Archive For The “Lighting examples” Category
Out from behind the lens
#9. 30,000 family photos neatly categorized in Lightroom. Zero photos of you.
That’s pretty much sums it up. I have thousands of family photographs. Parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, my wife, my son, you name it….and nada of yours truly. Aside from some family portraits we had done at JC Penny’s over a year and a half ago (it’s rather cute how they never touch the camera or light settings there…everything is already pre-programmed. All they have to do is press the shutter), there hasn’t really been any family photographs where I was in the picture. This troubled my wife. She said something along the lines of looking like a single parent because it was always just her and my son. I was always behind the camera….She was right….(sshhhhh!).
So while we went to North Carolina to visit some friends (back from my Shooting from the hip post), we also went to Duke Gardens. My wife was adamant that we were going to get some family pictures. It was an ultimatum of sorts. Well… I puffed out my chest, looked her straight in the eye and said:
One thing I realized….Duke Gardens is quite a walk. The temperature was also nice and toasty (it was noon). I had my camera bag and my bag with light stands and modifiers. By the time we found a nice place to take a couple snapshots, I was hot and sweaty. Needless to say, I could have used a mule…but I was the only jackass around. 🙂
So as I mentioned earlier, it was noon…bright, blistering heat shining down on us. I may be half Asian, but I didn’t want our family pictures to be squinty-eyed from the bright sun. We found a shaded area near a pond, and I started setting everything up.
I used 2 yongnuo flashes, paired up with my Phottix multi-boom on a light stand. I had the flashes set to 1/2 power each, mounted to a 60″ shoot-through umbrella. Triggered with Pocket Wizard Plus X units.
I had a wireless shutter system plugged into my camera, with the remote in my hand. I had pre-focused, and then turned off automatic focusing. Granted if we moved a lot, we wouldn’t be in focus…
My camera was on a tripod (I hate tripods…) that had one leg sitting in the pond.
By the way….whenever you go into a department store and see those free umbrella bags at the entrance, grab a few. They work great as tripod leg covers when you need to use your tripod in and around water! 🙂
So here we are….me and my better half. I should have worn better jeans….Notice the sweat stain on my shirt from the aforementioned heat.
And of course one with our son, Liem, getting a surprise sneak kiss/squish attack!
“Look Sharp, Be Sharp, Go Army!”
That was the Army slogan when my dad started his military career back in 1962. He is my stepfather, and I only first met him when I was about 9 or 10 (I forget…), but for all intents and purposes, he is my father…and not just a father, but a dad as well.
He wanted a portrait made of him dressed up with his medals. He said it would be his “last” portrait. He turns 74 next month, but looking at him you wouldn’t know it. He is full of energy and life. He has seen it all and done it all.
So I went over to my parents’ house. He had a banquet to attend later that evening, so I was hoping I could persuade him to go on base (Fort Lee, VA) early, and maybe I could get some shots of him at the Quartermaster museum where his photo and biography now reside, or perhaps at the banquet itself.
He didn’t want to do anything that extravagant, and just wanted a simple picture taken at the house.
Now my parents have a full house. Full of furniture, awards and photos on the walls, etc. The only area of the house where I would remotely be able to setup was their upstairs living room.
Now this upstairs living room as a large window covered only by sliding blinds. Light was leaking through each blind. I did not want to shoot his portrait with blinds in the background…
I didn’t have any backgrounds with me (I don’t own any :-))….But I did have my large reflector. I took the outer shell off and duct taped it to the blinds.
I had to move quite a bit of furniture around to have that cleared off area you can see in this shot. It wasn’t much, but it was enough.
I used two Yongnuo 560 speedlites, each set to 1/2 power. I could have used a single speedlite on full power, but this way I was able to minimize recycle times.
The flashes were mounted together using my Phottix Multi-boom (I love that thing), and were paired with a 60″ reversible umbrella. Yes, the umbrella was collapsed like that during the shoot. It provided more direction and control, and faster light fall off than an open umbrella could provide. As Zack Arias calls it, it’s a “poor man’s softbox”.
I used my Canon 5D II and 50L (what else). For a tight 1/2 length portrait shot with the 50L, I had to get in close. My reflector backing wasn’t wide enough for me to step back and take the shot since the 50L’s field of view was too wide. I didn’t want to get the blinds in the shot and have to get rid of them in post production. I like only having to tweak my photos, not turn them into full blown projects. Get it right in camera (or at least as much as you possibly can).
1/200 Shutter speed
flashes triggered with Pocket Wizard Plus X units.
The resulting shot. I wasn’t a fan of the wrinkled background, but I had to make do with what I had, and it was certainly better than the alternative. As my wife said, it gives the background a little texture so he doesn’t fade away into it. Sometimes….just sometimes she can be right. 😉
For those of you interested in military careers, read on. 🙂
Colonel Clint Hodder is recognized as one of the Quartermaster Corps first officers of his time to dedicate over half of his thirty year military career in research, development, standardization, acquisition, and international interoperability of weapon systems and equipment that enhanced the U.S. Army and its NATO allies during the Cold War era. He improved our Army’s operational capabilities and saved millions of dollars in R+D. For this and much more, Colonel Hodder was made a charter member of the Army acquisitions Corps in 1990.
Born in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania on 14 October 1939. As a distinguished military graduate of ROTC, he was commissioned a Regular Army Officer in the Quartermaster Corps in 1962. His first two years of service were as a Tank Platoon Leader in the 3rd Medium Tank Battalion, 33rd Armor, at Fort Knox Kentucky. Since 1964 he has served in numerous logistical, project management, and research and development assignments throughout his career.
From July 1964 to June 1966 he served as the Assistant Post Quartermaster in Kassel, Germany. In July 1966, he activated and assumed command of Headquarters Company, 26th General Support Group at Fort Lewis, Washington, and subsequently deployed the unit to Tuy Hoa, Republic of Vietnam, in December 1966. During his second tour of Vietnam from June 1970 to June 1971, he served as the Assistant Division Supply Officer, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). During his two tours of duty in Vietnam, he participated in four battle campaigns against the North Vietnamese Army.
He was an Assistant Professor of Military Science at the University of Pennsylvania from 1971 to 1973. From 1974 to 1978 he served in the Lance Missile Project Office, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He was selected to be an exchange officer in the British Army from 1978 to 1980. From 4 September 1980 to 24 June 1983, he commanded the 197th Support Battalion, 197th Infantry Brigade (separate), Fort Benning, Georgia. From 1984 to 1987, he served as the Group Commander and Senior Standardization Representative, U.S. Army Research and Standardized Group, United Kingdom. He commanded the U.S. Army Natick Research Development, and Engineering Center from 22 October 1987 to 22 September 1989. From September 1989 until his retirement from active military service on 1 July 1992, Colonel Hodder was Dean, School of Acquisition Management, and the 15th Commandant, U.S. Army Logistics Management College, Fort Lee, Virginia.
Colonel Hodder has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Dayton, Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of Alabama, and is a graduate of the Naval War College, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Defense Systems Management College, the U.S. Army Quartermaster Officer Advance Course, and the Armor Officer Basic Course.
His military decorations include the Legion of Merit (two oak leaf clusters), the Bronze Star Medal (one oak leaf cluster), the Meritorious Service Medal (three oak leaf clusters), the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal (two oak leaf clusters), and the Vietnam Honor Medal First Class.
In addition to his military decorations, Colonel Hodder is a charter member of the Army Acquisition Corps, a distinguished member of the Quartermaster Regiment. He is also the recipient of the distinguished Order of St. Martins and a recipient of the General Hastings Award. He is also a 2013 inductee into the Army Quartermaster Hall of Fame.
I’m a big kid…
Plus my son was asleep, so I got to raid his toy box again muahahaha.
I had so much fun shooting the Stargate picture in the last post that I had to do it again….and with my Pocket Rebel 😉
So my setup shot was a little bit different than my first Stargate pic. This time I used two flashes. One behind the gate, blue gelled, set to 1/128th power in a 45 degree Grid. The second was also set to 1/128th power, but on the opposite side of the frame, also blue gelled, bouncing off the white foamcore board for a little fill. Triggered with pocket wizard plus x units. The gate effect was courtesy of cling wrap once again, but this time I wanted it to protrude through the gate like the special effects on the show when the gate is first activated.
The resulting image:
Canon EOS M a.k.a. Ninja Camera
I’ve been playing around with my new toy, the Canon EOS M, “M” standing for mirrorless. I must admit, I don’t think I’ve had this much fun with a camera in quite a while. I giggled like a little school girl… This isn’t a review of this camera per se, but more of a post of why I like it. APS-C sensor, 18MP, hot-shoe, shoots RAW…more autofucus points than my 5D II…all in a smaller body. What’s not to like? It’s like getting Chewbacca in an ewok size…
If you know of this camera, or are googling it now, you’ll come across countless reviews of how crappy this camera is. The autofocus is crap, too slow, no viewfinder, etc.
For those of you, like me, that own a Canon 5D II, you all know the autofocus is crap, but you still love the pictures it can produce. You just need to know your camera’s limitation, and then your creativity with it becomes limitless.
There’s a quote from Albert Einstein I enjoy:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Which is awesome…because I have more creativity than smarts anyhow. 😉
I wanted a camera I could take along wherever I go. (Granted I do that now with my camera bag and 5D II, but it gets cumbersome and heavy after a while.) I also didn’t want to look like a Paparazzi walking around town. I wanted something inconspicuous, and invisible. A Ninja camera*…that’s what I needed…Something that could appear, click click, and then disappear without being seen. *Shurikens not included.
It happens to me all the time…. Something catches my eye, and I want a picture of it. You see people whip out their phones and take a picture. No one thinks anything of it. Now pull out a full-sized DSLR camera, and then you start to get stares. I’ll pull out my DSLR, and someone will comment, “that’s a BIG camera”. I smile back and say, “thank you, I’m compensating.”
I wouldn’t have whipped out my DSLR to take shot of the bar stash at Olive Garden, but with the “Pocket Rebel”, I didn’t give it a second thought about whether I should or shouldn’t. God help me if I find myself at the beach….giggity.
Neither did I give it a second though when I looked around taking pictures of patrons at the bar. No one noticed me or my camera.
I never really used “Live View” on my DSLR. I was used to the viewfinder. With the EOS M, I have no choice but to use Live View since this camera lacks a viewfinder. I thought, at first, that it would be a bit of a learning curve for me to adjust, but I took to it rather quickly. In fact, adding to my “ninja camera” likes, I like being able to take pictures from awkward positions, and being able to use Live View to compose my shots without looking obvious that I’m taking a picture of something (or someone) in particular…(like the nice old couple “gettin’ their drink on” :-))
And what post would this be if my son didn’t make a cameo appearance? 🙂
Street photography seems to be becoming more and more popular, and I see why. Especially with small cameras like the Leica series, Fuji X series, and small mirrorless cameras like the EOS M. I am going to have to hit the streets soon and see what all the fuss is about, and without my DSLR in tow.
And what better way to spend the weekend than to spend it playing with your son and LEGO blocks? OK….he was asleep, and I was playing with the LEGO blocks. He’s still 2…stuff gets built, stuff gets destroyed…..crying ensues….Liem gets in trouble after I tell on him to my wife, and we each go to our respective corners in the room. He gives me smirks and I give him the evil eye (after drying up my tears from him destroying my latest creations).
So while he was napping, I covertly took a LEGO set (well…it’s not LEGO…it’s some bobo brand (Best Locks), but it’s Stargate Officially licensed and “compatible” with LEGO blocks), and set it up. The Stargate series was one of my favorite shows, so I wanted to see if I could recreate a gate scene where the stargate was active. As you can see from the setup shot only one flash was involved.
It was set to 1/64th power, my Canon EOS M was set to ISO 100, and a shutter speed of 1/200s. I wanted to block out as much ambient light as I could considering I had this setup on a bench next to a large window. You’d figure I would have enough sense to shoot this in a dark room…(more imagination than knowledge, right?).
The flash was gelled blue, and with a 45 degree Grid to help keep the light circular. I used cling wrap on the stargate piece to give it some texture when the flash went off so it wasn’t just a pure blue light. the flash was triggered with PocketWizard PlusX units.
snakeheads Jaffa were harmed in the making of this photograph.
My Anniversary Dinner
Today is a special day. For everyone else it’s Thursday, July 18th. For my wife and I, it’s our 5 year wedding anniversary…
And that’s about as special as it gets. 🙂 Today was like any other day for us…. wake up, work, come home, eat, bathe, sleep…rinse and repeat.
So today, my big sister sends me an email:
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! Hope you get out and do something special today! Love you!
Thanks :-) nothing but work for the both of us today. we get off at 5, pick up Liem, gome home, cook dinner, give him a bath, and go to sleep. no time for anything else lol.
Pizza and a bottle of wine!!!
So I chatted up my wife and we decided pizza sounded like a great idea.
Of course an extravagant dinner such as this needs to be photographed. How often does a 5 year wedding anniversary dinner come around? 🙂
I setup the shot on our dining room table, which is two feet away from a very large window. I didn’t want any ambient light. I wanted to kill it all off, with nothing illuminating the plate except my flash.
Here is a setup diagram of what I did.
Our dining room table is in….well, the dining room. It sits next to a large window. I didn’t want to take any chances of ambient spilling over into the shot, so I used a piece of black foam core to block it out.
I setup a boom with my 580 EX II (set to 1/128th power), with a 45 degree Grid Light Modifier attached to it.
My 5D II, with my trusty 50L was set to f/11, 1/200s shutter speed to kill ambient, and ISO 400 (I forgot to change my ISO settings from a previous shoot…normally I would have done ISO 100….live and learn).
In any case, here is the finished shot. We had a Pizza Hut Dinner Box. My wife’s favorite is pepperoni. My favorite is a some-what veggie pizza…well…it has red onions and green peppers, and tomatoes. Some cheese breadsticks and buffalo wings to top it off….and of course we couldn’t forget the wine. 😉
My wife helped me arrange the food items (ok she did it all on her own because I just kind of threw them on the plate and said “tada”.
If you look carefully at her expertly crafted paper towel “napkin”, the napkin ring is actually our wedding bands. We decided to “upgrade” our wedding bands with Tungsten Carbide bands with inlaid wood (wood is the traditional 5th anniversary gift after all).
The white plate did a pretty good job at bouncing a bit of light back up and illuminating the wine glasses.
I didn’t care about the hard, dark shadows because hey,…it’s our anniversary…and we deserve to be in the spotlight. 😉
I would, at this time, like to tell my wife “Happy Anniversary” to 5 happy years of marriage. I couldn’t have done it without you (Because then I would just be single…and celebrating my singleness? How sad….). I love you sweetheart.
And a big thank you to my big sis. I wouldn’t have had this dinner without you. 😉 Love you sis.
And get my hands dirty?
That’s the response that went through my head when I saw my son’s expression when I told him to smash his cake.
I haven’t posted in a while, and that’s been due to life (Life happens right?). My son turned two during the Fourth of July week. Amidst doing things last minute in decorations for his party, the cake, food, gifts, entertainment, etc….photography was the last thing on my mind. 🙂
My wife once again wanted some smash the cake pictures. I asked her if this is the last year she wanted to do this type of thing. She said “no”. Damn….
So nearly two weeks after his birthday, I finally get around to taking some portraits of my “little man” who’s growing up faster than I realize.
Being uncooperative (comes with the territory of being 2), the usual bribing techniques were employed (gummy fruit snacks). I shudder at the thought of what his “price” will be as he gets older. I can see it now…
<cue fairy-tale dream sequence harp music>
Me: “Hey son, come here and let me shoot a portrait of you.”
Him: “Sure pops….Let me borrow the car this Friday. I’ve got a date.”
Me: (grumbles): “Fine…”
Snaps some shots. Tosses over the keys.
Him: “Thanks pops, now I need some cash for my date.”
Me: “What?! I just gave you the keys. That was your payment.”
Him: “The keys were my sitting fee. The cash is for me granting you rights to put my pictures up on your site for all to see.” *grins*
Damn smart kids….
In one of my earlier posts, I showed my son’s first smash the cake photos, along with a lighting diagram and a behind-the-scenes shot of my setup. During that shoot, I used 5 foam core boards, a 48″ octabox, and a rented 70-200 f/2.8 IS II lens. I was curious as to whether I could do it with less than ideal variables. In other words…less space to work with, and a 50mm lens…..I know I’m going to be cursing….
This time, instead of using a softbox like last time, I wanted to try a 22″ beauty dish. Since my mini me is growing up, I wanted something a little harsher and edgier than the soft light of a softbox.
This is a two light setup as you can see from the diagram. I used a Yongnuo 560 on 1/2 power with a 22-Inch Beauty Dish. The dish was positioned just off-center to my camera, and in front.
My framing in the viewfinder looked great….Well, the 5D II’s damn 98% viewfinder looked great that is….Until I went to process the photo and noticed a corner of the picture had part of the damn light stand in it. 🙂
My second flash was my Canon 580 EX II at 1/16th power on a boom arm set to go nuclear on the foam core background. I used a rogue flashbender as a flag to prevent too much spill from the flash hitting my son. Some stil did anyway.
Both flashes triggered with my Phottix Odins.
I really do wish I would have used more foam core boards lol. I only used two, and that made for some tight framing. Even then, trying to frame something “tight” with a 50mm lens isn’t ideal…but then, that’s what I was trying to go for…see if I could do a shoot similar to my son’s first smash the cake, but overcoming some obstacles (granted they were self-inflicted…I’m a glutton for punishment as my wife puts it).
As you can see, I didn’t have much room to work with. If I remember correctly, the foamcore boards are only like 30″x40″. Consider that my son is almost 37″ tall. 🙂
I didn’t use a tripod with his first smash the cake shot, but I wanted to with this one so I would have consistent framing.
So….in the end, I tell my son to smash the cake, and he gives me this look…..
Are you kidding??? I couldn’t have had him fake that expression even if I had a 5lbs bag of gummi bears. It’s shots like this that fuel my love of photography.
A few more edits.
My son doing his “Wreck It Ralph” impersonation…..Looks more like Bam Bam from the Flinstones if you ask me. 🙂
And success on a smashed cake!
Disclaimer: My son still did not want to cooperate and get all messy, so gummy snacks were recruited (drafted…they did not want to go willingly) to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, covertly hidden within the confines of the sweet, tasty, creamy prison that is called “cake”. Once we told our son that gummies were seeking refuge in the cake, he went forth and liberated them from their icing prison…and into his mouth. We lost a lot of good gummies that day….
<moment of silence>……..burp.
One light Portrait
Some of my wife’s family was passing through from Florida on their way up to Syracuse, New York. You may remember me mentioning my house is a modest 1,200sq ft, leaving me little room if I wanted to use any space at all as a make-shift “studio”.
Now imagine fitting 7 extra people in that house….needless to say, our house started to look like an amusement park with all of the inflatable mattresses :-).
My wife’s uncle wanted a family portrait he could get printed on a canvas. Luckily Groupon still had a Canvas on Demand special going on (I love that company, and it shows…..I have 6 canvases hanging in my house, with many other canvases I purchased that have been given away as gifts).
Anyway….back to the group portrait. They wanted to take a picture outside because it was nice and sunny. Harsh sunlight sucks…. It brings out harsh, dark shadows, makes people squint, and then everyone looks asian (no offense to anyone…I’m half asian myself :-)).
We found a somewhat shaded area under a tree. Looking at the photo, you can tell that I need to fire my landscaper (me). The photo was taken at 1PM, so the sun was in full force. I couldn’t take it later in the evening because they needed to pack up and leave for the remainder of their trip up to New York.
I knew I would need some power. Unfortunately, all I use are small speedlites. Competing against the sun with AA battery powered speedlites is like trying to race a Maserati with a Pinto…with a flat tire…
Instead of relying solely on my single 580 EX II, I opted for two of my Yongnuo YN-560s.
(If you haven’t tried these Yongnuo flashes yet, give them a chance. they are excellent for the price…considering 1 580 EX II will set you back $400, and with that same amount of cash, you could buy 6 Yongnuo flashes). I used two since competing with an already bright sun, and in addition using a 60″ shoot-through umbrella, I knew I was going to be eating up much needed light.
I set both speedlites to 1/2 power (basically getting the power of 1 flash on full power, but getting a faster recycle time, and saving my flashes from overheating).
I mounted my two flashes with my Phottix Multi-boom, and then mounted the umbrella. The light stand was about 7-7.5 feet high, with the umbrella pointed down at about a 45 degree angle.
Without using a lightmeter, I can typically get to the exposure I want after a few test shots.
I ended up shooting at f/7.1 as I wanted a wider depth of field so everyone was in focus.
1/160s shutter speed
A little bit of sharpening, and a little tweaking on color temperature, (I also enhanced the greens to make the vegetation look alive and healthy because….let’s face it….I suck at keeping my yard healthy. My yard looks like Luke Skywalker’s home planet….only more lifeless).
In the end, we have one happy family portrait.
no highlights were blown (or harmed) in the making of this photograph.
My wife and I talk all the time ( wow right? what kind of married couple are we?!?). As I mentioned in my first post, I’m not a big fan of snapshots, otherwise I would have stuck with a point and shoot camera. I like being able to come up with an idea, and try to visualize it for a shoot. Sometimes….I get “writer’s block”.
It just so happens during our talk, we were discussing ideas for our son’s next set of pictures. We got side-tracked and started talking about movies. My wife mentioned Risky Business, and the scene with Tom Cruise dancing around in a white dress shirt, underwear, and socks. She thought it would be cute if our son re-enacted that scene (at least as much as a rambunctious 23 month old can anyway).
So while my wife searched for suitable attire, I went to work to quickly try and setup my gear. I ended up using 3 speedlites (2 bare, 1 in a softbox). I probably could have gotten away with just the one main speedlite. Anyway, I took a few test shots to get my exposure right, and settled on f/8, 1/160s, ISO 100.
My setup was like so:
The 580 EX II was in a 28″ softbox overhead, at about a 45 degree angle pointing down. This was possible thanks to the Phottix Multi-boom Flash Bracket.
Power was set to 1/2.
The two side lights were set to 1/128th power with the built-in wide angle diffuser, so they were barely producing any light at all (hence why I said I might have been able to get away with just the one light, but I didn’t test that theory, so oh well).
All 3 flashes were controlled through my Phottix Odins.
My “studio” for this particular session was our hallway.
Now…I don’t know how people get these young actors and actresses to understand, comprehend, and then act how they are told or scripted. My son seems to just “wing” it. In other words….he does what he wants to do. I tried taking some shots of him standing up, dancing around in his outfit, but he didn’t want anything to do with it….
My wife and I are not above bribing our son to get him to do what we want 🙂 Our weapon of choice for that particular “battle”……gummi snacks!
You can see bribing evidence if you look closely at his right hand in this first shot.
We were finally able to get him to settle down and sit in his chair (the same chair I took his “Sweet Dreams” picture with). So technically it’s not re-enacting a Risky Business scene….I guess it’s Risky Business “inspired”.
Post-processing involved a bit of sharpening, vignette, and a little white balance tweaking. I do (or try to do) all of my post-processing in Lightroom. I find the flow a lot easier than trying to work in Photoshop…..I don’t know what the hell half the stuff does in Photoshop. It’s like owning a Ferrari and never going above second gear…
No Room? No Problem!
I envy those of you who have large houses and can dedicate an entire room or garage as your studio.
My house is 1,200 sq ft. with 8 ft. ceilings…..not ideal for a home studio by any means. I do not have a garage I can retreat to either…..no “Man Cave” whatsoever. I have found, in my limited experience as a “camera” owner (I don’t say photographer because everyone who owns a camera would then be a “photographer”.), I have found that I don’t really need a LOT of space. Would it be nice to have? Absolutely…. Have I been able to make due? Of course 🙂
Take a look at these photos I took of my son when he turned one. (The entire set can be found on flickr by clicking an image). I wanted him to have some “trash the cake” pictures. No…the cake in these photos was not his actual cake (I’m not that cheap!). He had a nice “Dinosaur Train” themed cake. The cake he’s smashing is a crap cake we bought at our local grocery store.
First off, I don’t own any seamless background paper. I do eventually want to get some….but I know my son will see it as an endless roll of paper he can use to draw and color and share his artwork. I also don’t own studio strobes. I have owned a couple in the past, but as I mentioned, I’m in limited space, and plus, they can tend to get bulky. I have owned strobes in the past, Einstein 640, and Mettle 600AD to name a few. I stick to speedlites now. Yes, many of you will say they are too low in power, they are expensive, etc. The only expensive speedlite I own is a single Canon 580 EX II. the remaining 3 speedlites are Yongnuo 560’s (though I hear they are affectionally referred to as “Kung Pao 560’s”). Anyway, I’m rambling on about speedlites…
Quick recap….I have a small house, no dedicated room to setup, I use “puny” speedlites, and I don’t own seamless paper… How can I get shots like the ones above?
Just because you have limited space shouldn’t be an excuse for anyone. You just need to dig into that brain of yours and get creative 🙂
Some foamcore boards from your local arts & craft store (I think I paid $5 each).
I had one flash for a background light (although looking back, I really wish I had used 2 flashes). I used a Rogue Flashbender to direct the light to the foamcore background so it wouldn’t hit my son directly. You can get away with a piece of black foamcore, or even black construction paper for the same effect.
One flash in my softbox and I was set.
Yongnuo 560 – background @ 1/4 power
580 EX II – 48″ softbox @ 1/2 power
Other specifications of the shoot:
This set was shot with my trusty 5D II. I had rented the coveted (by many) Canon 70-200 2.8 II IS lens. I could have done this shoot with similar results with my 50L, as most of my shots were within the 70-85mm range. It’s a nice lens, but heavy.
Anyway, that’s my “studio” for that particular shoot. In my previous post with my son asleep in the chair, you can see the setup shot and the limited space I had available there as well (also my living room/hallway).
I figured I would start with one of my favorite shots of my son. It was taken when he was 14 months old (23 months old now as of this post). I like artsy-fartsy photos best. The nitty-gritty black and whites, and dramatic photos that can tell a story. I’ll take the “snapshots” if that’s all I can get (or if I’m too lazy…or my subject isn’t cooperating, etc.), but if I have time to really set up a shot, I go for it.
In any case, here he is. No, he didn’t fall asleep like that…the only true thing in this image is that he IS asleep. Once he was out, my wife and I placed him in his chair, posed him, and placed a book in his lap. I took an accent lamp from an end table as it was just the right height for him. His “ottoman” is actually a flipped over canvas basket that just happened to almost match the color of his chair.
This shot was taken with my Canon 5D II in manual mode and my trusty 50mm f/1.2L lens.
1/200 shutter speed to help kill the ambient light.
white balance was set to cloudy to warm it up a bit.
gridded 22″ beauty dish above with a 580 EX II @ 1/2 power, triggered with Phottix Odins in manual mode.
At the time, I had also rented the 85L, which people swear by as being THE BEST portrait lens ever… I wasn’t all that impressed. Yes, the images it can produce can be stunning, but I was not impressed with the autofocus speed. I have no doubts of its capabilities….but is it an outstanding lens for my “mini me” that runs at full speed during his waking hours? Not a chance! My 50L did an outstanding job and focused quickly. The finished photo is from the 50L.
The finished shot was literally out of camera. The only thing I edited was applying a bit of vignette and a little sharpen.
It made my day when Phottix put it up as their photo of the week (back in October 2012 anyway).