Wednesday, 30 July 2014

LEE Filters 188 Cosmetic Effect Gel in Use



There are times when the light you use is either too hard, the wrong colour or both. On a recent test shoot with the lovely Amy, the light from my Elinchrom Ranger Quadra A head with a 26cm high efficiency reflector was both too cool and a tad hard on the shadow edges or penumbra.

To correct this I fixed a LEE Filters 188 pale amber warming effects gel with added frost, giving warm flash tones, a boost to Amy's already wonderful hair colour and taking the edge from the shadows.


Close-up from the first image with my white balance control image inset. The control image on the right was shot without the gel in place. The gel was then used for all the images during the session. 

During post-production I used the control image to set my white point and then applied those settings to the other images from the session. By doing this I get a true reflection of the filter colour.

Had I shot the control image with the coloured gel in place, when I set my white point in post-production the colour would have been neutralised, making use of the lighting filter pointless.

Lighting filters are both inexpensive and easy to carry around, especially the 10" x 12" sheets supplied by the main manufacturers in kits of popular types. LEE Filters 188 Cosmetic Highlight features in their Cosmetic Lighting Pack which includes filters to enhance skin tones in a variety of situations.


Lighting gels are very easy to fix to reflectors with small A clamps, wooden clothes pegs, or my favourite the Manfrotto 375 Multiclip aka Bowens BW-1826/A Black Multiclip which allows some separation from the light source which adds to the diffusion effect of the gel. When using hot lights without barn doors creates an air gap so the lights don't overheat and prevents the gel from melting.

LEE Filters are available from dealers worldwide.

Canon cameras, Elinchrom flash & LEE Filters are available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.




Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Previsualisation for Photographers



A common theme among many stunning and successful images is planning & preparation. But before planning and preparation comes previsualisation, which usually starts with an idea, influence or vision.

Previsualisation is looking at a scene or idea and imaging how it will look in the final form. That previsualisation will then drive how the image is shot and post processed.

Previsualisation or Previs has been used by film makers for years, probably since the invention of motion picture production. You may be familiar with storyboards, an essential and integral part of the process for many. A storyboard doesn’t need to be fancy sketches or computer generated images, just a series of representations on which an image or scene can be planned.

For many years I worked as a corporate TV production manager/producer in London where planning whole programmes was an essential part of the production process, especially where clients and financial compliance where concerned.

Once you have your idea, a sketch or whatever, you can begin planning. Look at the images created by others to get an idea of what’s really involved. Look at the work of photographers you admire, magazine ads, editorial images. These images don’t just happen, in some cases the planning is meticulous, in others quick and spontaneous, but they all start with an idea. A fine example is that of Stuart Woods latest wedding image.

Creating an image isn’t about the gear, but the idea. It’s not the photographers with latest or most expensive gear which create stunning images, but those who think their shots through and prepare.

Remember the 7Ps - Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/7_Ps_(military_adage) Get it right, first time and every time!

Elements to consider when planning your images

Cast & crew - models, talent, hair, makeup, assistants.

Location or studio? Do you need to permission to or a permit to shoot at the location? Does the studio have the lighting you need?

Wardrobe, props - tell the story, communicate the mood or theme.

Time of day, light & lighting. There are any number of online aids and apps to aid planning an outside or location shoot. One of note is Shot Hot Spot http://www.shothotspot.com/ which brings together crowd sourced feedback & images , plus integration with Google maps & The Photographers Ephemeris.

Accessibility, how will you and those involved travel. What about local facilities, drink, food, sanitation?

Cameras, lenses, supports, grip & effects. Often overlooked by many. A tripod not only helps with sharp images, they are an aid to composition. Lenses help focus on a area of the frame (think Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech) or contribute to a sweeping vista (David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia).

Post production - what processing, editing and retouching will be required? Do you need to shoot accordingly.

Whilst not an exhaustive list, you get the idea.

What you exclude from the frame is as important as what’s included. The 35mm slide mount in the image above I use as an aid when framing a shot. Most of the time I shoot full frame, in other words a 36 x 24mm sensor, the same size as an old 35mm stills film frame.

By holding the slide mount to your eye and moving back and forth you get an idea of framing the shot. The closer to your eye simulates a wide angle lens, further away a telephoto lens. So one inch from your eye equates to a 24mm lens, whilst 4 inches 100mm and so on.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Lighting Closeup, Garden Orb Spider, Araneus diadematus

Garden Orb Spider, Araneus diadematus

Found one of these in my back yard today, having snared a wasp and wrapped it in silk.

I decided to back light (dark field illumination) to emphasise the web and fine hairs on the spider. A black plastic sheet was suspended behind the spider on a short boom attached to a Kupo Grip C-stand. The flash was modified with a Rogue Flash Bender from Expo Imaging as I knew this would give me both soft and controlled spill to my light. Fill was nothing more than a hand held plastic mirror from a camping shop directly opposite the key light and just out of frame.

Lit with a Canon 580EXII firing into a Rogue Flash Bender, roughly 14 inches away, slightly above spider at 10 o'clock. Fill from a small plastic mirror just out of frame at 4 o'clock (not shown). Placing the flash on a lightweight stand with a tilting umbrella adaptor allows the flash to pan & tilt.

Canon 50D, 100mm ƒ/2.8 EF macro, ƒ/18, 1/160th sec, 320 ISO, WB daylight.b Flash triggered with Yong Nuo YN-622C TTL radio trigger/transceiver.


A tripod for this kind of image is essential as camera shake is exaggerated due to the magnification of the 100mm lens on the 1.6x sensor! Continual focus adjustments were necessary as the spider kept moving and the slightest movement from me or a slight breeze meant I lost sharp focus.

Camera on a Manfrotto 755MF3 carbon fibre tripod with a less than ideal Manfrotto 3 way pan/tilt head. Should have changed to my heavy ball head.

Canon cameras, Elinchrom flash & LEE Filters are available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch.

Kupo Grip is available in the UK from Ianiro UK. Rest of the world http://www.kupogrip.com/find-a-dealer/ 

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Flirting with Flash - Sarah



Just quickie from a recent test shoot with the lovely Sarah who will be modelling at my Beginners Lighting for Wedding & Portrait Photographers workshop on Sunday 28th September 2014.

A single Canon 580 EXII Speedlite was triggered with a Yong Nuo RF-602 transmitter/receiver set. The flash was zoomed to 105mm to create a beam and give some extra power. The flash was set at ¼ power (I guess). The light was giving some lightweight warmth from a Rosco #302 Pale Bastard Amber gel attached to the flash with a Gel Clip.

Camera & settings:
Canon 5D MkII, Manual, back AF button
Canon 85mm ƒ/1.8 EF, set to AF
WB Daylight
Lens focus 7.3m
100 ISO
1/60th sec
ƒ/6.3


Sarah stood in the shade created by a mature oak tree and positioned so she was against a dark uncluttered area of the background, whilst at the same time catching the back rim light created by sun light, lightly diffused by broken light cloud over a blue sky. The ambient light was under exposed by around 1.5 stops in order that the flash provided to key/side light on Sarah.  The image is essentially straight out of camera, with only my normal processing in Adobe Camera Raw.

The light cloud diffusing the sun acts in a similar way to introducing a net scrim between a hard light source and the model. Spun & Hampshire Frost diffusion gels have a similar effect. Remember with lighting gels you can control the amount of diffusion by using different densities of diffusion gel.

If you go to the LEE Filters website or download the LEE Swatch iPhone app, there are visuals showing the approximate effect of different diffusion gels. There is also a 3D test on this blog showing the effect of diffusion gels in use.

My thanks to Linda Johnstone for acting as VAL (Voice Activated Light Stand).

LEE Filters are available from dealers worldwide.

Canon cameras, Elinchrom flash & LEE Filters are available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

LEE Filters Diffusion Gels Comparison

LEE Filters have an area on their website which shows an approximation of the effect of each gel in two dimensions, you may also see this in the LEE Swatch mobile app. To see the true effect of diffusion gels you need to see the effect on a model - enter Fred the Head.

Fred is a regular in our studio as he's reliable and not demanding! Seriously, it's good to have a constant model and set-up where you can test light and lighting so you can see the effect and later interpret and visualise when on a shoot.


Control image
The unmodified Elinchrom mono bloc flash with an 18cm standard reflector giving an angle of illumination of 60º.


Equipment
The Elinchrom flash head with 18cm reflector. Diffusion gels are held in place with Manfrotto Multiclips. Fred is placed on a bench with a mid-grey background and the light roughly 6 feet away 2 foot 6 inches above head height.


Using the Multiclips is a simple, easy & convenient way to fix the diffusion gels in place and gives a constant distance of around 10 inches from the flash tube for this test. Shown here is 253 Hampshire Frost.

Do remember with all diffusion materials, gel and textile, that the closer to the light source the less pronounced the diffusion effect and the greater the distance from the light the more pronounced the effect. The diffusion effect and optimum distance from the light source will vary between diffusion gels and the effect you are trying to achieve, which is why you may want to consider using larger diffusion gels clipped to a separate scrim frame rather than directly to the rim of a reflector.
















Net curtain, open weave


Net curtain, close weave

LEE Filters are available from dealers worldwide.

Elinchrom flash & LEE Filters are available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.