April 30, 2013
I know this is going to amuse many of you. Since my less-than-excited review of the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II, I did end up buying the the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II (B&H) for myself after all.
My daughter has developed an interest in photography, and fell in love with my 5D mark II (and Canon 24-105mm f/4) that I lent to her. So I ended up giving her the camera and lens to keep as her own. However, this left me with just the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II, and no camera body. And no mid-range zoom.
Even though I use Nikon as my primary system, I do feel it is important that I remain au fait with the Canon system – specifically their flash system. This is necessary for the various articles on the Tangents blog, and for the workshops that I teach. It looks less convincing if I ramble on about the Canon flash system and have a Nikon in my hands. That’s how I rationalize reasons to have a lot of toys.
So I followed my own advice in that review, and tested my copy immediately on purchase … and I’m happy with it. The sharpness wide open is stunning. Even better, that mushiness that I see in other Canon wide-angle zooms when used at widest aperture, isn’t there. This lens has remarkable sharpness and contrast at wide aperture when looking at the edges. The two photos here were taken at f/2.8 and I am very happy with the sharpness at that aperture. I can happily live with this lens.
April 29, 2013
For on-location work, I’ve been using the Profoto AcuteB2 600 AirS/R Power Pack (B&H), and it works like a charm:
- shooting wedding photos in the mid-day sun
- wedding photography – lighting large groups with a large light
The only downsides to the AcuteB2 600R is that it only has one output. For many situations where you use a simple lighting setup (ie, just one large light source), it is perfect. The battery of the AcuteB is rated to give 200 bursts at maximum power, Again, for most uses, that is plenty.
But I’ve been considering future shoots where I would like to use two lights. For that the Profoto BatPac portable battery (B&H) would be ideal, offering two AC outputs – enough juice to run two Profoto D1 500 Ws monolights for quite some time.
I’ve tried the BatPac out in the studio just to see how it works, and that it does indeed work. But that’s nowhere near as satisfying as using it on an actual photo session. For this part of an individual workshop at my studio, we didn’t really need more than just one light … but still, it felt good to take this puppy out and try it on an actual shoot.
April 10, 2013
studio photography – creating sun-flare images
One of the sequences I photographed of Anelisa for the video clip of a photo session in the studio, was to create this kind of sun-drenched flared image. I wanted it to look bright and airy and summery.
There was a studio flash behind her to (partially) create the flare. I had to keep adjusting my movement just so that the flash-head wouldn’t be entirely hidden, or entirely revealed.
There was a total of four flashes used, and the pull-back shot shows their positioning.
April 8, 2013
advice for photographers from models – how to work with models
An article by UK model, Jen Brook, caught my eye. She wrote a long piece where she gives advice on how models would like to be treated during a photo shoot - Dear Photographer – kindest regards, Model. xxx
You’d think that this advice is just common sense, but from my own experience, I have realized that some photographers just lack people skills … or disregard models and don’t realize that a photo shoot really is a collaborative process.
This also reminds me of something that Ulorin Vex said about how a photographer that had booked her, wanted to not pay her for the time she spent prepping for a setup. I had to wonder how the photographer hoped to get amazing results from an unhappy model because of his antagonistic stance. You know, you’d think that it would be common sense. But, apparently it’s not.
I asked a few models that I’ve worked with, if they had anything to share with us, elaborating on the article by Jen Brook. Here’s what they had to say …
April 1, 2013
review: Fuji X100s
One of the most compelling cameras in recent years, was the Fuji X100. It had a slick retro look, solid build, and some interesting features such as the hybrid optical viewfinder. The camera looked quite sexy slung over your shoulder, and felt great in your hands. But it had a few flaws. Sluggish handling at times, and more crucially, erratic auto-focus. It tended to grab the background when focusing in low-contrast light. I loved my Fuji X100, but eventually sold it.
Well, the Fuji X100 was just updated with the Fuji X100s (B&H).
To sum it up: the Fuji X100s is what the original Fuji X100 should’ve been!
March 29, 2013
studio lighting: smaller light source = harder light = more dramatic light
When I first started exploring bounce flash, and then off-camera flash and then progressing towards studio photography, my tendency was also instinctively towards softer light. A large light source gives you softer light, and it is more forgiving in terms of how you position your subject and yourself in relation to the light. A large light source is easy to work with. Soft light is flattering. It is a forgiving light source. But it soon became obvious that I was missing out on that dramatic element that attracted me to other images, and what I saw in movies. While soft light is flattering, it tends not to give dramatic results. (Of course, this depends on how you position your light.)
Working with video light in photography, I quickly got to love the light fall-off and the way that you only light a specific part of your subject, instead of just flooding your subject with light.
Working with just a speedlight in bright sunlight, we mostly have to get used to working with a harder / smaller light source … and make it look good! As an example, here is the photo of Molly K, taken during an individual workshop in New York, where we worked with direct off-camera flash.
In the studio as well, selectively lighting part of your subject, or just using a smaller harder light source as a single light, gives you more opportunity for different looks than just using one large light source. In photographing Anelisa recently for the promotional video clip for my studio, I used smaller light sources for several of the setups. This image above then, is from one of those setups. Here I used the Profoto 50 Degree Reflector (B&H) to concentrate the light, but still give a wide enough beam.
March 27, 2013
video clip: photo session in the studio w/ Anelisa
To promote my studio as a rental photography studio here in New Jersey, I created this video clip. It’s not quite a behind-the-scenes clip since my intention was to show some of the diversity that is possible in the studio. Using different lighting, and different backgrounds and setups, the final photographs look quite different.
- gallery of images of photo session with Anelisa
- photography studio rental NJ
The specific sequences will appear as distinct articles here on Tangents, as to how the specific looks were created, incl lighting setups and camera settings and the usual stuff. We’ll come back to this!
March 21, 2013
Anelisa in the studio for a photo session
To create a promotional video clip for my studio, I had Anelisa stop by today so we could do a variety of looks. We used available light, continuous light, and studio lighting. It is also the first time we saw each other since the release of my new book – Direction of Light - so I was able to give her her copies. (In case anyone missed it, Anelisa is on the cover.)
As we reminisced a while about the number of times we had workshops and photo sessions, I realized that today was exactly three years, to the day, since the first time we worked together. The photos from that individual workshop resulted in one of the key articles on Tangents - effective on-location portraits. So yes, it’s been a long working relationship with Anelisa, my favorite model.
More images from this photo session, as well as the video clip, will be up in the coming days. But in the meantime, here is the pull-back shot of this image at the top …
March 18, 2013
boudoir photo session w/ Westcott Spiderlite TD6 and TD5 (model – Morgan)
When Morgan contacted me, I immediately wanted to do an Inked Magazine style photo session with her. (Check her Model Mayhem portfolio.) We met up in my studio for the shoot to try several ideas.
First, I tried ring-flash, but as usual, disliked the look of ring-flash. I just can’t get into it. A funny thing about style – I like soft light – so I went Westcott Spiderlites (continuous lights) and a large softbox on Morgan, and a Profoto flash head to light up the white paper backdrop. It looked pretty cool. I’ll show some images in a later article.
Then, for the final part of the photo session, I continued working with the Westcott Spiderlites, veering more towards a boudoir photo session. Moving the couch to the middle of the carpeted area of my studio, I set up the lights to give a nice flood of light on her. The pull-back shot shows how they were set up …
Older Posts »
March 17, 2013
Las Vegas photo session with a model, using video light – model: Taylor B
While in Las Vegas recently, I met up with Taylor B, who is a photographer and model … and also follows the Tangents blog. For a photo session, I decided I would like the glamor and glitz of one of the lobby areas of one of the big Vegas hotels. Taylor’s outfit certainly matched the glitz. Shooting inside the hotel lobby though, I also knew we’d get kicked out immediately if security spotted us. So I took it as a challenge to see if we could surreptitiously shoot without getting shunted out.
Still loving the Litepanels Croma LED video light (B&H) that I showed in the recent review, I decided it might just be the right lighting tool for the job. My friends Nick & Deb graciously tagged along to help, and also provide a bit of cover, while we hung out as a group and mingled.
Instead of working with a light-stand or a monopod, I simply had Nick hand-hold the light as soon as Taylor and I were ready to shoot.