Tuesday's Tips "Smokin' Hot Lights"

This image from my recent Niagara Falls area "Location Lighting Workshop" with my good friend and amazing photographer Doug Hansgate.  We started the workshop using one fresnel light and progressed to the 3 light set up below.  We were going a hard light look.  The main light was on a boom from above, stage right.  We used 2 back lights to high light her hair and bring out the smoke.  One back light was directly behind our model, Becca's head and the other light was stage left, bringing additional high lights to her hair.  On stage left we had a 4'x6" white reflector.  
When you are using smoke, you need to back light the smoke to give it depth.

Equipment used:
Nikon D810 with Nikor 105 macro lens
Sekonic 478 Light Meter
Rosco Smoke Machine
3 Arri Fresnel lights
ThinkTank Photo camera cases

ISO: 1600, Aperture: 5.6, Shutter: 1/200 

Come join me at one of my upcoming "Location Lighting Workshops"
Nov. 4-5, Unique Photo, Fairfield, NJ
Nov. 22-25  X-posure International Photo Festival,  Sharjah, UAE
Jan. 5-7  Bahamas Model Shootout & Photo Workshop with Vanelli & Friends

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Tuesday's Tips: Lights, Cameras, Colors!

Guitarist and singer Ken Susi of the band “Unearth” dropped by the studio this past weekend.  Ken is an avid photographer and wanted to work Keiko and I on lighting.  We quickly volunteered him to be the model. 

We did a couple of multi light gelled set ups.

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In the first image, we used 2 Dynalite Baja B6 strobes, one on either side, slightly behind Ken giving us the light on his face.  Both strobes had a Dynalite 20 degree, 7” grid.  The end of both grids were wrapped in Rosco Cinefoil to further control the spread of light.  On the left side we used a Rosco Medium Straw gel from my Rosco Location Lighting Kit and on the right side we used a Rosco Calcolor 30 Cyan.  Directly behind Ken’s head is a Nissin Di700A speedlight with a Rogue grid and a red gel.  Directly in front of Ken is a second Nissin Di700A speedlight with a Rogue grid.  The power to this Nissan was turned down, giving a minimal amount of white light.  To fire the strobes I used a Dynalite transmitter.  The Nissin flash was triggered by using the built in optical slave.

3 light set ups.jpg
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The second image is lit from below with one Dyanlite Baja 6 with the 20 degree, 7” grid and wrapped in Cinefoil.  The strobe is centered just below the bottom of the frame.  The red backlight is the Nissin Di700A with the Rogue Grid and the red gel.  The prevent the light from bouncing off the white ceiling in the studio, we placed a black foam core on a Photoflex boom arm over Ken.  

Thank you for stopping by the photographic Lighting Test Kitchen, Ken! Cant wait with you more!

2light set up.jpg

All photographs where shot using a Nikon D810 and either a Nikon 105 Macro or aNikon 70-200 F2.8 with a 1.4 extender.  The gels are from the Rosco Location Lighting Kit by Rick Friedman.


Come join us at one of upcoming “Location Lighting Workshops” !

Nov. 4-5, 2017
Unique Photo, Fairfield, NJ.  2 day workshop

Nov 22-25, 2017
Exposure International Photography Festival, Sharjah, UAE

January 5-8, 2018
Lighting Workshop &Model shoot in the Bahamas with Vanelli & Friends

Gels and cinefoil are available from my Location Lighting Kit.


Capturing fireworks!

Happy Summer!  It’s time to capture some of the beauty in the sky above you, as we celebrate Independence Day.  
The key to capturing fireworks is timing your exposure so you can capture multiple blasts without over exposing your image.  Using a low ISO will give you longer exposures and better quality.  Your shutter speed will determine how long the trailfrom the fireworks is.  My preference is shutter speeds ranging from 4 to 15 seconds at f8 or f11.  Make sure you are shooting on manual exposure. 

Another trick is to set your camera on bulb, lock your shutter open with your cable release and hold piece of dark cardboard in front of the lens.  When a blast occurs remove the cardboard, when the blast ends, hold it in front of the lens again.  This will enable you to record multiple blasts on a single frame.


Colored fireworks will give you more vibrant trails, while white fireworks tend to over expose your image.  To eliminate camera shake, as a result of slow shutter speeds use a tripod. I also recommend using a cable release, which allows you not to touch the camera when releasing the shutter.  You can also weigh down your tripod for greater stability if it’s a windy day.  Hang your camera bag from the hook on the bottom of your trip.   For longer exposures, you want to block off the eyepiece to keep stray light form entering the back of the camera and affecting your image.  If your camera has a mirror lock up feature, you also want to use this on longer exposures. 

ISO100, F8 & 6 seconds

ISO100, F8 & 6 seconds



ISO 100,  F10 & 4 seconds.

ISO 100,  F10 & 4 seconds.


The photo below is from the end of the summer frieworks in Oak Bluffs, on Martha’s Vineyard.  I was part of the White House Press Pool covering President Obama’s summer vacation.  While we were on hold as the President was at a private event, I noticed the fireworks over the harbor.  I did not have a tripod with me, nor a cable release (not items you usually need in the White House Press Pool). I propped my camera on a fence post and gently touched the shutter.  Rules are only guidelines, you can photograph fireworks without a tripod! ( although not ideal.) You just need to be flexible and creative with your methods.


Happy Summer Shooting!! Hope to see you at my upcoming Niagara area workshop with Doug Hansgate, August 18-20Rick Friedman & Doug Hansgate Lighting Workshop


Tuesday's Tips: CamAm Photo Expo

I just returned from a wonderful time at  the CanAm Photo Expo in Baffolo, NY.  This is one of my all-time favorite photo festivals,  If you were not with us at the Expo, come join us next year in Niagra Falls, Canada.
This year I taught 2 Location Lighting Workshops, one on USS Little Rock and one at Silo City, along with 2 indoor studio workshops and 1 lecture.

I will be back in Buffalo on April 21-23 to teach a 3 day location & studio photography workshop and post production classes with Doug Hansgate.   Doug and I are also teaching the workshop in Boston, May 26-28th. 
For other  upcoming workshops, please check out my workshop page.

Silo City

Silo City

Silo City Workshop   

Silo City Workshop 


USS Little Rock  

USS Little Rock


Studio Lighting  

Studio Lighting


I had honor co teaching the workshop in Silo City with great photographers, Tony Corbell, Dana Norlund.  

I had honor co teaching the workshop in Silo City with great photographers, Tony Corbell, Dana Norlund.


Silly group photograph from USS Little Rock Location Lighting Workshop.  

Silly group photograph from USS Little Rock Location Lighting Workshop.





Unique Photo Location Lighting Workshop Feb 25, 2017

We had a great workshops at Unique Photo, Fairfield NJ last weekend.  My workshops are a mixture of lighting, shooting, creating and sharing ideas.  Everyone gets to shoot every situation, working  with speedlights, studio strobes, light modifiers and color gels.   Unusual spring weather in NJ let us shoot outdoor and indoor!  

Here is a recap of the workshop!

Equipment used during the workshop:
Elinchrom ELB Qudra strobe
Nissin Di700A speedlight & Nissin transmitter
Dynalite Baja strobes
Rogue Flash Benders
Rogue Grid set
Chimera Lighting Light modifier
Sekonic Lightmeter
Pocket Wizard
Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit by Rosco

I'm teaching a 1 day workshop in Boston on March 8 at Boston Center for Adult Education and Herwin Camera in NYC on March 25!  For the full workshops schedule, please visit www.rickfriedman.com. Hope you can join us!

Thank you everyone for joining us at Unique Photo! Happy Lighting!

Tuesday's Tips: Lighting London

This series of photographs is from my one day workshop "Lighting Goes on Location in London", part of The Societies of Photographer's Convention last month.

The group spent the day shooting in Piccadilly, Chinatown and Soho.  We used several different portable lighting kits, and rarely used light stands!  

Equipment & settings under each photograph. 1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight Westcott Rapid Box PocketWizard Plus IV ISO: 100 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/250

Equipment & settings under each photograph.
1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 100
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/250

1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight Westcott Rapid Box PocketWizard Plus IV ISO: 125 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/125

1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 125
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/125

1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight Westcott Rapid Box PocketWizard Plus IV Crossfiltering with Rosco CTO gel. ISO 64 Aperture: 4 Shutterspeed: 1/250

1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
Crossfiltering with Rosco CTO gel.
ISO 64
Aperture: 4
Shutterspeed: 1/250

2 Nissin Di700A Speedlight 2  Flashbender XL PocketWizard Plus IV ISO: 100 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/100

2 Nissin Di700A Speedlight
2  Flashbender XL
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 100
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/100

1 Elinchrom ELB strobe with a Pro head Rotalux Softbox Deep Octa 70cm Skyport transmitter ISO: 160 Aperture: 5.6 Shutter: 1/100

1 Elinchrom ELB strobe with a Pro head
Rotalux Softbox Deep Octa 70cm
Skyport transmitter
ISO: 160
Aperture: 5.6
Shutter: 1/100

1 Westcott Ice light 2 ISO: 64 Aperture: 5 Shutter: 1/250

1 Westcott Ice light 2
ISO: 64
Aperture: 5
Shutter: 1/250

3 Nissen Speedlights,   2 Rogue FlashBender XL 4 PocketWizard Plus IV Rogue grid shot thru Rosco Cinifoil pattern from Rosco Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit ISO: 64 Aperture: 5 Shutter: 1/250

3 Nissen Speedlights,  
2 Rogue FlashBender XL
4 PocketWizard Plus IV
Rogue grid shot thru Rosco Cinifoil pattern from Rosco Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit
ISO: 64
Aperture: 5
Shutter: 1/250

Rogue Reflector ISO: 800 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/100

Rogue Reflector
ISO: 800
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/100

1 Nissan Di700A Speedlight Westcott Rapid Box PocketWizard Plus IV ISO: 200 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/50

1 Nissan Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 200
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/50

1 Nissan Di700A Speedlight Westcott Rapid Box PocketWizard Plus IV ISO: 100 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/13

1 Nissan Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 100
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/13

Most of the time the attendees photographed the models.  I took a few minutes at each location to demonstrate my lighting and shooting style. .  We started at 10 o'clock, with a  lunch stop at the pub between, we finished shooting after 5 o'clock!  All my images were shot on a Nikon D810 with a 24-120.  My camera was set Manual for all the photographs, lights were read using Sekonic light meter.

Come join me at one of my upcoming workshops.  Lots of lighting and laughing!

This spring, I am teaching Unique Photo (NJ), Boston Center for Adult Education CenterHarwin Camera (NYC), Cardinal Camera (Philadelphia & Charlotte NC) CanAM Photo Festival and Pixel Connection (Avon, OH).  I will be back in the UK for a series of workshops this summer.   Please visit my workshop page to see a complete schedule.

Tuesday's Tips: A Slice of Orange!

I always carry a slice of orange in my camera bag.  Don't you?  

You do realize I am talking about an orange gel, better known as a CTO, (Color Temperature Orange). Similar to the other orange, this orange has several uses.

It’s amazing what a little orange can do!  You can bring out high lights in your subject’s hair and change gray skies to blue.

This photograph was shot during a lighting demo at Photo Plus 2016 in New York.  The main light was Dynalite Baja B6 with a Dynalite Grand Softbox. The hairline light was a Dynalite Baja B4 with a 20 degree grid with a Rosco CTO color gel. The shooting space was about 10 ft x 7 ft., proving you can work in a really small space!   Main light was about 2.5 feet from the mode while the backlight was about 2 feet behind.  The orange light give her a halo!  I used the Dynalite Baja dedicated transmitter to fire the strobes and a Sekonic L478DR light meter to read my light.




This photograph was shot during my Location Lighting UK Tour sponsored by SWPP. (I'll be leading 3bworkshops at their convention in London this January).  So... It was a rainy grey day in Caerphilly, Wales, UK, what are the odds?  Have you ever set your camera on tungsten and gone outside to shoot? What happens? Your photograph turns out blue!  So use this to your advantage on a cloudy day. Set your camera white balance to tungsten, and place a Rosco CTO orange filter over the flash. A CTO filter is a color correction filter, converting your speed light, which is balanced for daylight, to tungsten. You color correct the skin tones of your subject while your background turns blue.

The model is lit by a speedlight with a CTO gel in front of it, shot through a soft box on the right side, with a reflector on the left.  The output of the speedlight is tungsten, which matches my camera setting.  Because of this, the model has proper skin tones and the background is now blue.  To determine the exposure, the camera is set on manual and use your camera meter to read the "Element you cannot control":  In this case it is the ambient light on background.  


Rosco CTO gels and Cinefoil, along with 22 other gels are included in my "Rosco Location Lighting Kit" (wink wink!) 


Here is my upcoming workshop schedule for the next a few months.  Come join us!

December 9-11, 2016
New Jersey Camera Show at Unique Photo

January 11-14, 2017
SWPP Convention in London, UK

January 28, 2017
Location Lighting Workshop at Unique Workshop

February 7-9, 2017
WPPI, Las Vegas

March 4, 2017
Boston Center for Adult Education

March 25, 2017
Harwin Camera, New York City

March 31-April 2
CanAm Photo Expo, Buffalo, NY


This week it's about Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!

This is the season of giving.  A great time to be thankful for what we have.  I feel that we need this grace especially this year...

For over 20 years I have spent my Thanksgiving volunteering with my camera at Pine Street Inn, New England's largest homeless shelter.  Pine St. Inn is a place where Thanksgiving has meaning, for those serving and those being served.  Imagine making Thanksgiving dinner of 1500 guests.  The folks at Pine St. do it every year!  This season is a lot harder for people who don't have family members close by and this makes it so much better.  Each year there are many new faces and many of the same faces on both sides of the tables.

 I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Tuesday's Tips: Lighting the Show!

I had a great time at Photoplus 2016 in New York!  I shot this image during one of my 12 lighting demonstrations. To light this photograph I used 3 Nissin flashes. The main light shot through Rogue Flashbender XL, the hairline light was shot through Rogue grid, placed directly behind her head to backlight her.  The background pattern was created by shooting the flash through a pattern cut out of Rosco Cinefoil and colored using Rosco gels (from my Rosco Location Lighting Kit!). I shot this on a Nkon D800 with a Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens at 1/160 second at f4, ISO 100. I later converted the image into Black and White with Adobe Lightroom.  This image was a hard choice between color and black and white.  Each has a very different feel.


Equipment Used:
Nikon D800
Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens
3 Nissin 700 A flashes with portable battery
Nissin transmitter
Expoimaging Rogue Flashbender XL
Expoimaging Rogue grid
Rosco Cinifoil
Rosco color gels
Sekonic D478 Light meter
3 Lightstands
3 Manfrotto Umbrella adapters
1 Manfrotto Spring Clamp
1 Manfrotto Super clamp

I used Tethertools to connect to the display during PhotoPlus.




Below is a photograph that shows you what the room looks like without my light,  This was not shot in a fancy studio but in a small space on a trade show floor.   I underexposed ambient light by having low ISO and fast shutterspeed. Without my lighting, the frame looks like a blank empty canvas.  You add and control your light to set the mood and feeling of your photograph.   That, is the magic of lighting!

Tuesday's Tips: Leaping for Light!

I had a recent assignment to photograph ultimate Frisbee Player Tulsa Douglas.  As with most of my magazine assignments the only info I was given was her name, contact info and why they are doing a story on her.  The rest is up to me to figure out.   I knew I wanted photograph her at dusk throwing and catching.  First challenge was the location, I knew I needed at large open space to shoot.  The second challenge was the lighting.  I knew the lighting on this shoot would be a mixture of strobe and ambient light. 

For strobes I used 2 Dynalite Bajas.  These are 400watt seconds self contained strobes. On the main light, I used a Dynaite Beauty Dish.  For a light modifier on the other Baja I used a Chimera strip light and a grid, to create rim light.   To determine my exposure I set my Nikon D810 on manual and using the in camera meter I take a meter reading off the sky and underexpose one stop to get deeper color.  Using my Sekonic light meter, I set my strobes to give me the same f stop as the reading off the sky.  As the ambient light drops, I slow my shutter to keep my exposure the same.  Tulsa would be silhouetted, without strobes. 

Check out the behind the scenes video below! 

Thank you, Colby Todisco for creating the video! 




Tuesdays Tips: Introducing new studio assistants!

Greetings from Lighting Test Kitchen!  Meet my new studio assistants at Rick Friedman Photography, Smoky and Ella!  I adopted these two kitties from Angel Memorial in Boston.  To welcome them, Keiko and I dressed up to make announcement photographs!  (we always dress like this, yeah right!)

This is a 2 lights photograph, One Dynalite Baja B600 with beauty dish on stage left and another Dynalite with Chimera strip light on stage right.  This was shot on a Nikon D810 with a Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens at 200mm,  1/200 second at  F9, ISO 200 using a Dynalite wireless transmitter.



This is one light photograph, lit with a Dynalite Baja B600 and a beauty dish on stage left.  The light is angle down  to light the entire body and sofa.  Shot on a Nikon D810 with a  Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens at 70mm,  1/200 second at  F9, ISO 320.

Come join me at one of my upcoming Location Lighting Workshops:
September 17 at Unique Photo in Fairfield, NJ
Ocotber 8th at Hunts Photo and Video in Providence, RI
October 20-22 at the ExpoImaging and Nissin Flash booths at PhotoPlus, Javits Center, New York
January 11-14, 2017 at the SWPP Convention in London, UK

No cats were harmed during the creation of these photographs!


Tuesday's Tips: A Smokin' Workshop!

Recently I hosted a smokin’ workshop at my studio in Boston’s historic South End.   Actually it wasn’t smoke, it was fog from a Rosco fog machine!

This workshop was a 2 day advanced Location Lighting Workshop and everyone who attended had previously taken one of my workshops.  We decided to create a complex lighting job! 

It was a slightly rainy day in the courtyard behind the studio, so all the strobes and electrical connections had to be covered in plastic.  The courtyard is 22’ x 40’  minus the space for the garden, we had about 15’ x 30’ to work in.  The key to photographing smoke is to back-light it.  I will introduce you 2 smokin' lighting set ups from the workshop in this blog.

Set Up 1

Main light was Dyna lite Baja 600 with Chimera strip light with barn doors to control the direction of the light.  We set up another Dynalite Baja directly behind the model with a 20 degree grid anda Rosco blue gel.  We placed 4 Nissin speedlights with different color Rosco gels in ziplock bags on the ground and in the tree.  The lantern was lit with amini optical slave with Rosco yellow gel and a piece of Rosco Toughspun to cut the exposure . A cross screen filter was used to create the star effect. Rosco fog machine was at stage left, just outside the frame. 

Nikon D810 Lens (mm): 46 ISO: 200 Aperture: 7.1 Shutter: 1/250

Nikon D810 Lens (mm): 46
ISO: 200
Aperture: 7.1
Shutter: 1/250

In this photograph we changed some of the filters and removed the cross screen filter.

Nikon D810 with a Nikon 24-120 f4. lens. ISO: 200 Aperture: 7.1 Shutter: 1/250

Nikon D810 with a Nikon 24-120 f4. lens.
ISO: 200
Aperture: 7.1
Shutter: 1/250



Here is what the courtyard looked like without lighting.

Gear used:

1 Rosco Mini V Fog Machine
5 Rosco gels from my Rosco Location Lighting Kit
2 Dynalite Baja strobes, 1, 400ws and 1 600 ws
4 Nissin Di700A flashes ( in plastic bags to protect from the rain)
1 Chimera strip light with barn doors
1 mini flash with an optical slave
5 Pocket Wizard Plus III
2 Pocket Wizard Plus IV
2 PhotoFlex light stands
1 cross screen filter


Set Up 2

This is 2 Dynalite Baja and 1 Nissin speedlight set up.  1 Dynalite Baja with a Chimera strip light as main light and the other with a grid and Rosco blue gel as back light.  There is a Nissin speeslight with Rosco red gel in background as well.

Nikon D810 Lens (mm): 100 ISO: 100 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/100

Nikon D810 Lens (mm): 100
ISO: 100
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/100


Behind the scene.

Gear used:

3 Rosco gels from my Rosco Location Lighting Kit
2 Dynalite Baja strobes, 1, 400ws and 1 600 ws
1 Nissin Di700A flash
1 Chimera strip light with barn doors
1Pocket Plus III
2 Pocket Wizard Plus IV

Here is our silly group photograph from the smokin' workshop!  Thank you for everyone attending.  Last but not the least, thank you for good friends at Rosco for lending us the fog machine!

Nikon D810 Lens (mm): 24 ISO: 500 Aperture: 10 Shutter: 1/250

Nikon D810 Lens (mm): 24
ISO: 500
Aperture: 10
Shutter: 1/250

I will be at Unique Photo Expo 2016 on June 24 through 26! Hope to see you there! 

Happy Lighting! and Please Don't Feed the Models!




Tuesday's Tips: Creating Window Light

For a project in New York, I had to illustrate how a specific medical device was used in a clinical setting for a company. The people in the shoot are models selected by the client and it was photographed in an actual, working hospital. The space in the room we had to work with was tight and we could not move much around. Due to where the medical device was located in the room the photograph could only be shot from this angle.  The problem was, this left us a lot negative space above the patient.   If we only had a window with late afternoon light coming from the right side of the frame.   No problem, we will just create one.

To mimic the sunlight coming through the blinds, I set up a speedlight on a stand. The smaller light source made the edges sharper on the shadows. A cinefoil cut out of horizontal lines was placed in front of the speedlight to create the lined pattern on the wall. An orange Rosco gel on the speedlight created the warm color of the pattern.

Next to the speedlight, a Baja Dynalite 400w/s strobe was set up on a stand with a Chimera softbox to create the light on the two subjects. In a situation like this, you need to be very careful that no light from the Baja spills onto the background wall. So, black foam core was carefully placed to block and direct the light where it needed to fall.

Another Baja light was used to the left side of the subjects to highlight them. An orange Rosco gel was placed over the light to create the warm highlight and provide more dimension in the image. Cinefoil was also used to direct the light towards the nurse.

Shot with a Nikon D810, my camera was set up on an Induro tripod. All the strobes were fired by Pocket wizard TT5. To be able to see the screen of the medical device in the image, an exposure reading was taken from the screen. You should expose for the element you cannot control. The exposure was f16, 1/5 second, ISO 320. 

Tuesday's Tips: Looking under the Hat!

A couple of weeks I had a great time presenting lighting demonstrations for ExpoImaging and Nissin Flashes at WPPI in Las Vegas.  


To light the photograph I used 4 Nissin Di&700A Flashes.  For the front light  I used 2 Rogue XL-2 Flashbenders, both as Strip Grids on small booms.  One slightly above the model and one coming from below to fill under the hat. I shot in between the 2 Flashbenders. When positioning your lights, make sure you do not create a shadow from her hand or hat on to her face.   

For the backlight, I placed another Nissin Flash with a Rogue Grid directly behind the model's head.  I used a Rogue Salmon gel to give me the warm color that outlines her hat and hair.

The final part of making the photograph was creating an interesting, colorful background from a plain gray background.  To get this effect I cut a pattern out of a sheet of Rosco Cinefoil.  Taking another flash with a blue gel on it, I shot the light from the strobe through the Cinefoil creating the pattern on the background.   All of the flashes were set on TTL, controlled by a Nissin Air transmitter on the camera on a Nikon D810 camera


This setup works great in a small space.   In this case, I had a space less that 10'x10'.  All the lighting equipment with the exception of the light stands, fits in your ThinkTank camera bag. 

I hope to see you at one of my upcoming Location Lighting Workshops:
April 5-6 NEIPP  Cape Cod
April 8-10  CanAm Photo Expo  Buffalo, NY
April 17-20 Canadian Imaging Conference Calgary, Alberta
May 14-15   Hunts Photo, Melrose,  MA
June 4-5   Rick Friedman Studio, Boston, MA

Tuesday's Tips: What can you do with one light?

What can you do with one light?  The answer is: a lot!  I recently had a magazine assignment to photograph a graduate student who is working on Cape Cod.   The client requested portraits with the feeling of the Cape.   

The time of day and quality of light can make a huge difference when taking photographs. The clouds in the evening sky created a beautiful, warm background for the portraits. The ambient light of the sun is placed right behind the subject. This is what created the wonderful, warm hairline light seen in the portrait below. 

To create a photograph like this, set your camera on manual then using the in-camera meter take a reading off the sky.  Underexpose the sky to give you richer colors.  Set your strobe on TTL.  The exposure on the photo above was f5 1/200 second ISO160.

I shot these images with a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 17-35 zoom lens with a Vu circular polarizing filter and one Nikon SB-800 speed light with a  Rogue Flashbender.  The polarizing filter makes the clouds stand out, while the Flashbender gives a small portable soft box on your speedlight.


When the stobe was not used, the subject becomes a silhouette (picture below).   I underexposed the sky a bit more to create deeper, more vibrant colors.. The exposure for this image is f4 1/125 second ISO 160. 


Another fun trick to try is zooming the lens while the picture is being taken. The flash is fired and hits the subject, freezing her, and giving the blur/zoom effect to the rest of the image. Your shutter speed has to be slow enough to get the effect f the zoom.  The exposure was f4 1/25 second ISO 320. (picture below)


I hope you can join me at one of my upcoming Location Lighting Workshops

January 16
Hunts Photo Providence, RI

January 23
Hunts Photo Manchester, NH

February 27
Unique Photo Fairfield, NJ

March 1
Bedford Center for the Arts, Bedford, MA

March 7-9
WPPI, Las Vegas

March 29
South Shore Camera Club, Quincy, MA

April 5-6
New England Institute of Professional Photography, Hyannis, MA

April 9-10
CanAm Photo Expo  Buffalo, NY

April 15-19
Professional Photographers of Canada Convention, Alberta,

Tuesday's Tips: Lighting Science: 4 Situations, 2 Hours

Recently, I had an assignment to photograph Professor Joshua Sanes of Harvard University.  The client requested an environmental portrait. I alway try to give the client several choices.  This helps with layout and often leads to additional photographs being used in the story.   I had one hour to set up and one hour shooting time.

Set up1)
At 9am, I walked into his office to meet him. It was hard to not notice the incredible light being cast through the window shades, onto the bookshelf creating a cool pattern. This had to be the first photograph of the day and done quickly, as at this time of year the light coming through the window shade, at that angle would not last long.  

I wanted to keep the pattern on the background, but prevent it from hitting the professor.  To accomplish this I had my assistant hold a piece of black foam core blocking the light on the professor without blocking the light hitting the background.

My lighting was a Dynalite Baja 400w/s strobe with a small Chimera soft box with silver interior and a recessed front panel.  The Dynalite was triggered with a PocketWizard PlusIII. The softbox was aimed at the Professor so it would not to spill it onto the background.  The Baja was placed on the stage left, so the light from the strobe would be in the same direction as the pattern from the window. I used a Sunbounce silver reflector on a stand on the opposite side, to fill in the shadow area.  To determine the exposure I used a Sekonic 478 flashmeter to read both my ambient light coming through the window and match it to the strobe output. I exposed for the highlights coming in through the window and matched to store out to the ambient light. 

The photograph was shot with a Nikon D810 and a 105mm lens the shutter speed 1/160 sec at f3.2 at ISO 100.  I tend to shoot my portraits with a shallow depth of field. 

Set up 2)
We moved to a staircase near his office, one side has a wooden wall and the other a wonderful grey stone wall.  Two different backgrounds in one location.  Opposite the camera in both images is a floor to ceiling window.  The side with the wooden wall, had a shadow pattern from the stairs.  I asked the professor to stand in the shade and used my Dynalite to match the highlights in the background with the light on the professors face. Similar to the last setup.


Set up 3)
We then moved to the other side of the stairs for a totally different look.  3 portraits done in a short period of time.


Set up 4)
For the last photograph of the shoot we went to his lab for a completely different photograph.   It was dark white room with bare walls.  To make it more interesting, I projected one of the professor's research images on the wall.

My lighting of the professor consisted of two Nikon SB-800 speedlights with Rogue grids, one from the right side and the other from left side.  I added Rosco Cinefoil to one of the speedlights to help prevent light from spilling onto the foreground.  I used the speedlights, because of tight space.  

For the background, the projector was set up with the professor's image.  An important note on projecting images on a background:  make sure no light from any of your light sources hits the projected image. White light hitting your projected image or added colors will diminish the vibrance to the projection.  I added a Dynalite Roadmax 800w/s strobe with Rosco blue gel to fill in the background.  All the strobe were fired with Pocket Wizard Plus IIIs.

I had to balance my exposure from 5 different light sources. 3 strobes and the available light from the microscope and the projected image.  The exposure was 1.3 second f5.6  ISO250.  During long exposure it is essential to turn off or block all ambient light.  I shot this on a Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 lens at 17mm an Induro tripod with a cable release.  Even though the exposure was quite long, the subject is sharp because there was no light on the professor.

Here is a list of my workshops, please come and join us!

December 5
Hunt's Location Lighting Workshop, Melrose. MA

December 11-13
Unique Photo Show Fairfield, NJ

2016 Schedule

January 9
Hunts Photo Providence, RI

January 16
Hunts Photo Manchester, NH

March 1
Bedford Center for the Arts, Bedford, MA

April 5-6
New England Institute of Professional Photography, Hyannis, MA

April 9-10
CanAm Photo Expo  Buffalo, NY

April 15-19
Professional Photographers of Canada Convention, Alberta,

Tuesday's Tips: Scary Photography

Happy Halloween!  Every Halloween the area around my Boston studio is filled with hundreds of trick or treaters.  I am not really sure where they all come from, but it's great fun to stand outside my studio with a bowl of candy, a camera and a strobe. 

Shooting these photographs is a mix of ambient light and strobe. Start your exposure with the element you can not control, that being the available (ambient) light.  Set your camera meter on manual exposure and your strobe on TTL.  Meter off the available light and use the strobe to fill in.  Due to darkness and very little available light you will be able to hand hold your camera at a much slower shutter speed than you normally would.  That slow shutter speed enables you to record what little there is.  The speedlight will fill in where you want it.  It's scary, but it works!

Strobe was on camera. I dragged the shutterspeed and moved my camera from right to left.  The Green light is from glow sticks which the kid was holding while trick or treating.  My settings:   1/1.6 seconds & F4 ISO 200.


Strobe off camera

I held my speedlight lower left.  Light coming from lower angle gives you eerily feeling, perfect for Halloween!  My camera was set on manual to read the ambient light (candle in this case) using the in-camera meter.  My exposure for this shot was  1/2.5 seconds, F4. ISO 200.  I used a Pocket Wizard Plus III to fire my strobe.   


Get Low!

Get low and use your foreground!  The ambient I read for my camera exposure came from the sky.  I hand held my speed light, using a Pocket Wizard Plus III to my left.


Get High!

Get high and use your foreground!  


Wait for dusk

Wait till dusk to start shooting!  This was strobe on camera, with the head of the strobe at a 45 degree and bounced through a cube.   


Play with focal length of your lens

Shot with a 16mm fisheye.

Shot at 50mm



Shot at 70mm


Don't be afraid to get close.... I'm sure they won't bite...


Happy Halloween! May everyone have a safe and fun Halloween!  

Come  join me for one of my Location Lighting Workshops!

Tueday's Tips: Lighting Science!

Recently I had the honor of photographing Professor Jeff Lichtman of Harvard University for the third time.  In each shoot, I have photographed Professor Lichtman with a microscope. I wanted to continue the theme on this assignment.  His current microscope is one of a kind microscope that produces the most amazing images of the human brain.  However, it looks like a large refrigerator.  To make image more interesting and include a visual of his work, I projected one of his images on his microscope.  

We had 2 hours including set up time to produce three situations requested by the client.  I knew the one with the microscope would be the most difficult. I always start a shoot with the most difficult shot.  The other 2 portraits requested were one in his office and another on the stairs.  

I had the Professor show me his lab and we discussed ideas for the photographs.  I told him we needed about 20  minutes set up time, and suggested he might want to go back to his office to work.  There is no reason for the subject to watch you light.   People have a limited amount of time set aside to be photographed.  The less of their time I tie up, the happier they are in the photographs.

As I constructed the photograph, I had my assistant stand-in for the subject.   The first few test frames were shot available light using a 17-35mm lens at 17mm ISO: 3200 F8 & 1/40.

 When lighting a photograph like this I, add 1 light at a time.  To light my subject  I used 2  Dynalite Baja 400WS strobes. One on his face and one as the hairline light.  The hairline light also gave me separation from my background.  The Baja has a build in battery and no cables for me to trip on!  Both strobes had a 10 degree grids to control where the light was aimed.   To further control my light, I put Rosco FotoFoil on the side of the strobe closest to the background to prevent light spilling on the microscope.


To create the background, I attached a projector with a wide angle lens to a computer and projected one of the Professors slides.  The key to projecting images on a background is not having any light from your strobes or any other light source hit the area with the projection.  When I do a photograph like this, I always turn off the overhead lights.  The room was dark when I was shooting.  I had to use the flashlight on my phone to focus.  Make sure your modeling lights are turned off.  

We moved projector and adjusted its hight to project the Professor's research on his large white microscope.  The projector was placed to the right of the Professor, 2 ft off of the floor.

To determine exposure for the background I used the in-camera meter.  With the camera set on manual I set the aperture to the same f stop as the strobe reading and lowered my shutter speed until the exposure from the strobes in the foreground and the ambient light from the projector were the same exposure. The strobe f stop was determined with a Sekonic 478 meter.  The final exposure was 2.5 seconds shot at f11.  Jeff was lit for duration of the flash, while the background burned in.  The image was shot on a Nikon D810, a Nikon 24-120 lens on an Induro tripod and Nikon cable release.  

Equipment Used for the shoot:
Nikon D810
Lens: 24-120mm
Rosco Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit
2 Daynalite Bajas Portarble Strobes with 10 degree grids
Induro Tripod
Nikon cable release
2 Light stands
Sekonic Lightmeter 478
Extention code for the projector 

I love photographing academics.  I find it fascinating to work with some of the world's greatest minds!

Upcoming Workshop Schedule: Hope you can join us!
September19 & 20
Hunts Photo, Providence RI

October 10, 
Hunts Photo, Manchester, NH

October 17 & 18
Hunts Photo Portland, ME

October 22-14
PhotoPlus, New York

November 18 
Adorama sponsored by Dynalite