Category Archives: photo tips
I created this portrait with a 4 light set up. I placed 3 lights bare bulb: 2 pointed at 45 degree angles toward the camera and one placed really low to the ground behind Emily and pointed up at the flag in the center. The fourth light was shot though a small octa box onto her face. We placed the 8’x 12′ flag behind her outside in the snow storm attached to my tripod backdrop holder. The settings on my camera were ISO 64- shutter 200th- aperture 5.6 and my lens was an 85 mm Nikon lens.
I created this portrait of Rico for his acting portfolio. We wanted to tell a sad story of a man having a terrible day. The problem, it was actually a lovely day.
1st we had to get him wet because it wasn’t actually raining out.
Then we added “Rain” which was just a regular garden hose, clamped to a ladder and pointed in the air. This is what it looked like in real life.
My settings on the camera were ISO 400 shot on a 70-200mm lens at 70 mm. Shutter 125, and Aperture of 2.8the light above Rico was set with a small Octa box and had an orange filter. The light behind him was bare bulb set to a wide “spray of light” this light really made the water feel like rain because it back lit every single droplet of water. Here is what it looked like with the lights from the side. Notice the back light looks blue and the top light is warmer.
Here is the final product
I created these portraits of Alyssa Sullivan owner of Synergy Power Yoga in Barrington RI for her social media and for new marketing material to help promote her business. With all business portraiture that I do, I had a couple of objectives. These are different for every business that I work with, but for this one I wanted the photos to not only get across the love and joy that Alyssa brings to the Yoga she teaches, but her showcase her incredible talent and beauty as well.
Below I will be sharing exactly how I created these portraits that I am super proud of! Tell me what you think in the comments!
I wanted these photos to have a very clean and pristine look about them, so I put her on a solid white background and lit the whole scene with 4 separate speed lights. My ISO was set at 320 with a shutter speed varied from 1/125 to 1/200 with an aperture of either 6.3 or 7.1
The speed lights were shot though 3 octaboxes from behind up and behind right and left. With one big one from the front right. You can see below my light placement. The three smaller lights from behind her were set to 1/16th power and the big light off to the right was set to 1/4 power.
This is a very complicated photo I pieced together from 3 separate images. I took all of the photos in the same session with all the participants on hand the whole time. But I simply didn’t have enough lights to adequately cover everyone in my composition. So what I did was place my camera on a tripod and move the lights around to where I needed them for each grouping and then blended it all together in Photoshop later on.
The Roller-rink was closed and quite dark (if you look in the back you can see the concession stand is closed and dark looking something I wish I had seen when I was shooting)
Here are 2 set up shots
Once I got my Composition figured out, what I needed to do was light each group but make it look like they were all lit the same way even thought they all had completely different lighting. I placed one of my lights right in the photo (top left hand corner) on purpose this gave the illusion of a unified lighting scheme. Your eye automatically wants to believe photos and this helps inform the lighting so you can believe what you are seeing.
You can see here I had 3 lights on this 1st photo. A 7′ reflective umbrella, a bare bulb light and on the right hand side in the back a gridded light just on the Ref. who was showing up too dark in test shots.
The Next photo was taken with a very similar lighting set up just moved closer toward these ladies the 7′ umbrella is off camera here but still in use and the gridded light was set behind them exactly to give a little back light in addition to the back light you can see on the top left.
The last photo was shot using 2 lights a smaller shoot through umbrella up and over the subjects the spot gridded light creating the shadow on the wall. With all the photos taken all I had to do was stitch them together in Photoshop Here is how it appeared in the magazine.
This portrait was created as a part of a series of photos I am calling the Rhode Island Portrait Project. You can see some of the other photos in this project here
I created this portrait with the intention of showing Bethany’s ability to transform herself as an actress. We chose 3 vastly different women from different time periods as our characters for this portrait rather than Bethany herself.. Going as far as to give them names, back stories and motivations for what was happening for them in these moments. I shot 3 photos with my camera on a Tripod to keep the same position and then photoshopped them all together later. We shot the Gibson Girl 1st (her name is Edith) here are some set up shots. The costumes, hair and make up were pretty extensive Than you Becky! We put a lot of time into making the details just right! Thank you to The beautiful Stadium Theater for letting us use their space to work in. Visit their website here and you can visit Bethany’s website here
Here is the photo we did of Bethany as the Gibson girl pre photoshop. You can see my Octabox in the photo which was later taken out in addition to this light I also had a light up the stairs camera left shining down. You can see that light on her face and arm. And one big 7′ umbrella camera left out of the frame feathered across her front to just fill in gently. You can see the 7′ umbrella in another frame below.
The next shot was our 50’s lady named Audrey here is a set up shot.
I used a very similar lighting set up for this lady as for the 1st shot. We had Becky stand in to give Bethany someone to interact with where our Edith character would have been standing. You can just barely see a light camera left if you look close. Also of note thank you to Faye for holding the christmas stuff out of my frame 🙂 we shot this just after Christmas so the place was decorated for the Holiday and we had to take it apart and put it all back together for our shot…
last we made the Courtney character shot. For this one I just used 2 lights on her right and left you can see both here if you look close on camera right you can just see my octabox our of frame.
This portrait was created as a part of a series of photo I am calling the Rhode Island Portrait Project. You can see some of the other photo in this project here
I created this portrait with the intention of showing off John Ford’s incredible physical presence mixed with the feeling of aspiration, determination, and hope. I wanted the focus to be entirely on John for this so I went with a studio background instead of working in the “real world” the setting for my camera were:
ISO 141 Shutter 1/160th aperture F 4.5 with 3 light sources shown here
I used a bare bulb flash no modifications set camera right about 1/32nd power results shown here
Then I added another bare bulb flash about 1/8th power pointed at John from the back and very much toward my camera this added some wonderful back light and beautiful lens flare shown here
I used an Octabox up and camera left about 1/8th power. After a little photoshopping (I cleaned up the background and made the portrait a little more punchy but that is it)
here is the final photo
Some other tricks we did:
Baby oil smeared all over John to give him a nice sheen, and I sprayed him down with water to make it look like he was sweating. Open the photo to see it at a proper size
I photographed Daphne Martin for the cover of Grace Magazine. Daphne is a wonderful musician and song writer, and I met her in her home to photograph this portrait. The photo came together sort of organically after looking at the space and seeing the clothes she had picked out for the shoot. Being a big fan of thematic colors, when I saw the red hat, red dress and red walls, I immediately saw the photo in my head.
Here is our finished portrait
I created this portrait using 2 lights one up and camera left with a spot grid on the flash, creating a very harsh light that shone down mostly on her head and shoulders, and a Ring flash to fill in the shadows a little so the dark parts of the portrait weren’t SUPER dark. I positioned her just off the wall and the ring flash made a wonderful shadow all around her body which looks super cool too!
The technical info on the photo for those of you that are interested was
Nikon D700 ISO 100 F5.6 shutter 1/200th
Here are some set up shots to show you the scene I changed my lens to a wide lens which allows you to see the ring flash on the camera itself and the other photo you can see that there is an umbrella which I tried but ended up not using in the final shot.
I am proud of this portrait of Ed Tarbox taken for The Rhode Island Portrait Project. I sat down with Ed to talk about creating this portrait and was struck right off the bat 1st by his genuine energy and friendliness and second by his true LOVE of cars. It became clear that I needed to photograph him with one of his personal cars. My 1st idea was to photograph him like a racer from the 30’s you know with the goggles and a scarf but after he showed me his vintage 1963 Corvette I knew we had a winner. The concept shifted and we started talking about James Dean and Marlon Brando from the late 50’s early 60’s and Wammo I could see it in my mind! I love it when that happens!
Here is the technical info on our portrait
Taken on a Nikon D700 ISO 800 as it was getting close to dark. 5 light sources if you include the ambient light from the sky (all shown below) the shutter was 1/60th at F4
I am very proud to announce the 2nd lighting workshop I am putting on with the talented Brad Smith! Here is the info on how to sign up if you want to take your photography to the next level. We will have models that will be done up professionally by the lovely and talented Lynda Williams of Formal Hair Design and make up by the beautiful Jennifer Hodge of Spectrum Make up Artistry
I photographed Kelsey Kaiser for the Cover of Grace Magazine recently. Here is the cover image and inside spread as well
This was a fairly complicated photo to produce, with multiple conversations and meetings to discuss the photo with Kelsey and the folks that run the Gym where she practices. From the very 1st time I walked into the Gym which is located in New London CT I saw this image in my head. They have a large Flag on the wall next to the ring in the gym and I knew that was the shot. As some of you might know the only formal training I have in photography was from a class I took in highschool. I was lucky enough to have a great photography teacher that taught me some very important fundamentals for creating beautiful images. One of those lessons that Mr. Z imprinted on me was that a photo starts in your mind’s eye. If you can’t see the image before it’s created then how are you going to make it happen? That vision is very important to making beautiful photos but I am getting off topic here.
SO Here is a few photos showing the place and what it looked like with and without my lights
The main photo was taken on my Nikon D700 ISO 560 with a 50 mm lens set at F/5 and a shutter of 1/125th I wanted to get some of the ambient light of the gym to show up so that we could see the flag behind her but I wanted that to be a little dimmer than her. So I set my exposure for that background first and then added lights to create a dramatic feeling photo. You can see I had a large Octabox set up high above Kelsey to drop that sweet soft light down on her this is the main light working on her. From behind her I set 2 lights at 45 degrees pointing at the camera crossing her on either side this light you can see on her shoulders and the side of her face. They were all triggered at the same time using Pocket wizards. Also I wiped her down with baby oil to give her skin a little extra shine. Now that it is over and done I am very proud of the portrait.
Here is the finished photo and another that I really liked that didn’t make the magazine
This was a fairly involved portrait to create with a many meetings/phone conversations/and text messaging to talk about the concept and feeling that we wanted to create and capture. We created this cover shot of Theresa in what is the oldest working court room in the United States. Below are some iPhone photos I took for reference in advance of the portrait as well as set up photos in process of creating the portrait.
I wanted to have a very dark portrait but the room was filled with light so I set my camera to way underexpose the photo and added light to that dark exposure using my flashes. The photo was shot with an 85mm lens ISO 100 shutter 1/200 Aperture 5.6 The main light on her face up and camera left I wanted to be kind of harsh and I wanted the light to be only on her not the back ground, so I put a spot grid on it. I didn’t want the shadows to be too dark though so I put a ring flash on my camera at a very low setting this just nudges the shadows up a little but doesn’t get rid of them all together. And the 3rd light I added was shot through a soft box with a strip modifier on it I used this modifier because I wanted the light coming from behind her to be soft and just kiss her cheek and hair.
Here is the final portrait
For the camera geeks, and photographers that want to take their images to the next level
This is how I created the portrait of Joan Dwyer from “All That Matters”
1st the concept: I sat down with Joan 2 times (with multiple phone calls and texts in between) and we chatted for about an hour each time about this portrait, this time is a very important part of my process. We talked about who she is as a person, a business woman, a mother, a friend ect… And I floated ideas for how to portray her in this portrait. One thing to note is that she was very nervous about being photographed as most people are (including myself) This time we spent together is so very important to making folks feel comfortable with the idea of being photographed. My idea was that I wanted to photograph her as a Goddess at rest. I wanted to tell the story of what I think All That Matters represents and what roll it plays in our community. She was very reluctant to be portrayed as a Goddess, because, understandably, she didn’t want to give the impression she thought of herself as high and mighty… But this is (as are all the Rhode Island Portrait Project series photographs) my conception of who she is. Who I think of her as, not who she thinks of herself as…
2nd the execution: We built this composition over time using different things that Joan had on hand at her place I wanted it to be symmetrical and balanced visually because Yoga is all about balance. I decided to light her with candles mostly, so I went to Job Lot and the dollar store and bought about 200 candles! We used every single one! I constructed the composition slowly, and when I had everything placed where I wanted it to go then I set the exposure for the room (see 4708) then I added the one speedlight shot through a softbox (see 4710) and last I lit the candles and made sure the light was right coming off them (see 4713) when I had everything set which took about 1.5 hours then we started taking photographs and pretty quickly we got the winner (see 4733)
Here is my exposure info: ISO 800 (thank you Nikon) Shutter 1/25th and F 4 on my 50mm lens
With a little photoshoping the portrait was complete! I removed the leg of my light stand and some debris in the back ground as well some optimizations of contrast ect…
Here is a backed up shot so you can see where my light was positioned
A Simply Stunning Wedding: How to Design a Perfect South County Celebration
Recently, Adornment Fine Jewelry hosted an informational workshop for Brides, Grooms and their Families. Representatives from local bridal businesses and event planning experts shared trends, tricks, and techniques: virtually everything a bride and groom should know before they plunge into planning their event.
This seminar was not a sales pitch, rather it was an open forum that will gave information and guidance to couples on helping them plan their special event in South County.
Please take a look – you will be surprised by the great information contained within!
Calvin Campany: Jeweler and Owner of Adornment Fine Jewelry
Seth Jacobson: Photographer
Ginny Cauley: Owner of AAirline Express Limousine & Car Service, Inc.
Joseph Farias: Celebeautique Hair Spa, beauty expert
Brandi Lacoste: Blissful Events, Wedding Planner
Ann Petronio: Annie’s Escapes, Travel Planner & Escape Artist
As you can see above we had a 3 light set up for this portrait with an octabox set up pretty close to them camera left and about 3-4 feet away, a shoot through umbrella up and about 8-9 feet from the subjects off camera right, and a strip light up high and behind them to just kiss them with some soft light from behind. I set my ISO to 560 so that I could have a smaller Aperture and not use up tons of battery power. The exposure was shutter 1/60th at F/6.3 just to make sure that they were both in focus. I changed the color of the yellow paper back drop in Photoshop because I wanted the beige clothes and chair to be matched by the background a little more closely to make it all the more plain and uniform looking visually. This took quite a long time to set up and plan getting just the right clothes ect… But I think it was worth it, I love this portrait! My favorite little details are the paper and coffee on the side table and the heart-shaped Danish on the platter with a doily and everything!
lighting techniques and posing in a dynamic, hands-on workshop?
I photographed a portrait tonight in Providence RI. This was an interesting photo shoot because I was working with the very talented photographer Brad Smith, and the talented and beautiful photographer Kelly Meyer as a model. Brad and I worked together with Kelly in front of the camera for a change. She’s a pretty good model ha?
This photo was taken right at dusk on a beautifully cloudy day. We put an orange warming filter on the main light which was a soft box (which was set about 6 feet away from Kelly,and I shot with a white balance for tungsten light to match that warming filter which made the background go super blue. Cool effect ha? As you can see there were also 2 speed lights set up about 12 feet away from her on the right and left. I shot with an ISO of 400 on my 85 mm F5 Shutter 1/20th which was slow enough to catch a little movement from her leaving that wonderful dark edge on her left hand side making the image even more dramatic! She looks like Super Woman! I made some minor adjustments in Photoshop but this is pretty close to right out of the camera.
As always click on the photo to see it at the right size!
The first photo of Brian Being splashed by the SUV was taken outside in a real puddle and he REALLY got doused as you can see.
The shot was done with all natural lighting ISO 800 I wanted a SUPER fast shutter speed to make sure that I stopped the water in place as it was hitting him so that is why I chose such a high ISO. Plus the Nikon D700 I shoot on makes very sharp images even at that high of an ISO so no problem… I took it on my 70-200 VR zoom set to 190 mm Aperture of 2.8 with a shutter speed of 1/600th! Here is a set up shot to show you what the parking lot looked like
The second shot was taken inside an apartment using a white sheet for a background and 3 speed lights and Pocket wizards used to trigger the speed lights. 50mm lens set at aperture 3.5 shutter 1/100th Iso 100
You can see the two rear lights here in this set up shot. One set on the floor pointed up at Brian to define his legs and also add a little fill light on his face bouncing off the ceiling, and the other to define him on the top.
And here is a full on set up shot
I had the real pleasure of working at one of my favorite places in the world today, Beavertail in Jamestown Rhode Island! What a spot! I have photographed here many time and it is always a challenge to me to create a portrait that is beautiful and different from the last time I was here. I think I got it! and here is how I did it!
It was a SUPER windy day with bright sun almost straight up over head. Which if you don’t know makes it REALLY hard to photograph… So I put Jim and Nicole is a small patch of shade next to an old abandoned building. in order to get a good exposure for them I had to make the background to bright as you can see here
This test shot was taken at ISO 100, shutter of 250th at F6.3
Here is a crude drawing to show you the lighting set up
Then I dropped the exposure down to make the sky show the beautiful clouds behind them and put speed light off about 5 feet to my right with no modifiers just a bare flash at full power again ISO 100 shutter 250th, and F8 and here is what we got! Awesome !!! I am excited about this!
Here is a recent portrait that I created. Nancy was a natural in front of the camera and did a great job posing. Here are the technical details. I recently got some new toys and was trying them out for the first time. A new soft box to fit with my speed lights, and a spot grid both used in this photo. The soft box is coming off from our left and has a very thin strip of light coming in only about 2 inches wide. that means there is a baffles on the front of the soft box only letting a small strip of light come through, and in the main light is about 15 feet away from her on our left with the spot grid on it to focus the light directly at her. Also of note is that the main light is also shining through the frosted glass on the door you can see below putting that wonderful gradient behind her.
ISO 100 1/80th sec shutter and 2.8 aperature
I try not to post TOO many photos of my daughter because well you know, other people’s kids get a bit boring after a while… But here is my beautiful daughter in a portrait that I created today by the creek that runs past my home here in lovely Saunderstown RI. It was afternoon about 4:00 so the sun was behind her. I set my exposure to make the background exactly the brightness I wanted it and then put an umbrella up and to her right. With my speed light set at about 1/2 power. My exposure was 250th shutter F-stop 4.5 on my 85mm lens ISO 100
Here is a set up shot for you to see exactly where my light was