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Monday, 28 November 2011

Model shoot


The following photographs were for a job for a local clothing boutique that needed some basic shots of their latest clothing range to be used on their website and promotional material. The shots were taken on location at the shop. I used a ‘pop-up’ background and a 2 lights (Flashguns using remote triggers on manual) for the majority of shots (except where detailed). One light was camera left with umbrella and the other camera right without diffusion. I wanted to create quite hard looking light to keep the clothing crisp and defined, while the diffused light was to create some fill to balance and light the subject full length.


 
Portrait PhotographyPortrait Photography

Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography


In the next few shots I went down to just a one light setup to create some more dramatic effects and contrast on the model

Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography


This final shot was taken during a short break in the shoot and it was done with just natural light coming through the window. The blinds added a nice shadow effect on the wall behind.

Portrait Photography


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Softening the light


This exercise to compare the differences between photographs under naked light, (in my case a flashgun set to 1/2 power using a radio trigger to fire the flash remotely) and using the same light but being diffused. For the exercise I used a purpose built softbox; although the course notes didn’t require it I added a few extra shots where I ‘bounced’ the light from a wall and ceiling to soften the light also. I used the camera in manual mode (setting ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed manually) obtaining exposure values via a handheld light meter.

This first shot the flashgun was approx. 45’ degrees to the football (forgot to mention an officially signed 2010 squad Manchester United football!) on camera left and above and aimed directly at the ball.

ISO 100 70mm f/16 1/125 sec

Commercial Photography

The small light source is hard and specular on the ball, you can see this on the ‘M’ on the ball has a hard bright highlight reflecting from the surface. The shadow also has a hard edge.

The second shot below has been taken with a softbox over the flash gun (in the same position) that has effectively diffused the light onto the ball. I kept the power of the flash the same and therefore you will notice that the aperture is wider by a couple of stops to maintain exposure (as measured by a handheld meter) on the football

ISO 100 70mm f/8 1/125 sec

Commercial Photography

In this shot the shadows and blacks appear much softer. note that the shadow behind the ball appears much more fuzzy and the specular light on the ball, by the ‘M’ is not as bright or hard as the same shot without the diffused light (via the softbox); overall a more pleasing look. Although I think it looks better, that’s not to say the light is better; it would depend on the subject or effect you are looking for. For example a photograph of an older person may look ‘better’ in a softer light, softening the shadows (and potentially wrinkles!) than a ‘hard’ or naked light; but again it all depends on what the ‘aim’ of the image may be.


For the next shots I wanted to see how the light softened by bouncing it off another surface.

All that changed was the power of the flashgun to full power bounce then pointed the flashgun directly at the ceiling, effectively making the ceiling a huge light source! . As it happened the light meter also gave me an exposure as the same from the last shot at f/8.

ISO 100 70mm f/8 1/125 sec

Commercial Photography

As you can see this is very similar to that of the shot with the softbox. The specular highlight is still soft but has moved to the yellow badge area. What is also noticeable in this shot is that there is no shadows behind the ball; as such I think the image is even further improved that the second softbox photograph. Also a useful thing to remember when shooting products and people where you don’t want those hard shadows and shapes projected on the background.

For the final shot I kept all settings the same on camera and power of the clash; the only thing different the light was pointed at the wall behind the football (this is just out of site at the top of the frame.

ISO 100 70mm f/8 1/125 sec

Commercial Photography

The light appears very soft in this shot; and in hindsight I should have re metered; as it looks a little underexposed now. But it shows that it’s not just about putting a diffuser in front of a light source to create interesting light.


Saturday, 19 November 2011

Wedding Shoot


Just a few shots from a wedding in April. Lighting can be difficult at weddings, especially during the ceremony as they don’t allow flash to light the photographs, in this case I used higher ISO’s so that I could capture the moment at a shutter speed fast enough to avoid camera shake.

Wedding Photographer

Wedding Photographer

Wedding Photographer

Wedding Photographer

Wedding Photographer

Saturday, 12 November 2011

…and more Jewellery


Commercial Jewellery Photographer LondonCommercial Jewellery Photographer LondonCommercial Jewellery Photographer LondonCommercial Jewellery Photographer LondonCommercial Jewellery Photographer LondonCommercial Jewellery Photographer London

Friday, 11 November 2011

Tiara’s


I know, I know more jewellery…

This is an an aspect of photography that I find quite rewarding and challenging to do well so this time last year I did quite a lot of jewellery photography jobs; as this section is about light, the jewellery photography is still worth mentioning for the learning blog.

For this shoot a tiara designer wanted a set of images to be used on a website and for promotional material. The job was a little different that 2 other previous jobs in that some of the tiaras would be modelled.

The first few shots were shot in a similar way to my previous jewellery work, using a light tent, (essentially a large box that diffuses the light) with 2 flashguns fired manually on each side of the tent for lighting. The available ambient light was effectively killed off with using a high shutter speed 1/250 sec and small aperture f/11 (ISO 100 85mm) on a I wanted the only light source to be the flash. White balance was set to flash then corrected post production using a grey card.

Photography Blog

The next 2 I framed the tiaras off centre and at an angle that would show the curved line and shape of the tiara to help the eye travel around product.

Photography Blog

Photography Blog

I’ve converted the following images to mono, to emphasize the strong contrast, not the way they were intended to be seen as the client wanted the bright colours to be seen in the images. I just really liked the way the shadows add depth to the image giving it an ‘noir’ feel to them, that kind of reminded me of the 1920’s and 30’s.

The shots were taken with a single flashgun against a black material background, the light was to the models right at a rough 45’ degree angle, (both side and height). I used a shoot through umbrella in front of the flash to diffuse the light but had it as close to the models face as I could to retain the contrast. Although I’m still happy with the outcome, this method did lead to some extra post production on the background to darken it as with the umbrella light was thrown or ‘spilt’ on to the background also (which is what I didn’t want to happen). However I learnt a lesson and have since gone on to other shoots using more directed light using a soft box that gave more control over the direction of the light and thereby shielding to light from spilling behind.

Photography Blog

Photography Blog

Again sorry to use jewellery as another example shoot, however it is a great subject to test lighting skills on because of the reflections and shiny surfaces to contend with. It is very specialized form of photography and as such I’ve found shooting it under pressure for a client has really brought my photography to a different level in aspects of my photography… beside I really enjoy still-life!


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

More Jewellery Photography.


I did some more jewellery shots for a different client back in November 2010 that I thought I would post also. These were were specific designs from a Jewellers in the Hatton Garden District of London (famous for jewellery). I used the same setup as I did in the previous blog entry on Jewellery shoot, so won’t go into details about how the shots were setup.

Commercial Products Photographer London and Kent

Commercial Products Photographer London and Kent

Commercial Products Photographer London and Kent

Commercial Products Photographer London and Kent

Commercial Products Photographer London and Kent

There is still an exercise in the course material that I want to try, especially as it deals with shiny surfaces.


Sunday, 6 November 2011

A Wedding Shoot


Here are just a few shots from a photography wedding job from November 2010 that I just thought I would share. More examples of weddings that I have done can be found on my website.


ISO 400

135mm

f/5.6

1/250 sec

Wedding photographer in Bexley

ISO 400 135mm f/5.6 1/250 sec

Wedding photographer in Bexley

ISO 400 135mm f/5.6 1/90 sec

Wedding photographer in Bexley


Friday, 4 November 2011

Jewellery Shoot


I had a commission in October last year to take promotional photographs for a Jewellery designer who wanted to use the images on a website.

From a lighting perspective this was quite a demanding job; firstly the designer wanted to have the jewellery placed on a black shiny surface on some and a white reflective surface for others, rather than having to decide which pieces would suit which surface I decided to shoot each piece on both and then the at least the designer could decide what suited each design best.

I was allowed to place the jewellery into shapes and use lines and placement within the ‘frame’ for composition, but the real challenge is the light reflections of of the different surfaces!

Product Photography London and Kent

To reduce the amount of unwanted reflections in the images I used a diffusing Light tent. Essentially a collapsible box made of wire and covered in a thin material that is ideal for diffusing the light. I also use sheets of acrylic which is a perfect reflective surface for this type of work (although a nightmare to keep dust free and requires a little extra re-touching to remove it). My light source for the job were two off camera flashguns on wireless triggers that are fired when the camera fires. I used manual triggers so no flash TTL metering, so I also had to set the power manually on the flashguns; I do not have expensive TTL radio triggers so I have to meter the light manually and adjust the power of the flash to the settings I had decided on the camera. The flash guns were on either side of the light tent at around 30-45’ degrees. (Direction of light even on both sides at the same angle.

Product Photography London and Kent

As I was using a small aperture to control the depth of view as much as I could (in relation to the focal length I was using); and at that small an aperture  (f/16) I would have had to have very long shutter speeds to reach correct exposure, with the ambient light that was available (not much as I was in a basement!). To avoid long exposures I decided that everything was going to be lit by the flashguns. The the shutter speed was irrelevant in controlling the amount of light as there was no ambient light to control (The aperture controls the amount of flash exposure). With the aperture set at f/16 I set the camera speed to 1/250 sec (the maximum sync speed with my equipment) I then fired the flash guns so that I could take a TTL Meter reading, then adjusted the power of the flash guns rather than the camera settings to obtain correct exposure: Note - This shoot was back in early October 2010; over year ago from writing this entry, I now (in a controlled shoot with flash) also use a hand held light meter rather than always rely on the cameras TTL metering to determine my exposure.

The shoot was very successful and had some reasonable referral work from it.

To see more examples of the work from the shoot please click on any of the pictures.

Product Photography London and Kent

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Hyper Japan Event 2010


Not really specific exercise related to this one, but it’s worth a mention I guess. I covered the Hyper Japan Event, which is a Japanese cultural event that is held in London; its all things Japan. The main interest from a photography perspective is the culture of ‘cosplay’ which is short for costume play where people of all ages and sexes dress up as characters from popular fiction,including TV, Film, Video games, comics etc. Anyway I used a canon 7D with no flash; it was in a large warehouse environment with Fluorescent lighting being the main source; there was no external / Natural light at the event, and without flash I ended up having to shoot at relatively high ISO settings to avoid camera shake (slower shutter speeds). I let the camera sort out the white balance on AWB, but did find the bright colours of costumes and coloured disco lights in some places kept me on my toes. That said the strange lighting conditions added to the atmosphere of the event and with a little creative digital processing I had a lot of fun with the results.  

London Photographer

London Photographer

London Photographer

London Photographer

 

London Photographer

London Photographer


Available Light


This is the artificial light that is around us, indoors and outdoors, and it all affects the ambient light in a scene.

Tungsten Light

Heated filament normally in a bulb e.g. traditional; incandescent domestic household light-bulb, which gives an orange/yellow colour cast (think back to the colour temperature and white balance sections).

Fluorescent Light

Electricity causes reaction to a gas, creating certain elements in the gas to glow. The majority of lighting in public places is with this type of lighting; gives a greenish colour cast to cameras. (Again think back to the colour temperature section.
Notes: a shot in normal daylight with the Fluorescent setting on the camera gave a violet/reddish cast to the photograph. This is, in its most basic explanation, the camera ‘adding’ the opposite light colour on the colour wheel to the image, to counter the ambient cast (in this case fluorescent casts a greenish colour... so you’ve probably worked it out now the opposite colour on the wheel is... red!) Think back to the colour theory section.
So going back to the Tungsten giving off a orange cast… yes you guessed it the camera adds a blue/green cast to ‘balance it… Wait a minute…Balance oh yeah ‘White Balance’! Ok this is a simplistic explanation but It works for me!

Vapour discharge lamps

Sodium lamps. The type used for street lighting give that very strong yellow light that you see at night along roads. There are other types of vapour lamps that require other filters/colour temperature adjustments to balance the colour casts.
In the case of street lighting I have found that AWB setting still struggles to correct the yellow cast. I’m not sure why but there is a note in the text to say that it can’t be corrected, however I have found that manually setting a white balance to temperature of around 2000-2500K you can reduce the yellow cast; although at this extreme end of the scale causes other colours casts to show through; take the example below of a night street setting. That I took a few years ago.
50mm
10 sec
f/11
ISO 400
Light Photography
This first shot shows the extreme yellow cast from the lights; the AWB setting gave this a temperature of 3500K
Light Photography
The exact same shot with a custom white balance of 2000K,  Notice that their is still a yellow cast and with temperate so far up a lot of blue cast is left, so it’s still not a correct representation of the true colours. The central reservation still looks yellowish even though I know in daylight this to be grey.
Light Photography
In the last version I’ve resorted to removing the saturation of colours in Photoshop; I’ve removed all the yellow from the image and all the blue. In terms of colour this would be the most accurate to how you imaging this too look. The roads are grey, It’s night time so the sky is black/grey the trees are green and the break lights of vehicles are red with headlights of white! Interesting experiment in supplementing the white balance and and colour temperature sections.