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 9, 2013
timelapse photography – a complete introduction
When I got my Nikon D4 and found that it made the compilation of time-lapse clips so much easier, I was hooked. It’s a fascinating niche in photography. Here are some of the time-lapse clips I created.
However, as with everything in photography – or as with everything in life really – there is a learning curve. Then you have two options. You can reinvent the wheel, and figure it all out from scratch by yourself … or you can do some homework and study what people before you have done. There are several websites that are loaded with information – and then there is this book by Ryan Chilinski. Everything you want to know about Time-Lapse Photography, neatly encompassed.
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 4, 2013
when you need extreme bounce flash to photograph the wedding processional
As mentioned in the article on photographing the wedding processional, in my opinion, the wedding processional in the church is likely the most challenging part of the day in terms of our technique. People are moving towards you – admittedly at slow pace, unless the bridesmaids are nervous. Then they can easily just zip right up to the front! The light levels are low, and the light is most likely uneven. Adding flash to this is a reliable way to get clean open light on your subjects, but bounce flash can be a bit of a challenge.
As an example, with this wedding in Temple Israel of Lawrence, in New York, the light was really low. Not just that, the temple itself was cavernously huge. Yet, a few test shots showed that I could get the kind of light that I like, using just on-camera bounce flash.
April 3, 2013
A few years back, I moved the Tangents blog over from the PlanetNeil domain to the new domain, neilvn, to keep it in line with rebranding my site and my photography. I know, PlanetNeil is a quirky name and memorable, but it also sounds like something a 12-yr old would’ve come up with. That says a lot about my general state of mind perhaps. Perhaps.
Since that time, the PlanetNeil domain lingered as just a splash page with a link through to the Tangents blog. But I also noticed that a huge number of people seem to have still kept it as a bookmark, and enter the Tangents blog via that link. With that, I thought it might be cool to update the PlanetNeil intro page into something less bland.
So there it is, PlanetNeil had a make-over, with more images and a list of the most recent blog entries. A bit of window-dressing for the long time followers of this website. Thank you for having stayed on for this journey!
Filed under: news
— Neil vN @ 4:53 pm
April 2, 2013
Allan and Adam hosts this entertaining podcast, and invited me as a guest.
I ramble on about a lot of stuff, including the new Fuji X100s, and the black foamie thing.
Catch the podcast here. (Also available on iTunes)
Filed under: podcast
— Neil vN @ 3:56 pm
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!
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March 26, 2013
What if you need more light from your bounce flash?
Because I so often use bounce flash, one of the questions I’m regularly asked is, what if there is nothing to bounce your flash off? There is also the variant – what if there isn’t enough light from the bounced flash?
In both cases, the answer is the same – you improvise!
Not only that, but you need to be prepared to improvise.
The photograph above is from a recent Bat Mitzvah, showing the big group shot of the kids. If you’ve photographed Bar / Bat Mitzvahs before, you know this is coming up, and you have to be prepared for it.
You’re prepared for it by:
- having a ladder handy to stand on
- a wide enough lens and enough space to move back into
- enough light!
You can not just be passive and go … oh, oops! You need to be prepared and have done some homework before any event you photograph. (It seems such an obvious thing to even need stating like that!)
This particular venue has a really awkwardly shaped ceiling, and it has a bronze color in places. So it makes bounce flash photography a bit of a challenge, but I was able to get pretty good results by pushing the ISO higher. Using a camera like the Nikon D4 is an obvious boost here!
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