Many of the products I shoot on set, whether they are gadgets, gizmos, or medical devices as pictured here, have some sort of illuminated screen, readout, buttons, LEDs, etc. that must be accounted for and depicted in the final images. This shot of was no different. This interesting invention is actually what amounts to a gentle dental jackhammer for tooth extraction. It was originally tested by veterinarians on canines, and has now been approved for human use. They approached me to create photos for the product launch and needed a real sexy shot for an upcoming trade show display.
The first step is getting the shot set up. This thing has six foot cords connecting the wand to the control box in the background and a foot switch to control the intensity. We did some shots of the whole apparatus for their marketing literature but we wanted a shot that showed only the cool parts of the unit for the back-lit trade show display. For this shot, a coat hanger was used to position the wand in the right position and secured to the wand with butyl, a very sticky black substance used to weather seal windshields during installation. A hole was cut in the background paper to allow the cord to be plugged in, and proper exposure of the wand and f/stop for the background was determined. Finally, critical focus on the wand was made, and with all the lights/strobes in the studio set to off, a timed exposure of between 1 and 2 seconds was recorded to see how the screen and LED showed up.Because of the two-second exposure, you’ll need to shoot this in total darkness on set to get full saturation from the lights and it is very important to move carefully and not bump or kick the camera stand in the dark (been there, done that.) The camera was set to 2nd-curtain sync (as it almost always is) and a 2 second image was made with the Alien Bees firing right at the end to light the wand and control box. Eventually, the client went with the version below and the trades show was a great success, but I still like the drama of the lead off one above more
A very elegant and dapper gentleman stopped by the studio today, pausing for a portrait for his upcoming motivational speaker tour. I love being in the presence of such people, because as I try to bring the best out of them, their casual banter pushes me to bring the best out of me!
Rummaging around up in the studio attic looking for something else one night, I ran across an old dear friend. We met in 1977, my junior year at ASU and while it was a little awkward at first, we soon learned how to make it happen and man, we did it! I graduated
So many rolls of film have gone through this camera that I sometimes laugh when I see one of these or similar cameras being used as a “vintage camera” nowadays in a wedding or fashion shoot If that’s your thing, that’s cool, but I remember when the real camera actually meant something. A step up from 35mm and “you now need a bigger negative carrier”. That sort of thing. It’s really neat that you include them in your shots as kind of an implied quality.
Man, I loved that camera can’t wait to take another look in the neg files to what gems (if any!) are there. I know there’s thousands of candidates!
This was shot in the very simple studio-in-a-box technique. I took a 16x16x16″ box, laid it on one side and cut out the remaining three sides, leaving 1″ of cardboard on either side. The inside was spray-painted flat black and tissue paper was taped over the openings. This diffused the speedlite’s light and created those large soft highlights. This is a great technique to use when shooting small products for catalogues, eBay or Etsy sales.
Since I was set up already shooting a tech assignment, I laid down a piece of black tile in the set and let speedlites do the rest. It was great spending time with an old trusted friend!
So my favorite financial planner was in the studio yesterday for an updated photo for his website and various social media uses. We talked beforehand about the feel and emotional impact he wanted the images to convey. He said: Accessibility, confidence, warmth. And from that, it was my job to interpret it into a visual representation. At that point, decisions are made; lens selection, background selection, RAW or jpeg? (Of course RAW, just kidding!) lighting set-up, shutter-speed, f/stop, white balance, reflector, grids, gels, etc, the list goes on. And yet, it’s all so cool when it comes together, like building a puzzle on a deadline
(till next time)
Portland Band Sweet Thunder was in the studio last week for some new promo shots for their website and marketing fliers. Check them out and about soon!
Sweet! Just found out I’m featured in this month’s Shutterbug Magazine along with three other photographers in an article about book publishing by Maria Piscopo. Check out the article here!
Had a floor covering client in the studio this week that wanted a variation over a standard studio portrait. He wanted something like a trade show/showroom feel that he could use for his marketing and web sites along with some social networking. After discussing a variety of ways to do it, we incorporated a banner he had brought with him and a bright red canvas backdrop.
Since I’m working like crazy on my second book for Wiley, this one on Canon’s Speedlite System, I’m shooting everything now with Speedlites until the book is finished. This shot actually uses four Speedlites, one for the main/key light, shot through a softbox, edge light camera right, background light and one on the banner to kick it up a little.
Trekked up to Everett, Washington last weekend to do a lighting workshop for the Fire and Rain Glass Bead Society. After a long drive it was great to pull in and see so many smiling faces. We had a great location and set up multiple lighting scenarios with different backgrounds and even though I showed them how I do it, I also shared some simple things they could do to make their photos better.
First, we went over basic digital capture and histograms, then moved on to f/stops, light quality and reflectors. We then broke into smaller groups and shot work they had brought and they thought it was cool to see how much punch you can get out of one light. It is amazing to see how finely detailed and small a lot of the beads are. It was a lot of fun to present to such an enthusiastic audience. I’ll be doing another glass lighting workshop this summer in the Portland area in case you missed this one!
I must admit the Lensbaby look just didn’t fit my style, or so I thought. Until I shot with the new Composer. OMG, have you ever had you head slapped up against a wall, in a good way? Everything they say about these unique marvels is true and the possibilities are really endless. It really is a whole new way of seeing. My thanks go out to Craig Strong and Keri Friedman of Lensbaby for their unquestioning support, advice and friendship. I’m new to the fold but I’m a quick learner.