location 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: Lighting London

This series of photographs is from my one day workshop "Lighting Goes on Location in London", part of The Societies of Photographer's Convention last month.

The group spent the day shooting in Piccadilly, Chinatown and Soho.  We used several different portable lighting kits, and rarely used light stands!  

Equipment & settings under each photograph. 1  Nissin  Di700A Speedlight  Westcott  Rapid Box  PocketWizard  Plus IV ISO: 100 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/250

Equipment & settings under each photograph.
1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 100
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/250

1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight Westcott Rapid Box PocketWizard Plus IV ISO: 125 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/125

1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 125
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/125

1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight Westcott Rapid Box PocketWizard Plus IV Crossfiltering with  Rosco  CTO gel. ISO 64 Aperture: 4 Shutterspeed: 1/250

1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
Crossfiltering with Rosco CTO gel.
ISO 64
Aperture: 4
Shutterspeed: 1/250

2 Nissin Di700A Speedlight  2   Flashbender XL PocketWizard Plus IV ISO: 100 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/100

2 Nissin Di700A Speedlight
2  Flashbender XL
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 100
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/100

1  Elinchrom  ELB strobe with a Pro head Rotalux Softbox Deep Octa 70cm Skyport transmitter ISO: 160 Aperture: 5.6 Shutter: 1/100

1 Elinchrom ELB strobe with a Pro head
Rotalux Softbox Deep Octa 70cm
Skyport transmitter
ISO: 160
Aperture: 5.6
Shutter: 1/100

1 Westcott Ice light 2 ISO: 64 Aperture: 5 Shutter: 1/250

1 Westcott Ice light 2
ISO: 64
Aperture: 5
Shutter: 1/250

3 Nissen Speedlights,   2 Rogue FlashBender XL 4 PocketWizard Plus IV Rogue grid shot thru Rosco Cinifoil pattern from Rosco Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit ISO: 64 Aperture: 5 Shutter: 1/250

3 Nissen Speedlights,  
2 Rogue FlashBender XL
4 PocketWizard Plus IV
Rogue grid shot thru Rosco Cinifoil pattern from Rosco Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit
ISO: 64
Aperture: 5
Shutter: 1/250

Rogue Reflector ISO: 800 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/100

Rogue Reflector
ISO: 800
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/100

1 Nissan Di700A Speedlight Westcott Rapid Box PocketWizard Plus IV ISO: 200 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/50

1 Nissan Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 200
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/50

1 Nissan Di700A Speedlight Westcott Rapid Box PocketWizard Plus IV ISO: 100 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/13

1 Nissan Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 100
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/13

Most of the time the attendees photographed the models.  I took a few minutes at each location to demonstrate my lighting and shooting style. .  We started at 10 o'clock, with a  lunch stop at the pub between, we finished shooting after 5 o'clock!  All my images were shot on a Nikon D810 with a 24-120.  My camera was set Manual for all the photographs, lights were read using Sekonic light meter.

Come join me at one of my upcoming workshops.  Lots of lighting and laughing!

This spring, I am teaching Unique Photo (NJ), Boston Center for Adult Education CenterHarwin Camera (NYC), Cardinal Camera (Philadelphia & Charlotte NC) CanAM Photo Festival and Pixel Connection (Avon, OH).  I will be back in the UK for a series of workshops this summer.   Please visit my workshop page to see a complete schedule.

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,

Tueday's Tips: Lighting Science!

Recently I had the honor of photographing Professor Jeff Lichtman of Harvard University for the third time.  In each shoot, I have photographed Professor Lichtman with a microscope. I wanted to continue the theme on this assignment.  His current microscope is one of a kind microscope that produces the most amazing images of the human brain.  However, it looks like a large refrigerator.  To make image more interesting and include a visual of his work, I projected one of his images on his microscope.  

We had 2 hours including set up time to produce three situations requested by the client.  I knew the one with the microscope would be the most difficult. I always start a shoot with the most difficult shot.  The other 2 portraits requested were one in his office and another on the stairs.  

I had the Professor show me his lab and we discussed ideas for the photographs.  I told him we needed about 20  minutes set up time, and suggested he might want to go back to his office to work.  There is no reason for the subject to watch you light.   People have a limited amount of time set aside to be photographed.  The less of their time I tie up, the happier they are in the photographs.

As I constructed the photograph, I had my assistant stand-in for the subject.   The first few test frames were shot available light using a 17-35mm lens at 17mm ISO: 3200 F8 & 1/40.

 When lighting a photograph like this I, add 1 light at a time.  To light my subject  I used 2  Dynalite Baja 400WS strobes. One on his face and one as the hairline light.  The hairline light also gave me separation from my background.  The Baja has a build in battery and no cables for me to trip on!  Both strobes had a 10 degree grids to control where the light was aimed.   To further control my light, I put Rosco FotoFoil on the side of the strobe closest to the background to prevent light spilling on the microscope.

 

To create the background, I attached a projector with a wide angle lens to a computer and projected one of the Professors slides.  The key to projecting images on a background is not having any light from your strobes or any other light source hit the area with the projection.  When I do a photograph like this, I always turn off the overhead lights.  The room was dark when I was shooting.  I had to use the flashlight on my phone to focus.  Make sure your modeling lights are turned off.  

We moved projector and adjusted its hight to project the Professor's research on his large white microscope.  The projector was placed to the right of the Professor, 2 ft off of the floor.

To determine exposure for the background I used the in-camera meter.  With the camera set on manual I set the aperture to the same f stop as the strobe reading and lowered my shutter speed until the exposure from the strobes in the foreground and the ambient light from the projector were the same exposure. The strobe f stop was determined with a Sekonic 478 meter.  The final exposure was 2.5 seconds shot at f11.  Jeff was lit for duration of the flash, while the background burned in.  The image was shot on a Nikon D810, a Nikon 24-120 lens on an Induro tripod and Nikon cable release.  

Equipment Used for the shoot:
Nikon D810
Lens: 24-120mm
Rosco Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit
2 Daynalite Bajas Portarble Strobes with 10 degree grids
Induro Tripod
Nikon cable release
2 Light stands
Sekonic Lightmeter 478
Projector
Extention code for the projector 

I love photographing academics.  I find it fascinating to work with some of the world's greatest minds!

Upcoming Workshop Schedule: Hope you can join us!
September19 & 20
Hunts Photo, Providence RI

October 10, 
Hunts Photo, Manchester, NH

October 17 & 18
Hunts Photo Portland, ME

October 22-14
PhotoPlus, New York

November 18 
Adorama sponsored by Dynalite

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: The Photo Brigade Video Podcast

Happy Tuessday!  I am excited to tell you I was recently interviewed by Robert Caplin for the Photo Brigade Video Podcast at Adorama in New York City.  The video podcast is now available!  I talked about a bit of my career as a photojournalist, my approach to lighting and my  Location Lighting Workshops.  

Check out the Photo Brigade! Great resource for the photographers! 

 

Here are the behind scene from this interview at and around Adorama in New York City!

Thank you for having me!

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: A Quick Trip to India

We had a couple of weeks that “Tuesday’s Tips” was absent, but I had a good excuse.  I flew to India to attend my stepson Michael’s wedding in Goa.  It was a unique intercultural and interfaith 3 day wedding.  There were 2 very different wedding ceremonies.  The first was conducted by my nephew Spike, a rabbi and a close friend of Michael’s. The ceremony the next day was a traditional Hindu wedding.  Each had it’s own unique customs, both had lots of colors.  

I used a Nikon Speedlight to capture the selfie moment and match the light on Michael and Juhi with the sky

 

In this image the ambient light in the sky matched the ambient light on the couple.

 

This photograph was lit  with a Speedlight mixed with the available LED lights 


I lit this photograph with a Speedlight and a collapsable Chimera  Beautydish.  The Speedlight was triggered by Pocket Wizard Plus IIIs.

 

When I wasn’t photographing at the weddings, I was out shooting the beach and the market. What do most photographers do to relax on a few days off?  Make more photographs!

I convented my Nikon D300 into Infrared camera a few years ago.  Although I don't use it much for assignment.  Creating IR images is a great relaxation for me.

 

Cow and tourists!

 

 

 

When I packed for the trip I knew much of photography would be available light, so I brought my polarizing filter and 2 ND filters.   I also knew some of the photographs would need lighting.  In addition to my camera and lens, I brought a small portable studio in camera bag and roll on case.   I don't check in my gear.  I use a ThinkTank Urban Disguise bag and a ThinkTank Airport International Rolling Camera Bag and wheel my equipment on to the plane. 

 

Here’s my equipment list:

2 Nikon D800s

Nikon 17-35 f2.8

Nikon 24-70 42.8

Nikon 70-200 f2.8

Nikon 16mm fisheye

3 Nikon SB900s

Rosco Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit

3 PocketWizard Plus llls

2 Rogue Flashbenders

1 Rogue Grid

1 Chimera Beauty Dish

1 Induro tripod

1 Nikon D300s converted to infrared

1 Lensbaby Composer 

1 California Sunbounce Sunmover reflector

I had a great time in India, the people are wonderful!  I wish I could have stayed more than a few days.  I look forward to returning.

Mazel Tov! Wish you the life time of happiness!  Congratulations Mike & Juhi!

 

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” Running out of Light, Let’s Make More!

This week’s “Tuesday’s Tips” features an architectural shoot we did yesterday. Our client was Mark Connor, the architect who designed the Callahan building on the campus of Endicott College, just north of Boston.  Connor requested photographs that were different from the traditional architectural photographs.

For photographs of building exteriors, the answer was to shoot long exposures during blue hour.  During sunset I started to see wonderful colors behind the building.  As the sun sets earlier this time of year, the blue hour is really the blue half hour. Although the sky was looking great at blue hour, the front of the building was going dark. The solution was to use a couple of Dynalite portable strobes. The blue hour was fading fast, no time for light stands…

Quick!! Put a PocketWizard Plus III on each strobe and one on the camera.  My intern, Kalin, held a Dynalite Baja strobe over head, my assistant Keiko, ran across the street, laid on the grass and aimed a Dynalite Uni at the building while I stood on a rock with my Nikon D800 with a 14-24 lens on a tripod.  The two strobes filled in just enough of the building to make the brick stand out. The light on the foreground was enough draw your attention to the building.  I waited for a car to drive by to get the effect of the headlights and taillights to come out as streaks.  The exposure was six seconds, f13 at ISO 400.  Don’t forget to use your cable release on long exposures.

With strobes

With strobes

Without strobes

Without strobes

Keiko is holdlng Dynalite Uni to light the building, and Nikon Speedlight set on SU4 to light herself.

My next 2 stops for my Location Lighting Workshops are 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!

Tuesday's Tips : Fun at PhotoPlus, New York

I had a great time at PhotoPlus in NYC, presenting 5 lectures and live demos for Sunbounce, Rosco, Expoimaging and Unique Photo during the show.  Here are a few of the photographs recapping PhotoPlus. Enjoy!

Rosco released the new version of my Location Lighting Kit.  The kit includes 27 Rosco color gels, Cinefoil, and Toughspun, a must-have in my camera bag.  I presented a Live Location Lighting Workshop using my kit to create photographs at the Rosco booth shooting the model against a white backdrop

Thank you for the great make up, Kate Easterbrook who came all the way from Toronto!

Thank you for the great make up, Kate Easterbrook who came all the way from Toronto!

This was a 3 set-up: The main light was a Dynalite Baja Strobe with a small Chimera striplight.  The background was created by blowing a Nikon Speedlight  through a pattern cut in a sheet of Rosco Cinefoil with 4 color gels.  The black cardboard is to prevent my main light from hitting my background.  The hairline light was a Nissin Speedlight with a color gel, Toughspun, and Cinefoil.  All the gels, Cinefoil and Toughspun are in my new Rosco Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit.  I mixed 3 different brands of strobes and fired them using Pocketwizard Plus III’s. 

 

I did another fun demonstration at the Expoimaging booth, using a Rogue XL Flashbender, set up as a strip light,  3 Rogue Grid sets and 3 color gels.  The set up for this shot was 4 speedlights.  My main light was was a Rogue XL Strip light on the left side.  The hairline light was a Rogue grid with an orange gel placed directly behind the model and aimed at her head. The side  light was a Rogue grid with a blue gel placed to her right side. The background light was a Rogue grid and a red gel aimed at the backdrop.  

 

I did a live demo for Sunbounce Hasselblad Bron on the show floor stage working with Sunbounce Bouncewalls, and Sunbounce MicroMini reflectors.

At the Unique Photo booth I presented my Location Lighting Workshop presentation.  I am delighted to say that we will presenting  another Location Lighting Workshop at Kips Castle in the spring!  Kips Castle is a old castle located at Monclair, NJ.  We had great photo fun last time.  Registration infomation is coming soon!

My good friend, great photographer, and creator of Digital Photo Experience, Rick Sammon interviewed me about my new "Rosco Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit".   If you have not subscribed to his podcast,  sign up today! Its a great resource for photographers, and stay tuned for my episode!

 

In the mist of PhotoPlus, I also managed to see many of my photo friends including Jim Morton and Jason Etzel at the Dynalite booth

To unwind, the Flug Halloween Party was the place to be.  The party was sponsored by my friends at Resource Magazine and Hasselblad Bron.  I know it's hard to tell, but the person in the middle is Resource Magazine publisher Alexandra Niki, on right is photographer Gabriel Biderman.  Both Gabriel and myself recently led FujiFilm Photo Tours.  


You can see many more behind the scene photos from PhotoPlus on my Instagram, RickFriedmanPix.  My next 2 stops for my Location Lighting Workshops are Hunts Photo in the Boston area in December 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!

Tuesday Tips: Lighting up the Night!

Last night I had a chance to work with the brand new Dynalite Baja strobe, the newest addition to the Dynalite line.  The Baja is a self contained battery operated 400 watt second monolight with an internal battery.  I really like the quality of the light coming from the Baja. The recycling time was almost immediate, and the built in modeling light was great.  It's not heavy and easy to work with.

With the Baja strobe and Chimera Beautydish combination as my main light, I photographed a model, Eddy Twal in the front and back of my studio in South End's Boston.  I used a Sekonic L-478DR to read my light.  All strobes were triggered by PocketWizard Plus III.  My camera was set on manual and the color balance was set on daylight.  When working on location I use a Hoodman Loupe to view the images on LCD screen.

Shot 1

This was photographed at the same location as my last week's blog "Strobe on, Strobe off!"  Different strobes give you different looks. This image is a mixture of strobe and ambient light, with a hand held long exposure.  This is a single light photograph, using the Dynalite Baja strobe, Chimera medium beauty dish with an egg crate diffuser, held by my assistant with a 1420 VAL Spigot on painter's pole for the light stand. The VAL Spigot is produced by my friend Ian Pack in the UK.  This is a great adapter to add to your lighting kit.  My camera was set at an ISO 200, 1/4 second and F4.  The feeling of movement is created by shifting my camera from left top to down.  

 

Shot 2

In this photograph I used the Dynalite Baja strobe with Chimera medium beauty dish with an egg crate diffuser and Sunbounce 4'x6' zebra reflector.  This is also a single light photograph.  My camera was at ISO 250, 1/6 second and F4.5.  My shutter speed was determined by the ambient light, I wanted to have the yellow door lamp bright, but not overexposed.  I choose F4.5 for depth of field.

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Shot 3

This photograph is taken behind my studio.  My main light was a Dynalite Baja Strobe with a Chimera medium beauty dish with an egg crate diffuser.  The backlight was a Dynalite Uni portable strobe with a Rosco CTO gel, to warm the color,  Rosco Toughspun to soften the light and Rosco Cinefoil to craft the light.  In the set up photograph, my assistant was holding black foam core against Chimera beautydish to shape the light, and produce the drop off of light in the lower right corner.  My camera was set at ISO 200, 1/2.5 second and F 4.5.  

Due to my training as a long time photojournalist,  I try to do it all in camera.   Less time spent in front of computer is better for my soul....!

I hope you can join me at one of my up coming "Location Lighting Workshops™" in Telluride, CO and at the Societies Photographic Convention in London, UK.  Please look at www.rickfriedman.com/workshops for a complete list of upcoming events.

September 29-October 1 at the Telluride Photo Festival, Telluride, CO

January 16-18, 2015 Societies Photographic Convention, London, UK

For another post on portraits in the dark, please look at my blog post on "Shooting at Twightlight in Costra Rica" 

All the Rosco products are included in Rick Friedman Rosco Location Lighting Kit!

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: 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.

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!