Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Portrait Photography Lighting Workshop

On Monday 14th May 2012, Ben & I will be leading a practical Introduction to Studio Portrait Lighting in association with The Flash Centre.

Our lovely model, Sam J

This workshop has been designed specifically for those new to studio lighting or photographers wanting to improve their skills and is great opportunity to learn how to get the best from your existing studio lights; if you're new to studio portrait lighting we can guide you toward the best gear for your needs.

There will be demonstrations and plenty of opportunities to experiment in between times as we have a patient model! During the day we'll show how to get the best from simple lighting using one or two flash heads with modifiers and show you how to create consistent professional results. We'll show you how to recognise good and bad light, some basic posing and also corrective measures whilst working with one or two lights, a wide selection of modifiers and reflectors.

Behind the scenes - creating mood in the studio
with just a couple of Elinchrom BXRi studio flash heads

The fee for this workshop experience is normally £129.00, but if you book before Monday 7th May you save £30.00 and pay only £99.00! Included in the fee are refreshments throughout the day and a light lunch. The studio is based close to the A23 London to Brighton Road about 30 minutes outside of Brighton in Burgess Hill. The studio has ground level access and easy car parking; anyone choosing to travel by train will be collected from Burgess Hill rail station.

To find out more and to book you place now - numbers are limited to 10 places only - visit http://www.packshots.biz/training/studio-portrait-lighting/

If you have any queries or specific requirements, feel free to contact me direct via http://www.packshots.biz/contact/

When you attend one of our workshops we will encourage you to take notes and shoot BTS (Behind The Scenes, like the one above) images for later reference. We also provide an exclusive eBook with a wealth information to help you create better portraits.

Much of what you will learn with us can be used outside of the controlled studio environment. We appreciate that not everyone will have access to a large commercial studio, so much of what we show you can be replicated in your home, office or place of work.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

onOne Software Perfect Effects Free Edition

onOne Software have just release a free edition their Perfect Effects 3 software. Perfect Effects Free Edition contains the next generation of PhotoTools 2.6, 24 + professional photographic FX, live full-screen previews with the ability to combine multiple effects to create your own looks. It also includes Perfect Layers for creation layered files.

Perfect Effects 3 works as a standalone application with the advantage over Nik Software SnapSeed or Never Center's CameraBag in that you can create and save layered files.; it will also work directly with Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom and Aperture.

For more information or to download for free visit http://www.ononesoftware.com/products/perfect-effects-free/

Monday, 16 April 2012

Rosco LitePad Loop Ring Light Announced

Image Courtesy of Rosco Laboratories, Inc.

It's not often you can say "you heard it here first" but this may well be the case. Today Rosco Labs the US based lighting company have added the Loop to their range of portable LED LitePads. If you're lucky enough to be at the NAB show in Las Vegas then you can get to play with one.

Image Courtesy of Rosco Laboratories, Inc.

The Rosco LitePad Loop is a continuous ring light that provides shadowless lighting when used around the lens of a still or motion picture film or video camera. The light is soft and flattering as it uses Rosco's special indirect LitePad illumination which prevents your talent or model from squinting from un-diffused direct light. The LitePad Loop can be used on or off camera as it uses strong magnets to fix it to the industry standard 15 mm rail mount. Off camera the LitePad Loop will provide a useful battery powered soft light which can be dimmed with the Rosco Single fader Dimmer.

My mole inside Rosco tells me that the LitePad Loop will be available from the the end of April 2012 and will retail for between £499 exc. VAT for the Retail Box kit and £789 exc. VAT for the Pro kit. More information on the kit contents may be found here.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Shooting Santa with Elinchrom Quadra

This is an extract from an earlier post which included quick and unscheduled lighting demo with the aid of 2 heads plugged into the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra RX pack. We wanted a more considered image of John to highlight his luxuriant beard and wonderful features. If some of you are wondering where you have seen John before, he's the guy that the Coca Cola Company use as a model to guide the artists for all the CGI images they use of Santa.

Santa wondering what those pesky elves are doing now?

We decided that we didn't want any local ambient light in the shot so I dialed my shutter up to 1/160 th second on a Canon 5D MkII. The lighting is pretty simple - one Quadra head to camera left with the Rotalux 70 cm Deep Octa soft box and to camera right a standard Quadra head and 21 cm /8 inch reflectorwith a couple of layers of Rosco Cinegel #3006 Tough Spun to take the edge off the bare 21 cm /8 inch reflector.

Rough sketch of our lighting for the shot of John after the event.
  1. John at the bar.
  2. Wall behind, roughly 4 or 5 feet away.
  3. Elinchrom Ranger Quadra RX A head with 8 inch reflector and Rosco Spun.
  4. Ben with light on adapted paint roller pole.
  5. Elinchrom Ranger Quadra RX A head with Rotalux 70 cm Deep Octa soft box
  6. Me with Canon 5D Mk II, 24 - 105 mm f4 IS L Series glass

Our thanks to Nick Lightbody for this "still life" of Ben & I at work!

Ben came in useful as a VAL - Voice Activated Light Stand to position the second light behind John to bring detail to his hair and separation from the background. I must point out that we were working in an open pub, where it would have been impractical to place a tripod lighting stand behind he busy bar on Health & Safety grounds.

Our thanks go to Lance and his staff at The Woolpack in Burgess Hill for a warm welcome every time. The Woolpack has now been adopted as our home base for the National Photographic Society PUG (Photo User Group) in West Sussex.

Another advantage of working with Elinchrom Ranger Quadra RX flash is that they are battery powered and totally portable; so have the advantage of not trailing mains leads, or having to find a power outlet when you're in a hurry. And if you're in the UK, as they are not mains powered, you will not (as far as I know) need a PAT (Portable Appliance Test) Certificate for them.

This is our favorite frame from our quick 5 minute portrait of John. There is little post-production here, just the usual tweaks in ACR to process the RAW files.

What this space for news of a new series of lighting workshops for 2012 - not just flash, but lighting for photographers; we intend to show you how to light in all circumstances and give you the knowledge and confidence with daylight, flash and continuous lights. These workshops will start with the basics (including some theory) and build your experience, understanding and confidence in a wide variety of lighting challenges and scenarios.

Our thanks to The Flash Centre and Rosco Labs for their support.

If you wish to hire or buy any of the products mentioned here, contact Simon Burfoot at The Flash Centreand don't forget to mention the NPS PUG in Burgess Hill.

Monday, 2 April 2012

SmugMug Join with Loxley Colour for UK & European Photo Printing

This is brilliant news for all UK & European based SmugMug users. SmugMug have teamed up with Loxley Colour to bring you and I the best photo products via your SmugMug account.

Read the full story here on the SmugMug blog:


Portrait Photography Lighting Workshop for Beginners

Here's a shot we'd like to share with you as part of a test shoot for my forthcoming Introduction to Studio Portrait Lighting workshop. I've known our model Sam J for some time but have not had the opportunity to work with her so decided to do a quick test shoot.

This image was created with one Elinchrom BXRi 250 mono bloc with a Rotalux 70 cm Deep Octa soft box and a BXRi 500 with Mini Spot Light unit projecting a window gobo on the background to give depth, and mood. The background is a mid grey paper cyc roll.

Once you master the basics of exposure, light placement and understand the wide array of light modifiers available, creating an image like this is relatively straightforward.

On Monday 23rd April 2012 I'll be running a new portrait photography workshop for anyone who wants to learn how to use studio flash to create stunning portraits.

The workshop has been specially designed for anyone who has little or no experience of working with studio flash and without distractions from other techniques. The idea is that anyone who attends the workshop goes away confident that they can start creating some stunning portraits.

During the day there will be plenty of opportunities to shoot images and work on ideas; our studio is equipped with Elinchrom BXRi studio flash with a good selection of modifiers i.e. soft boxes, grids, beauty dishes, California Sunbounce reflectors and more. I'll be assisted by Ben Potter and we'll be working with Sam J in front of your lenses.

As the workshop leader I have 30 years practical experience in lighting for stills and video working in advertising, corporate and social photography fields.

During the day workshop participants will be actively encouraged to ask questions, take notes and snap the set-ups for future reference. I have written a comprehensive eBook which is only available to my portrait workshop participants which will be emailed after the workshop.

The fee for these workshops, including a light lunch and all refreshments is £130.00 or £99.00 if booked before 9th April. You can find out more about this and other workshops by visiting the training area on my website or book directly via The Flash Centre website.

It will be good to see you for a day of fun to be had by all. My style is relaxed, structured and informative; Ben & I are there for your benefit, we want to see our students shoot great images. We will cover a lot during the day so familiarity with your camera controls is essential, especially Manual exposure where you set the shutter speed and aperture independent of the camera!

If you like this then this may also interest you 12 Tips for Improving Portrait Lighting

Elinchrom and Sunbounce products are available from The Flash Centre; contact Simon Burfoot for a quote and don't forget to mention this blog!