Monday, March 23, 2009

Digital Photography One on One by Mark Wallace

Mark Wallace has a series of videos on YouTube on digital photography... more specifically... flash photography with digital cameras.

This is a good tutorial to learn more about flash photography. You can watch episode 1 below... or you can click here to view the series of videos on YouTube.

Friday, March 20, 2009

What can you do with ONE speedlight?

I've come to see that you can do more and more with just one speedlight. I just watched the OneLight Workshop by Zack Arias, and it is wonderful what one light can do. I am still developing how to shoot with off-camera flashes, and am understanding that when shooting portraits, the one main light is key, and additional lights would add on to enhance the shot, e.g. kicker light, hair light, fill light, etc.

Well, here is another video with Joe McNally talking about some of the shots he made with only one speedlight, namely the Nikon SB-800.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lighting techniques - Rembrandt, Paramount, Split, Loop

After getting all the strobes, umbrellas, light stands, etc... one important question is, "Where do we place them?"

A lot of learning is by trial and error, but it sure helps if there are some diagrams to show us how to do it. In many photography books today, there are diagrams of where the lights are placed, where the camera is placed, and what kind of light modifiers are used.

Garage Glamor has a page on photographic tips, tricks & ideas... and in it are some basics on lighting techniques that can be learnt.

Rambrandt Lighting
Paramount Lighting
Split Lighting
Loop Lighting

Monday, March 16, 2009

Zero to Hero 5 Finals

I was shooting the Zero to Hero 5 Finals (15 Mar 09) with a few other photographers, and again I realized how my attitude towards flash photography has changed. I know I mentioned this before about how I used to dislike using flash, but now, I realized how important lighting is, and using the flash was crucial.

Well, here's a shot from the event, and you can have a look at the rest of them in my Flickr album here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Annie Leibovitz & Profoto Pro-8 Air: Behind the Scenes

Annie Leibovitz did a shoot of Profoto's Chairman and founder, Conny Dufgran in commemoration of Profoto's 40th anniversary. You can watch here or watch it on YouTube here.

Softbox - 50cm by 50cm

I bought a softbox from Alan Photo @ Funan a few days ago, and the person told me it was 50cm by 50cm. The white front area of the softbox measures 45cm by 45 cm (17 inches by 17 inches). It has a speedring with a shoe mount to fit a flash. Today, I went to TK Photo with Yapster, and I saw a Lastolite EzyBox Hotshoe that looked very much like the China made one I bought at Alan Photo. TK Photo was selling the Lastolite EzyBox Hotshoe for $300-$400 (they have 2 sizes), which includes a light stand... so the China made one was a real bargain!

Also, I just found out that TagoTech would be bringing the 60cm x 60cm one from April 2009. Here is a picture of their upcoming product...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

LumoPro LP120 Flash by Midwest

A new flash is on the way for the Strobist community, and it is the LumoPro LP120 shoe mount flash by Midwest Photo Exchange. There are stuff that you would need and not need in a off-camera strobist flash, and this one has what you need, e.g. sync terminal and optical slave, and does not have all the other features that you do not need, e.g. TTL.

Here are some links for more info on this flash:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Expressions: Keith and Lydia

I decided to so a simple series where by I get people to do different expressions with their faces, capturing them, and editing tem to become black and white photos, all in landscape orientation. It is just a fun thing to do. I asked Lydia if she would do it, and she agreed... and I asked Keith to help me during the shoot, and he agreed... and I ended up shooting both Lydia and Keith!

I was thinking of how to do this shoot, and I decided to use 3 strobes for it. I wanted to do a hair light, but I did not have any softbox for it, so during lunch time, I went down to Alan Photo at Funan to purchase a 50cm x 50cm softbox for $90. It comes with a speedring, and a speedlight mount. It is a made in China thing, but it did the job for hair lights.

I also used the umbrella softbox I bought recently to my left, and a bounce white umbrella with a silver inner lining to my right. Here are 2 shots from the shoot... and you can check out the rest of the shoot at the following links...

Expressions: Keith (11 Mar 09)
Expressions: Lydia (11 Mar 09)
Keith and Lydia (11 Mar 09)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ProPhotoLife by Jim Talkington

ProPhotoLife by Jim Talkington is a great blog to visit. What I find is really great is the videos that teaches you from a DIY studio set up, to understanding different forms of lighting, and techniques in lighting. Nothing beats learning how to light than by seeing the positioning of the lighting equipment, and the results from the pictures taken.

To go to the ProPhotoLife video library, click here, or go to the YouTube one here. Below is Episode 12 on Quality of Light.

Monday, March 9, 2009

DIY Grid Snoot

I DIYed a grid snoot, and here's what I bought at Popular bookstore...

1. Black cloth tape (36mm x 12Y) = $3.20
2. Black corrugated board (20x15) = $1.60
3. Black paper = $1.70

Here's the end result...

The grid snoot is done so that the internal grid section can be removed, and the grid snoot would then become a snoot.

Here's a picture of the grid snoot at work. The grid snoot was used to focus the light on the subject at the "heart" area.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

DIY Beauty Dish by David Tejada

I came across this site on a DIY project to make a beauty dish for an SB-800 speedlight. Maybe I'll try it out sometime when I have the time, and more importantly, when I can find the relevant materials to make it.

Anyway, the link to the website is here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Online Photography Books on Lighting

While I was surfing the internet for photography books, I realized that Google has an online books section. Even though some do not have the whole book, the preview pages are already really good! I'm so glad to have found this Google books site.

Doing a simple search, here are some links to photography books with limited previews...

Beginner's Guide to Photographic Lighting by Don Marr

Light: Science and Magic - An Introduction to Photographic Lighting by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver, and Paul Fuqua

Lighting for People Photography by Stephen Crain

Lighting for Portraits by Steve Bavister

Lighting Photo Workshop by Chris Bucher

Lighting Techniques for Fashion and Glamor Photography by Stephen A. Dantzig

Lighting Techniques for High Key Portrait Photography by Normal Phillips

Photographic Lighting by John Child and Mark Galer

Photographic Lighting: Essential Skills by John Child and Mark Galer

Photographic Lighting Simplified by Susan McCartney

Portrait Photography: The Art of Seeing Light by Don Blair and Peter Skinner

Portrait Photography: Secrets of Posing & Lighting by Mark Cleghorn

Posing and Lighting Techniques for Studio Portrait Photography by J. J. Allen

The Best of Photographic Lighting by Bill Hunter

Wedding Photography: Creative Techniques for Posing, Lighting, and Marketing by Rick Ferro

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Umbrella Softbox

I have been looking to get a softbox for my speedlight, but what is available in Singapore are "traditional" softboxes made for monolight strobes. After some searching, I found this umbrella softbox from TagoTech and bought it.

The built of this umbrella softbox is decent. The external of the softbox is black, and the internal is silver. The portion where I put the head of the speedlight into the softbox has a zipper and a pull-string to tighten the opening (I believe the large opening is to cater to mono strobes). The speedlight would fire into the silver part of the umbrella, and reflected back and through the translucent white part.

Will give this umbrella softbox a go the next opportunity I get to shoot portraits.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Portrait of Jayne

Went shooting with Yapster and his friend Jayne last year at the Chinese Garden, and took some portraits of Jayne. This was the 1st time going shooting with Yapster, and he's a great guy! We brought our gears and lugged it around Chinese Garden... and at the end, we decided that the next time we go shoot, we'll share our equipment so individually, we don't have to bring so many things along.

In this shot of Jayne, the sun was shining from the picture left. A silver reflective umbrella flash was used on the picture right and a shoot through umbrella flash from the lower front of the subject. I was using my 85mm f/1.4 lens @ f/2.8 for this shot. I love that lens!

We realized that shooting alone is not easy with strobbing gear, and having an assistant was almost an essential thing to have. So, when Yap tooks the shots, I assisted him, and when I took the shots, he assisted me. I also realized that having someone who knows his stuff to assist really makes a difference as there is already a common understanding of lighting. I took a few steps back in one of our shots and captured this picture of our set up at that particular location.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Preview - The Hot Shoe Dairies: Big Light from Small Flashes

Finally, Joe McNally has completed writing Hot Show Dairies and is due to hit stores in the States on 12 March 2009.  Joe is one of the best at using multiple speedlights to enhance a picture that he is taking.

I can't wait to get my hands on this book... but alas... I have to wait... and hope that it would hit the shores of Singapore soon after the launch in the States. Amazon has them for pre-order now.

I found an excerpt of the book and based on the content page, it is gonna be a great book to learn from. You can check out the excerpt here.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Group Photo of 70 people

How do you take a group photo of about 70 people in a night environment? How much lighting do you need to get it done?

I was thinking of how to shoot this group shot, and in the end, I used 4 strobes at 1/2 power each to achieve this shot. A wide angle lens was used (12mm @ ISO640 + f/8 + 1/125s), and I was in an elevated position shooting downwards. There was one strobe at each side of where I was standing, with a silver+white reflective umbrella. On the photo left, the white wall was used as a light bounce, so a flash was shot at the wall. On the photo right, another strobe with a reflective umbrella was used. The silver reflective umbrellas give a nice contrasty look to the photo.

The final result is what you see, and I was quite pleased with the results... but there are still some shadow areas cast on a few faces. I could have placed a 3rd strobe in the front, but aiming it further towards the back, or shifted the side strobes higher. Anyway... you can see the rest of the group photos here.