Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blogpost #101

Having already done a few shoots with Natacha she asked me to help her with her modeling portfolio, I thought a commercial style of work would fit her well so we decided to go for a fresh lifestyle look.
As the sun was on our side that day it was easy to go for the "lot of light", more "high key" look, on the edge of overexposure for some parts.

The location we chose was domein 3 fonteinen near Vilvoorde, this is a great location with lot of possibilities but distances to cover by foot can be long to get different looks and backdrops, so this called for assistants and I got 3 of them, Herbert Linz, Danny Vandenbossche and Jonathan Brites, they came in very handy:-)
Jonathan was the cameraman (for our new DVD) and diffusion scrim operator, Danny was in controls of the photoflex LitePanel with silver reflector and Herbert added the magic sprankle with the Mini Sunbounce (zebra fabric).

I hope you enjoy the results!

All lighting setups done with 2 or 3 reflective panels (Photoflex Litepanel - silver, Sunbounce Mini - zebra, Sunbounce Sunmover - silver with Bowens assistant on a light stand, and diffusion Scrim (-2/3 stop) to cut of the harsh, high noon sunlight) Mua: Michelle Didden

Monday, March 28, 2011

No more retro please

Michelle De Raedt our make-up artist for this shoot with Natachaa was very sceptic about the chosen theme "retro" but once she saw the images appear on screen she became more and more pleased with the results.

BTW, this is my 100th post, whoop whoop :-)

Do not fear the dark side

A few days ago I came to a pretty simple photographers conclusion, "every light source, modified or not, gives light"
That's the easy part but what sets them apart is not the light they give but the "quality of shadows" they can create.

Sure there is also something called "quality of light" and relative size which matters a lot, but when you dig deeper in the light you will see that good quality of light results in good quality of shadows.
In shadows I really mean the transition between light and shadows, the diffused tone (like Dean Collins called it) and the specularity where there is in fact no shadow at all.

In the specular part there is only pure white, in the deep shadows there is no white as it is opposed to specularity so there is only pure black left. In physics white is regarded as " a mix of all colors", but what is a black, a lack of colors? No colors? So black is not a color?

Do not fear the dark side, black is a color and I love the contrast you can create with small, harsh en very directional lights, makes the pictures a lot more graphical

Lit with a standard reflector and wide grid

Model: Laura Theys
MUA: Michelle De Raedt

Hensel Parabolic Umbrella

Everytime I payed a visit to our colleagues at studio-tecnic this Hensel Umbrella was looking at me and send me brain-waves on the commercial frequency "buy me, buy me you won't regret it" ...

So, yes i finally bought it!

Next step: looking for a model so we can see the effect of the light, Laura does not live very far away from me and i wanted to do a little test shoot with her since a while anyway.
I thought the sunset would make for a nice backdrop and it would allow me to see the effect of this new light modifier.

These parabolic light modifiers are hot for the moment, I guess this Hensel is the simpliest of them all en makes a nice addition to my strobist bag, it's the ideal size to be lit by a small strobe.

The light:

I expected it to be very controllable and very directional : it was, no need for egg-crates, Louvre or a grid
I expected it to have an umbrella like light fall-off : it's even more dramatic.

When I compare it to the Apollo Westcott 70cm softbox, which is about the same size, the light and mainly the shadows are very different, where the softbox has wrap-around quality, the umbrella has none, the light is very directional but due to the white interior light quality is very good and remains "soft", i'd like to see it with a silver and harsher interior reflector nevertheless.

SB-900 as light source, you can see how directional and focused the light is on the floor of this abandoned bridge

*** UPDATE ***

Some additional images :

The following shot is in studio, the Hensel is on camera right , fill from camera left behind the model (striplight 30x120cm), blue background.

The fall-of is very equal to the striplight but the light from the Hensel is more contrasty without being like a silver umbrella...

Next Shot is outside overpowering Ambient (f:32 1/250 ISO 200, 24-70 Af-s with 3 stop ND filter, 800Ws in the key light source = Hensel Parabolic)

yes there is post on the skin, but it's pretty standard stuff

And you can find another post > here <

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Strobist presentation at Foto Groep Antwerpen ( FGA )

Together with my Strobistworkshops colleague Peter Nackaerts we did a presentation about photography using "strobist" techniques. We showed them that this does not always have to apply to photographing people but that this can also be used for small studio setups or on the field macro-photography and that speedlights are extremely useful for high-speed photography.

The term "Strobist" is a hot item, they expected about 120 people, normally they get about a hundred , when we started off with our lecture there where about 160 people present, so indeed strobist is "in"

We received a lot of positive feedback which is of course very pleasing

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sunny Saturday

- Aline's Shoot -

MUA by Valérie De Roeck, Assist by Lode Gryspeerdt, Styling by: Cindy Van Dyck

These first series where shot using a big reflective panel with a Zebra (Gold + silver) structure fabric, it gives a bit warmer and softer light.
To add some magic sparkle and a catchlight in the eye we also used a Sunbounce Oval Sunmover with silver fabric, you can see the used setup in the video

Here you can clearly see the effect of the sunmover in the eyes

About the same lighting setup but there was a little more sunlight available.

Okay enough of this ambient light only :-p, let's start up those flashes, well flashes... i only used one for the next shot.

I bought this 800Ws battery powered ringflash a time ago from a colleague photgrapher, for on camera use it is very straightforward, you use to clear the shadows with an on-axis light OR u can use it as main light, either way it usually results in flat lit pictures, you could simply use on camera flash but then you have to deal with the extra shadows it produces which the ringlflash does not.

I do not like those flat lit pictures, so i use this flash head just like any other = on a lightstand, it works very nice, it's portable and it gives me a bunch of light to fight the ambient at 1/250 th.

I began with full power, I decided to place the model very close to the light source as i was after a dramatic light fall-off, this close distance gave me a reading of f:32.4, a bit too much for my 85mm af-d as it only closes down to f:16...
Dialed it down to 1/4 power and we where good to go!

(The silver umbrella will also give a faster light fall-off then a softbox, this motivated my choice)

85mm F:16 1/250th ISO 200 (slightly overcast day)

On our way home we stopped at a very special location do a couple of extra shots, a long row of old and big trees added some depth to the compositions, it gave me a feeling of a fairy tale.

I called these "Aline in wonderland", i'm sure there was a white rabbit somewhere!