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
Shot this business portrait yesterday, in the rain, on the steps of the Portland Art Museum.
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!
Providence Medical Center called recently for some new portraits of two of their doctors who were going to be going out and speaking at medical conferences. They needed shots together and portraits alone. So, early on a Sunday evening when the hospital was quiet, we nearly had the whole lobby to ourselves which made picking locations quite easy. They didn’t have a whole lot of time so I took along Canon Speedlites instead of my studio strobes to stay nimble and shoot fast.
I have begun to shoot a lot more horizontal portraits and in a lot looser fashion. This has been fun and I am excited to see the results. It keeps my peripheral vision engaged and allows me to see compositions and settings that I might not have noticed before when I was going in to “just do a headshot”. I’m enthused to see where this new direction takes me and present three of my favorites here!
Two new Digital Field Guides on Canon camera and flash technologies were debuted this month by Wiley Publishing and I am stoked after all the work to finally see them in print! Find them both here on Amazon.
I was reunited recently with a makeup artist I had worked with a year or so ago on a Nike shoot with distance runner, Kara Goucher. Jenna had called to reconnect and it was perfect timing because the scheduled makeup artist cancelled that day before my shoot for INUR magazine the next day. I quickly hooked her up with the editor she was on the team!
Jenna was a delight to have on set and it was great to get someone of her caliber at the last minute. She has a new website showcasing her work (with a few images from yours truly jennafallonmakeup.com that has a cool retro style that I dig. She’s very friendly, totally professional and available for commercial shoots, weddings and personal consultations. Shoot on over to her website and check out her work!
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!
Shot a beautiful addition to a Lake Oswego home last week for the designer and the contractor for portfolios and contest submissions. We scheduled it for the perfect time to match up the exterior sky with the interior lighting and I think we hit it pretty good. The only problem shooting RAW @ f/22 on a 16-35mm f/2.8 L is that even with a clean-to-the-eye sensor, there will still be microscopic specs there that have to be retouched out of the corners where they collect. Not evident at all in the larger apertures, but oh-so-there in the smallest!
Arguably one of my favorite fine-art photography clients is Rick Moore and his cool and quirky fantasy creatures. His latest one, “Octohands” was created in 2006 and he recently completed the patina and brought it by the studio for his portfolio. Weighing in at a little over 90 pounds, it’s 3/4 life size and was a little daunting to move alone. I had several clients over for portraits while this was set up (love having the space for multiple shoot set-ups!) and it was fun to see them do double-takes, once they saw what it was!