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
Recently, I was contacted by a jewelry maker and metal-smith from the mid west, who was referred to me by way of an online forum for jewelers from another out-of-state client in Florida. Such is the world we live in these days! She had received links to about ten photo websites to visit and in the end chose me because “the metal looks like metal.” I am delighted that these out-of-state clients trust sending their work to me and even more so, to be able to work with such talented artists.
Got a jump on 2013 with a few guys in the studio last week for some business headshots and wanted to try some alternatives to the usual way I pose and photograph portraits. While much of it has to do with the willingness of your subject to stretch or to move a certain way, it’s my job to make sure they look good, natural and at ease. These fellows were quite different from one another but the goal is always the same… make a few great shots they can use for their marketing materials and get a few outstanding ones for the blog! So here they are… you can tell by the last one we do have a lot of fun doing this!
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!
I put on a lighting demo in my studio last night for the PMPA After-Hours program. My studio in SW Portland can accommodate large and small projects just fine but when you pack it with over 40 people it gets downright cozy! It just so happened that a former photo student and current body-builder friend of mine needed photos last night for a $25.000 competition she is entering and since I needed some new sports portraits for my website and book, it was they say, fortuitous! Laura is also an incredible newborn baby photographer herself littlelaurajane.com. Since she is a strong photographer in her own right, she had no trouble posing for the group.
We had a great time discussing lighting theory, placement and my favorite ~ modifiers! The demo was a preamble to my full-day lighting workshop at Stage 13 on May 12th.
It is so rare that a photographer gets to see what they look like when they are working so it was really cool that Danny Abrego of Portland Reign Photography sent me these pics of me! Thanks, Danny
Here I’m shooting with my homemade DIY Speedlite Ringflash to add some soft fill for the more powerful Alien Bees studio strobes.
We’ll be exploring this and way more lighting techniques in the full-day Lighting & Portraiture Workshop May 12th at Stage 13 in NW Portland. Find out more info here or here. Hope to see you there!
My client from Thailand was in the States picking up this wedding/engagement ring from his custom jeweler and wanted some hot images of it before he carted it off to the Kingdom formerly known as Siam and origin of all that yummy food! He also brought over to the studio some authentic Thai figurines he wanted me to work into some of the compositions and it was a challenge because of the differences of scale between the ring and the assorted sculptures.
At $12K for the large diamond, around $3K for the smaller two and about $1K for the setting, and shooting without a Brinks guard, I was never so happy as to get this assignment out the door!
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
What do you get when you bring thirteen naturopathic doctors into the studio, after hours, for a group shot for their collective website? If you stick with it long enough, the above shot! We started off with some simple groupings and as we shot some interesting forms started to take shape, much like arranging musical notes on a scale. After a dozen or so shots, I’d have them rearrange themselves then make my compositional tweaks. We ended up shooting about 8 or 9 groupings.
After the final shots, when I knew we had it in the can (memory card?) I let them do what ever they wanted for fun. That’s when all the personalities came out and I really like this one for all the different expressions. It’s always a good idea to have a final fun shot like this when shooting certain groups in the studio or on location. Even better when they bring the beer and pizza!
Detailed coverage of Canon’s four speedlite-580EX II, 430 EX II, 220 EX and the new 270 EX-built exclusively for Canon DSLRs.
If you use a digital SLR camera, then you understand just how critical it is to have a capable flash. Canon Speedlite shines a whole new light on taking photos with a Canon DSLR. This full-color, in-depth guide takes you beyond the standard manual that accompanies the Speedlite and shows you the types of settings you can use on your camera when working with the Speedlite.
You’ll explore the possibilities of wireless lighting with multiple speedlites as well as the creative effects you can achieve. Author and professional photographer Brian McLernon demystifies setting up the speedlite, synchronizing the speedlite equipment, and determining lighting ratios.
Canon DSLRs are only growing in popularity and the Speedlite system is a must-have accessory for exploring a new world of digital photo possibilities
Shows you how to create an inexpensive and portable wireless studio lighting system that can go where you go
Demystifies setting up the speedlite, synchronizing the equipment, and figuring out lighting ratios
Covers other Canon lighting system components, such as the ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter, Macro Ring Lite, and Macro Twin Lite
Real-world information on using these speedlites illustrated by full-color examples and untangles the complexities of using the Canon Speedlite system.