Hello, my name is Brandon Lyon, I am a commercial portrait and fashion photographer. I work out of Dallas, Texas and I am excited to write my first article for the PocketWizard Blog. I grew up as an only child so I mostly lived inside my imagination, creating stories and characters to entertain me. I also really enjoyed reading. I craved the feeling of falling into a book for hours on end and losing yourself to a different time and place. We didn’t travel much so this was how I got away. I particularly loved science fiction and fantasy. The world was what you wanted it to be, and the rules could be different.
I wanted to share a recent project I shot for the musical group Pentatonix. They are an a cappella group of five vocalists that gained success after winning season three of NBC’s The Sing-Off and are currently dominating YouTube and the world with their fresh and unique arrangements of mainstream music from pop to hip-hop and electronic music.
“Wedding photography,” says Swiss photographer Magnus Bogucki, “is no longer my passion – but my lifestyle. Every wedding is unique and having the opportunity to capture and “tell” the unique story is what I truly love.”
At a wedding he was covering at the Castello di Morcote, outside of Lugano, Magnus wanted to make the most of the scenic location for a portrait of the bride and groom. He says, “This couple came from Las Vegas to get married in Switzerland so I wanted to create a photo where the couple enjoyed some time for themselves and soaked in the environment around them.”
Brett Warren is a Nashville based photographer whose work is at once charming, beautiful, and rich with details that really tell a story. He was recently profiled in Native Magazine and he shot a series especially for them, inspired by the theme of the issue, green and sustainability.
I had wanted to shoot a story inspired by the porcelain figurines that you find at thrift stores, or your grandparent’s curio cabinets, for some time. As far as technique goes, I wanted to be sure and illuminate the girl’s skin to create a shiny highlight that could be translated as porcelain.
I used my trusty PocketWizard Plus II atop my camera to communicate with the built in PocketWizard on my Profoto AcuteB2 kit. It always communicates instantly, and makes for an easy-going shoot with perfect lighting every time. I let the sun flood the back of her head, and filled the front with directional strobe light for an ethereal feel.
When James Quantz Jr. was asked to create a number of promotional images for the University of South Carolina’s 2013 football season, he approached the project from a fan’s perspective. “If I think it would look cool on my wall,” he says of the concept, “I’m hoping I’m hitting on where the fans are coming from.”
In the behind the scenes video, you can see him working with Paul C. Buff Einstein lights with a variety of modifiers, including a large umbrella and a grid. The Paul C. Buff Einstein lights are being triggered by PocketWizard PowerMC2 Receivers. He shoots the athletes in a controlled environment and then composites them into background images of a full stadium that he had shot earlier.
“During a photoshoot like this when I’m capturing athletes in motion, I rely on my PocketWizards to sync flawlessly so I don’t miss any of the action. A lot of times these are day long events so one of my favorite features on the Plus III is a battery level indicator so I always know when power might be running low.”
Photographer Brett Harkness recently shared with us images and diagrams from the book Light & Shoot / 50 Fashion Photos by Chris Gatcum. Here are his thoughts and details behind putting together the images from this shoot.
This image was shot for a clothing company called Love Miss Daisy, which focuses on 1950’s vintage clothing. Taken in the U.K. in July, I decided to end the day long shoot with something a little different. It was around 9pm, the light was fading fast and we were about to wrap up, but I wanted to finish with a bang! I had some smoke bombs with me I’d been looking to use for awhile, so I thought this was the time to give them a go!
Wrapping the model in vintage petticoats I set up the main strobe, an Elinchrom A head with Ranger RX Speed AS pack with a 135cm Octabox. I added a second strobe behind the model to light the fallen tree to the left of the frame and create a rim-lighting effect as it passed through the smoke and across the subject. This head was “naked” to get the most spread from the bulb and had it’s own Ranger pack, both heads on the A channel. It was starting to get dark, but to add further drama I decided to underexpose the scene to give full effect of the strobes.
For the project, Jonathan captured candid portraits of people in their cars while waiting at red lights. He writes, “By highlighting the occupants and interiors of vehicles I bring normally private moments into the public space that surrounds the zone of an occupied vehicle. This is an effort to create portraits of an extensive and permeating culture that has a large group of members but often has little communication, interaction or bonds between individuals.” (Read the full statement.)
To get the images, Jonathan came up with a pretty interesting rig using two cars and a couple of friends. He had his camera mounted on a tripod in the back of his car, pointing out the rear view window. Sitting next to him, his friend manned the MacBook Pro the camera was tethered to. His girlfriend drove the second car, which had one gridded strobe pointing out the back side window. Once everyone was in position, he would use his PocketWizard Plus® II to trigger both the camera and the strobe simultaneously.
Paul D’Andrea is an Indianapolis-based photographer whose work runs the gamut from portraits and events to fine art. He even helps run one of the few photography galleries in the city, M10 Studio and Gallery. Here, he gives us the details behind an outdoor portrait he made with a little help from HyperSync®.
When making a portrait I have to decide how to draw the viewer’s eye to the subject. I might do this with a simplified background, a composition that frames the subject, or it might be with a shallow depth of field or a difference in exposure (making the subject brighter than the backdrop).
For an outdoor portrait, using a shallow depth of field often precludes the use of studio lights and exposure in pulling the subject off the background. With a maximum sync speed of 1/250th of a second for the studio lights, I need to choose an aperture to match the ambient exposure, this might be f/11 or f/16 on a sunny day, which won’t provide a very shallow depth of field. Enter HyperSync, which allows me to have both a shallow depth of field and large light modifiers.
Cy Cyr is an Orlando based photographer who specializes in commercial and editorial portrait work. Golf Digest came to him when they wanted to create a humorous photo slideshow illustrating some all-too-familiar (for all you golfers out there) bad behavior on the course.
We tackled a list of 22 shot ideas generated by Golf Digest staff members and myself. The shoot lasted about ten hours, and my PocketWizard Plus® III radio triggers were there for everything. I was running Profoto Pro-7B’s with beauty dishes because of the portability, endurance, and consistency.