It’s Over…

People, Portraits

… but in a good way!

I crossed another item off my photography bucket list this past weekend when my friend Dave Gardiner and I rented a photography studio for the day. We had been talking about it for quite some time and found a fantastic studio called Salt Studios. It’s in a very “up and coming” town, Asbury Park. It’s a hip town and very artsy. Something to do for everyone!

We had the studio to ourselves for the whole day and boy did we need it. We had a total of 11 models, quite a few of which were dance majors at a local college. They and all the models made the experience a day to remember.

With that many subjects we needed a large studio and at Salt we had access to essentially 3 shooting areas. A large white sweep, and two other areas that feature brick backgrounds and an overall industrial look. Perfect for shooting a variety of looks.

In this series I photographed Christina with a dark background and gelled it to match the jewelry she was modeling….

The only problem I had with these was I could not figure out why the softbox on my left was not firing. Without it I was getting that shadow to the left of her nose and it was driving me crazy. Duh, after twenty minutes I realized my batteries in that flash were over-heating and not flashing. This was hour seven of the shoot and I’ll have to admit I was hungry and tired…. not thinking clearly. I still like the result.

Stay tuned more to come! And thanks for looking!

 

It Ain’t Easy Follow-Up…

Headshot, People, Portraits, Post Processing

So I’ve had a chance to process a few other shots from my outing on Monday so I thought I’d post them and add a few more thoughts….

I had more keepers than I originally thought. If you remember, in my last post, I was complaining about the difficulty of establishing proper focus in such low light. Well I guess my camera was better than I thought. Focus was spot on on many of the shots. Just like the one you see below….

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Proper color temperature isn’t necessarily necessary. (Can a writer say that?) The warm tones in the image compliment Loriana’s hair, eyes and jacket. I decided to use it as an integral component of the series. I think it works.

Finally, I’ve been working on frequency separation in Photoshop to smooth out the skin yet retain it’s texture. Thanks to the people over at Elements Village FB group for encouraging me to go for Photoshop CC. Glad I did!

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I have a few more to process from the series so stay tuned for an update over the weekend since snowmageddan is approaching:)

This Stuff isn’t Easy…

Lighting, People, Portraits

Continuing on my quest to become proficient at portraiture, I had the opportunity yesterday to shoot at a fantastic location in Lambertville, NJ. The chef and owner, Chris Connor, allowed a group of photographers access to his restaurant Antons at the Swan to shoot with whomever we could bring to model.

I have to admit I was a bit nervous. My skills are not quite as good as many of the other photographers but I figured I have to step outside the box to advance my skills. My daughter offered to go with me and I’m glad we did!

The restaurant is a building that was built in the late 1800’s and was filled with some great art work, mirrors, antiques and the like. This coupled with large windows with wonderful natural light presented quite a difficult scenario when dealing with flash.

I was equipped with every piece of studio equipment I had in my possession. I bit overkill in retrospect. Especially my 35lb. c-stand.

We took a quick tour of the different rooms (dining, lounge, and bar) I assume we were all staking out our shoot area. I choose a corner and stairwell that lead to the bar on the lower level.

This is the result. I used my beauty dish and the very low ambient light available in this area…

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The low light was quite the challenge as I felt my camera was searching and searching but much to my surprise many of my shots were spot on focus wise. Also another challenge I encountered was the difference between the color temperature of the flash as compared to the color temperature of the background. In this particular shot the foreground was quite cool and the background quite warm. I did adjust the temp. in camera and that seemed to help. I then utilized the adjustment brush to fine tune the foreground.

Any thoughts? Would love to hear your input, put it into the comments section.

My Journey Continues…

Headshot, People, Portraits

…into the photographic world of portraiture.

I’m continuing my quest to become proficient at the skill of off camera flash and in this session I utilized two speedlights. The first in the form of a beauty dish(key light) and a secondary flash used as a rim light. The beauty dish was positioned directly over my camera and the rim light, with attached flash bender, in back of my niece to separate her from my background.

The sooc result is seen here….

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In assessing the shot I first look at what I like about the shot…

  1. Color temperature is almost spot on.
  2. The power of the key light is producing an exposure exactly how I envisioned it.
  3. The rim light strength is perfect.
  4. Body and head positioning is good.
  5. And I love how she is interacting with the camera.

I then look at what I want to correct inside Lightroom and Photoshop…

  1. The position of the beauty dish was aimed too high on her head an overexposed her forehead and hair.
  2. The shot, as a whole, is slightly over exposed.
  3. I want the shot to be slightly warmer.
  4.  Retouching of the skin to remove imperfections with frequency separation.
  5. Some dodging and burning to add some depth.

Here is the result…

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As 2016 rolls on I will continue to update you on my progress into the world of portraiture. In a few weeks I will be renting a studio(for a day) to practice my skills in a professional environment. I’m a bit nervous about it but excited as well. Stay tuned!

I’d Like to Dish more about a Beauty Dish and C-Stand…

Equipment, Lighting, Opinion, Portraits

As I mentioned in my last post I obtained a BD and now, finally have a fantastic C-Stand to go along with it. This Impact Turtle Base C-Stand is a great find.

I took this shot the night I  received it and can’t tell you enough how convenient this thing is. I do have to be honest though, it is a beast. It weights about 30+ pounds with the BD attached. However, that’s  the point of it, sturdiness and confidence, right?

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Booming with this bad boy is a breeze and it doesn’t get in the way like my light stand does. It’s base is positioned to the right of camera and boomed directly over my camera. You can verify this with the catch lights directly in the upper, middle of the eyes.

So, if you’re in the mindset to build a basic stash of studio equipment I cannot recommend enough the quality and build of the Impact Turtle Base C-Stand. Additionally, the price is very reasonable at approx. $145.00. No brainer, Go for it!

I Found a Way…

Portraits

… to get my daughter to pose for more portraits. You see I’m going to just wait till she’s ready to go out all dressed up. In this case Erica was on her way to see her favorite band, 5 Seconds of Summer, and was in a pretty good mood. I asked her for 3 minutes and she obliged….

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It actually only took two minutes, as I set up before hand and all I had to do was focus, set the flash, and push the shutter. Bam, done! It’s taking time but I’m learning.

How’d I do it? Placed octabox to camera left, 45 degree angle, tilted slightly downward. Set flash to 1/8th power and the camera at f5.6, 1/60 sec and iso 320. Processed in Lightroom, Perfect Portrait in OnOne’s Perfect Photo Suite.

Here’s another…

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Who Are You Looking At?

Portraits

A little work with some lighting yesterday for this self-portrait.

I’ve been able to obtain a few lighting accessories that make this self portrait stuff a bit easier. I used 2 Yongnuo 560 III flashes, a Yongnuo YN 560 tx master transmitter and the Yongnuo RF603 II wireless triggers. Not the most elegant equipment available but it gets the job done.

I produced this with a softbox on camera left and a off camera flash aimed at the wall behind me….

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And then used Perfect Photo Suite to produce this…

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Definitely got the look as I envisioned it, Terminator like.