'Portrait Photography' Category

Making Smaller Voices Heard in an Ever Noisier World

There comes a time when we read or see something that makes us want to quit our day job, pack our bags, and go do something that actually makes a difference in this world. Few get past their morning coffee before they’re once again off to the office, dreams put on hold. And then there are those who, damn the naysayers and snickers, actually follow through and make the world, in some small measure, a better place to live in. Mark van Luyk, a Creative Director by trade, and his wife, Judith Madigan, an optometrist by trade, did just that. And they’ve succeeded.

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Judith and Mark stepped out of the corporate world in 2006 and after a year of travel and soul searching, established ‘BrandOutLoud’, which in Judith’s words ” specializes in tailor-made branding and communications for non-profits worldwide.” If you’ve ever browsed through brochures and websites designed and illustrated by and for non-governmental and other non-profit organizations, you know the design and graphics can often be sophomoric, and at times depressing to look at. Mark and Judith were determined to change all of that.

© Mark van Luyk - BrandOutLoud

As a Creative Director, Mark understands the importance of branding – “It’s all about knowing who you are and what you stand for”. He’s also quite aware of the role of powerful imagery when it comes to successful communication. “Showing stereotype (aid) images of tragedy, warfare, or disease evokes helping from the point of view of pity. Besides, the world has seen enough of the sad looking malnourished African child with the flies in the eyes” Mark adds.

© Mark van Luyk - BrandOutLoud

Mark’s approach is to present local aid organizations from remote locations around the world as real people, with dreams of their own being turned into realities. And no matter how humble or simple the endeavor may be, there is a strong sense of pride and dignity in the faces of the people he has photographed along the way.

 

As a result of Mark and Judith’s efforts, small local aid organizations now have the ability to sustain themselves by attracting new supporters and expanding their network of partners, becoming more and more independent. They are able to show their story and get their message across using the newly well-designed communication tools.

So far Mark and Judith have met with much success. Rather than chasing leads, organizations are now seeking them out for their expertise in not only ‘branding’ aid organizations, but for their unique ability to design and supply the elements of entire campaigns, and they do it quite well.

© Mark van Luyk - BrandOutLoud

Due to the remoteness of many of the locations the van Luyks travel to, they must travel light. For this reason Mark narrowed his choices of gear down to his Canon cameras (EOS 5D Mark II and Mark III), a set of fast prime lenses, and four Canon 580EX II Speedlites which he uses grouped together or individually depending on the circumstances – with or without a softbox or umbrella (In addition to stills, Mark also shoots HDSLR video for client and promotional needs). To synchronize his cameras and lights, Mark relies on PocketWizard MiniTT1 Transmitters, PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceivers, and PocketWizard AC3 ZoneControllers, which he cannot praise enough.

© Mark van Luyk - BrandOutLoud

“I work in the field and I have to think about everything going on around me, and we often have to set up and work quickly.  My PocketWizard system allows me to set my lights the way I want them knowing the images will come out dead-on. “I’d rather get it right when I press the shutter release. Sitting at a computer doing Photoshop is not my idea of a fun time.”

 

Mark relishes the fact he can control the entire creative process from soup to nuts. “Knowing upfront how the image will appear at the end makes it easy for me to capture and compose all of the elements together. I can pre-visualize the picture and how it will appear in print or the web before I fire the shutter. That’s a huge advantage.”

 

The resulting images are strikingly simple, and though ‘advertorial’ in style, don’t come off too slick or condescending to either the subject(s) or viewer(s). Mark van Luyk and Judith Madigan are quite clear on the fact their subjects are real people, with real hopes, dreams, and realities, and they deserve the same level of dignity an respect as the more privileged amongst us.

 © Mark van Luyk - BrandOutLoud

To learn more about BrandOutLoud visit http://www.brandoutloud.org/videos/1/

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Mark van Luyk / BrandOutLoud, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

 

 

 

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Seth Hancock Spends 10-Minutes with a Stranger

Seth-Hancock-Self-PortraitWhen photographer Seth Hancock and his wife decided to move from Los Angeles to New York they agreed she would pack up their belongings (and the dog) and take the express route cross country so she could get their new digs in order while he followed up on a personal photography project he had been thinking about for the prior three years. Specifically, Seth had a hankering to take a cross-country jaunt photographing random strangers along the way. Sure it’s been done before, but Seth’s project had a set of parameters that made it rather unique.

The ’10 Minutes With a Stranger’ project was a 47-day trip (original estimate 15 days… tops), in which Hancock encountered over 150 strangers, engaged them in conversation for 10 minutes while figuring out how to make an equally engaging portrait of his newest friend. Lastly – and this is where he connects the dots between himself, his subject, and the viewer, he had each of them write something personal about themselves in a journal he carried for that very purpose.

The ground rules for the journal entry were that the entries had to be truthful, honest, no longer than a single page, written in first-person, and be specifically about themselves. ‘Fortune Cookie’ or ‘Yearbook’ responses, as well as ‘innocuous, blasé, wistful, or disingenuous’ responses would not be accepted. The results of Seth’s efforts and execution of ’10 Minutes with a Stranger’ are remarkable to say the least.

Kevin, Mechanic, Deluth, Mn

Kevin, Mechanic, Duluth, MN

 

In preparation for the trip Seth packed two cases of Elinchrom Rangers, stands, umbrellas and cables for lighting his subjects. It didn’t take more than his first day out to realize there was no way he could make an honest connection with his subjects, gain their trust, and make a worthwhile portrait if he also had to deal with the distractions of setting up a hit-and-run portrait studio.

Christina, USAF, Bristow Va

Christina, USAF, Bristow, VA

 

Jim, Cider Maker, Minneapolis, MN

 

Rather than waste precious time futzing with studio lights, he mounted a  MiniTT1 Transmitter onto his Nikon D3s, FlexTT5 Transceivers onto his SB-800 Speedlights with Lumiquest Big Bounce diffusers, and he was good-to-go.

Though he earlier tried syncing his camera and flash using a TTL sync cord, he found the length of the cord greatly impeded his ability to get the shots he saw in his mind’s eye. The only way he could get it right was to go wireless. ‘I couldn’t have done it without my PocketWizard wireless triggering system. They literally unchained me.”

Joey Z, Carpenter, Buffalo NY

Joey Z, Carpenter, Buffalo, NY

 

Arlene, Freelance Writer, Minot ND

Arlene, Freelance Writer, Minot, ND

 

One aspect of going wireless that appealed to Seth’s framing and composition was the ability to quickly change the position of the Speedlight while handholding it off to the side or from above. Other times he would stand the Speedlight on a table or ledge, using the flat bottom surface of the FlexTT5 Transceiver as a table stand for the Speedlight. And in a few shots, his subject is actually holding the Speedlight in their hand, which is about as cooperative as a stranger can get when you’re taking their portrait.

Andrea the Giant, Pro Wrestler, Salt Lake City UT

Andrea the Giant, Pro Wrestler, Salt Lake City, UT

 

Something Seth had no control over was when and where he would encounter his next subject, which meant he was often shooting under contrasty midday sunlight. Here, too, his PocketWizard radios made his day by enabling him to shoot at wider, portrait-appropriate apertures and correspondingly faster shutter speeds under the brightest of lighting conditions using the HSS/Auto-FP Sync function of his PocketWizard/Speedlight portrait lighting system.

Seth makes a point of noting his PocketWizard triggering system transmits iTTL information, which is critical when shooting in such narrow time parameters.  While there were several occasions when he synced with his Speedlight in Manual Mode, there were equally as many occasions when he needed to be able to pump anywhere up to three stops of additional light onto their faces in order to make the person stand out from the background without having to compromise other visual elements in the picture.

For Seth Hancock, PocketWizard radio triggers are so much more than a Speedlight accessory, they are creative tools unto themselves.

To see more of Seth Hancock’s work visit the following links:

Portfolio – http://sethhancock.com

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/thesethhancock

Facebook for 10 Minutes with a Stranger – http://www.facebook.com/10minuteswithastranger

Seth Hancock’s Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/thesethhancock

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Seth Hancock, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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Jaleel King Defines His Moments

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 8.20.01 PMDefining moments are part of life and they typically arrive with little if any warning, and at any time, day or night. Jaleel King’s life-defining moment came to him at the age of eight in the form of an errant shotgun blast that left him in a wheelchair.

Fast-forward about 30 years and Jaleel still faces obstacles, though these days his obstacles have to do with not having the right lens on his camera when he needs it, or not being able to get high or low enough to get the angle just right. In other words, many of the obstacles Jaleel deals with on a workday basis are the same obstacles other photographers regularly deal with… minus the wheelchair.

Jadore Bleu was photographed using  Lighting AB800s in the back on slave with an AB800 with a beauty dish beauty dish as key synced to a PocketWizard FlexTT5  Camera: Canon 40D with PocketWizard MiniTT1.

Jadore Bleu was photographed using AlienBees B800s in the back on slave with an AlienBees B800 with a beauty dish as key synced to a PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver.
Camera: Canon 40D with PocketWizard MiniTT1 radio trigger. © Jaleel King

 

 

 

 

 

 
Jaleel King’s work is a mix of street journalism, weddings, and studio portraiture that are striking to say the least, especially considering his journey to this point in his life. Take a browse through his website or Facebook page and you’ll discover a person who is hasn’t allowed a life-altering incident stop him from pursuing his love of photography. In the studio or in the street, Jaleel King has taken life by the gonads and run with it.

Portraits lit with a PCB - Einstein with a PocketWizard PowerMC2 unit inside of a Wescott 50" Apollo  and two Canon 600EX Speedlites synced to PocketWizard FlexTT5s Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with PocketWizard MiniTT1 and AC3.

Portraits lit with a Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 flash with a PocketWizard PowerMC2 Receiver inside of a Wescott 50″ Apollo and two Canon 600EX Speedlites synced to PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceivers.
Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with PocketWizard MiniTT1 radio trigger and AC3 ZoneController. © Jaleel King

The idea of wireless flash always appealed to Jaleel King because as he puts it “wheelchairs and cables are a bad mix”. Initially self-taught, for a long time King was unaware of the existence of wireless flash. It wasn’t until he had an opportunity to be on set at a ‘real’ photo shoot that it all came together. For the first time he was able to see how equipment and trained talent can work together to create truly professional photographs. And in his particular case, knowing he could do away with cables – one of the banes of his photographic existence, was all he needed to hear.  From that moment on King knew this is what he wanted to do and nothing would stop him.

KP Morgan

© Jaleel King

Jaleel’s lighting system is a mixed bag. Being a Canon man, his system includes Canon 580EX II & 600EX-RT Speedlites, AlienBees B800s, Einstein E60’s, and an assortment of beauty dishes, reflectors, and umbrellas. Depending on the circumstances, his PocketWizard arsenal includes MiniTT1 Transmitters,  Flex TT5 Transceivers,  PowerMC2 Receivers, and AC3 ZoneControllers.

One of a series of portraits for HelpPortrait_2011. Lighting: Canon 580EXII Speedlites on background with PocketWizard FlexTT5. Main light is an Alien Bee 1600 inside a Wescott 24" Apollo with a PocketWizard FlexTT5 and an AC9. Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with a PocketWizard MiniTT1 and an AC3.

One of a series of portraits for HelpPortrait_2011.
Lighting: Canon 580EX II Speedlites in background with PocketWizard FlexTT5’s. Main light is an AlienBees B1600 inside a Wescott 24″ Apollo with a PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver and an AC9 AlienBees Adapter.
Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with a PocketWizard MiniTT1 Transmitter and an AC3 ZoneController. © Jaleel King

Lamarr was photographed from 'the Rig' using a Lighting AB1600 with a standard reflector coupled to a PocketWizard FlexTT5 and an AC9. His Canon EOS 1D MK IV was coupled to a PocktWizard MiniTT1 and an AC3.

Lamarr was photographed from ‘the Rig’ using a
AlienBees B1600 with a standard reflector coupled to a PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver and an AC9 AlienBees Adapter. His Canon EOS 1D MK IV was coupled to a PocktWizard MiniTT1 Transmitter and an AC3. © Jaleel King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PocketWizard radios were not Jaleel’s first choice of remote triggers, but it didn’t take long to figure out why the pros all seemed to be using PocketWizards, and these days PocketWizard radios are the only brand he takes on assignment.

‘The RIG’ as Jaleel calls it, is essentially a rolling studio with a compact wireless lighting system Jaleel is currently piecing together. The way Jaleel describes it ” I originally thought it would be uber sweet to have a rolling studio so I can do some unique and experimental street work on my own with a light setup ready to go.

As a means of taking control of the light outdoors as easily as he does in the  studio, Jaleel is currently prototyping his 'Rig", a studio on wheels so-to-speak.

As a means of taking control of the light outdoors as easily as he does in the studio, Jaleel is currently prototyping his ‘Rig”, a studio on wheels so-to-speak. © Jaleel King

“With help from local camera shops, we came up with this Frankenstein contraption that I could attach to my wheelchair. It’s a Manfrotto boom stand with the legs taken off that is attached to my wheelchair with about 4 super clamps and a magic arm. For lighting I was using an AlienBees B1600 with a FlexTT5 Transceiver and an AC9 AlienBees Adapter.  I used an AC3 ZoneController to control the power output from my MiniTT1 Transmitter.  I used a Vagabond Mini to power my strobe.”

The RIG is a work in progress and Jaleel is in the midst of tweaking details having to do with weight distribution and not having enough surface area on the wheelchair to keep it from shifting as he moves about. These are minor issues he hopes to iron out soon and there’s little doubt
he will. Now if only he could figure out how to avoid getting the boom arm stuck in low-hanging branches life would be sweet.

 

To see more of Jaleel King’s work and/or contact him go to his Facebook page, his website, or email him at jaleel@jaleelking.com

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Jaleel King, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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What’s up Pussycat? Özkan Özmen goes on a Portrait Safari

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Özkan Özmen at work

Özkan Özmen is a portrait photographer based in Frankfurt Germany with a penchant for photographing subjects that can bite your head off. No, we’re not talking about models and celebrities with attitude here. We’re talking lions, tigers, and rhinos. As Dorothy famously said to the tin man… “Oh MY!”

According to Özkan, he’s always been into things that crawl, chirp, growl, and purr, and it wasn’t long after he began taking shooting studio portraits for a living that he decided to put together a compact lighting kit and try his luck outside of the comforts and convenience of his studio. Özkan Ozmen’s personal project ultimately took him on a multi-continent journey in which he’s captured wonderful portraits of the sort of wildlife most of us only see in zoo and safari parks, though seldom as in-your-face.

Özkan understood the logistics – not to mention danger involved in trying to capture tight portraits of wild animals using lights. Still and all, rather than being technically boxed in by the harsh ambient lighting conditions common to shooting in the extreme locales he planned on visiting, his goal was to light his subjects and select-focus at wider lens apertures similar to the way he would when shooting portraits in his studio.

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Making Waves, 3 January 2014

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Making Waves is a weekly round-up of current posts featuring PocketWizard products.

Chip Kalback is a photographer based out of Denver, Colorado who shoots commercial and editorial photography with a focus on environmental portraits and lifestyle sports.  Chip used HyperSync to capture the new standard of performance vehicles, electric cars.  Chip brought along his FlexTT5 as a transmitter and had his lights setup with Plus III radios so he could capture the cover photo and all the images for the feature story in Popular Science magazine.   Chip’s setup for each shot is described in his own words.

“For the cover shot and opening spread I was using a FlexTT5 (Canon) with a Plus III hooked up to an AlienBees B800. Using HyperSync I was able to stop the cars at 1/2000, f/6.3 and ISO 640. My camera setup was a Canon 5D III and a Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/2 ZE. 

For the portrait shot of the driver I was using a FlexTT5, with one AlienBees B800 and a gridded beauty dish, and 2 AlienBees B400’s both with tight grids, all three flashes synced with Plus III’s. Those were shot at 1/100, f/8 at ISO 320 with a Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 ZE.

For the shots in the garage I was using an AlienBees B800 and 2 AlienBees B400’s, all with tight grids on them being synced with Plus III’s, in conjunction with the ambient light coming in from both sides of the garage. Those were mostly shot using my Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/2 ZE while again using my FlexTT5.”

Photo: © Chip Kalback

Photo: © Chip Kalback

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Making Waves, 22 November 2013

Making Waves is a weekly round-up of current posts featuring PocketWizard products.making_waves_logo

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Photographer Sasha Leahovcenco, gives an in depth look into his travels to those who have never had their photo taken, “from the end of the Earth” – Siberia.  He took along his PocketWizard Plus II radios and put them to work in -38° C.  Check out the incredible environmental portraits and the behind the scenes video that brings you along for the journey.

 

Rob Grim

F-Stoppers recently covered Rob Grimm, in this Behind The Scenes look at building sandwich towers.  Grimm, uses PocketWizard Plus II radios in his Chicago Studio to create compelling and eye-questioning advertising campaigns.

 

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Photographer Martin Schoeller recently did some work for TIME for their Dudes of Food series and gives a behind the scenes look of the shoot. Three famous chefs gathered for the shoot and Schoeller decided he wanted to infuse some humor in the “hunter-gather inspired and informed kitchens” the chefs run. He used his Plus III radios to help capture some creative and humorous images.


With sports seasons ramping up all over the world, we came across a blog post that will help all of you sports shooters out there: 
Securely mounting your remote cameras either behind the backboard or above the rafters of a stadium, and making sure they don’t go anywhere, is a top priority for sports shooters. Dak Dillon wrote a straightforward blog post, Simple Guide to Mounting a Remote Camera that is a great resource for any sports shooter interested in using remote camera.  *Attention sports shooters, be sure to check out our current Photo Of the Month contest which is focused on shooting sports.  Submission period ends 12/15/2013.

 

All videos, photos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and copyrighted by the photographers featured, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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Dixie Dixon Captures Edgar Gomez

Remy, ©Dixie Dixon

Remy, ©Dixie Dixon

When Houston native Dixie Dixon was a student at Klein High School she was paid to photograph Little League games. Wielding her trusty Nikon FG, she made ten dollars per hour, and shot every weekend, including soccer competitions. “Not bad for a kid,” she says, grinning.

Dixon’s father was a hobbyist photographer, and provided her first camera. Her grandfather was a landscape photographer.

Not many professional shooters can match Dixon’s claim of only working as a photographer, but it’s true. She shot for the high school yearbook, and one of her shots made the cover senior year. At that point she decided she wanted to pursue photography for a living.

(more…)

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Adam Troup’s Light Trail Portrait

Adam Troup - Inspire Video

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!”

Thanks Adam!

Check out the full post and take a look at the Inspire Video site to see some of his video work.

 

All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Adam Troup, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.

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Eric Rolph Balances Flash with the Sun

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.

 

All images and quotes in this post are used with permission of PopPhoto and ©Eric Rolph, all rights reserved. This story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.

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Sephi Bergerson and the Fire Ninja

Sephi Bergerson and a NinjaPhotographer Sephi Bergerson has posted about her efforts to pay homage to Joe McNally’s cover shot of his book The Hot Shoe Diaries

In her post, Bergerson relays her relates her attempts to recreate McNally’s photo and off-camera flash work. Using a Nikon D700, she incorporated a PocketWizard MiniTT1, a FlexTT5, and an AC3 ZoneController.

Bergerson provides full details of her shot in the post itself. See more of her work on her site and her blog.

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