Entries in Teaching (88)
Looking into dark eyes is like an auto focus camera pointed at a white wall, it spins back and forth. When we look at people with no light in the eyes we react about the same way we keep searching for contact in the eyes but don't get it. So my simple rule is, if you don't have great light in the eyes have them look anywhere but in the camera!
This particular engagement shot is one of my all time favorites, see how even looking down you know how happy and in love they are. I carefully framed them inside the mountain to not have disturbing lines though their faces.
The title of the blog is " If you can't get good light in the eyes? " I know that with the right equipment and time we can always get good light in the eyes, but sometimes it's moments that happens fast etc. In my workflow of shooting an engagement like this one I typically work like this: When I'm in a spot with great light I make sure to take good eye contact shots. If lets say the light change fast and the mood is good I have them look at each other or away, kiss, hug, etc.etc This way I get a good mix of style and emotions.
Hope all is well, I don't feel I'm very good at expressing myself this Monday morning, but.... :-)
I been in love with reflectors since long before they made fold ups. Remember working on a movie in Paris the first time a saw one pop open, so did my eyes! We used to buy silver cooking foil, step on it on the asphalt or cement to make mini bumps in it then tape it to foam boards. Still works great today. Then I remember I found actual sheets of reflection foil from Rosco, and I could tape them on. Reflection of light have always been used in photography, reflections from walls, windows, snow, water, a silver car in the parking lot etc etc .
My question today was HOW MANY do you need? It's not one correct answer to that question of course, but I want to bring up some points why I find a need for many. If you look in the image you will see some of mine along the camera room back wall. I think I have about 30 total? A brand new reflector reflects so much more light light then it will do after a few months use. About every 10 months I keep buying the same silver reflector in my most used size 32" I write the date I bought it with a black marker on it for fun to keep track of their change.
By having many silver reflectors with different ware I get many choices of brightness, especially great when I can't choose the distance to the subject. It's kind of having a flash with one output or variable outputs. I also love using soft gold a lot, but I use them all even my blue one I bought from a german photographer. Color correction is a huge issue with them, getting to change color on a part of your image, create minorities. Like on a bride I might want to use a large white or silver one on the dress and a smaller soft gold just for the face. Keeping the dress white, while giving her a nice skin color. Often I will just use a different one on the face because the face need more brightness then a white dress.
This is such a huge subject I can write on it forever. In my seminars and workshops you will learn a lot about reflective light, but this blog post should get your mind running? NEVER trow away an old reflector it might be the only one weak enough on close distance on a bright day, you can also spray paint it in a cool color and you have a new portable pop up backdrop for portraits :-)
In situations of low light or cloudy days a brand new silver reflector will almost be like a mirror to add some great catch lights in the eyes. What is so beautiful with reflectors is that what you see is what you get vs flash. This image is about 20 years old shot on the wonderful Polaroid Polapan B/W chrome film, loved it!!! I keep using old images for fun these days if I can. Show how great results we could get straight out of a film.Happy shooting, hope to see many of you around Europe in February.
Today I will do something NEW! I will post an image and NOT tell how it was done until Monday! One of the best exercises a photographer can do is to look at images and try to figure out how the image was done. I'm loving going though some old images these days. This image of MaryLyn is from 1984 and nothing is done to it since, except scanning it. All I will say today is that it is ZERO retouch involved, no Photoshop, not a double exposure :-) Please check back on Monday for the answer, and have a nice week end:-)
PS. Some of you with good memory might remember me telling it in seminars in the 90's?Everybody else feel free to post your answers :-)
PSS. Monday Dec.21, 2009. The answer to the trivia "How this image was made" is posted under the image:
So the day have come for the answer to this trivia. First of all I want to thank you all for the many great and clever suggestions, posted here, on FB, Twitter and in DM. I think my favorite suggestion has to be Alexandre Argy in Paris, France. He writes: My guess : "you have a very bad lab ! :-p" It's a key to the answer in that comment as you will see as you keep reading.
To the image, Yes it is a sandwich of two slides, but that don't answer how that partial, bent film strip pattern got in there. 3 images in a sandwich was a great guess. Image number 1( MaryLyn on on the bottom of the image) is taken outside on a hillside with the very last golden light of the day, a little blue sky behind on the top of the image. Shot on Ektachrome 100. Image number 2 was shot in the studio with white clothes on a white background and multiple tungsten spots. Shot on a Nikon F3 and with Ektachrome 160T film. So to the filmstrip mystery, my lab used to buy in the Ektachrome 160T in long rolls like 17 meters? and cut and load them in the length of 36 exposures. Somebody obviously must have let some light in at a point and that way we got some film edge exposed unto the shooting area of the roll for a few frames as in the white image. I was working at The Osmond Studios at the time, and was sure glad it happened on a personal shoot.
Well to an interesting part of the story, this image was never intended and planned, it was shot as two individual images, which I both liked on their own. A couple if years later I was standing at a light table in Norway to order some prints from several slides. Some how by coincidence this to shots ended on top of each other on the light table. WoooW, I liked it lots, took them out of the individual frames, put them on top of each other in a slide frame. ( Sorry, I don't dare to take it apart and scan them individually to show you.)
Yes, a "coincidence" but how many great images haven't come about because of coincidences and accidents? BUT it happened because I was doing something, that is an important part, not just thinking " I should do something!' Thank you all so much for responding, reading, being great friends and photographers, I sure enjoyed this and I'm already planning my next retro, trivia post. Have a great day everyone.
Todays Image is a scan from a slide taken back in 1982. No retouch on the file. The model is Merete Berge with whom I ran a Model Agency in Europe back in the early eighties.
The subject is the pink stockings. The grey winter day in Oslo, Norway was perfect since we wanted as little color in the image as possible besides the stockings. To add an extra punch to the stockings I bounced a flash off the snow on the ground in front of her, about 1/2 a f stop brighter then the existing light. The eye loves repetition of color so we added a little pink on Meretes lips.
The alley helps creating depth in the image. Watch how carefully I placed her head in the middle of the alley. Always look around your subject, especially around the face before you push the button. The little white space in front of her face and shawl makes it peaceful. I also wanted her to look away to draw as little attention to herself as possible.
The eyes definitely goes to the stockings first, so case solved. Camera: Nikon F3 Black Titanium, one of my all time favorites. I'm working on a slideshow of images from the 80's, fun to dig through the past sometimes.
Tuesday this week I photographed 22 Wedding dresses for a 13 page editorial in a magazine. I only had about 15 min pr. dress so I had to think how can I light well and change it fast without adjusting to much power etc. I came up with this 5 light set up (see overview) after lot's of thinking the night before. From left lamp #1 a 74inch Elinchrom Octa Bank working as an even backlight for the whole body. Lamp #2 a square pan reflector with grid in the middle above the thunder grey Superior seamless paper background. Then lamp #3 a 2nd octa (this one medium) on the right side of the bride, is in this overview pulled more forward then in the sample shots (more back like the large octa on the left). The next light #4 is essential for this shots, it's a spot with a grid pointed to the brides face, trying to avoid the dress. Last lamp #5 is a fill about 2 f stops under the spot and octa's sent into my neutral grey wall and ceiling for a large fill in a high angle. The whole thinking is to light the dresses best possible which leave the face dark in the middle (see image underneath), then punch the face with the spot in a flattering way for the model (image number 2 underneath text). I almost always, inside and outside light the dress and face separately, simply because they look their best in different light :-) Last image shows a variation with profile, we can work so fast when assistant here quickly follow the models face with the spot. All lamps Elinchrom , camera Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, lens Canon 70-200mm. f2.8
PS. I am generally against many images in a blog, but felt this one needed it to illustrate the light well.