I have been feeling the weight of life coming down on me lately. This wonderful quote from Leonard Cohen helps keep things in perspective
I had an interesting job come my way this week. I don’t do a lot of “commercial” photography, very little in fact, but I had the time and they had a need so why not take on a challenge right? So I pushed myself a little and photographed this very interesting new lighting set up. TSR Thermal Solution Resources makes these lights which are bright, don’t get hot… Very cool in fact, as I was photographing this light I was impressed at how cool it stayed the entire time it was on which was a few hours. Here is the TSR website by the way
SOooo to the lighting set up and technical info.
Here is the shot
This was shot on my D700 at ISO 160 Shutter 30th of a sec, at F 5.6 on my 55 mm manual lens. This means there is no computer in the lens or any electronics of any kind. It is a manual focus lens made in 1977 long before digital photography even existed! this photo was taken using 2 lights both off camera. And the light itself on as well. One was placed just slightly below the subject and camera left about 1.5 feet back and the other camera right and high above the subject about 3 feet away. Also I had a silver bounce camera right and in front of the subject to fill in the shadows a bit. also there was a window just camera left filling in soft light as well and the back ground is the side of my refrigerator… Here are some set up photos
I get asked all the time what amount of photoshopping I do to my images and the truth is not very much. Most of the time I prefer to do my work before hand using good composition, good lighting, and just generally get the fundamentals of photography “right” in camera. But sometimes I do take extra time and really tweak and tweeze a photo in the computer to push it to another level. Also let me be clear I have NO problem AT ALL with using the computer to enhance, change or manipulate a photo. There is an erroneous idea out there that with the invention of Photoshop so came the invention of the manipulated image. This is simply NOT SO. Here two examples of people using the dark room, airbrushing, and other techniques to manipulate enhance or just change an image…
And Joseph Stalin not only wiped people out with guns, but in photos too…
But I am getting a little off topic here, I love the computer and Photoshop, and have no problem using them to execute my vision of what a photograph should look like. Maybe on another day I will spend some time writing about this and going into in with more detail, but for now I want to show you what I have done with this image of a beautiful woman who I photographed this week. This 1st shot is straight out of the camera no changes at all to the image. Pretty good ha?
This 2nd version has been adjusted in Adobe Lighroom 3
I added just a tiny bit of green and yellow to the white balance of the photo, removed the mole from her chest and brightened the shadow on her face just a little. It’s getting better…
This finished version was exported into Adobe Photoshop CS5 and changed a little more there.
I added a little more yellow to the photo softened just a tiny bit, and cleaned up the stray hairs on her head, and last softened the shadow on her chest. So this is my vision of what this photo should look like as realized by the computer. I hope this helps illustrate to those of you who are interested what can happen behind the scenes on an image. As I said at the beginning of this post, I mostly don’t do this much work on my photos. Because there is something to be said for a more “natural” look. But sometimes I feel the desire to push an image to that next level…
First and foremost a good portrait comes from 2 main places in my opinion. 1st understanding photography, the fundamentals of light and composition has to be in place. But then you have to understand people and how to make them feel comfortable… I am writing about the 1st part. If you need help with the people part, I can’t help you. But if you can’t get someone to relax in front of the camera 99% of the time it is the photographers fault… not the subject
The photo you see here was taken in a hotel room. I was standing on a chair with a large window to my left. I had one of the brides maids hold up the brides dress high behind her to make a pleasing background and to bounce a little light back at her. This is all natural light. ISO 100 1/90th shutter and 1.8 Aperature on a 50mm lens. Here is a photo of me taking this photo to give you a perspective
When I tell you that Tara and Kevin had a great wedding day, I am completely underselling it. This turned out to be one of the most amazing weddings I have ever been to. Why? While I know it sounds cheesy, it was because of the love, the true, deep, powerful love that Tara and Kevin have for each other… In addition to that they both planned very well, brought the right people on board to make it happen, and when the day of the wedding arrived they let loose and had a great time.
The wedding happened at The Atlantic Beach Club you can view their website here what a beautiful place! well organized and professional staff. Everything went off just right!
Golden gate studio’s did the flowers view their website here and the flowers were amazing!
Kristin Butterfield Green did the make up for the bride, and she looked AMAZING here is her website!
Nancy Palino and the Black Tie Band Provided the music visit their website here What a great band!!! You know the music is good when it is midnight and the band plays their last song and the dance floor is packed…
Kevin and Tara decided to do their “formals” before the wedding so we set up a place for them to see each other for the first time alone and I can’t tell you how moved I was by those moments. Kevin was crying, Tara was crying, (I was crying) Later on in the night after the ceremony Both the Bride and the Groom had surprises planned for each other. The groom is Irish and so the bride had Irish step dancers come and perform for everyone. WHAT A SHOW!!! At the end of the night the groom had an icecream truck come as a surprise to the bride. The bride and groom ended the night in the truck, serving icecream to their guests and anyone who happened to be walking by. What a lovely way to end the night. With a gesture of service to all their loved ones! OK I will stop gushing now Enjoy the photos!!!
This portrait was taken in a hallway right next to the bathroom (really) see set up shot #2 It was taken on my Nikon D2x 100 ISO 50mm lens 1/125th shutter Aperature F 2.2 I had a large window on my left and dry eraser board on my right bouncing a little light back at him. I am super happy with the results! It looks like a studio lighting set up don’t you think?
This photo I am showing you here was taken with my 50mm Lens on my Nikon D2x, ISO 100, 1/25 shutter and 3.2 aperature. I was on the second floor of a big building with a wide open window behind the bride. We had almost but not quite direct sun streaming in onto her from behind and to my right. It was about 2:30 in the afternoon so the sun was way high in the sky. You can see the tree tops in the back ground out of focus because I was shooting at 3/2 Aperature and they were about 100 yards away. I had one of the brides maids hold a reflector low and bounce light right back onto the Brides body and face. so the reflector was bouncing exactly opposite of the sun light. (Thank Megan!!!) Here is a behind the scenes photo of me taking the photo (thanks Danielle!!) and the final version of it. I worked it in lightroom 3.2 beta and made it B/W with just a hint of brown/yellow added to the dark areas for warmth.
Beth and Mike got married yesterday at The Glen Manor in Portsmouth RI It was a lovely day for two wonderful people. If you haven’t been to the Glen Manorm, it is spectacular! What a beautiful place! Simply Devine Catering was prepared the food and Robin Hollow Farm prepared the flowers. Everything went off perfectly we photographed all the formal photos before the ceremony, which was outside. Directly after the ceremony we gathered up all the guests and I took a big group shot of everyone and then the cocktail hour started a which was inside and within seconds it started to rain! What amazing timing. We just made it! No problems at all! I think we ended up with some really beautiful photos, don’t you?
More in my series showing the behind the scenes of portrait sessions. Working with pretty people always helps… Lucky for me I had a beautiful woman to work with. I was using 3 lights for this portrait. two up and behind her about 5 feet away from her with no modifiers on them at all, just the speed ring/reflectors. For those of you aren’t photographers that is just a small silver ring to generally point the light one direction. I was shooting in an office building see the florecent lights and power strip on the wall … I just over powered the lights in the room with my lights so you aren’t seeing any of those in the final shot. My main light which was a light shot thru an umbrella was set up above her and to my right but as close as I could get it to her about maybe 3 feet away, because I wanted that light to be as soft as possible. I used the regular green wall as a backdrop. We ended up with a dramatic image! Dig it!
So I took these two photos in Belmont Market place in Wakefield RI (a very good market by the way) and while I was taking the them the guy behind the counter came up and told me that I couldn’t take photos of the Lobsters…?!!! ? Crazy ha? I obviously didn’t listen to him. I have been taking photos for a long time and have had a few people over the years give me a hard time about photos and it always surprises me. I had a police officer pull me over and question me about photographing the Newport Bridge once … Anyway… Which one do you like more?