Blog Archives

Ignite Talk about Photography and Truth

I had the pleasure of being the very 1st presenter in front of a sold out crowd at the very 1st Ignite Southern RI put on by The Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce 

This was an exciting and inspirational evening of speakers that was an honor to be a part of! Thank you to everyone that worked so hard to make it come together!

Behind the Curtain/ Roller Derby Portrait for Grace Magazine

Here is a portrait I created for Grace Magazine of some of the shoreline Roller Derby girls for an article  about their organization.

The Shoreline Roller Derby by Seth Jacobson

The Shoreline Roller Derby by Seth Jacobson

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

_SAJ3821 _SAJ3819


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.

behind the curtain with the shoreline roller derby by Seth Jacobson

behind the curtain with the shoreline roller derby by Seth Jacobson

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.

Behind the curtain with the Shoreline Roller Derby by Seth Jacobson

Behind the curtain with the Shoreline Roller Derby by Seth Jacobson

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.

Behind the curtain with The Shoreline Roller derby by Seth Jacobson

Behind the curtain with The Shoreline Roller derby by Seth Jacobson

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.

The Shoreline Roller Derby By Seth Jacobson for Grace Magazine

The Shoreline Roller Derby By Seth Jacobson for Grace Magazine




Rhode Island Portrait Project: Behind the curtain/ Bethany Geaber

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

Bethany Geaber for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

Bethany Geaber for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

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

set up for Bethany Geaber for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

set up for Bethany Geaber for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

Set up for Bethany Geaber for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

Set up for Bethany Geaber for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

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.

Bethany Geaber for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

Bethany Geaber for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

The next shot was our 50’s lady named Audrey here is a set up shot.

Set up for Bethany Geaber for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

Set up for Bethany Geaber for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

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…

Bethany Geaber for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

Bethany Geaber for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

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.

Bethany Geaber for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

Bethany Geaber for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

Rhode Island Portrait Project: Behind the curtain/ John Ford

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

lighting set up for portrait of John Ford

lighting set up for portrait of John Ford

I used a bare bulb flash no modifications set camera right about 1/32nd power results shown here

Lighting set up for portrait of John Ford

Lighting set up for portrait of John Ford

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

lighting set up for portrait of John Ford

lighting set up for portrait of John Ford

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

John Ford from Manic Training for the Rhode Island Portrait Project

John Ford from Manic Training for the Rhode Island Portrait Project

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

Michaelmas Photos from the Meadowbrook Waldorf School RI

Rhode Island Portrait Photographer Cover of Grace Magazine Behind the Curtain

I photographed Kelsey Kaiser for the Cover of Grace Magazine recently. Here is the cover image and inside spread as well

Grace Magazine Cover shot by Seth Jacobson

Photoshoot for Grace Magazine by Seth Jacobson

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

Grace magazine photoshoot behind the curtain

Grace Magazine photoshoot behind the curtain lighting set up

Grace Magazine photoshoot lighting set up behind the curtain

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

Cover photo for Grace Magazine June 2012 by Seth Jacobson

Boxing Portrait by Seth Jacobson

Behind the Curtain: Cover Photo for Grace Magazine of Theresa Ferryman

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.

lighting diagram for portrait of Theresa Ferryman

natural light

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

Cover portrait for Grace Magazine

Rhode Island portrait project behind the curtain Pier Cleaners

Briand Fish of Pier Cleaners for the Rhode Island Portrait Project

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

TSR lights behind the scenes (or lighting a light)

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

“Behind the Curtain” Lighting a portrait with a window in the background

Here is a portrait I created recently. Kristy was sitting down in a chair in her living room with the dog on her lap. I pulled the chair away from the small window into the kitchen behind her to give the portait some depth. I also made sure that the other window to the outside was in the frame. I exposed for the window which by the way was ISO 320 at F-stop 5, and a shutter speed of 200th of a second. The camera was my Nikon D700 with a 50 mm 1.4 lens.

I created this portrait using two speed lights, (or flashes) One light up above the subject and camera right shot through an umbrella about 3 feet away from her, and one behind her about 12 feet and up about 7 feet in the air shot straight at her through the inside window from the other room.

Here is what the shot looked like with no lights in her living room. Not so hot with out lights ha?

Lighting tips

My Birthday is coming up in a little more than a week. And so I thought it was a time for me to create a self-portrait to mark the changing of another year gone by. While at it, here is a run down on the lighting set up for those of your who are interested

This was shot on my D700 Nikon Camera at ISO 160

Shutter speed 160th, aperture 3.2 on my 50mm 1.4 lens

I set up the camera on a tripod in my kitchen with a 5 second delay, positioned an umbrella camera right with a speed light bouncing off the umbrella, another speedlight positioned to bounce off the ceiling very near the camera to fill in a little extra shadows, and hand-held a silver reflector low and camera left to bounce a little extra light underneath my face. I sat down on a stool and took the shot. I like it! Hope you do too! You can see the lighting set up here.

School Lantern Festival

Last week I joined the ranks of all the other parents in the world that have been to school functions for their children. This was the 1st of all of these types of events for me and it was pretty nice. The Waldorf School where my daughter goes here in beautiful RI has a lantern festival every year starting with a puppet show for the kids and then ends with everyone walking in the dark with lanterns and singing songs. It was very nice and here are the photos!

How to create a great portrait

This beautiful photo of my daughter was taken in afternoon/evening light. The sun was getting pretty low in the sky and directly behind her. I had an 85 mm lens on the camera. My aperature was set at 1.8 which makes that wonderful blur in the background shutter 1/640th of a second ISO 100

I was about 6 feet away from the subject, and just off to my right about 3 feet away from her was a gold bounce gently pushing light back on her. Very simple but effective

How to create a beautiful wedding portrait

Here is a beautiful portrait RIGHT out of my camera. NO adjustments at all on the test shot or the final version.

I saw a big window with some nice afternoon/evening light coming through but the curtains were big and unmoving so I had Kevin the Groom step in as my assistant and hold the curtains back. then I took a test shot to see what it looked like

beautiful light but WAY dark on one side so I had Stacey my assistant come in with a reflector and bounce a little light just off camera to my right and fill in that other side here are two photos from my iPhone showing the set up.

My settings on the final shot were ISO 250, Aperature 2.8, Shutter 1/50th

and again this is straight out of my camera

Marcia and Tom wedding at the Towers

I had the distinct honor of photographing a wedding on Sunday at the Towers in Narragansett Rhode Island. Marcia and Tom are a lovely couple that I met a couple of years ago when I photographed Tom’s brother being inducted into the marine corps. Since then I photographed a family portrait for them as well. As what happens often for me when I spend time with families at these wonderful junctures in their lives I feel so connected to them, and their well-being. We originally had this wedding set for Oct. when Tom’s brother Tim was ordered to go to Afghanistan in July. So we moved the wedding ahead in order for him to attend. (side note: please be safe and come home quickly Tim)

Lynda Williams from Formal hair design did all the lady’s hair. Here is her website. Don’t they look great! Wonderful job!

Joy from Flower Thyme did the flowers and as always did a fantastic job!!! Beautiful!!! Here is their website

The event happened at the Towers in Narragansett. My favorite place in Rhode Island. Here is their website

Pranzi was the Caterer, the food was wonderful! Thanks for feeding us so well Here is their website

Donna from Make over artistry did the make up for the lady’s simply beautiful! Here is her website

All around a Great Day! Thank you to Tom and Marcia for being so wonderful and having me as your photographer!!!

HDR photo experiment

I have been seeing alot of HDR photography lately on the web and frankly most of it is pretty boring to me. Like a new toy photographers have gotten it is over used as of late. But some HDR can be really great. So I thought I would try my hand at it. I hope I didn’t fall prey to the siren song of HDR. If I start posting lots of these types of images please remind me of this post…

For those of you who don’t know about HDR or what it is. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it combines multiple exposures into one final photo. I took three photo at Astors in Newport at a wedding a few weeks back and took some time to blend them using the new Photoshop CS5 HDR I like it. Here are two images dark and light that I started from I also took a middle exposure not posted but I think you can get the idea here.

And this is what we ended up with. Let me know what you think?

Model photo shoot

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!

%d bloggers like this: