For those of us born in the 1970s and ’80s, this new phenomenon of mottled, cloudy backdrops appearing in modern portraits is an odd one. You see, back when we were kids, we had horrendously cheesy family and school portraits taken in front of these bizarrely arranged patterns, so to us, it’s pretty weird to see these painted, cloudy backdrops now grace the covers of Vogue and Tatler.
When photographers use terms like ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ light, it’s actually incredibly vague. You would rarely describe your meal as simply a ‘meat’ dish, so when a photographer says they are using hard light in a portrait, it’s just as open to interpretation as your mystery-meat.
Hard light can be anything from strong sunlight, to snoots, grids or even simple barn doors in a studio. But even with all that, none come close to the true crisp, brilliantly contrasty light of ‘Optical Snoots’.
Shooting in a studio has its advantages. But although being warm, dry and convenient are greatly appreciated, shooting between the same four walls can get a little boring if you’re constantly using them as backgrounds for your shots.
Sure you could get some coloured paper setup, you could even buy a fancy canvas sheet with paint splashes on it, and for the really adventurous, you could even use some coloured lights behind your subject. But what happens when you’re finally bored of all that? Time to get a little more creative with your studio backgrounds.
Lensbaby has become a bit of a household name in recent years and for those of us searching for a more unique look to our images, Lensbaby has been there to provide a whole host of creative solutions. Their latest product is no different, but this time around they aren’t producing a new lens, but instead a ‘creative filter system’ called the Omni.
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one of these Omni’s prior to launch and I also had chance to test it out on a couple of portrait shoots recently so I thought I would share my thoughts on it here.
Being able to look at an image and understand the lighting within it is not crucial to becoming a great photographer. But having the ability to look at another image you love and recognise the qualities that stand out to you will undoubtedly help you to become a better photographer far faster.
Last week we looked at how important being able to understand light can be and I also highlighted where many self-taught photographers struggle with this in today’s industry. If you missed last weeks article then I recommend you take a look to see some of the pitfalls self-taught photographers can struggle with as today’s article leads on from that.[Read More…]
This article aims to look at how we as photographers ‘understand’ light. It may seem obvious to many of you, but to a vast majority of us, it’s simply not quite that easy. But what does it truly mean to understand light? Do we really need to understand light to take great photos? The simple answer is no…. but I guarantee it will help.
A little while ago I was teaching one of my lighting workshops and one of the attendees was looking to implement some of the set-ups I was sharing into his workflow. Seems simple enough right? Well it turns out this photographer was a Formula 1 trackside shooter that needed to get portraits of drivers and crew. As you may well imagine, there is limited time to setup a photoshoot in a busy pit-lane on race-day, so he was after lighting modifiers that would be suitable for his slightly more ‘run-and-gun’ portraits.
I’m not a fan of western superhero franchises.
Yes I fully appreciate that I’m in the minority here and it’s certainly not my intention to turn you away in the first sentence, but rather to solidify the fact that this exploration of colour in cinema does not come from a fanboy solely driven by vapid, one dimensional characters and napkin narratives, but rather pure adoration of a masterwork in cinematography.
I’ll own up to this and say that I’m guilty of being stuck in my ways. But age is no excuse for not being as adaptive as I should be to the changing times. But let me explain.
This is the last part of a three part mini-series of articles on LED lights for photographers. Part 1 looked at the pros and cons of commercial level LED lighting for photographers, so if you missed it, Do LED Lights Have a Place in Your Kit? – Part 1: Pros & Cons. Part 2 saw us test the viability of using coloured LED bulbs in our strobes, including what to look for and what I recommend. Here’s the link to that one too if you missed it Do LEDs Have a Place in Your Kit? Part 2: Coloured LED Modelling Bulbs.