Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Here a blog, there a blog, everywhere a blog, blog....

I will be guest blogging this week at http://www.mcpactions.com/blog/ so be on the look out. I'll be addressing the trouble some people have properly exposing when the subject is wearing white. After writing a rough draft I decided I needed some specific photos for this post. Then I remembered its time to update my facebook and twitter profile, and I have a super cute white shirt. So one thing led to the other and it became a portrait session for Terice and I. Mind you I take photos of Terice all the time, (she's my muse/assistant).

Additionally if you are following this blog and haven't checked out my studio's blog now is a great time! Until April 10 you can buy a gift certificate for a future session and 100% of the proceeds will go to support the American Red Cross. This is an extension of the Helping Haiti Through Photography Event we held on March 27th. And if you are tried of hearing about the event know that I WILL NOT stop talking about it until enough money has been raised to meet the goal I set for donations. So donate now even if its for no other reason then to make me shut my big trap.

Speaking of our charity event, here's some favorites. All of these shots used the same lighting pattern, as shown in the diagram below. I love the soft diffused quality of light, don't you?

.All shots are at 200 ISO with 1/200 shutter speed and f4-f8 aperture depending on the subject. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fruits of the Spirit : Zion Lutheran Pre-K

My son's Pre-Kindergarten class is contributing the following print to their schools auction. Each child held a fruit representing the fruits of the spirit: faith, love, charity, etc. The image will be printed on canvas and each child will sign their name along the edge.

Creating this image was simple. We dressed each child in a black coat to create the backdrop.One SB-900 on a stand was positioned above and a little behind the child's sholder so the light would fall on the fruit. I used a scrim (translucent material) to soften the shadows.  Exposure was 1/125 @ f4 ISO 400.

I then burned the background to a solid black in photoshop before selectively coloring the fruit.

 To create the selective color technique is simple. I created a hue and saturation layer and masked out the fruit. Then using the colorize feature I added 32 hue and 15 saturation to give the skin a slight sepia tone. I hope it sells for a ton of cash to support Zion Lutheran!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pugmire Family Portrait

I posted some time back that I was working on a composite of a large family in photoshop. In total I photographed 35 members of one extended family. Some were shot as individuals while others were put into groups. Each photo was done on a white background with the following lighting set up. Shots were taken over a series of days to accommodate the schedules of the different families.
Because of the timing issues I marked the studio floor with duct tape so I could remember the spots where the lights needed to go. I also took careful notes about the power of each light, it's height and my camera settings. Here's how I did it:
  1. I set the background lights at full power with key light -1 stop from full power. 
  2. Exposure is F9 @ 1/250 a second. This had to stay the same for all shots.
  3. Camera has 16-85 mm lens ( I should have used the 50mm to avoid distortion- something I simply forgot to do!) Most of the shots were done at 40mm and a few were at 24mm. This was a huge mistake that cost me a lot of time in post production. (Don't you hate it when you make a dumb mistake like that!) I shot each person individually and in groups so I could have a reference point as to their height and proportion to one another. It was also very important to get shadows on the ground in the photos so no one looked like they were floating in space.
  4. I took over 200 shots (about 10 images per grouping/individual) in different poses. Some on the ground, others standing, then sitting, so I had a wide range of options. I knew the basic outline of what I wanted as a final product and I used the diagrams I drew out prior to shooting to guide how I posed everyone.
  5. Once I had shot all the images it was photoshop time. Each photo had to have the background masked out but the shadows on the floor needed to stay. The white background helped out a lot.
  6. Once the images were all within the same file I placed each photo where I thought it looked best and then adjusted the masks I had already made to fit. 
  7. The last step was to dodge and burn in shadows that matched the studio lighting. If I skipped this step the people would have looked like cardboard cut outs where their body parts overlapped. 
I am willing to do this again and next time I'll save myself a lot of extra editing by using the right lens. ( I hate correcting for distortion in photoshop, it never quite looks right to me...) I will also try to book all the sessions within the same day so I don't have to reset the lights every time I have another session. Now I just need another large family, any volenteers?