For this blog post I’ll be sharing my technique for getting a busy background to look like a Black Portrait Background (similar to what you’d find in a photography studio). The final image was achieved with four flashes and camera settings that helped me to take the background right out of my final shot (without using Photoshop).
I was on a photography assignment in Michigan when I received a call to see if I was available for a senior portrait shoot in the area. It turns out Nichole already had a senior portrait session but she was really unhappy with the entire experience. It turns out Nichole was a beautiful girl and her bad experience was completely the fault of her previous photographer. I quickly said “yes” but because of the time of year we couldn’t go out to a nice location for her shoot. I love a challenge and this was sure to be fun. We created a bunch of images I really loved right in her living room. We started our shoot by simulating a black background.
For this blog entry I’ll share some behind the scenes shots of my Mobile Photography Studio setup along with a few images from my photo session with one-year-old Brody.
A big part of my business involves creating portraits on location. Most of the time that means being in scenic locations like lakes and parks. Other times it’s an assignment where I’m photographing an office staff in their place of business. But sometimes I’ll get a call that requires a studio environment set up in a remote location. My photo session with Brody was a perfect opportunity to create a full studio environment in the clients home.
For this blog entry I want to talk about Photographing Liquor Bottles and give a look Behind the Scenes of a Product Shoot. After my recent trip to Kentucky I wanted to take some pictures of some special bottles of bourbon I received at the Maker’s Mark distillery. The bourbon inside the bottles was aged in a barrel that had my name on it (along with names of some other really cool Maker’s Mark Ambassadors). I was surprised to learn that I’d be putting custom labels on the bottles before I dipping them into the signature red wax to seal them. I’ll be sharing my experience at the distillery in a future blog post.
For this blog post I’ll be sharing my techniques for setting up and lighting a product in my studio. It may seem simple but when the goal is to create a specific look for your final shot it can get super complicated really fast. For the shot above I used a total of 5 flashes (three groups each set to different power levels).
Today I want to talk about Flash Grids and why they are a must have accessory for controlling your light. Getting the most from your flash involves taking control. It’s important to place your flash where it will create the best illumination and shadows. On my hot-shoe flash I almost always keep a Sto-fen difusser attached to help soften and scatter the light for more pleasing results. Another great accessory I use often is a flag (also called a bounce card, flash bender or 80-20). People who follow me on this blog also know that I’m a huge user of colored gels to create unique looks or to match my flash with the available light. But another way to take control of your flash is to use an accessory called a grid. In this blog I’ll talk about the hot-shoe flash grid system I use.
For this blog entry I’ll be talking about interior photography and sharing my two light approach for getting the shot. I’ll be sharing some behind the scenes images of a recent shot I shared here on my blog. The shot was of a living room that featured a fireplace and a Christmas Tree. The challenge wan’t getting a shot of the room, the challenge was in creating exactly the shot I had in my mind. Instead of just pointing my camera at the room I ended up using two flashes and a few post-processing techniques to create my image.
For this blog post I want to talk about personal projects and exploring new forms of photography. I love being out in the scary unknown places that other photographers might try to avoid. I used to stay safely in my comfort zone but when I ventured outside of that safe place I grew as a photographer and I became considerably more creative not just behind my camera but in Photoshop as well.
I think it’s pretty easy to find safety in our photography. When I became serious about my location portrait work I quickly discovered it was anything but safe. My success as a photographer comes from being completely comfortable whenever I’m in a situation filled with challenges. I have confidence and I’m able to show leadership to my team and whoever is in front of my camera no matter what complications a location throws at me. To be at my best in these situations I embrace the unknown and put myself into new photographic situations as often as possible.
To get more comfortable with new situations I like to give myself personal projects and I like to get creative for the last shot of a shoot that is completely different from what I’ve done in the past. For this blog entry I want to share the story about an “end of the shoot” image that wasn’t like any shot I’ve ever taken.
Part of my recent engagement photo shoot with Tom and Julie involved some very special wine bottles. You see, Tom used two bottles of wine he had made with custom labels including one that was his marriage proposal.
While planning the shoot we talked about using the bottles in a few shots but I also knew that these bottles had plenty of potential for other uses (like save the date mailers). So when the shoot ended Tom and Julie agreed to leave their special wine bottles in my care so that I could give them a proper photo shoot. But like all product photography, getting a killer shot of a wine bottle is a lot trickier than it sounds. For this blog entry I’ll talk a bit about the challenges I faced, my solutions to common problems, and I’ll share my thoughts on this unique form of photography along with some behind the scenes looks into my product photography area.
Recently I had a great engagement photo shoot with Tom and Julie. I had a few ideas and I knew that they had some ideas as well. Together we put together a nice mix of traditional studio pictures, some outdoor shots and some really fun shots. For this blog post I’ll share some pictures from the shoot and I’ll talk about the process I go through when I’m photographing new clients.
People that have known me for a while know how much I enjoy using shoe mount flashes to get different looks for my photography. While I often share my wilder shots I’m happy to report that I can take shots without flashes, light modifiers and colored gels. In fact, when I’m shooting for clients I start with simple shots and when I’m certain that I have shots that they’re happy with I’ll see if there’s some interest in pushing things into more creative places. Most of the time my photo subjects have grown comfortable enough with me near the end of a shoot that they’re willing to try some different lighting setups to see where the shoot goes.
To get different looks I’m big on using flash modifiers like grids, barn doors, softboxes and colored gels. I use velcro straps from Honl Photo and LumiQuest and I use gels from Flash Zebra, GAM and Honl Photo. I take a ton of gels with me on a shoot and to keep things organized I’m using Case Logic CD cases (I picked mine up for about $5 each at my local Best Buy). For this blog entry I want to talk about colored gels and some of the different ways that I like to use them on a shoot.
Recently I was asked to photograph a good friends dog, Jordan, who is getting older and having some health problems.
Shoots like this are crazy important to me and before the shoot I’m spending a lot of time thinking about how I’m going to get the best shot possible. No tool or technique is off limits for shoots like this.
When the time came to have the shoot we chose an outdoor farm location to give us plenty of options. While I definitely wanted to get some outdoor shots I also knew that I’d need some studio style shots to get the images I had in mind. So I packed up my gear and arrived on location to set up a mobile studio in one of the buildings on the farm.