Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cool Nuggets of Info...

Photographer Dan Winters, portrait taken by photographer Jay Janner

Its been pretty hectic around my household lately, what with buying the new home and nice weather finally rolling out.  We've been doing a lot of remodeling, landscaping and general personalizing our new place, but I've still stumbled across a bunch of cool links lately and thought they were definitely interesting enough to share...

*  First off, a really cool photographer who I have followed on Flickr for sometime, recently started his own website.  If you're in to still life photography and the Dutch Golden Age of painting, then definitely check his work out!

*  Next up, travel photographer extraordinaire, Bob Krist, posted a very cool article on having soft, portable lighting with you all the time, check it out!

*  One of my new favorite photography blogs is The Still Image with Crash Taylor.  In this blog, Crash has guest photographers post some of their favorite shots, then discuss how they took it  This is so cool, I can't possibly put it in words!

*  Why are we photographers?  Well, I can't answer that for you, but Joe McNally sums it up pretty well in this post.

*  Ever wanted to get that high key look with a blown, white background and your subject perfectly lit, but only have one light?  Then check out this cool forum discussion over in the Strobist Flickr group.  Pretty cool technique, but being that its originally from Dean Collins, that's no surprise.

*  Photographing Dan Winters!  Can you imagine, getting a call from your boss telling you that your assignment is to photograph the legendary portrait photographer Dan Winters!!!  Well that's what happened to photographer Jay Janner.  The Strobist sums it up best on his blog and I couldn't help but to re-post this.  Check it out HERE.

Keep checking back on the blog, planning on doing a speedlight modifier review soon, including the Lastolite Ezybox and the Softlighter II.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Different Looks, Same Model

Allie No. 2

One of the most difficult things I can think of when shooting a model in a studio, is coming up with different looks.  You want to flatter the model and shoot photos that will work for her/him but you also want to try to be creative and create different looks for your model so they can diversify their portfolio, as well as your own portfolio.  Even if you're just shooting portraits for someone to have new images for their online profiles or just recent images of themselves, its a good idea to mix it up as much as possible.  Having many looks in a single session ensures that you and the client get what you need and is also more fun imho than just having the standard headshots.

In the image above, we were going for a more swanky, non-studio looking shot.  Only one light was used in a small softbox to camera right.  The model's face is the focal point, but also her amazing shoes!

In the next image, we are obviously back in the studio and the model had this really cool dress that had these neat designs on it that we wanted to show.  So after studying the models outfit and makeup, I decided to go with a darker background with just a little splash of color.  This was done by placing a gelled light directly behind the model.  The key light was a boomed overhead softbox and then I used a silver reflector below for fill.

My girlfriend Jenn (also an exceptional photographer and amazing artist) did the hair and makeup for each shot so that we could have just a little more diversity in the looks.  Having a hair and makeup artist really makes the session so much easier, for the model and the photographer.

For this next portrait we decided on something a little sexier, so we went with a simple man's button down shirt and let the model's hair down.  For this image, I wanted a really soft look, so I used the Softlighter II boomed overhead and a silver reflector below for fill.  This created a huge, soft light source that really flattered the model.

This was one of my favorites from the day and I thought the model looked absolutely beautiful!

Now for something a little more fun.  The model had this dress that was made from material similar to a red bandana and it was Jenn's idea to put the model's hair up in pigtails. We just happened to have a teddy bear accessible too (on loan from one of Jenn's daughters) so we threw that in as well.  Sometimes, a few good props can really add a lot character to the image and may even relax the model a bit more.

For this last image, the model had a simply stunning dress that she really loved, so we changed hair styles, adjusted the makeup and went with more of a 3/4 portrait to not only show off the model but that gorgeous dress too.  I gelled the background light to get colors that were present in the dress and I used a small softbox overhead for the key light.  The small softbox was used so that I could light the model independently from the background and have full control over both.

I really love this last image for composition, color and of course the beautiful model.  This was a fun session and I we got a lot of different looks in a short time and in a limited space.  The model also had an awesome selection of outfits for the shoot.  All of these images were shot on either a white seamless or my collapsible gray background and were lit with either one or two lights and a reflector for fill.

So the next time you have a portrait session to be done in studio, remember to try to mix it up as much as possible.  It will be a much more rewarding experience for you and your subject.