lighting guru

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: 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: Fun with Lights!

Last week I introduced the new version of the Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit by Rosco during a 2 hour Location Lighting Workshop presentation at B&H Photo in New York.  The idea for my Location Lighting Kit came from my "must have" in my camera bag: correction filters, color gels, PhotoFoil and Toughspun.  Using a Dynalite Baja B4 Strobe, my Rosco Location Lighting Kit, a few PocketWizards, a couple of Nissin strobes and a Sunbounce reflector, the goal was to demonstrate different types of lighting, starting with a single strobe and end with elaborate lighting with a projected background all in two hours at the B&H classroom.   Please view the video!

Our wonderful model, Hillary Button, is standing in front of a plain white backdrop.  The photograph below is our set up. The main light is a Dynalite Baja B4 400WS strobe with a 20 degree grid.  The front of the strobe is wrapped in Rosco PhotoFoil, to control the beam of light, so the model is lit without any light from the Dynalite strobe hitting the backdrop. The black foam core further prevents white light from hitting anywhere on the backdrop.   Behind the model's head is a Nissin Di866 flash with a Rosco Night Blue gel #74, giving her the highlights around her hair.  To create the background, I took a sheet of PhotoFoil and cut out the pattern, and hung it from a small boom in front of flash.  I used a Sunbounce Flash Bracket to connect a Nissin MG8000 flash to the same light stand as the boom holding the PhotoFoil pattern.  In front of the Nissin flash is a Rosco CalcolorBlue #90 gel.  The PhotoFoil and the gels are included in my Rosco "Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit."  The photograph was shot with a Nikon D800 and a Nikon 105mm macro lens on an Induro Tripod connected  to my computer with a TetherTool cable.

 

The photograph below is from the beginning of the presentation.  The lighting in this image
is from the Dynalite Baja B4 strobe, which is powered by an internal battery, shot through a Dynalite medium soft box.  On the right side of the model's face is a Sunbounce Micro-Mini reflector.  

To determine my exposure, I use a Sekonic 478DR light meter (photo on right).

 

In this photograph of Hillary, I have added a Rosco Calcolor Lavender 60 gel to the Nissin MG8000 flash behind her head.


And here I am having another rough day at the office!

Thank you to our wonderful makeup artist Kate Easterbrook for a great job and from coming all the way from Toronto.  
I hope you can join me at one of my upcoming Location Lighting Workshops for a couple of days of Lighting and Laughing! This weekend I will be at Hunts Photo & Video just outside Boston.

Tuesday's Tips: Gronk Assignment for Sports Illustrated!

I had a great assignment on New Year's day photographing Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots for Sports Illustrated at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

 

As I arrived at the stadium, there were still some question about where the shoot would take place.  What I did know was that  I was  going to have about 15 minutes to photograph Gronk and it was going to be somewhere at the facility.   We were hoping to photograph him in a weight room and with the help of the Patriots communications department, that's the space we were given. My assistant and I started moving equipment to the weight room.  Once in the room I had to quickly determine what I wanted for my photographs, remembering the 15 minutes allotted for  the shoot.   I determined I could get 4 different photographs in my 15 minutes.  That meant less than 4 minutes per shot, including any adjustments of lights or make up.  The key to getting this done, is preset all the lights, test them, then re-test them.  We did 2 different lighting setups.  One on the weight machine and the mirror and another compete set of lights for the photographs on a backdrop.  When we moved from the weight machine and mirror photographs to the backdrop, no lights had to be moved.  Both Nikon cameras and all 4 Dynalite strobes had PocketWizards connected, all on the same channel.  You want minimize any chance of anything going wrong.  On a shoot like this I always have back up equipment, I don't need it, but it's there, just in case.  All of the lighting tests had been done ahead of time using my assistant, who is about 1/3 Gronk's size as the stand in.  We rehearsed how the shoot was going to flow.  I put small pieces of tape on the floor as a mark for Rob to stand on.  
 

 After the standing and sitting shots at the weight machine, while I explained to Rob what I wanted for the shot with the mirror, my assistant moved the Chimera strip light on the left back 2 feet and turned the strip light on the right about 20 degrees toward the mirror.  The beauty dish never moved from the first setup to the mirror setup and we lost no time during the quick change from one photograph to another and lost no time when we moved from the weight machine to the backdrop.  When working with mirrors, watch for your reflection and the reflection of the strobes.  This was shot on a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 24-70 f2.8 lens at 55mm ISO 100 at 1/200 f5.6.

How this was lit:

The lighting on the standing and sitting shots were a Dynalite Baja 400WS battery operated strobe  with a 30" Chimera Octa Beauty Dish with an Egg Crate at a 45 degree angle for the front light.  For the back lights I used a Dynalite Uni 400WS strobe with a medium Chimera Strip light on camera left.  This is first soft box I owned and have had ifor over 30 years.  I think I've  gotten my money's worth out it.  On the right side I used a second Dynalite Uni with a small Chimera Strip Bank.  I had a PocketWizard Plus III on camera and on each strobe.  The 4th light in this photograph was a Nikon SB 900 Flash with a Rosco #83 Medium Blue gel, behind Gronk on the bench, pointed at him.  This flash was set on manual and fired using the SU-4 setting in the custom functions. 

For the shot of Gronk in the mirror:  the strip light on the left was moved towards the wall so it became the back light.  The small trip light was turned about 20 degrees towards the mirror and the beauty dish and the beauty dish was not moved.  All of my settings remained the same.  This was shot with a Nikon 17-35mm lens set at 17mm.

The lighting on this photograph was a Dynalite Roadmax 800 power pack with 2 heads.  The front light was a Chimera 5' Octaplus light bank on a Dynalite head.  Opposite my main light is a Sunbounce Sunmover silver and gold zebra pattern reflector.   The hairline light was a Dynalite head  with an extension tube, a grid holder with a 20 degree grid and a Rosco 1/2 CTO filter to warm up the light.  This was shot with Nikon D800 with a Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens at 1/250 of a second, f5, ISO 100. I used a Sekonic L-478DR light meter to determine exposures and a Hoodman Loupe to check my focus.  All the equipment was moved in ThinkTank cases.  I recently got a ThinkTank Production Manager case.  It is perfect for this type of shoot. 

 

Last,  but not the least,  when you have a shoot like this, be nice to everyone.  not just your subject, but the publicist and PR people.  When I am working on creating a portrait, once I have an image I like, I will show it to the subject and ask "what do you think of the photograph we are creating?"  The subject and I are creating the photograph together, I can't do it without them.  The subject now feels more involved in the photograph, often makes suggestions and quite often give me a few more minutes to create the image.   I gained an additional 5 minutes to my 15 minutes shoot,  because it was a pleasant  experience,  Many may not see this, but it is very important!

Thank you SI for the wonderful assignment to kick off my year!  I love my job!