Wedding and portrait photographer Stephanie Zettl, author of The Nikon Speedlight Handbook, strives to tell stories through her photos. In this post, Stephanie shares some behind the scenes details from a senior portrait session, giving us the how and why of how she got the shot.
Good portrait photography tells a story about your subject. Both your location and your style of lighting will have an impact on the story you tell and the way you tell it. Being a good portrait photographer requires you to make conscious decisions about your lighting to tell a story properly.
Mandy is a talented, intelligent, and accomplished young lady with big dreams. When she showed up for her senior portrait session with a beautiful red dress and a pair of black pointe ballet shoes, I knew I wanted to highlight her elegant form and still give her a sense of strength and power. An old vacant church with large stone pillars proved the perfect backdrop to convey that sense of strength.
A designer by trade, Ed McGowan picked up his studio’s DSLR in 2008 and has been hooked ever since. His delicately composed shots lie right at the intersection between design and photography. Below, his account of Viridian.
The idea for this portrait came the day before when some co-workers and I were exploring a little creek down the road. The creek itself was not too impressive, but I started to think of ways to disguise and transform it with the use of some clever photography. One of the ways was to use short DOF by shooting a wider aperture. The issue with shooting wide apertures is it tends to let in too much light. To counter this I used a ND filter. Since I knew we would be shooting in the later afternoon and the sun would be at the subjects back, I decided to use off-camera lighting to light the subject.
Join us on November 27, 2012 at 1pm EST for this free live video seminar sponsored by PocketWizard.
Spend an hour with guest photographer Bobbi Lane as she demonstrates the techniques used to create a conceptual image on location, a “romantic portrait”, perhaps as a gift from the bride to the groom. We’ll have Bobbi live in the studio where she can explain in detail the concept, the process, the tools and the final results to creating a beautiful image.
Learn how Bobbi uses fill flash to open shadows and create a more pleasing light and skin tone. While on-camera flash can provide fill, the light sources are still small and often don’t provide a soft and effective illumination. Bobbi will take the flash off camera, using the PocketWizard MiniTT1® and FlexTT5® to create a more pleasing light. Take advantage of the live chat room to ask Bobbi questions as she takes us through the creative process.
This Webinar has been archived, and can be found here.
Photographer Chris Crisman is known for his environmental portraiture, so he was a natural choice for Field and Stream’s annual Heroes of Conservation project. The goal of the project is to profile and recognize outdoorsmen and women who “embody the spirit of conservation.”
For the first part of what is to be a three-part series documenting some of the shoots from the project, Chris travels to North Carolina to meet and photograph Eddie Bridges, the founder of the North Carolina Wildlife Habitat Foundation.
Adam Troup of Inspire Video shared some details about a composite shoot he did with a musician friend on an overpass in Edinburgh.
He knew he wanted to capture cars traveling down below as long light trails so he first did a 30-second exposure of the background. He then brought in Chris, a guitarist, as the subject. Due to strong winds, he had to ditch the idea of using a softbox, and instead positioned one off-camera flash to the right of the camera and another behind the subject as a rim light.
He used PocketWizard radios as triggers and had this to say about the system:
“I absolutely love the PocketWizard ETTL system, as mentioned above I have two FlexTT5 units, a MiniTT1 and the AC3 ZoneController. The AC3 is fantastic, as you can quickly and independently dial in flash compensation if you’re using ETTL or use the dials to alter the power of the speedlights if you’re using manual mode. You can mix ETTL and manual groups, quickly turn off and on each flash groups. It’s just a fantastic system and I love it!”
Scott Wyden Kivowitz is aNew Jersey photographersharing his passion for photography any way he can. Scott regularly hosts photowalks in New Jersey and loves educating other photographers on all aspects of the art. Scott is also the Community & Blog Wrangler at Photocrati and the Photographers SEO Community, teaching other photographers on how to increase business with their Web sites. What follows is Scott’s account of how he achieved a corporate portrait with limited time and physical room.
For the most part, every time I have a photo session to do, I am using at least a pair of PocketWizard radio triggers. For example, if I am out and want to play with wireless flash photography at night, I will typically have a PocketWizard on camera and another firing off a flash. However, going wireless is not a requirement. Sure, photographers can still pick up a long PC cable to trigger their lights, especially when the session is in a studio. Wires can be hidden (sometimes) under rugs, backdrops, etc., but in the example you will see here, I used a pair of PocketWizard Plus II units not because I had to, but because it made the job easier.
The talented and always-wonderful Moshe Zusman recently gave a lecture at B&H’s Event Space, demonstrating how to get perfect wedding shots, no matter what kind of lights you have or your location.
In order to get well-lit, white balanced subjects, Moshe recommends setting up a number of color-balancing gelled strobes that compliment the location’s lighting, high on light stands above the room. His assistants, he says, can set this up in six minutes.
Erik Valind, previously featured on our blog, has an exciting workshop currently roaming the country through October. If you’re looking for instruction on fast and mobile applications of off-camera flash, this looks to be your ticket.
Valind will have live models and will cover the following topics:
The characteristics of light and how it behaves
Creative ways to control and direct light using modifiers on- and off-camera
Last year, photographer Curtis Baker found himself with an all-access pass to photograph Dolly Parton at her opening show in Nashville, Tennessee. Luckily, he brought along his PocketWizards so he could get two points of view for the price of one photographer!
“After the intermission, I took the D700 and a Nikon 14-24mm 2.8 with a Manfrotto Magic Arm and attached it high up to the huge video wall behind the stage. I used a PocketWizard remote trigger and cord to fire off wide angle shots of Dolly facing the crowd. Every time the house lights came on to light the crowd and her hands went up, I would push the little button on my PocketWizard in my shirt pocket, hoping for a magic shot.”
Nice work, Curtis! Read his full account and see more of his music photography (and the PocketWizard shot) at his site.
Photographer Eric Rolph knows what it takes to get a great beach shot. He’s based in Maui, after all.
There’s few things more beautiful than a sunset on the beach in Hawaii, but photographing in such an environment can be tricky. Lighting conditions are volatile, using flash with daylight is a delicate operation, and to confound it all, salt and sand can be very unforgiving to your gear.
Eric needs to pack minimally, despite the challenging conditions, and depends on PocketWizard Plus II radio triggers to help him do that. No dragging around cables in the sand or blowing in the breeze.
To see Eric’s tips and tricks, including a lighting diagram, read the full article on Pop Photo and to see more of his work, visit rolphphoto.com.