)
Portrait photography is the primary roll of a studio photographer. The aim is to show the personality and the mood of the subject. There are so many different tricks, tips and ideas out there I (Scott) thought we could start gathering a few these ideas together.
This blog thread has an idea behind it that will need your input. It will hopefully become a long ongoing thread based of your ideas and feedback. Simply post your suggestion in the comments below and when we have enough new portrait tips we will post them in the next part of this blog thread.
1. Customize your view: Most portraits are taken with the camera at approximately eye level of the subject. This makes sense, but completely changing the angle that you shoot from can give your portrait a real WOW factor. And convey a totally different message. Get crazy with the pose and positioning. Not only with the poses, but also with your own positioning shoot from different angles to achieve different impacts.
2. Eye Contact: The direction of your subject’s eyes will have a huge impact an image. Most portraits have the subject looking down the lens, this can create a real connection between a subject and the person viewing your image. But there are a couple of other things to try:
Lookingout of the frame: Have your subject focus their attention on something unseen and outside the photo. This can create a feeling of candidness and also create a little intrigue and interest as the viewer of the shot wonders what they are looking at. This intrigue is particularly drawn about when the subject is showing some kind of emotion (e.g “what are they laughing at?” or “why are they surprised?”). But don’t forget that when you have a subject looking out of frame that you can also draw the eye of the viewer to the edge of the image, taking them away from the point of interest.
Looking within the frame: Alternatively you can have your subject looking at someone (or something) within the frame e.g. Mother looking at her new baby, a man looking at his watch, a child looking toy etc…. When you give your subject something to look at that is inside the frame you create a second point of interest and a relationship develops between it and your primary subject. It also helps create ’story’ within the image.
3. Break the Rules: One of the first things you read about when you start to take photos is the “Rule of thirds”. It’s not a real hard and fast rule but more a guideline, which is there to be broken. Place your subject(s) on the edge(s) or in the middle or in the corner.
4. Lighting: There are a number of ways you can use the light in your portraits. Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit. Use more light, less light, different light formers, backlighting, whatever works for you after all it’s your photo.
5. Move the person out of their comfort zone Make them do something fun and freaky, like the jump. These shots would be fantastic and unusual, unique. This wont work for everyone but it can be a lot of fun. And you will need to get your timing right.
6. Image Manipulation (AKA "Shopped"): If you’re good with post-processing and manipulations, use it to your advantage. Use your imagination, try some new Photoshop techniques. Even the most basic adjustments like exposure correction and cropping can totally change your image.
7. Texture: If texture is a big part of your subject, make it stand out and make it obvious e.g the wrinkles on an elderly persons face, or the long red hair.
8. Exposure: Blowing out the highlights can make a nice soft portrait with kind of a light airy feeling. Another advantage of “high-key” photos is that the smaller details and defects are blown away, making the image look much smoother. Or a dominantly dark or low-key image will naturally draw your eyes to the lighter parts. These tend to have a grittier and harder look to them than the high-key images.
9. Props: Adding a prop of some kind into your shots and you create another point of interest that can enhance your shot. But it should also be appropriate for the photo you want to take e.g. give a singer a microphone.
10. Culture: Capture the local culture, what’s mundane to you is exotic to us. Culture is everywhere, even in your own town. Just image you’re visiting from a different country, what things would then seem more interesting to you?
While we were doing the "Studio 101" workshop the topic of different light modifiers came up a lot. So we decided to run a workshop based on that exact idea "Beauty dish vs Soft box". The concept was simple, we set up a large soft box 45degrees to the model and took a few photos. Once every one had taken a few photos we swapped the soft box for a white beauty dish, then a silver beauty dish and finally a silver beauty dish with a honey comb grid.
Caroline, A dress maker from here in the area modelled her fantastic hand made Tudor period dresses for us. Thanks for the fantastic work and amazing dresses.
After everyone had tried out all the different light formers and we had discussed the differences it was time to get down to some serious shooting. We set up the "Pseudo Light ring" again and spend the next hour or so getting some fantastic shots
As we didn't move the lights around much there isn't a lot in the way of lighting diagrams this time, due to the fact that we simply changed light modifiers so we could compare the differences.
And las but not least our behind the scenes video and a group shot.
On May, 7th 2011 the Flickr Klub Karlsruhe has organized a photo walk in Rastatt, with a BBQ afterwards. Since the lightGIANTS have emerged from this group, we naturally want to tell you about it.
The conditions for this Photo Walk could not have been better, the temperature rose to nearly 28 °C and the sun took care of plenty of "available light". Before the walk, we all have met at my place (Stefan), so the meat and drinks for the BBQ party later could be stored and cooled.
Overall, 15 people have registered to come, of which all have appeared. After a brief welcome, we started directly with the Walk. We walked along the river "Murg" to the other side of the city.
Some other key points of our walk were the "figure garden" at the employment office, the Pagodenburg, the water tower and the chapel of Einsiedeln. The last stop was the newly renovated residence castle of Rastatt. The following group picture was taken there.
We really had a lot of fun on this photo walk. And the subsequent BBQ was a great completion of a beautiful day. I always find it very interesting to exchange views with other photo enthusiasts, and discovering new or different perspectives. Also getting to know new techniques (eg, infrared photography) in a pleasant atmosphere expands your own horizon.
Here are a few of the images which were created on this day:
From my experience countless images are taken on those walks, which you naturally want to share with friends and your fellow photo walkers. For this purpose Markus Wochele has discovered a very good tool for our website. It's called ZenPhoto. With this tool each participant has access to our gallery via a username / password and can upload his/her pictures.
We also use this tool for our lightGIANTS workshops which take place every last Friday of the month. Here, the workshop participants can upload their results to share them with us and the models. This eleminates the annoying sending or troublesome downloading of images from various platforms. You can also download an entire folder as a zip file and do not have to select each file individually.