Speedlight

Tuesday's Tips: Happy Halloween!

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. 

Here are tips to shoot Halloween!

Drag the shutter!
I love shooting  photographs that are a mixture 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. 

This is a strobe on camera camera image. I used a slow 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 for this image was 1.6 seconds,  f4 ISO 200.


Speedlight 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  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!  I used in the camera meter to read the  exposure from the sky.  I  held my speed light off to the left and triggered it with a Pocket Wizard Plus III.


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

 

007.JPG

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!  

This image is from my hands-on Location Lighting Workshop! 

Come join me for lighting and laughing,  upcoming workshops info here

Tuesday's Tips: Happy Halloween!

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. 

Here are tips to shoot Halloween!

 Drag the shutter!
I love shooting  photographs that are a mixture 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. 

This is a strobe on camera camera image. I used a slow 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 for this image was 1.6 seconds,  f4 ISO 200.


Speedlight 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  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!  I used in the camera meter to read the  exposure from the sky.  I  held my speed light off to the left and triggered it with a Pocket Wizard Plus III.


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

 

007.JPG

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!  

This image is from my hands-on Location Lighting Workshop! 

Come join me for lighting and laughing,  upcoming workshops info here

Tuesday's Tips: Lighting a London Asylum!

My destination Location Lighting Workshop held at the Societies Photographic Convention, aka SWPP in London resulted in some wonderful images and was  an event teeming with an abundant source of gear and creative alternatives.   The workshop was held at the Asylum, at Caroline Gardens Chapel in Peckham, London..  The Asylum was built between 1827 and 1833, bombed during WWII and semi restored.  This provided an incredible  place to hold a lighting workshop as it afforded us endless possibilities to create moods and scenes depicting a variety of situations.  We had 2 great models and masses of equipment from The Flash Center, Rosco, PocketWizardChimera Lighting and Rogue Flash Benders

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The lighting on this image was an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra strobe with a Chimera Strip Light on the right side of the model. On the left side of the model and slightly behind her was another strobe with a Rosco #83 Blue gel.  Placed in  front of the blue gel was a grid made out of Rosco CineFoil to control the light direction and break up the light beam.  The smoke was created using a Rosco Vapour fog machine.
If you back light your smoke, it will  have a greater effect.  This is true when using a fog machine or when photographing smoke from a cigarette or cigar.  This photograph was shot on a Nikon D-800 with a 24-70 Nikon lens at 35mm, 1/100 of a second at f5, ISO 100.

The photograph below is a mixture of strobe and ambient light.  The light on the models face is from a strobe through a Chimera 30" beauty dish.  The light on the left side of the background is ambient light and the colors were from the bright sunlight  shining through the stained glass windows about 20 feet above the floor.  This was shot on a Nikon D800 with the lens at 24mm , 1/125 of a second, at f 4 ISO 1000.  

 

Here are a few more images from the Asylum workshop.

                 

 


 

 

 



 

At every "Location Lighting Workshop™" we create our "Silly Group Photo" Here is  the Asylum image.  Thank you to Canna Gray of Rosco and Ian Pack of The Light Side for all their help during the workshop.

Please join me at one of my upcoming "Location Lighting Workshops™"  Click here for the schedule.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday's Tip: Lighting Hyunah

This week's Tuesday Tips is a photograph from my studio.  As a photojournalist and corporate photographer, I do the majority shoots on location, although I do use my studio for some assignments.  Quite often, I use my studio like my test kitchen exploring new lighting techniques and testing new equipment.  All of the light in this photograph was produced using 3 Speedlights and a plant!  Ok, I used some other equipment.

My wonderful model for this shoot is Hyunah Jang.  A superb photographer, now working in Hawaii. 

The main light in this photograph is a Nikon speedlight shot through a  Flashbender XL Pro Strip Diffuser.   The hairline light another  speedlight with  a Rogue Grid  and a 1/2 CTO orange gel on a boom overhead.  For the background we placed a third strobe on the floor behind the screen with a blue gel  and fired it through a plant to give us the pattern on the screen.  We  used a piece of foam core to bounce the light from the Flashbender back on to our model’s face.  ISO 125 Fstop 7.1 and Shutterspeed 1/100.  

This set up works in a really small space and with the exception of the screen and plant is really portable.   The end photograph just does not feel like it was shot in a  really small space.

 

    Gear used in this Shoot:

    Nikon D800
    Nikon 70-200 f2.8 zoom lens
    Nikon 3 Speedlights
    4 PocketWizard Plus III
    ExpoImaging Rogue XL Pro Strip Diffuser (main light)
    ExpoImaging Rogue Grid with gel (Hairline light)
    Rosco Blue gel (background)
    Formcore
    Manfrotto Justin Clamp (to hold a form core)

     

     



    Tuesday's Tips: Capturing Santa!

    Merry Christmas!



    The Challenge in this week's "Tuesday Tips,  Capturing Santa"  is balancing the strobe light, the ambient light in the sky and the holidays lights in the wagon.  I shot this near my studio in South End neighborhood of Boston.  The key to making this photo work, was waiting until the ambient light in the sky dropped to the point of being almost dark and matching exposure on the sky to the tungsten light in the wagon. At that point, the side of Santa's face nearest the camera was underexposed.  The solution was a Speedlight on camera, the flash compensation was  -1 stop with a small Rogue Flashbender.  To determine my ambient light, I used the in camera meter.  The exposure was ISO 400, 1/30 second at f2.8.  My camera was set on manual and my strobe was set on TTL.  This was not a set up shot, so I had  to make the photograph in a very short period of time, like 3 frames.

    It's getting cold in Boston. Stay warm for the holidays season, and Merry Christmas!

     

     

    Tuesday's Tips: Happy Chanukah!

    Happy first night of Chanukah!  The Festival of Lights.   For this week's Tuesday's Tips I thought I should light the lights.  Since it 's the first night, I lit the menorah with 1 speedlight. 
     

     

     
    I shot this photograph in my studio in Boston's South End using a single Nikon Speedlight shot through a Rogue Grid with a blue gel.  I put a Rogue Flashbender on one side of the grid to further narrow the beam of light from the Speedlight giving me drop off on the light in the foreground. 

    This photo is a mixture of available light and strobe,  when deciding on exposure for a photograph I always start my exposure with the element I can not control.  In this photograph that element is the light from the candle.  I used the camera's light meter, set on spot meter to read the light from the candle.  Below you can see what the image looked like with no strobe and with strobe, without the blue gel.

     

    The last part of the setup was moving the menorah so I had reflections in the base.

    The photograph was shot with a Nikon D-800 and a Nikon 105 Macro lens, Rogue grid set, Rogue flash bender, Pocket Wizard TT5 & TT1.  The menorah was on a black velvet backdrop.  The velvet did not reflect any light, giving me the total black background.

     

    Shalom, May Peace be with everyone this holiday season! 

    Upcoming Workshop:
    2015
    January 14-18, 2015
    The Societies Photographic Convention.  London, UK

    January 16
    SWPP Lighting on Location. London, UK

    January 17
    SWPP A Day at the Asylum. London, UK

    January 18
    SWPP Location Lighting Workshop Demonstration. London, UK

    February 7, 2015
    Hunts Photo, Portland, Maine

    February 19
    Stonybrook Camera Club Evening Lecture 

    February 27
    Horizon Photography Summit  Wilmington, DL

    March 2-5
    WPPI 2015

    March 21-23
    Can-Am Photo Festival Amherst, NY

    March 24
    Gateway Camera Club Evening Lecture

    March 31 -April 1
    New England Institute of Professional Photography: 2 day Location Lighting Workshop

     

    Tuesday's Tips: Making great light with your strobe sitting on the camera!

    What can we do with flash on camera?  The answer is A LOT!  

    I like using my Speedlights off camera whenever I can, but there are a lot of times as a photojournalist when I don't have time, or space to set up off camera strobes.  Like when covering news events, catching spontaneous moments with politicians and celebrities, and making quick portraits.

    I often bounce the strobe off a white wall or ceiling to direct my light.  I change my shutterspeed to achieve good lighting balance and to add or freeze motion.  The Speedlight is a small harsh light source, by bouncing the light off a wall, the ceiling, or using a light modifier you can take a small harsh light source and make it a much larger and softer light source.  By using one of a few small light modifiers like a Rogue Flashbender or a SunBounce Bounce-Wall with your strobe light, you can greatly improve your speedlight on camera.  I use the Flashbender at events and the Bounce-Wall for quick beautiful portraits.  

    My rule for Speedlight photography (on and off camera) is: set the camera on manual, and the strobe on TTL.   I use a Hoodman Loupe, to study my LCD screen.  It's worth the money investment, especially under bright sunlight!


    I photographed Keith Richards, Chuck Berry and Leonard Cohen at the PEN Literary Awards at the John F Kennedy Library.  In a situation like this always start your exposure with the element you can not control.  In this case it is the blue sky outside the window.   My camera was set on manual and my strobe was on TTL.   I used my camera's light meter to read the sky outside the window, then I used my strobe to fill in my subjects.  My shutterspeed was 1/250 at f7.1.
    I used a small Rogue Flashbender on my Speedlight to soften the light. The Flashbender is a small soft box you put on top of your strobe, that fits in your camera bag for on camera strobe!

    When photographing in a room with windows you have be mindful of your strobe hitting the window (reflective surface). Either make sure the reflection of the strobe is behind your subject or move to the left or right, so you do not see the reflection.  At this event the only gear I had with me due to the size of the room was a Nikon D-800 with a 17-35 zoom, a Speedlight SB-900 and the Flashbender.  The rest of the gear was outside in the hall.


    I shot this during Presidential campaign in NH.  I was behind the bar with President Obama and the Secret Service was standing right behind me.  There was no time for planning, it happened quickly and as a photojournalist you need to capture the moment.   You never know when you are going to be told by the Secret Service to leave the room, so work fast!  My shutter speed needed to be fast enough so that I could capture the President sharp, but slow enough that I would have ambient light in background.  My shutter speed was 1/40 at ISO200 & F 4.5.  I used a dome for this.

     

    I shot this during Chinese New Year at a neighborhood community center.  Strobe was on camera with a small Flashbender.  My shutter speed was slow enough so there is a feeling of motion in the scarf, but fast enough to freeze the dancers, who were standing still as they moved the scarf.  My shutterspeed was 1/5 at ISO 200 & F 6.3 hand held.

     

    Adventurer and author Guy Grieve, was photographed at Walden Pond, in Concord, MA for The Gurdian. This photograph is completely back lit, giving me the highlights on the water on  his hat and jacket as well as preventing a harsh light on his face.  I used a Speedlight on camera to fill in the light in his face.   My camera was set on manual and my strobe on TTL.   I used the light meter in my camera to read the water to give me my ambient exposure.  My shutterspeed was 1/250 at ISO 100 & F10.

     

     

    The light on the model in this photograph is from a Speedlight on camera bounced off one of my favorites light modifiers, The Sunbounce Bounce-Wall.  The background light is available light.   I started my exposure with the element I could not control which was the background and I used the Speedlight to fill in the light on the model.   My shutterspeed was 1/320 at ISO 200 & F4.  I wanted shallow depth of field, so my background was out of focus.

    I shot this photograph in the lobby of a convention center before my presentation for Professional Photographers Association in Atlanta.  There was no pre-planning for the photograph.  We saw the backlight and created the image within a few minutes.   You can see my shoot with Bounce-Wall at Hasselblad Blog!


     

     I shot this photograph in Watertown, MA after the Boston Bombings suspect was captured.  There were large crowds, many photographers and  many police officers.  I shot this photo with a strobe on camera, bouncing it off of a white satellite TV truck parked behind me.  This gave me a large reflector to bounce my strobe off of.  You want to bounce your light off of a white surface.  You will have a color change if you bounce your light off anything other than a neutral color.  My exposure for this was shutterspeed 1/50, ISO2500 & F2.8.

     

    When you walk into a bar and they are hosting a drag bingo, and you only have a camera and a strobe, what do you do?  
    This is a 2.5 second exposure (@ F8, ISO 640),  hand held, while zooming the lens. The strobe only fired for about a 10,000th of a second, so some of this photograph is strobe and some of it is ambient light. The camera is on rear curtain synch (this is a topic for another blog).

    I have many workshops and lectures coming up.  I'll be at the Hasselblad, Rosco, ExpoImaging and Unique Photo booths at Photoplus Expo in New York,  October 29-November 1
    Come stop by and say hi!

    To see a complete list of my upcoming workshop, please visit my workshop page!


    Happy Lighting!

     

    Tuesday's Tips: To Light, or not to Light

    I had an assignment to photograph author Nicolson Baker using a Kindle in Boston.  For a location we chose the front of the Boston Public Library. It was a grey day with even light on his face. I did not have to light it, however, my sky would have been blown out and just muddy.  By exposing for the sky and using my strobe to match the light on his face, I was able to produce this photograph with 1 Speedlight, 1 small soft box and a reflector.

     Nicholson Baker with light

    Nicholson Baker with light

     Nicolson Baker without light 

    Nicolson Baker without light 

     My camera was set on manual and my strobe was on TTL. I took a meter reading off the sky, using the camera meter and underexposed it slightly to get a darker background. The strobe on TTL lit Baker's face from the right side and the reflector on the left bounced some of the strobe back on to his face, to give more even lighting. I needed enough depth of field so both  Baker and the Kindle were in focus. My exposure was at ISO 320, F8, and Shutterspeed 1/80.  I used a small Chimera softbox with a Speedlight ring.  The Speedlight was triggered by a set of PocketWizard TT5s.  In positioning the Kindle, I had to make sure that there was no glare on the screen from my strobe.  This photograph was shot with a Nikon.

    The timing also worked out. This photo shoot was done at the end of the day, because Baker had a book signing at the nearby bookstore after the photoshoot.  If it was at a different time of the day, I would have come up with a different picture, as the Kindle and underexposed sky could not be matched for the exposure under bright sunlight.  As a photojournalist,  you don't always control certain aspects of your photo shoot, but you can always be prepared. It is important to see the photograph in the environment that is assigned to you and come out with a unique image each time.  One of the elements I enjoy about photography is lighting and teaching other photographers about lighting.  A lit photograph tends to have a lot more jump and snap to it and I get to choose where the light is coming from!

    Come join us at one of my upcoming Location Lighting Workshops in Telluride & London
    September 29-Octoberr 1 at the Telluride Photo Festival, Telluride, CO
    January 16-18, 2015 Societies Photographic Convention, London, UK 

    Happy Lighting, everyone!

    Tuesday's Tips: Lighting the Parade

    For this week's "Tuesday Tips",  I photographed the Betances 2014 Puerto Rican Festival Parade in Boston's South End, in close proximity to where my studio is located.  I have photographed the parade numerous times over the years and this year I wanted to do something different, so I lit the images.  In the photo below I asked Keiko Hiromi, whom I work with, to  stand on the opposite side of the car and hold a Nikon Speedlight with a PocketWizard TT5 to light the beauty queens.  I underexposed the ambient light by a stop.  There was still plenty of available light, while the strobe gave the light direction and pulled the viewer into the image.

    Gear Used to cover the event:
    Nikon D800 camera
    Lens:  Nikkor 24-120 
    Nikon Speedlight SB 800 
    2 PocketWizard TT5

    My camera was set on manual and the Speedlight was  set on TTL.  The photograph was shot at  ISO 200, at F 5.6 & Shutterspeed 1/250.  The Speedlight was fired using a Pocket Wizard TT5 on the camera and a second TT5 on the flash.  
    The flash compensation was dialed up 1/3 of a stop, to give it a bit more light on the subjects.

    Tuesday's Tips: Making Gray Skies Blue

    How do you create a dramatic photograph on rainy cloudy day?  Easy, Have a beautiful model with a red dress, a castle and a Rosco CTO gel on your strobe. This photograph was shot in Caerphilly, Wales,  during one of the 10 stops on my Location Lighting Workshop Tour of the UK sponsored by SWPP.   

    In this week's "Tuesday Tips" I'm going to talk about cross filtering technique with strobes.  When this photo was taken, it was raining and the sky was muddy ( See the workshop group photo below). 

    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 single speedlight with a Rosco CTO gel in front of it, shot through a 24x30 soft box on the right side, with a reflector on the left.   Now the output of my speedlight is tungsten, which matches my camera setting. Because of this, the model has proper skin tones and the background is now blue.   This filter is available as part of the Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit .  Fun fact, my favorite soft box brand is Chimera Lighting, it makes beautiful light!

    To determine your exposure, use your camera meter to read the "Element you cannot control":  In this case it is the ambient light on background.  My strobe is set on TTL and fired with a PocketWizard and if you want your background darker blue, under expose the sky.

       
     

    Tuesday Tips: Mixing Strobe and Ambient Light

    I had this wonderful assignment to photograph a French Musician, Lulu Gainsboro, in Boston.  The assignment was to photograph "his day in Boston".  At the end of the day of reportage,  I did a portrait of him in front of Boston skyline at dusk.

    The lighting in this image is a mixture of ambient light and a single Nikon SB900 Speedlight with Chimera small soft box, fired with a PocketWizard TT5.  My camera was set on manual. To determine my exposure, I read the light on "the element I cannot control".  In this image I used the camera meter to expose for the sky.  I underexposed the sky to get it to be deeper blue. I used a Speedlight to light my subject.  The placement of the strobe and Chimera softbox gave me different effects with my light.  It was early summer in Boston, around 8 o'clock.   My exposure was ISO 640, f4.5 and Shutterspeed 1/8 second.

    In photograph 1 (above), I placed my light on the far side of his face so the light drops off on the near side of the camera. In photograph 2, my light was placed closer to my camera position so the near side of his face is lit.

    Which lighting style you like, is subjective.  I prefer the lighting style in the first photograph.  Having the light drop off on the near side of the face is more dramatic.  There are many stylistic choices to light your subject. Play around, place your light source at different angles, in relation to your subject to see the different effect.  

    Happy Lighting!