October 4, 2012
photographing a model on-location: the progression of an idea
As often happens for me when working a model on location, the final photographs are the result of a progression of an idea, rather than a fully-formed idea from the start. With that, I’d like to show how this particular image of Nicole came to be …
September 19, 2012
photo session with Ulorin Vex – behind the scenes video
The video clip is a behind-the-scenes view (with some techie info) of the photo session with Ulorin Vex. This photo session was also the first time I tried out the Nikon D800, and I also got to play with my Profoto D1 Air 500 W/s Studio Kit (B&H), for the first time. An exciting day.
August 25, 2012
direct off-camera flash photography – fill-light
I really like using a medium-sized softbox when photographing portraits. A softbox allows me to get soft, directional light pretty much anywhere. The most recent example I showed here, was Lucia and Alvin’s wedding in Central Park, New York. Of course, I do make it easier for myself when using off-camera flash for photo sessions on location - I pick my battles. I don’t try to make *everything* work. Instead, with a photo session where I can control the light and background and setting for my subjects, I can make it easier for myself by not choosing tough lighting scenarios.
With Amy and Clark’s photo session, I brought along my usual set of gear … but left the Lastolite softbox behind. I brought the Lastolite bracket along, and the radio transmitters. Everything but the actual diffusion box to fit over the speedlight. With that, I had to slightly change how I usually work to still get great results that look like my usual style.
August 8, 2012
Alvin & Lucia – their wedding in Central Park, New York
A groom holding up the softbox for me … as you may well guess, there’s a story here.
Alvin and Lucia are from the UK, but decided to get married in Central Park.
Of course, there’s a story here too.
June 6, 2012
review: Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter and Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites
In my review of the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT, I’ve already raved about the ease of use of the new speedlite – thanks to a menu system that you can follow without having to decipher it via a manual), but mostly because of the built-in radio control of the flash. This elevates the Canon 600EX-RT to a new level. As mentioned in my review, I really think this flashgun will change things in the photo industry. It’s huge.
I’ve only now been able to get hold of the ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter (B&H), to use with the Canon 600EX-RT speedlites, and I am just as impressed.
The main advantages of this controller, is that you can change the flashes’ output directly from your camera. No need to run to and fro between your speedlights to change a flash’ output. And of course, The Big Thing about the new flash system, is the built-in radio control. You’re not limited by line-of-sight anymore, or compelled to buy radio slaves. It is obvious that Canon has done their homework on this puppy. While it is a complex flash system, the Canon ST-E3-RT isn’t a complicated device to use.
To test this system, I used three Canon 600EX-RT speedlites (B&H) and a ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter (B&H) in a photo-shoot. As always, there’s a description of how I used this in the photo session … but more interestingly, a behind-the-scenes video clip of how the Canon 600EX-RT speedlites were set up for this photo shoot.
Filed under: Canon
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— Neil vN @ 5:52 pm
May 20, 2012
lighting for on-location photo sessions – pick your battles
When doing a photo session with a couple on location, I mix up the lighting often. With some photo sessions I may:
- shoot available light only;
- or I may decide with a photo session to use direct on-camera flash,
with some sequences available light only; or
- with some photo sessions I use off-camera flash with a softbox,
with some sequences just the available light.
Even in varying the way I may use the available light and flash, I still aim to have a consistent look to it all. My specific style has to be apparent. Or perhaps, in the way that I work, my style becomes apparent. The one way that I help make things easier for myself, and remain consistent, is that in working with the available light; or working with the available light and flash (both on-camera and off-camera) … I pick my battles. I don’t try and make *everything* work. Rather, I specifically choose where I pose a couple, or what I have as the background. All of this in relation to the existing light and my flash.
April 11, 2012
photographing in bright sunlight – find the shade!
Hard sunlight must be one of the most difficult lighting scenarios to work under. But with a bit of thought, we can work around it and still easily get photos that look great. It’s a topic that we’ve touched on a number of times on the Tangents blog, (see related articles at the end here). The simplest approach for me though, is where I can, is to just not deal with the hard sunlight. I find shade.
March 28, 2012
my top 5 tips on shooting engagement photo sessions
I love doing engagement photo sessions because this allows me the opportunity to connect with my clients before their big day. Even more so, in that there’s much less pressure and haste during this photo session than there’d be during the wedding day.
The engagement photo session is also a good opportunity to impress your clients with your photography. They did sign with you because they liked your style, but it’s even better when they love the photos you took of them. Time to shine.
Their friends and family will also be impressed – and this helps me when I walk into the bride’s house on the wedding day. Instead of being “the photographer”, and a rather anonymous one, I now get this response from the bridesmaids when I start: “Oh, you’re the photographer that took those photos! We love them! They are amazing!” With that then, I’ve already won over a large part of the bridal party, and I’ll have their friendly cooperation.
Also, on the wedding day, there is a great chance that things will start to run late. However, the wedding reception will start on time. So the time that gets compressed, will inevitably be the time you have as a photographer. It just makes your life easier then, if the couple has already spent time with you and have a feel for how to work with you during the romantic portrait session, and photographs of the bridal party.
There are so many advantages to doing the engagement photo session. Here are my top 5 tips for a successful photo session with your clients …
December 22, 2011
off-camera flash photography tip – find your background, then your settings
With flash photography on location, we nearly always start off by figuring out what we want to do in relation to our available light. We might just need fill-flash, or or flash might need to do the “heavy lifting” and expose correctly for our subject in relation to the available light.
When we have our subject in (relative) shade, and need to figure out our flash exposure, we also need to decide exactly what our background is. It usually works best to be specific about our background … and how we position ourselves and our subject in relation to that.
So let’s run through that thought-process, using the image at the top. Alex was our delightful model today during an individual workshop in Manhattan.
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December 3, 2011
photography composition – finding the other angles
At the same photo shoot-out that the stunning Film Noir Fight Scene came out of, I again worked with a model, Jill. Her hairstyle and dress were strongly reminiscent of the flapper era. It therefore just suited a more dramatic and sexy pose and styling. And of course, dramatic lighting.
For off-the-cuff / on-the-fly dramatic lighting, a video light is hard to beat.
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