Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kelly (partly NSFW)

This is Mission #1 part 2 "Thy Shall only use available light, again"

It was such a nice warm en sunny day, the light was just perfect for what we had in mind but the problem was that our chosen location was not available because of some festivities.. So: change of plans and improvisation @100%

One thing about this shoot was easy, the styling! Kelly agreed to pose nude for me and i have to say her body made my job easy. Images are out of cam, just pumped up the saturation a bit and shot on the cloudy white balance to warm up the skintones.

NSFW warning if you take the read more jump :

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The more you photograph the more you realize it's not easy. It's not easy to make "wow" pictures every time, it's not easy getting what you thought you should get, it's not easy dealing with light that sucks, but the most difficult thing is growing, growing in what you do, getting better at it.

So to grow sometimes you have to take a step back and try to look at things from a different angle and therefore I assigned myself a mission!

Mission #1 "Thy shall only use available light"

Elise was very helpful and lend me some of her precious time to go out on a photo-shoot from which we did not know the outcome and I have to say that at first I was not pleased with the results but I've taking enough peace with it to share them with you and add my thoughts about this Mission.

Please keep in mind: we had no Makeup-artist and there is no retouch on the pictures, I only used the D700 with the 85mm f:1.4 lens.

The day started out sunny, then we got a little bit of rain and too end with some beautiful clouds in the sky ( I love looking at clouds)

The Sun as a light source: it's not too bad when the angle is low (less than 30°) and you can position your subject looking straight in the direction of the sun (to steep angles like 45 of 60 will result in ugly shadows and probably too much contrast for the sensor to deal with in an elegant way)

The Clouds as a light source: if the clouds are too equal, the light sucks, really, there's no contrast making everything evenly lit, it's boring and gray, so you have to look for natural elements that will force light to take a direction, an opening in a row of trees could be a perfect example, but still you have to look out that not too much light is coming in from right above because this will cast shadows in the eye sockets, under the nose and the chin, also you will probably have to much light in the bridge of the nose and the forehead.

Look, it's my shadow :-p

The trick is too look out for directional light and to place yourself and your subject accordingly, the directional light is the same as the light coming from a soft-box but far less consistent. If the quality of the light allows it I found that placing the light source at 5 to 15 degrees behind you works best (working with the direction of the light) everything behind your subject will normally be lit in the range of your sensor, some white clouds might be a bit overexposed nonetheless

I wonder what could be Mission #2...

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Today we had a great team, Lotte Feyen, MUA Evelien Van Tiggel, Hairstylist: Hanna Lauwers.

I'm thinking about having these images printed in really large size, they were taken with the modelling lights at ISO1600, 1/125th, f2.8 so they contain a nice amount of grain but also lot's of tiny little details which get lost in these very small websize samples.

If I say, Angelina Jolie in The Changeling, you say yes or no?

Same goes for the next picture, Evelien placed so much little details in the make-up it would be sad to see them get lost and not print it on large format.

We kept the make-up but changed the scene from low-key to high-key.

White seamless, 2 500Ws heads at full power nuking the back at f:32 + 1 head directly behind the model aimed directly at the camera for some extra lensflare, no light in the front, just 1 white reflector V-Card to push back some light on Lotte's face ...

And a few relaxing fun series, ringflash at totally freestyle apertures.

ALL images (c)! Have a nice day!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Arwen @ Brussels studio

Model Arwen, MUA: Lori Verberckt

We set off in the studio with something i wanted to do for a long time, use the big silver parabolic umbrella as a backdrop and i have to say I'm pretty pleased with the results.

U used my 120cm gridded Octa for the frontal light but I'm thinking about replacing this with the ringflash for a future shoot.

It's a long time ago since i've done a photoshoot outside at night but i wanted to give it another try, I had pretty results using the Westcott apollo in the previous shoot so this is the modifier i chose again.

In the previous shoot i used the 70-200 f2.8, this time i chose the 85mm fixed focal and thought about shooting at f2.0 and this was not a good idea... I had serious problems getting the focus at the right place, i'm not sure what went wrong but i had more out of focus shots than good ones...

Having only used this 85 f1.4 G in low-light or normally bright conditions it never let me down, every picture tack sharp at the right place, I do not understand why suddenly this focussing problem arrised. looking on my LCD sreen during the shoot the focus plane was mostly about 10cm behind the models head, so i went into the AF compensation menu of my D700 to change the value to minus 15 as a test but with no positive result.

I'll deliver my D700 / lens to the Nikon repair service to check what's wrong with it

Same as previous but in color "hard to choose it is"

Nicolas @ Flag

Nicolas @ Flag
Some results from a test shoot with Nicolas, a new face from Flag model agency.

Few months ago i was in my "scheve periode" and as a result there where a lot of tilted pictures that roled out my camera, someone told me it would last about 6 months and indeed, he was right i'm getting a bit over it now but only to fall into another photographic style, black & white..

Digital black & white is so different from film based black & white, this has mostly to do with dynamic range and the "organic" - "analogue" feel of the film based recordings.

Some software will try to mimic the effects of certain film types but as we start from a total different technology there is in fact no way to compare both.

But there also something very different that plays along in the "digital Vs. analogue" game and that's sharpness, especially the way that sharpness and detail is preserved in the finer details. Some will say "analogue is sharper than digital" and they are right up to a certain extend because if you look at an MTF chart for a film and compare it to the MTF chart of a CMOS sensor you will see where the glitch is, Digital has this steep curve with sudden loss, where details get lost and the aliasing begins, this gives a feel of extreme sharpness up to a certain level where the "frequency" of the detail extends above the "resolution" of the sensor ( when detail frequency gets too high, the digital sensor can not "see" it anymore so it does not record it and you start losing detail)

The MTF chart of a photographic film is different because of the less abrupt fall in sharpness once detail frequency gets too high, it looks more organic and therefor feels more natural.

It reminds me a bit about the discussion between "vinyl records" and the "CD" back in the eighties, it's about the same, where CD can be more snappy there is loss of detail, greatly depending on the chosen bitrate, the sound of a vinyl feels warmer to some, it's just more organic.
Which is best? Analogue Vs? digital? My answer is simple, they are both good but different, do not compare them.
let's get back into Nicolas's shoot, the agency told me they already have enough black & white's for his book and the need color portraits, so okay i'll shoot some color for you guys between the black & white's (I shoot digital RAW anyway so there's always a color version but i think differently about a photo for black & white)


My relationship with the beauty dish was not good, in fact i used a few times in the past and i hated it because I did not like the quality of the light and i always kept pretty far away from, just used it on windy days outside as a soft fill in flash where light modifier quality matters less.

But now I was ready for it, my experience was going to help me and I'm going to share it with you.

Seeing these results i can not believe that i didn't learn and forced myself to use it much earlier, I was so tired of using soft-boxes to light my portraits as I found the light not being "punchy" enough in 75% of the cases.

The light from the beauty dish is punchy and especially so if it's silver on the inside, a white inside will give a "softer" feel because it scatters the light a bit more. But what matters the most is correct placement and for this you'll have to look for the sweet spot in the light, this is the place behind the deflector so that your subject is evenly lit by dish portion. Also i placed it less like a soft-box at a 45° angle, i placed it much more on axis.

The beauty dish will cast shadows and these will have to be controlled with some fill from a soft-box or a reflector, a soft-box will give you control, the reflector will give you what i can reflect so there's less control but it's a cheaper solution ;-)

Ringflash for fashion, it's hip again, once every 2 years this style re-emerges from Dante's inferno, it's flat, pretty high contrast light, you love it or you hate it, simple.

This is the 3000Ws (yes three-thousand) Hensel Ringflash with beauty dish (white interior) hand held at fixed distance (think about the inverse square law...)

And some more beauty dish stuff!

 Relax :-)

And another attempt for my GOLD series