One Speedlight, 16 Looks

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Hi and welcome back.

Last weekend’s One Speedlight, 16 Looks workshop at Mack Camera was a huge success.  I was the first presenter to use the newly remodeled conference space at Mack.  They are heading into increasing their presence in the world of workshops, so I’ll be back there a few more times this year.

Here are a few quick edited shots from the day.  We worked inside and out as it was so gorgeous!  We deviated a bit from the workshop format but got great shots just the same!

April 26 is the fitness workshop in the studio.  I’ll post on that tomorrow.

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One Speedlight, 16 Looks Heads to New Jersey

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Hi and welcome back.

My popular workshop, “One Speedlight, 16 Looks,” is heading to Mack Camera in Springfield, NJ next weekend.

This a  fun and popular event that shows you how to get 16 different lighting looks with one light source and a few simple modifiers.

Here’s the information.  If you live near Mack, then join in the fun!

Registration Link: Mack Retail, Springfield, NJ

Companion Book: One Speedlight, 16 Looks

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And here are a few proofs from my last workshop at Photo Connections:

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Gelling Your Flashes for Event Photography

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Hi and welcome back.

I’ve not photographed events professionally since I decided to take a break from them in August of 2011.

Well, I’m moving back into event work and wedding photography this year.  I decided to take a break to pursue my career in photography education, but I’ve been inspired after attending WPPI this year to get back into events and weddings.

Two weeks ago I shot Harrison’s Bar Mitzvah, my first event of 2014.  i’m making a slow return, so this was a good start early in the year.

As soon as I walked into the space, I was immediately reminded of one of the reasons I left event work: the lighting in the space.  The job was at Studio 8 in Milford, CT.  The room was dark and orange and purple to reflect Harrison’s love of Basketball.

Here’s what I saw when I walked in: Uggh!

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I realized that I was going to need to add lighting to the scene to make any of it work as it was so dark and colorful.  So I set up two Nikon SB800′s in the corners of the room and gelled them with Rogue Gels.  The Rogue Gel kit is the most comprehensive travel gel kit i’ve seen.  It has crazy cool colors and just what I needed to execute the job in front of me.

Rogue Gel Kit

So I took the two colors that matched the best.  I used Dark Salmon to match the orange and Deep Purple to match the purple in the space.

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These two colors matched very close to what I saw and allowed me to use on camera flash and off camera flash for the event.  I used Pocket Wizard Plus 2′s and 3′s for the triggering, which allowed me to turn the on camera flash off and use only the back light or turn off the back light an only use only on camera flash.  This worked wonderfully and I was able to capture and freeze event dancing with all the lights firing or only selective lights firing.

Here, all the lights are on:

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Here, only the backlights are firing:

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And here, the backlights are firing, adding cross light for the break dancer and backlight to open the background with my on camera flash turned off:

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My initial idea for a slow move back into weddings and events threw me into the lighting fray immediately, but I took a few notes and ideas from what I learned at WPPI and handled the job with a calm, cool, collected demeanor and drew upon my lighting experience to light and shoot the job handily.

Looking for a wedding or event photographer?  I’m getting back into it so don’t hesitate to contact me for dates and rates.

Till next time, I’m gellin’, you?

One Speedlight, 16 Looks Heads to New Jersey

Tags

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Hi and welcome back.

My popular workshop, “One Speedlight, 16 Looks,” is heading to Mack Camera in Springfield, NJ next weekend.

This a  fun and popular event that shows you how to get 16 different lighting looks with one light source and a few simple modifiers.

Here’s the information.  If you live near Mack, then join in the fun!

Registration Link: Mack Retail, Springfield, NJ

Companion Book: One Speedlight, 16 Looks

BH2014-12x18

And here are a few proofs from my last workshop at Photo Connections:

_RVH1577 _RVH1642 _RVH1649 _RVH1705

The Workshop Experience Part 2

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Hi and welcome back.

Part 2 is based on the location lighting workshop.

Last week I was at the BH Photo Event Space running a shooting workshop in Herald Square.  If you’ve never heard of the BH Event Space, check it out.  Each event is free and you can meet and experience many different photographers from multiple genres speak on everything you can think of in photography:

BH Event Space

I head down there about every other month.  In the Spring, Summer, and Fall, I run shooting workshops on location.  We’ve worked at Central Park, the High Line, and Herald Square.  It is a great and fun way to spend an afternoon in NYC.

Here are some behind-the-scenes shots sent to me by William King.

What’s really fun, for the first time ever the BH Video team followed us around on location, so you’ll see images of me speaking to the camera.

The gentleman in black holding the Phottix Luna is David Brommer, an architect of the Event Space and great guy!

Many thanks the David, Debbie, and Shoshona from the BH Event space team, Matthew and Zee from the BH Video Department, and our models for the workshop Anelisa and Ricky.  And to our sponsors: Expoimaging and Phottix.

Enjoy, and as always, have fun!

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The Workshop Experience Part 1

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Hi and welcome back.

A large part of my life in photography is teaching lighting in the workshop format.  If you’ve never taken a workshop, take a few.  You get to meet other photographers, work with great people, and, if you choose the right workshop, get hands-on experience.

My workshops and presentations have been held across the country: NYC, NJ, CT, MA, WI, OH, PA, MD, VA, CA, NV, and Toronto, CA, with an expansion this year.

So what’s it like at a workshop?  Well here are a few behind-the-scenes photos of how it works.

I teach lighting, posing, and among other things interacting with your client or subject.  The last part is crucial so you can build a rapport and trust between you and someone who may not be comfortable in front of the camera.

Here are a few shots sent to me by Jeannette from Photo Connections in CT.  She took them with her Lensbaby so they are not perfect.

If you want to shop local in CT, check them out: Photo Connections, Colchester, CT.

This series of shots came from a workshop called: “One Speedlight, 16 Looks”, where I teach 16 lighting looks with one speed light.

Here’s my companion book: One Speedlight, 16 Looks

The most important part: Have Fun!

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The New and Improved Ray Flash Review

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Hi and welcome back.

I don’t normally review gear, but I’ve gotten a few pieces of gear that warrant reviews.

The first is the improved Ray Flash Ring Light Adapter for small flashes.  I have the old Ray Flash and like it but don’t love it.  If you have ever used a ring light, you know they produce a shadowless light on your subject but are very, very bright and also obtrusive and unwieldy on your camera.  It is a look that goes in and out of fashion, but it is a good piece of gear to have on hand just in case or to be used as on axis fill or even and off camera fill or key light.  For my Hensel strobe ring light, I had a custom grid cut by Honey Grids and have used it as a hair and separation light.

Onto the review.

This is the box it comes in.  It says Universal, but that is a misnomer and we’ll talk about that later.

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Notice the ring in the center.  It is used on the flash to keep it upright due to the weight of the unit.  It is a pain to install and you can see the steps in it for different flashes.  The large one fit my SB910:

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Here is a photo of the old Rayflash:

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Here is the new and improved version which is slimmer:

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And here they are side-by-side.  The new version is much slimmer and looks easier to use:

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The next photos show what makes the new unit Universal.  The top slides up and down so you can use multiple flashes on one camera: Nikon D3 with SB800 or SB900/910.  This makes the new unit better in that it is not camera/flash specific and you need to own more that one Ray Flash for more than one camera/flash combo.  However, this is where the universal moniker is incorrect.  While yes you can use more than one flash on a camera, you cannot use multiple cameras.  So a D3/4 Ray Flash will not transfer over to a smaller D800/600/5200 combination.  If you have multiple cameras, you still need to own multiple Ray Flashes:

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Here is a shot with the old model on my D3 and SB910:

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Here is the new model on my D3 with SB910, notice the rubber ring on the flash.  You need to install this first on larger flash units as the design of the new Ray Flash pulls the larger flash heads down.  You need to keep the Ray Flash on the same plane as the lens so you get even light across the frame:

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Here’s the ring installed.  Forget about working quickly, it is a pain to install first and then install the Ray Flash:

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But on smaller flashes, like the SB800, it works just fine.  The other thing to note is now how close the Ray Flash sits to the body of the camera.  Now it can be a nuisance to fit larger fingers in between the body and the Ray Flash:

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Now to some test shots.  After my sitting with Crysta, I took a few test shots for this post.  The first shot is with the old Ray Flash, Nikon D3, SB910, Program Auto mode, TTL on the Flash on both test shots.  Look at the light coverage on the top and bottom of the frame: it is dark.

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I shot nearly the same frame with the new Ray Flash and the same settings on my flash.  The coverage is better on the new unit due to the upgrade on the flash tube system and the bigger reflective surface for the light.  The new version throws more light from top to bottom and gives a better result out of the camera.

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Thoughts/Pros/Cons:

Thoughts:

The Ring Light look is a look that is common in photography and many photographers use it in different ways.  I like but don’t love the look; however, it is a good tool to have on hand when the need arises.

Pros: 

Slimmer

Fits more flash combinations

Better light output

Cons: 

Slimmer, so you need to use the rubber ring, which can be a pain

Only fits flash combinations of one camera.  If you have two different cameras, you are still needing two units

Still unwieldy as every ring light is

 

Overall, I like the improvements in the Ray Flash.  It is brighter than the old unit and the spread of light is broader.  The rubber ring is a pain but for the amount I’ll use it, it isn’t so bad.

If you are looking for a ring light for small flashes, take a look at the Ray Flash.  I like but don’t love it, but it works well when used properly.

For all you looking for some teaching, I shot the products like this.  Every photo above is unretouched, directly out of my camera flaws and all.

Hensel Integra 500, Chimera 36 x 48 softbox, Impact 42 x 72 white reflector.

Till next time, Happy Shooting!

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BH Photo Event Space

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Hi and welcome back.

Yesterday I ran a location lighting workshop with BH Photo Event Space in Herald Square.

BH Event Space

For the first time ever, the BH Photo video team of Matthew and Zee followed us around Herald Square shooting video of the event.  I’ll post a link when it is up in about 2 weeks.

Despite the chilly weather, I had a great and enthusiastic crowd.  We shot two models, Anelisa and Ricky, in an editorial style with:

Phottix Luna Beauty Dish

Rogue Flashbender XL Pro

Rogue Grid

Here are a few shots from the day.  Many thanks to Expoimaging for sponsoring me, which allows me to run these events successfully.

Till next time, happy shooting!

Fitness Photography

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Hi and welcome back.

A few weeks ago I photographed Laurel for a body transformation project she was doing in order to become a fitness model.

I love shooting fitness.  It highlights the physicality of the human form at its peak of performance.

We rented the small studio space at Photo Connections in Colchester, so I have to thank Mike and Jeanette for doing that for us.

Onto the shoot.  I used my Hensel strobes here for plenty of power and fast recycle times, plus I did multiple lighting looks so I had to bring along a lot of different gear.  I wasn’t able to take BTS shots as the space was so small, but I did diagrams for you to see.

One of our very first shots is my total favorite.  Laurel was prepping and I was testing light position.

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For our second look, we went for the magazine cover, something like you would see on a Shape or Fitness magazine.  High key with a fun, simple pose.

 

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Then we went to a more detailed look.  I wanted to highlight body parts to show her musculature and shape.

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Finally, we ended with the P90X high contrast shots showcasing her back.  For these shots she oiled up using and old bodybuilder trick: Pam Cooking Spray.

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That’s about it.  The fitness shoot encompasses a lot of fun detail to really bring out the physique.  It’s fun and inspiring!!

Till next time, get fit for Summer!

 

 

 

Creative Lighting

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Hi and welcome back.

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to light my clients.  While I may never use a particular setup, I keep trying new things to improve my work and add new ideas to my repertoire.  When I teach my workshops and classes, I stress to my students that you may never use a particular technique, but it is always good to experience it so that it now exists in the back of your mind.

I found this lighting technique on the Profoto blog one afternoon and decided to try it.  I don’t own all the gear that they used, but I achieved the same look with what I had.

Profoto Blog Videos

I liked how the light was contrasty and smooth without using a hard source, like a ring light, which can be obtrusive on the camera and harsh on the subject as each blast of light is bright and unforgiving.

Here’s my setup:

3 Hensel Integra 500′s

2 1×4 strip softboxes

1 16×18 softbox

2 Matthews 40″ C-Stands with Hollywood Grip Arms

1 older Impact 8′ lightstand

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This is a different take on the ring light.  I liked the overall output and quality of light from the setup; however, I think a 3 or 4 foot strip soft box would do better as the bottom light.

Here’s a straight-out-of-the-camera proof, showing the catchlights and how the light is soft, filling, and has that beautiful contrast of a ring light without its harshness and telltale round catchlight.

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I enjoyed practicing with this light setup as it is really a unique take on the traditional over and under beauty light setup.  It was fun and I would definitely use it on a client who wants that soft, flattering, smooth light.

Keep trying new techniques.  You never know, you may just find a new method to add to your lighting repertoire or even take a hint from one technique and use it with another.

That’s it for now.  Till next time, keep it new and fresh!

 

 

 

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