September 17 Lighting Workshop Update

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Hi Everyone,

Here is an update to yesterday’s post.  I forgot to give specific details.

Location: Courtyard behind Shubert Theater in New Haven, CT.  This area is isolated from foot traffic and very graphic so we’ll shoot in a fashion/editorial style.

Date: September 17

Cost: $100.00

Time: 11-3

Look: fashion/editorial

Model TBD

Gear:

Two Interfit S1 battery monolights

Pocket Wizards

Sekonic Light Meter

Umbrellas and grids to show how to use the most basic gear to get amazing looks

Location image: you can park in the Crown St garage or on any adjoining street:

screen-shot-2016-05-31-at-10-18-12-am

For more information, call or text: 203-540-8821

Bring your cameras as this, as always, is a shooting event!

 

September 17 Location Strobe Lighting Workshop

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  • Hi Everyone,

    I cancelled the Headshot Workshop in Middletown as I was having too much trouble organizing it for the day, so I’ve decided to try my luck at a location lighting workshop in New Haven.

    We’ll shoot Location Strobes.

    If you are new or are looking to move up to strobe/monolights for your kit, location shooting is a great way to use them.  With new technologies and battery packs available, location strobes are all the rage right now.

    We’ll shoot a two light kit, going from one key to adding hair or accent lights for a fashion/editorial look.

    Gear:

    Interfit S1 Monolights

    Pocket Wizards

    Skein Light Meter

    Simple modifiers: Umbrella, grids, maybe a softbox

    When you purchase moonlight kits, you normally get two lights so let’s shoot with two and get some great and creative looks.

    Model TBD

    Location is my favorite spot in the courtyard behind the Shubert Theater:

    CHANGE

Hey Bob, get the conversation started!

Getting out to shoot

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Hi and welcome back.

It has been a few weeks since my last post, but with the kids in school and the summer ending I’ll be posting back to my regular schedule.

I was a bit in a professional rut this August, so I decided to jump into shooting landscapes again.  I just needed a change of scene.

Last Saturday night I stopped by Gulf Beach in Milford where I live and took a few frames.  The sky at sunset was not that great, but I used a Neutral Density and a Magenta filter to add exposure time and color to the otherwise listless sky.

If you shoot landscapes, you should have these filters.  I use the Lee Brand:

Filter Holder

3 Stop Neutral Density

Magenta

After raw conversion and some color boost, here are my three faves:

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Step outside your comfort zone once in a while or just go back to your roots.  I started my career in photography shooting flowers and then rapidly went to landscapes as I loved the light.

Keep your camera with you at all times and shoot as often as you can.  I got three great shots out of only 25 frames.

I had fun, met another photographer there, and just chatted the whole time.  Get out there and shoot!!

Till next time, happy shooting!

The Importance of Styling

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Hi and welcome back.

I took last week off during the lazy days of Summer.  I’ll be posting only a few times a week until September and the kids are off to school.

For today, let’s take a look at the importance of styling.

If you are a going to a photoshoot, no matter who you are or what your need, styling is very important for a few reasons:

  1. You look great after pro pampers your face and hair
  2. It makes the photographer’s or retoucher’s job so much easier when post processing
  3. If you are a model, male or female, and you can do your own styling, you will sometimes get hired over other models who can’t do this.  So as budgets shrink, learning to do it yourself is beneficial.

Now on to hair, makeup, and nails.

For hair, if you are doing a concept shoot or beauty shoot that requires you to have crazy hair, then keep it simple and clean but add body so if a fan is added you have the volume to move around.

For makeup, stick to neutral tones that enhance your eyes and overall tone.  Again, unless you are doing something specific, keep it simple and elegant.

Nails are a pet peeve of mine.  Keep them clean, manicured, and use a neutral or light tone color on them so they disappear in the image.  Don’t arrive to your shoot or job with broken nails or chipped neon purple nails.  If your hands wind up in the image, you’ll be happy you had your nails done and ready for the shoot.

Here is a proof of a shot I did a while back.

Notice how the tones of her lips, face, and around the eyes are even and neutral.  Her hair has had a blowout at a salon so that there is volume to it, even though you can’t see too much of it.  But most importantly look at her nails.  They are in great shape and the color on them blends with her skin tone, so they disappear in the image and don’t detract from her face:

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Because her skin is evenly toned, her hair is controlled with product, and her nails blend perfectly, retouching is easy.

Here is a final retouch done by my retoucher:

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If you are learning to style yourself, here is a guide I got from InStyle Magazine that will help you choose colors for your skin tone:

Headshot Makeup Copy

That’s it for today.  Till next time, happy stylin’.

Attaching a California Sunbounce Tube Frame to a Lightstand

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Hi and welcome back.

Since the price drop of the California Sunbounce Micro Mini, I’ve had several emails about the system, especially about attaching it to a lightstand.

Here is a blog re-post from a while back explaining how I do it and how you can do it cheaply.

If you have any questions about the system, email me: bob@robertharringtonstudios.com

Attaching a California Sunbounce Reflector to a Lightstand

I get this question often.  The California Sunbounce reflector system is, I think, the best on the market.  However, you do pay for that quality!

California Sunbounce

The CS Micro Mini was the first piece of professional gear I purchased after my camera and lenses, and it has been with me for 8 years!

I currently own 2 Micro Minis, 1 4×6, and one of the 36″ Sunswatters.

The great thing about the CS system, is that it is based on an aluminum tube frame so that it is sturdy, the fabric stays taut, and you can attach it to a light stand so you can work alone.

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However, attaching it to a light stand can be tricky since CS discontinued their Grip Head Pro a few years back in favor of the new Enterprise bracket, which is cumbersome at best.  But there is a workaround!

The original Grip Head Pro was a traditional 2.5 inch grip head with a hole just the right size for the CS tube, which is a metric size:

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This wonderful and small bracket, and if you are reading Amy, my CS contact, you need to bring that back into production, was replaced by a bracket called the Enterprise.

The Enterprise allows you to attach either of the CS tube sizes: the small for reflectors and the large for the Sun Swatter or other products.  This unit is big, bulky, and does not fit into your bag well:

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But here’s the workaround: Purchase a Matthews 2.5″ Grip head, use Matthews as the head is made of brushed aluminum and then simply bring it to a machine shop with a tube section from your CS reflector.  For the about $40.00, a 12 pack of beer, or a Box of Joe and some donuts, you can have the original grip head for less money.  And it works!!

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It is important to bring a tube sample from the reflector so the machinist can match the tube size.

This is a great solution to fix the problem and get that reflector on a light stand so you can work alone.

Matthews 2.5″ Grip Head

Thanks and till next time, keep reflecting!

 

The California Sunbounce Micro Mini Price Drop

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Hi and welcome back.

I’m posting this as I just saw this on the BH Photo website while shopping for another California Sunbounce item.

If you know me or have taken any of my workshops or been to any of my presentations, you know I am a huge supporter of the California Sunbounce system.  It is lightweight, super easy to setup, and rolls into itself for storage and transport, making it one of the most versatile reflectors on the market.

However, the problem with the system is its cost: it is expensive!  Even though I’ve owned my Micro Mini for almost 10 years, it is hard to justify the expense.

Normally the unit costs $189.00, but I just saw a huge price drop on the BH Photo website to $107.00 for the 20 x 30 silver/white:

BH Photo

I love this reflector, and it is the first item in my bag when heading out to a shoot.

It is compact, versatile, light, and attaches to a nightstand so you can work alone.

Here are some BTS shots of it being used on location and in the studio:

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Check out this system on BH Photo’s website.  If you want an amazing reflector at a very reasonable price, remember this is photography, then go for it!

That’s it for now.  Till next time, happy reflecting!

 

Location Lighting with the New Interfit S1 Monolight

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Hi and welcome back.

I met Brendan on location to do his Actor headshot this past Saturday.  He knocked it out of the park within the first few minutes of the shoot.  So after we had the typical actor headshot “in the can”, I wanted to try something different.

I wanted to try something dramatic.  I don’t shoot a lot of men, so adding cool photos to my portfolio was also an ulterior motive for moving to another, more dramatic look.

I posed him in front of a brick wall.  He comes from an hour away from me, so we met at a location I use that is about exactly half way from the both of us.  Working on location poses a unique set of difficulties.

But I used the new Interfit Photographic S1 Battery Powered Moonlight to shoot the job perfectly.

If you’ve not seen the new S1’s, check them out!  At 1/2 the price of a Profoto B1 and with the ability to shoot with battery power or plug into a wall socket for mains power, it smokes the B1 in terms of usability.

Here is a post I did explaining the system: Interfit S1 Review

Now to the images.

Here is an unretouched proof of the final look.  It is dark and edgy and hard.  This is a look I rarely do but am totally enthralled by it and love it:

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Here is how I shot it.

I removed my usual 24 x 30 softbox and added a 7″ reflector and 20º grid to isolate Brendan and light just his face and upper body.

Gear: Interfit S1 Moonlight with reflector and grid

Matthews C-Stand

Pocket Wizards

Impact 15 pound sand bag_DSC9232 _DSC9233

Here are two more proofs:

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This was a really cool look we both liked.  While it is a departure from the traditional actor shot, I think taking the time and risk really paid off for both of us.

That’s it for now.  Till next time, get risky with your light!

Photoshop Friday: Adding a Border

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Hi and welcome back.

This is a simple technique that I use all the time.  The Actor headshot requires you to add borders to images and names to the bottom of your headshot so the casting director knows right away who you are.

Adding borders is simple.  Here is how I do it:

Here is my image ready to be cropped.  As I need to make an 8×10 final image, I crop my image to a specific size first: Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 7.58.27 AM

Here I chose the Crop tool and set my parameters to Width 7.5 and Height 9 inches.  I chose this size at it allows me to add my border perfectly for an 8×10:Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 7.58.32 AM

I set my crop and then hit ok: Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 7.59.00 AM

Here is my image cropped and ready for my white border: Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 7.59.06 AM

To add the border, go to Image>Canvas Size and click to get the size box up:

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 7.59.18 AM

Here I choose my width to be 8 inches and height to be 9.5 inches.  The height gives me a continuous border that is the same size on all four sides.

Where it says Anchor, keep all the arrows pointing out from the center, which is my image.

On the bottom of the box where is says Canvas Extension Color, I chose white but you can choose black or gray as well:Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 7.59.34 AM

Here is the image with the continuous border:Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 7.59.48 AM

Now I go back to Image>Canvas Size, click again, and then change Height to 10 and Anchor to showing all the bottom and right and left sides.  This allows me to change my height on the bottom only: Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 8.00.18 AM

Here is my image in the 8×10 format with a 1″ border on the bottom and 1/2″ on three sides: Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 8.00.25 AM

Now I go to the Text box and set my font, set my text size, and then color to add the name on the lower right corner of the image:Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 8.00.36 AM

Here is the final ready to be saved as and delivered to the client:Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 8.01.25 AM

Here are the before and after’s:

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You can add a border to any image and set the bottom a bit thicker so that you can add a name or title or anything else you need.

I supply my actors with both images so they can use them for castings and in their book if needed.

That’s it for today.  Till next time, happy bordering!

Change Your Lighting Look By Turning Lights On or Off

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Hi and welcome back.

One of the simplest ways to change the look of an image is to just turn lights on or off.

The High Key style actor headshot went out of fashion a few years ago in my marketplace; however, I still do shoot it if the client wants it.  I prefer darker backgrounds, so the best way to quickly and efficiently do two looks with your client is to just turn the backlights off.

In this BTS shot, we can see the High Key headshot look all setup and shoot ready.

Key: SB910, Photoflex Shoot Through Umbrella

Fill: California Sunbounce Micro Mini, silver side

Back: 2 SB800’s with Large Rogue Flashbenders acting as flags

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So with my setup ready to go, I shot the High Key look:

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Then, I went to a completely different look, more out of the actor high key to the model mid key look: just by turning my back lights off.

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Looking for a quick and efficient way to add looks for your client?  Just turn some lights off; it’s as simple as that!

That’s it for now.  Till next time, happy lighting!

Getting Creative without Breaking the Bank

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Hi and welcome back.

Last Saturday I ran a workshop at Theia Studios in North Andover, MA, just outside Boston.

It went great!  I taught the Headshot with speed lights only.

One of the looks we did really showcases how you can get creative on a slim budget, of course, that is only after spending your inheritance to get to this point with cameras, lenses, lights, soft boxes, reflectors, etc, etc, etc…  As this IS photography after all!

But once you reach that point, you can get creative easily and without spending a lot of cash.

For this shot, I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and purchased a roll of purple sports underwrap:

Dicks Sporting Goods

I simply wrapped the model like a Mummy and shot the look.  For about $6.00 and $20.00 for Sephora Lipstick, which the model already owned, we got a super creative look and had a bunch of fun.

Here is a straight-out-of-camera raw to jpeg proof:

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Here’s how I shot it.

Key: SB910, Bowens 60 x 90 softbox with Interfit S-Mount Ring for speedlights

Reflector: California Sunbounce Micro Mini, silver side up

Back: 2 SB800’s with Large Rogue Flashbenders as flags

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Then, after we set the lights and exposure and shot the look we wanted, I had Amanda, our model, have fun with her facial expressions!  She just rocked it and knocked it out of the park!

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I wanted to take the traditional beauty shot on white to another level, and for only a few bucks, we shot an awesome and fun look.

Well that’s it for now.  Till next time, stay creative!!