lighting tips

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: 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: 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: 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!

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: Chasing Shadows!

    Happy Tuesday!


    For the past two weeks I've discussed how to add color to your background using Rosco gels and Cinefoil from my Location Lighting Kit.  For this week's Tuesday Tips, I want to show you another way to accent your photographs, by adding shadows!  The key to creating shadows where you want them is to have your strobe off camera.  Remember, the smaller your light source the harder the edge.  The angle of your light and the distance your subject is from the background will effect how the shadow is projected.


    1 speedlight :
    In the photo below, shot at a Manhattan costume party, I placed a single speedlight to the left of the camera, lower than the subjects, and shot it through a small Rogue Flashbender fired with a PocketWizard TT-5.  This sent the shadow up and behind the subjects while lighting the subjects with soft light.   I can control where the shadow goes by moving my strobe.  

     

    2 speedlights:
    In this photograph for Harvard University of Professor Robert Lue, I wanted to show the Professor's research on his computer.  The challenge was making an interesting photograph when the only background available was his computer monitor.  The starting point is to read the ambient off the computer, this gives you your base exposure.  When lighting a photograph like this, it is essential that no light from your strobes hits the computer monitor.  This photograph was lit with two Speedlights both with Rogue Grids to control the light on the professors face, while not allowing any strobe light to hit the monitor.   The Speedlight on the right is the main light to light his face:  one stop brighter, (step2).   The Speedlight on the left cast the shadow on the monitor and open up the shadow of his face.   To make sure no light from the strobe hits the monitor, or the shadow I have just created, the strobe on the right has a snoot created out of Rosco Cinefoil.

     

     

    3 strobes:  Two Dynalites and a Speedlight
    The challenge for this shoot was to recreate a photograph that was previously shot in early March, when the sunlight was low on the horizon and casting the shadow on the wall.  The problem was this photograph was shot in July, when the light was totally different.  

    The solution: recreate the original light by placing a Dynalite outside of the door.  To control the direction of the light from the Dynalite strobe, I put a grid over the strobe and added a Rosco 1/2 CTO to warm it.  The strobes were fired through the walls using a PocketWizard Plus lll.   Inside I had a second Dyanlite to light her face, also with a grid and a Speedlight aimed at the dark side of her face.

    I will be traveling next week, so Tuesday's Tips may take the week off.  I hope everyone will have a great Thanksgiving! 

    I hope to see you at one of my upcoming workshops.  The next two stops for my Location Lighting Workshops Tour are at Hunts Photo on December 6th and at the Societies' Photographic Convention in London in January.  I'll be teaching my Location Lighting Workshop "A Day at Asylum with Rick Friedman" (love the title!).  Hope you can join us!  

    Thank you Rick Sammon and Juan Pons for having me on this edition of Digital Photo Experience! Hope everyone can tune in and listen!

    Our friends at Hunts Photo and Video are giving out 20 % discount on Rogue flash benders SM and LG, to our readers, Thank you Hunts!

    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 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!