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Tuesday's Tips: A One Day Assignment

Happy Summer Shooting!

I  recently worked on a wonderful assignment  shooting photographs to promote a new upscale seniors condo project  located on the water, north of Boston. The main challenge with this project was that  the complex has yet to be built.  My job was to sell a development that didn't exist yet.  How do you do this? You sell a life style.  I had one scouting day and one shooting day to produce the photographs.  The scouting day was spent with the client to determine locations and discuss concepts, create a timeline the shoot and work with a model agency to select models for the projects and shoot.  Most of my work is editorial, this is not!

I shot 14 situations in a  day using a total of 15 models. On a shoot like this, everything has to be scripted.  There is only a limited amount of time for each situation and you try not to keep the models overtime.   It is essential, you move quickly and your lightings has to be extremely mobile as well as produce the look of light you are after.   I worked with a self contained 400WS Dynalite Baja strobe and a Chimera softbox.  The combination is very portable, being hand held most of the time while  giving me beautiful light with a fast recycling time.  On those mid day shots, this combination is perfect for over powering hash summer light. ( you can also read on how to deal with harsh sunlight on my blog; Controlling the Sun!)

When mixing strobe and ambient light, I set my camera on manual and expose for "the element you cannot control" which was often the sky.  I used the in-camera meter to determine my ambient reading and Sekonic 478R Light Meter to determine the strobe output.  I could use the Sekonic to read the ambient light, I just didn't.  I also used a polarizing filter to bring out the sky and an ND filter, to control my choice of Fstop.

 

Be spontaneous! We did not plan for a dog!

 

 

 

During  the final shoot of the day, a cocktail party, we were after the feel of late afternoon light.
The problem here was the back of the house was in shade.  To get the effect of warm light, 
I used a Rosco full CTO (color temperature orange) filter over the two Baja strobes used to light the photograph. I used a 30 degree grid to control the light.  The Rosco CTO filter is one of 26 filters in my "Rosco Location Lighting Kit by Rick Friedman

For 1 day shooting, it is difficult to produce 14 situations and one has to be very efficient and move quickly.  Know your equipment, and travel light. It's a lot of work, but a great way to spend a summer's day.   I got to ride on a boat to celebrate a great shoot and work with wonderful people.  Happy Summer Shooting!

Upcoming Location Lighting Workshop Schedule.  Hope you can join us!

August 8-9
Unique Photo, Fairfield, NJ

September19 & 20
Hunts Photo, Providence RI

September 27-29
Berkshires Workshop, North Adams, MA ( Please email me for registration and more info)

October 17 & 18
Hunts Photo Portland, ME

Tuesday's Tips: "Throwing Colors at the Wall" with my new Rosco Location Lighting Kit

I'm excited to announce that Rosco is releasing the new version of the  "Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit" at PhotoPlus Expo in NY this week. Lots of color gels, Toughspun & Cinefoil,  I'll be demonstrating the new kit at the Rosco booth on Friday 10/31.  Booth 165.  

If you look in my camera bag, you will  find a plastic bag of Rosco color gels, Toughspun and Cinefoil, in various sizes that I use for my assignments. I use the gels to color correct and create interesting light  while the Cinefoil helps me control the light and the Tough Spun helps softens the light.  All these fit in a small bag!  

The beauty of working with Rosco Cinefoil and color gels is you can make a boring background into interesting one!  The model is leaning against the brick wall outside the studio.  By adding the color gels shot through holes in the Cinefoil, I was able to project the colors on the wall.  Before the cover shoot we cut a pattern out of a sheet of Rosco Photofoil and taped pieces of different color gels over the holes in the Cinefoil.  My background light was a Nikon speedlight blown through the colored cut out to project interesting patterns on the bricks.   I used a speed light for my background because I wanted to have the pattern to come out clear: a smaller light source will gives you harder edge.  My main light was Dynalite Uni with a grid and Rosco Toughspun.  I used a sheet of Cinefoil to direct my main light to create the feeling of a spot light on my model.  The Uni strobe  was powered by a portable Jack Rabbit battery and both strobes were fired using PocketWizard Plus IIIs.

This is a strobe photograph, with no ambient light.  I used Sekonic 478 Lightmeter to read the strobe output.  My exposure for this shot was 1/250 second, f5 at ISO 80.

 

Equipment used for the cover shot are:
Lots of Rosco color gels
2 sheets of Rosco Cinefoil
Dynalite Uni with a grid and
Rosco Toughspun
Nikon Speedlight
PocketWizard Plus III
Sekonic Lightmeter 478
Nikon D800

Thank you Eve Eliseeva for being a wonderful model!

 

I will be doing a series of lectures and live demos throughout PhotoPlus 2014 Expo at Javtis Center in New York City. 

Thursday October 30
Noon-12:30 California SunBounce PhotoPlus Show Floor Theatre
1:30- 2:15 Unique Photo Booth #937

Friday Oct 31
ROSCO Booth #165

Saturday Nov 1
12:30 – 1:15 ExpoImaging Booth #134
2:30 – 3:15 Unique Photo Booth #937

I will discuss "how-to" on my lighting from my photo assignment, a lot of gear talk as well as fun behind the scenes stories. If you are planning to be there, come say hi!

Tuesday's Tips: Creating Backgrounds With Cinefoil, Gels And Scissors!

This week's Tuesday Tips is a series of photographs from my studio.  As a photojournalist and corporate photographer, I do the majority of my work on location, although I do shoot some assignments in my studio.  Quite often, I use my studio as my test kitchen, exploring new lighting techniques and testing new equipment.   We were working with the idea of creating unique patterns with color on a plain white backdrop using Rosco gels, and Cinefoil, which is black tinfoil.  What we were able to create, using similar lighting setups, and minor changes in the lighting, resulted in a totally different look in the background. 

Three lights were used with all three photographs below.  A main light on the model, a hairline light, and a backlight on the backdrop.  To create the pattern on the background, we cut holes in piece of Cinefoil and shot a strobe with a blue gel through it. The effect of lighting these images with Speedlights verses Dynalites are vastly different. 

The large light source will give you a softer light, while the speedlght, a smaller light source, will give you a harsher light effect.

Lighting setup and gear used:  
Nikon D800 camera
Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens
3 strobes (Speedlights & Dynalite)
Rosco Cinefoil
Rosco CTO (orange gel)
Rosco blue gel
Rosco Tough Spun
Reflector
 Pocket Wizard Plus III, TT5 
Light Meter (I use Sekonic 478 DR)
Chimera Softbox
Manfrotto light stands
Boom (to hang a piece of Cinefoil)
Clamps

This diagram shows the basic setup.  I used different lights to achieve different visual effects on my images.  I used Sekonic 478 DR Lightmeter.  All strobes were fired using PocketWizard.  When adding colors to your photographs with gels, it is important that your white light does not hit the colored areas, as the white light will blow away your colors.

Dynalite setup:
My main light was a Dynalite with a Chimera Softbox.  My hairline light was another Dynalite head with a grid and a Rosco full CTO gel.  The background light was shot through custom cut Cinefoil with a Rosco blue gel.

set up

set up

Speedlights and softbox setup:
All lights for this setup were Speedlights.  The main light I used was a Nikon SB900 with Chimera Softbox as a light modifier.  The background light on the white backdrop was Nikon SB900 with Rosco blue gel with a custom cut Rosco Cinefoil.  For the hairline light, I used another Speedlight.  I put Cinefoil around the Speedlight to make a snoot, so that I can direct the light to only illuminate her hair.

Notice the drastic difference on the background pattern between the Speedlight setup and the Dynalite setup. This is because of the size of light source in relation to size of Cinefoil.  The smaller the light source, harder the edge of the shadow.  
I prefer to use a Chimera Softbox for the high quality of a light, for easy set up, and for its compact size for easy travel.

Speedlight and Cinefoil
You can create a very nice hard light with Rosco Tough Spun and Rosco Cinefoil.  This is an all Speedlight setup.  The main light on the model's face is a Speedlight with Cinefoil to control its direction, and Rosco Tough Spun to soften the light.  If you compare this light with the light through a Softbox, the edge of shadow is much harder.  I also rotated the sheet of Cinefoil to change the background pattern.

 

My assistant, Keiko, created this heart shaped pattern cut out of Cinefoil.  This is a Dynalite setup.  My main light on the model's face is a Dynalite with grid.

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Thank you to Hyunah Jang, who is also a wonderful photographer, for being a model for this shoot!

The Gels, Tough Spun, and Cinefoil I use, are all included in the Rosco Rick Friedman's Location Lighting Kit available for purchase at my Location Lighting Store here.

To learn this lighting technique and many others, come join me for a three day Location Lighting Workshop at Telluride Photo Festival in beautiful Telluride, CO on September 29th - October 1st, 2014. It will be fall foliage time!  

A Day at the Asylum in London!  This will be a very fun workshop to be sure! I am teaching during the Societies Photographic Convention in London, UK on January 16th trough 18th, 2014. ( The Asylum workshop in on January 17th)

The workshops will cover use of Speedlights and Studio strobes with various light modifiers and gels.  We hope you can join us for one of the hands on workshops.  

Please visit my website for a complete list of upcoming workshops.