location lighting

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

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: 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: 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: 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 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: Lighting Glasses!

 

This week's "Tuesday's Tips" is from an assignment I shot at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA.  The MIT Media Lab is a hub for innovative creations and one of my favorite places to photograph.  I was at the Media Lab looking for interesting projects to photograph when I met   Thad Starner who was working on wearable computing. Starner is now a professor at Georgia Tech.  The idea for this shoot came about when Starner showed me a pair of glasses that had a computer monitor in the center of one lens, which he connected to a small computer in his pocket.  With no preplanning, this is what I came up with.

Little did I know this was the beginning of "Google Glass".

The lighting on this photograph is 2 strobes and 2 computer monitors.  I had to match the brightness of the two computer screens to detemine my exposure, matching the brightness of the large monitor in the background and the small computer screen embedded in his glasses. To obtain the exposure I used the meter in my camera.  I needed a lot of depth of field for this shot, so that glasses and my subject were in focus.  My focal point was Starner, seen through the glasses.  The glasses were clamped to a light stand with a Manfrotto Superclamp.  The main light was Dynalite 800 power pack and a Dynalite head with an extension tube, a grid holder on the end of the extension tube, a 10 degree grid and a sheet of Rosco Tough Spun over the grid to soften the light.  I really needed to control my light on the subject, so there was no light spilled on the glasses or the screen behind the subject.   Just off set, on the right side, I set up a speedlight with Rosco yellow gel and a snoot made of Cinefoil to outline the frame of glasses with color.  The Cinefoil snoot was brought down so it was about a 1 degree opening.  When making snoots out of Cinefoil, which is black tin foil, you have flexibility to make it any shape you want with any size opening, giving you great control over your light.  To determine the exposure of both the speedlight and the Dynalite, I used a Sekonic lightmeter.  If you are mixing speedlights and studio strobes, your speedlight needs to be on the manual setting (NOT TTL).   

Cinefoil, gels, and Tough Spun are included in the Rosco Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit.

I hope to see you at one of my upcoming Location Lighting Workshops at the Telluride Photo Festival in Telluride, CO. or at the Societies Photographic Convention in London.

Happy Shooting, everyone!