Over the course of the last two years following my personal coming out experience, I created a series of images to portray the deep emotions I felt while coping with my newly discovered sense of identity. At first it felt like I was isolated in a vast and unforgiving world but I quickly realized being true to the core is the most freeing thing I can do to start truly witnessing beauty. I want to share my story with others to help them realize that all our unique identities are valid, important, and worthy of affection and acceptance in the world. When we are truer to ourselves, we become truer and closer to others and the world doesn’t seem so isolated anymore. I have discovered how to love myself and I look forward to creating a second series once I discover what it means to embrace love more fully.
Sometimes, getting a sweet lighting setup is a matter of pure luck and this is the case with this setup. I’ll collect setups like tools, so this one is just another tool in my toolbox now. Anyways, back to the story.
Here is my issue, taking a portrait whist using a single key light and reflector and fighting with the reflector in one hand and the camera in the other cant be something unique to me. You know what I am talking about, super quick and clean ‘clamshell’ lighting with the key just above the models eyeline and the reflector just below the chin bouncing some well needed light back up to fill in the shadows. This means micromanaging the reflector with your left hand (assuming you are a righty) while trying to bounce just the right amount of light back into the shot. There is really no way out of this not-enough-hands-mess: you’re scooping, flapping, bouncing and bending the damn thing around the key-light stand with one hand desperately trying to look professional. The result? I wish I could say that I mastered it but when I load the images up on the laptop I find that half the damn shots have an annoying reflector part peeking in the bottom of the frame! Not good.
A while back I found myself in a pinch. The setup included a model, and two hair lights positioned behind her and a reflector bouncing light back into the shot. I placed the reflector on a stand and I was literally holding the camera up in front of it so that the viewfinder was pressed against it and taking pictures using the blessings of autofocus alone because I couldn’t look through the lens.
I then had an epiphany. I cut a very rudimentary hole in the middle of my reflector so I could see what was actually going on, standing behind the reflector and having only my lens poke through.
I did change the lights a bit and replaced the two hair lights with a big softbox behind the model and having the reflector double duty as both the key-light and the fill-light. In actuality this super simple setup produces such a flattering light that its got to be one of the cheapest ring flashes you’ll ever find. (diagrams courtesy of set.a.light)
The photography industry is one that requires the best of everyone. We have to constantly be producing quality at the drop of a hat. Amid being so busy, a few key couples have found a way to maintain a beautiful relationship and thrive together. I wondered what life was like for these really prominent power couples of our industry. Being that I knew them, I simply asked! They happily obliged and the answers were so heart warming and equally interesting.
From all over the world, here are four couples that shared a piece of their life with us.
This technique is inspired by what was possible way back using film, by exposing the same position of the roll for several times. Doing this, enabled re-exposing the dark parts of a film to a new light. (assuming they were dark and unexposed on the first exposure). Of course doing this well, required lots of film and lots of patience.
With Photoshop, this technique is not expensive anymore and has infinite possibilities. The idea is very similar: overlay a second image on the dark parts of a first one.
This is how it’s done:
Hey, just a really quick gloss over the basics of how to create three dimensional space in your composites.
I’m going to show you how to take your image from a boring 2D image like this, and turn it into a totally awesome 3D one like this (slide to see the impact of going the 3D and depth route)
One of my ABSOLUTE favorite things to do in Photoshop is to play with lighting effects. Whether that be to make something glow, create a spotlight sort of effect, or set my hands on fire, I’m always so impressed with the many ways Photoshop allows you to alter lighting. Because of the skills I’ve gathered for bending light to my will, I no longer look at an image I’ve taken and think, “Oh man, I wish I would have brought some flash equipment with me so there could be light spilling through the archway from behind her.” I now just think, “Wouldn’t it be simply fantastic to have some magical light coming from behind her? Yes, yes it would … I think I’ll add some.” Don’t get me wrong it’s always going to look better if there was actually some real light falling on your subject from the get-go, but that’s not going to stop me from adding a bit of illustrative oomf to my images whenever I see fit!
So, this article is for stylish-or-so (mostly wedding) photographers on a budget; if you were looking for a DIY honeycomb speedlight grid that is sleek, easy to mount and efficient, to use on your strobes during balls, parties and any low light dynamic situations that you might face during your events, you might be interested in this tutorial.
Geppetto’s Workshop is a precious image to me because it features my own father and my son acting the part of Geppetto and Pinocchio. When Child Photo Competition launched their ‘Father and Child’ theme for January, I knew this image was a perfect fit.
I was just awarded the winner of the competition with my fairytale themed photo and I’m thrilled! In this post I’d love to share some behind the scenes of the creation of the image.
This post stems from a conversation started with my good friend Chris Frosin, during a rainy visit to the Lake District a few days ago. Chris and I don’t get together too often, so when we do, it’s a good opportunity to geek out on the some of the latest photo news.
I’ve been shooting with SLRs of one type or another for about the past 17 years. I switched from 35mm to digital in 2002, and for the last 7 years, despite bouncing around between other various cameras and brands for certain shoots that had specific technical requirements, my body of choice has always been the Nikon D300s, and still is.
It’s my go-to camera. It’s what’s always charged and ready to go at a moment’s notice. I use it for both personal and client work.
One of the many types of people photography that I love to do is anything involving dance. I love the motion, the grace, and the positions dancers are capable of. I try whenever I can to do something a little different with dancers. Something where they are out of their normal dance studio surroundings. There are so many different things you can do. One thing that can be a lot of fun and really make your dance images stand out is to photograph dancers along with some form of flying powder. Dance is so dynamic and adding flour, talcum powder, powdered paints, water and things like that can really add to an image and make it really vibrant.
I’ve done these sort of dance images a number of times and have used various powders. My favorite is plain old flour because you can buy so much of it so cheaply. Talcum powder just seems too fine and is more expensive. Tempera paints are a lot of fun and add a lot of color to your images. Just be aware that these powdered paints can get all over and into everything and can be hard to remove. Some of my lights are still covered with yellow from years ago! For any images using powders you will want a lot of room and be in a space that you are not afraid of getting covered with the powder. Clean up can be a nightmare! Outside in the dark would be a good option if it’s not windy if you can find a place.
These sorts of images are not very difficult to do (except for the cleanup!) I will describe what I have found to work for me and talk about one of my more recent powder images, Dark Angel. This is a concept I had tried years before but was unable to get the wings to shape properly and was more fortunate a couple weeks ago when I tried again.