Monday, March 30, 2009

Mmmm, RED!

Guess where this backdrop is located?!

I'm not telling, but it does involve a hotel and a wall. (again)

Okay, it's apparent I don't mind hotel walls on occasion. But this is only because I'm not paying much attention to the background. Or am I? Yes, of course I am.

I figured I would share my thoughts during the creation of this shot, and also after wards in post production/retouching.

Candee walked into the room with this killer red dress on that was totally awesome. It's perfect because she has green eyes which compliments the red dress. Our backdrop was an off white, eggshell as 'they' call it, color with a bit of a plaster/stucko embossing. This backdrop is totally uninteresting, especially since we are working with a strong red reflective material.

The first thing I need to think about is where I need my single soft box strobe to be for the wall doesn't look flat and/or blown out. But, it also has to light up Candee in a way that matches her beautiful bold look.

Light Placement
I placed my soft box directly behind me which will light up Candee well. I put it up high and point the center of the light to Candee's chest. My head will be infront of the soft box's hottest spot, (sometimes they can have a hot spot) so it won't make her chest brighter than her face.
Also, and more importantly, with the soft box up a ways it will create a shadow underneath Candee's chin. The same effect is shared by the dress folds, and chest. This setup works also because I need the light to skip over the embossing of the wall a bit to show it's detail.

Post Production
In post I added texture to the wall to intensify its effect and also added red to the off-white color. Did I know I was going to make the wall red while I was shooting the image? Nope. But, I did know I was going to change it in some way to fit the clothing we were using.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Double Mega Pixels!

Reading this post title like a computer generated Nintendo voice after I made my ninja character throw out a hard core double combo on 'The Boss" ...made me laugh a bit. Anyway...

Canon released their 5D back in 2005. At that time I was packing my 9d 10d. I remember having a conversation with a friend about the 5d and its superior 12MP+full frame sensor. I remember making the point that I can't imagine needing more than a 12MP+full frame sensor in a camera. Anything more would be overkill and only help out hard drive manufacturers, because I would have to store these monster files somewhere.

My friend replied "oh, but that is what everyone thinks until the new technology comes out...then you find that you want and need what's coming out next."

At that time, I disagreed.

But today, I came to the realization, that I still pretty much disagree. *shrugs* Yep.

I still shoot with a 10d. But, I do want to upgrade to a 5d (mark II) at some point. The only reasons are full frame sensor and the ability to shoot at least 12MP. Two things that will directly improve the quality of my images. I really have no need to shoot larger than 12MP images. I don't care to copy them over and back them up either. Only takes longer. So, unless I'm labeled as a super awesome pro magazine cover shooter who gets paid millions of dollars for every image produced, I'll stick with my mass'ish consumer camera.

"But, Joshua! What if you 'came into' money, then what would you buy?!!"

Two 5d's?! *raises eyebrow* Always nice to have a backup!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Labels/Categories Update to this Blog

I have updated the Labels/Categories on this blog to include:

0 lights - Natural Light
1 light
2 lights
4 lights
soft box
update (posts like this one)
Vivitar 285HV (flash)

Now, if you have an interest in seeing posts that include, for example, an image using or text pertaining to a soft box, click the "soft box" Label/Category and there you have it. This, of course, only works if you come to the actual blog. I don't believe you can use Labels/Categories in Google Reader or any other agitator software. (If so, please let me know and I'll update this information!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Magazine Covers

Most magazine covers have the same general lighting setup. There are several variations, but for the most part it's all the same. Put the model in front of the camera, set up 1 to 5 (or more) lights, or however many you feel like metering, up all around you and your camera lens and shoot. Fairly simple process.

If you would like to understand this lighting better, go to any magazine rack and look at the catch lights in the models eyes. You will see 1-4 little white circles in most cases. Compare one magazine cover with 1 or 2 lights to another cover with 3 or 4 and look at the overall difference in how the shadows are laying on the model. It will start to sink in better the most you do this. (Yes, I do this and have for years!) Chances are a few covers won't make much since due to all of the retouching going on. Dang those retouchers! :D

Where are these magazine cover type of shots taken anyway? Well, I don't know. But, I'd imagine some big awesome studio with lots of rad toys that I would waste too much time playing with!

As in my last post this image was also shot on a hotel wall, with a single strobe, and a soft box. Obviously the light positioning and posing was much different due to different models, different clothing, and my ability to become bored quickly and change things up!

This image is of Summer Taylor. She has fantastic features and amazing curves! When she came out in her dress it screamed magazine cover to me!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Ever get stuck on where to do your next shoot? It's easy to get lost thinking about all of the cool alley ways and old junk cars setting about. We can easily have big ideas for great shoots, but sometimes they involve too many lights, portable power, assistants, and time ...all of which we may not have much of.

Me and Jessica Vaugn finally got in some shooting time after meeting and working on other shoots and workshops for over a year! Here was the setup... one strobe, a soft box, and a hotel conference room wall.


The PERFECT setting for finally getting to shoot a model you have wanted to shoot for a long time, right? I'm pretty sure you can feel the sarcasm in my typing!

I had all of these ideas and cool lighting setups, make up, hair, and, and, and....none of my thoughts mattered at that point. If I would have continued to think about the things I wanted to setup, I would not of been able to focus properly on what was in front of me.

What I also found out is that even though I have big ideas in my head, it's not the way I actually shoot. I'm usually simplistic and make the best of what I have at the shoot. Learning to accept how I naturally photograph models helps me shoot even better in these situations.

I was very much pleased with the results. Our shoot went smooth and it was a whole lot of fun! I was so excited about how this shot came out due to all of the laughing we were doing! Like I always say, you only need to capture 1/125th of a second to create the image you want!