I’ve been working through some lens reviews, and wanted to take a break from the technical, to share a lighting setup. Portraiture wise, I tend to normally go in one of two directions, either very minimal, directional, moody light, or a sh*t ton of lights. This setup is the latter. Using 4 lights and a reflector, my goal for shooting with Trisha was to wrap her in light from every direction. I knew I wanted to really showcase her beautiful blue eyes, and getting enough light into them meant lighting her from the front high and low. C’mon in for the setup.
Months ago, I sat down with my fellow ELK Collective cohort, Ms Erin Cry, to whom I’m also somewhat of a life coach for reasons unknown, and we discussed fun concepts with which to entertain ourselves. As conversation continued, and as concepts began to amalgamate, we found ourselves diving deeper and deeper into morbid, soul scaring territory. I blame the drinking.
Luckily for us, earlier on in the evening, we discussed ideas centered around obsessive tendencies. If I remember correctly (and largely going off of what I assume my chicken scratches/”notes” translate to), crazy cat lady, secret identity and leopard rocker turned into what you see before you. C’mon in to see more.
Sure, we’ve all seen the images that have been run through an HDR-like tonemapping, contrast increasing filter, making the grungy, saturated and contrasty images we’ve all come to accept as HDR, or at least, HDR-like shots. While the “HDR” look can bring about photographic debates bordering on political or religious polarity, there is a way to actually capture and process the actual dynamic range of a scene, not just try and make it look like a processed, HDR image. If you’re not a fan of HDR, by all means, feel free to ignore this post, but to and for me HDR can be a very useful tool, and one that, in this particular situation can help stretch a limited budget by being able to get a good range of exposure for a dynamically diverse scene without tons of lighting. Now, the trick here when wanting to do this with human subjects is that you’re needing to take multiple frames at differing exposure values, which means, in short, a person or people would need to stay statue still to make it work, right? Not so. C’mon in and I’ll show you how to get around this unfortunate challenge…
Shooting art can be a tricky task. Replicating the colors, texture and vibrance all while lighting it properly and controlling detail ruining reflection is challenging. Every canvas provides it’s own nuances and unique elements needing to be worked around, especially a canvas that is 3 dimensional and isn’t entirely static. All of these tattoos are original works by my friend Josiah Laughlin. He tattoos here in Portland, Oregon at Imperial Tattoo, and this is an ongoing series we’re collaborating on to document his portfolio. C’mon in to see more of his work and read through diagrams on how I shot them.
There are a few seemingly predictable benchmarks that photographers reach during their personal photographic journeys. After grasping exposure basics we may gravitate toward gear to replicate a particular style which may then be further embellished when we discover bokeh, selective focus, light painting, or start to really understand aspects of a post processing workflow enabling us to literally develop our own look, or replicate popular or interesting “looks” from our fellow photographers. Inevitably, at some point, photographers start to contemplate integrating added light or modifying and controlling existing light in their compositions. Wether that be for portraiture, action, event, product photography, et al, understanding the use of added light or manipulation and control of existing light is a huge tool available to those who choose to use it. Mr Kubota, popular for his seamless, post production streamlining photoshop actions has invited us into his mind with his recent book “Kevin Kubota’s Lighting Notebook, 101 Lighting Styles and Setups for Digital Photographers” C’mon in for a closer look and a few thoughts as I try to play the role of book reviewer 🙂
UPDATE!!! – The companion App is now out. More than a companion per se, I’d say it’s a great way to get this book, it’s content and diagrams on your tablet. You can view both the book and app, as well as purchase them directly through Kubota Imaging Tools HERE.
With my blog’s second anniversary coming up, I wanted to thank everyone that has stopped by, commented and added to the content. It’s been a fun couple of years and has been far more educational for me than I’d ever thought it would have been. I wanted to make a list of my more popular posts as well as some that can help some of us who may be just stumbling into the fold. Any of us who have recently acquired a new camera and may be wanting to learn how to use it to its potential, or are looking to build up a few post processing techniques, I’ve compiled some of the more useful and popular posts below…
Eyes are not only a window, but a roadmap. I’ve always felt that I can tell a lot about a person based on the shoes they wear, and the kind of person they are by their eyes. Eyes tell you a story, they paint emotion and can determine the power of a portrait. Of course there are many, many other elements to pay attention to, but a good portrait quite often starts and ends with the eyes. Even in snapshots, making sure everyone’s eyes are at least open is one of the first things you check when glancing on the LCD screen right? Assuming we’ve captured a shot with eyes open wide, getting them to pop can make the difference between a good portrait and a wow shot. Here are a few techniques that I use, and have found from others, that can help make those eyes stand out.
What do you mean John McCain doesn't normally look like that?
For those who do not know, Jill Greenberg is a famous photographer to the stars. Some of her work has received, uh, criticism, for her use of light or tactics to achieve certain reactions with, or effects on her subjects (see the crying babies in her ‘End Times‘ series, or the now famous John McCain shoot). I call it art, but I do fall on the crass, perhaps cynical side of the human spectrum. Regardless of your personal feelings toward her, the lighting she uses is dramatic. Her style has been duplicated by many a strobist and comes about by a pretty easy to replicate setup. Now, to do it well, is a bit trickier but we gotta start somewhere right? Read on for a quick light set-up and easy to follow post processing technique. Continue reading
** Self Portrait – Rembrandt – 1629
(*Blog authors note: Hi, I’ve been seeing a lot of traffic from google searches to this article. I’d love to hear from those readers about if and how the following article is helping them! thanks and I hope you enjoy – Tyson)
Many art forms mimic the artistic mediums that came before it. Portrait photography is a way to paint a subject with light and has always been very influenced by the previous predominant form of portrait art, painting. One master painter that is studied by photographers for his use of light, shadow and impeccable chiaroscuro shading techniques is Rembrandt. …Dude knew his light. Continue reading