It is a hot summer in Karlsruhe. As an alternative to our friday-night shootings we offer 10 blog readers something special:
We give ten lightGIANTS-blog readers the expired films. We looking forward to your results.
We meet on Friday at 7 pm at the Karlsruher Bierbörse. There we give you one of the films. If you want you can start or have a drink with us there.
We will show the best results on this blog.
If you want to join this Workshop, please make a comment on this post and tell us why you want to be a part of this. If you can pick up your film in Karlsruhe you can take part.
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.
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.
About 12 months ago I (Scott) was chatting with Kat Bradshaw from Kat Bradshaw photography … She was talking about her smoke machine that a friend of hers wanted to borrow. As a joke I asked to borrow it, and like the wonderful person that she is she said yes, but lets be honest the postage from Nashville Tennessee to Karlsruhe Germany would be a killer.
Not that long ago we did “The walking dead” shoot , and I thought it would be a great chance to use a smoke machine in combination with a shooting. I asked m-arx organised a rental as he “Knows someone”. The machine was amazing but way to powerful for our studio, so I started to look at what eBay had to offer.
The best deal from a reputable dealer, was a NM040 - 400 Watt Smoke Machine with 5l of fog fluid.
Heating time: circa 7 minutes
Spray distance: circa 6 meters
Fluid capacity: 0.75l
Maximum spray time: 40-50 seconds
Dimensions: (WxLxH) 132 x 242 x 102 mm
Fog Capacity: 57m³/minute
Included in the delivery : 1x 400w Smoke machine, 1x 5M trigger cable, 1x 5 leter Smoke fluid
Price: €40.00 plus €6.50 postage
According to the manufacturer
The NM040 provides a cheap start into professional working with fog machines. In spite of the robust cabinet, the weight is very low. The bracket enables you to flight this device, too. Due to the analogue technology it is very easy to put the fog machine into operation. The inbuilt components were chosen because of their durability, also during heavy-duty.
At first I thought “OHHH NO what have I bought here”. It was tiny could to do the job? I set it up in the studio and tested it a but, and was sceptical (at this point all I was thinking is where the receipt so I can send it back). Before I send it back I did want to give it a real test run (so I had something to blog about). And I’m glad I did….
I contacted Sandra J.K and asked if she would model as a “Rocker Girl” so I can test the “Fog Machine” in a real shooting environment. I tested it with different spray times, and at different heights in the studio. After a few attempts I found what worked for me. I placed the NM040 on a 2.5m light stand and placed it up high right next to a 400w Bowens Gemini monoblock (fitted with a set of barn doors and a blue gel filter). I was using a red background and the resulting colour contrast was fantastic. At this point I really go into the shoot and had a fantastic time.
For the price it’s a great accessory for the studio but you have to know how to use it and its limitation. It needs to be placed high so the smoke can fall into the photo. Using colour gels that contrast to your background will defiantly add that wow affect.
Smoke machine basics
The most common type of smoke machine takes a glycol based fluid that is pumped into a heated chamber. The normal components used are a solenoid pump to push the liquid in, and a fibreglass lagged heater block based on a sandwich of aluminium plates, a heating element and a long piece of copper capillary tubing snaked around between the heater plates. In some units the heater is tubular with the capillary tubing wound round it, but the effect is the same.
At switch on the unit will not pump liquid until the heating block has come up to the correct temperature, whereupon the pump can run and squirt the fluid into the block. When it does, the fluid evaporates very quickly and the resultant increase in pressure not only causes it to form a dense superheated vapour, but forces it out of the front of the machine via the exit port, which can be as simple as the end of the capillary tubing being poked out, or in some cases a small pinhole orifice to make sure that the internal pressure is kept high.
The resultant dense vapour exits the front of the machine and upon contact with the cool air it forms a dense cloud that is a very close relation to real fog.
I should use a flash meter a lot more than I do.... Why?
Well over the last year I have gotten to know the power output from our Bowens Gemini flashes quite well, and i know that if the KEY LIGHT is set to X then my camera will have to be set to "approximately" f stop/Y, 1/200th, iso 100 (X and Y are naturally variables that are dependant on one an other). But what about FILL FLASH, HAIR LIGHTS etc? Well with a bit of experience you will get to know how much extra, or how much less you can use and combined the histogram in your camera you get a very good guide to your over all exposure. Never trust just the preview on your camera screen ... it lies always - use at least the histogram to check your exposure or better still proof everything with a flash meter before you start, especially in difficult lighting situations. This will save you a lot of time in post production. At first it seemed so complex, but it’s really not!
It really is as simple as these 7 (6) steps:
- Enter the ISO that you want to shoot with into your light meter.
- Use the white plastic dome on the meter (incident-light) for your reading
- Aim the light meter (the round white plastic dome part) at your camera’s lens.
- Push the button on the side of the meter (or have your subject or assistant push it).
- Fire the flash.
- Enter the shutter speed and aperture settings, which the meter gives you, into your camera.
- Take a perfectly exposed picture, smile and say thank you to your model.
A few more tips trick and pointers:
- If you’re taking a portrait, have the person hold the light meter directly under their chin or nose.
- If you change your flash power or the direction of the light, you need to take a new meter reading.
- If you have a newer light meter model, they are made to be aimed at the camera lens.
- If you have an older light meter model, they might need to be aimed at the light source. Check your light meter’s user’s guide.
- Step 4 and 5 can be combined into 1 easy step if you can attach your flashes to your meter e.g. you fire your flash via a sync cable.
- Don't shoot above the recommended flash sync speed of your camera (refer to your user hand book)
- Don't stand between your flash meter and your flash when doing a measurement... Sounds obvious but I've seen it happen more than once
When you are using a meter it will only tell you how much light is hitting your subject, and not how much light is being reflected. It is good to understand that different surfaces, textures and colours reflect light differently and this my be something to take into consideration. Most people will use their in-camera meter (screen and histogram)because they’re lazy (yeap ... just like me). But when I use a hand-held flash meter, it really cuts the post-processing time because I don’t have to make any exposure corrections in Photoshop or Lightroom etc.