Lighting for athlete portraits

lighting for athlete potraitsIn the article below, we get a peak inside the brain of Cuarezma, photographer of the World Cup’s US Soccer team. The athlete portraits were taken outdoors, but used a ton of controlled lighting (think 10 soft boxes!) to supplement the natural light.

My favorite part of the article was the sketched notes where he is thinking through how to get the most versatile collection of athlete portraits in a short amount of time. He has it set up to capture 30 athletes in 30 minutes, getting 4 unique shots of each player. By having a white backdrop behind the subject and a black board at a right angle, he was able to get a front shot with a white background and a profile shot with a black background with no change in setup and almost no down time between shots. Continue…

Studio lighting: painting with light

Once discovered, studio lighting can become a photographer’s best friend. With studio lighting, you are no longer having to wait for golden hour or the perfect cloudy day to capture your subject, you can recreate perfect lighting any time of the day or night with a little bit of knowledge and practice. As a photographer who loved shooting outdoor portraits, once I begin to understand the extent of control and possibilities of controlled lighting setups, I was hooked!

With studio lighting, a photographer can literally “paint” his or her subject with light and shadows. By deciding where on the subject you want a shadow to fall and choosing the right type of light source, the manipulation of light and shadows on your subject is endless. And even more importantly for a beginning studio photographer, it is predictable and repeatable. Light travels in a straight line until it hit something where it is either absorbed or reflected.


Ways to fix flyaway hairs in Photoshop #GC3400

One of the more difficult studio portrait edits in Photoshop to do well is smoothing out flyaway hairs on your model. These are any out-of-place hair that detracts from the clean polished look of your model. This video from the Photoshop Training Channel is a great resource for fixing flyaway hairs on your studio portraits. Should be a good resource for GC3400 as you wrap up your studio portrait assignments this week!

Product photography lighting: Don’t forget the shadows!

Both light and shadows work to create perfect product photography lighting

Both light and shadows work to create perfect product photography lighting

We all know that product photography is all about the light, but don’t forget that what makes the light perfect is the inclusion of shadows. In the video tutorial below, Alex Koloskov, walks through the process of first removing the shadows with well place diffusers and then bringing gradients and shadows back onto the image in order to really capture the life and feel of a shiny object in the end photograph.

One of the more difficult things to grasp when you first start working with studio (controlled) lighting is that you can’t have light without shadows. A professor I had in film school called it “painting with light,” a phrase I always loved. In order to paint with light, you are placing light on one plane or part of your subject which in turn creates an opposing shadow on another part of your subject. If you over-light your subject by filling in shadows and adding light on every part of your subject, you end up with flat, boring light with minimal shadows (good for green screen work!). Continue…

Amazing photographs: 2014 WPPI awards

Feeling uninspired lately, never fear- these WPPI winners will definitely inspire you! There are many divisions including the (impressive!) high school division that compete surrounding the WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) event held in Las Vegas every year. Even if wedding and portraits aren’t your favorite categories, these photographs are inspiring and cover many types of photography we cover in #GC3400 including photojournalism, portraiture, and product photography.

WPPI winners for 2014

WPPI winners for 2014

I didn’t realize previously that they also have a videography division. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can see the winning videos for some fantastic examples of engaging videos built on gorgeous photography combined with sublime editing to tell a well-paced story.

So, which photograph inspires you? Continue…

#GC340 Clemson Basketball promotional video shoot

GC340 shoot Clemson basketball promotional videos

GC340 shoot Clemson basketball promotional videos

In case you missed hearing about the #GC340 basketball promotional video shoot during Fall 2013, I wanted to share some of the pictures from the location day. I really do love just about every aspect of film making, but probably the part of the process that I think is the most exciting, is the shoot day. Bring on the talent, the lights, the cameras, the microphones, and let’s see if we can make the magic happen! Yes, I admit there is a lot of planning that goes into those few short hours on set, but if all goes (mostly) well, then by the end of that time, you’ll have on film what it takes to edit your masterpiece.

I’ll admit, production day is not everyones favorite part of the process. It is a day of high tensions, lots of stress, and perhaps even more sit around and wait time than actual production time. As they used to say when I served as a production assistant on Hollywood features the motto of shoot days is “hurry up and wait!” Now from a producer or directors stand point, being there and ready ahead of the curve is not only important, but can mean the difference between having your shot and having no footage at all. So those moments of waiting may be painful, but they are completely necessary for a successful shoot day on location. Continue…

How to take Apple’s iconic photos

Ever wonder who takes those iconic photos of Apple products? Curious how it is done? Check out this interview with Peter Belanger. Be sure to watch the stop action video further down the page.

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The illusion of simplicity: photographer Peter Belanger on shooting for Apple
You’ve almost certainly never heard of Peter Belanger, but you’ve definitely seen his photographs. In fact, you may even see his work every day, and it’s likely that you own some of his most…

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Studio Lighting: Unravelling the Complexity of Multiple Lights

Experimenting with studio lighting

As one gets started in studio lighting I think it is pretty common to get over ensconced in the lighting scenarios. It is funny because everything you read tells you to start with one light until you really start getting a feel for how to shape, angle and manipulate it with purpose. Most of us end up getting lost in multiple light set-ups struggling to find proper lighting solutions. I was not any different.

Soon after I got started, I found myself using 4-5 lights in every setup and then getting frustrated with the nuclear explosion of light that was going off with each shutter click. It makes me laugh now, because at the time I was solely focused on getting light on the subject, background and in most cases everything else in the room that was touched by the mushroom cloud of illumination. I did not understand the importance of shadow, shape, depth and form.

Maturing with studio lighting takes time and patience, and always remember that each light should have a specific purpose. Understanding how to build the lighting with intent in mind takes plenty of practice and a fair number of mistakes and experimentation. Just remember to keep an open mind and never stop learning from both your successful and failed attempts. So, let’s get down to business and walk through a more challenging lighting set-up being mindful of the reasons and rational for each lights use. Continue…