favorite images – After Dark Edu – Charlotte, NC – 2011

favorite images – After Dark Edu – Charlotte, NC – 2011

As a mentor and presenter at the recent After Dark Education events in Charlotte, (much like what happens at any workshop or seminar that I present), I didn’t get to shoot much. I feel it is more important to let the people that are attending, get the time with fingers-on-the-camera’s-controls. But I did get to play with some of the lighting equipment in the bays there. That’s much of the attraction of the After Dark events – loads of lighting toys to play with and learn and figure out on your own, or with the help of someone.

With that, here are a few of my favorite images …

Josh was posing for another photographer in the one bay. I decided I like the look of the modeling lights – the look of the lighting setup and the quality of the light. So I took a few images just with the modeling lights. No flash.


camera settings: 1/80 @ f2.8 @ 1600 ISO
Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 AF-S (B&H) … handheld at 70mm

Here is the pull-back shot to give some idea of the lighting setup.

The lovely Amanda, who I met when she modeled at the previous After Dark event in Cincinnati. This photo was the one demonstration shot during my presentation on bounce flash photography.

1/250 @ f3.2 @ 800 ISO
Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S VR II (B&H)

One of the several adorable kids we had as models. Tons of attitude and confidence. An excellent model.

For lighting we used one of the Larson softboxes and  the Photogenic CL500 continuous light (with daylight balanced bulb), which gave out a huge amount of light.

The background here was the elevator doors, thrown out of focus with a telephoto zoom used wide open.

As I mentioned, the beauty of After Dark’s setup is that you have 10 bays with different lighting setups and kits, and if there is one open, you can play around. Megan was our gorgeous (and patient) model here.

the pull-back shot of the lighting setup:


The next two images were taken in a different bay. There was a large softbox to the camera left, and then we worked with the placement of the reflector on camera right. The first image was without a reflector, and the second we positioned the reflector to do its thing.

Everyone was also fascinated by the fluorescent ring-light. Blindingly bright when you get close to it as a model. The photographer’s view is one of flat even light. Quite wonderful if that’s your thing. The ring-light leaves its calling card as that perfectly round highlight in your subject’s eyes. Strange to see the first time, and really bizarre when your subject looks up and the white halo intersects with the iris of the eye.

Blonnie – a Delaware wedding photographer – indulged me by posing for a few photos. The catch-light here in her eye isn’t perfectly circular around the iris because I had her turn her head away from the camera.

I also did a presentation / shoot on boudoir posing & lighting. Chris was our kinetic model … so much more interesting that when I showed a few of the poses. (It even makes sense to internalize and memorize the basic boudoir posing by doing it yourself, same as learning the basics of posing for photographs in general.)

(photo by Blonnie Brooks)


A final image – one which I posted earlier on in the convention, when Britney posed for us during an impromptu session using handheld video lights.

For more info on upcoming After Dark Education events.

13 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 2Joe Leong says

    Thanks for sharing these behind the scenes, Neil. I was going to ask you about the U-shaped reflector but Mark beat me to it.

  2. 4Jerry says

    Holy, moly! How big was the softbox on the male model with only the modeling lights on? It looked about 8’X8′ or damn close. By the way, he kinda showed a pet peeve of mine. I shoot headshots and it always amuses me when the people want to represent themselves with clothes that look like they didn’t take time to iron. But I vent… But I guess when you look like that guy you can get away with anything.

  3. 5 says

    Late late at night after being there for at least 12 hours, I am sure Josh’s shirt looked more bedraggled than it did in the morning. Anyway, I have to add that not only is he quite photogenic and easy to direct, he is also a super-nice guy.

    I don’t off-hand recall the exact size of the softbox .. my best guess would be in the “big ass” range. Probably 4×5 or something like that.

    Neil vN

  4. 6Dany says

    Hi Neil, I remarked you now add le focal lens you used. Thanks very much.
    I was interested in that info to see the impact on the DOF.

    For me it seems, that the DOF fall faster when you are on small focal then when you are on tele. Is it right ?

    For exemple : On this portrait done at f2,8 at 70, it seems that the DOF is quite small, I’m not sure that both eyes are sharp …

    If you where at f2,8 hanled at 200, you would get a stronger fall of DOF at the background, but both eyes would be in focus …

    Thanks again, And sory a could not come to the workshop in Dublin

  5. 7 says

    Dany … regarding your observation about depth of field … it sounds like you really need a good general book on photography which covers this topic with diagrams and photos. So much better to *know* rather than get there through guessing.

    Neil vN

  6. 9 says

    The eyelighter looks like a challenge to use because if it is not positioned perfectly it cuts off part of the pupil or just looks strange, but it done right it does look very nice I think.

  7. 10Darren says

    Hi Neil, Can I ask where the backdrop for the above shot you posted in your comment can be obtained from/./ ?

    Kind Regards. Darren

  8. 12ray says

    Neil ,
    The video light you are holding, what kind of light? Brand and watts? Please
    I spend an awful lot of time reading and rereading here. Good stuff. Thanks

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