Posts By Brad Moore

Lindsay-1

Creative Studio Lighting: Constant, Strobe Mix “Dress on Fire’
Light gives you such control in the studio. You have the control to flatter your subject, set the mood, and even create ‘special effects’. When I first began photography I spent years trying to master traditional lighting including my desire to really understand the direction of light, quality of light, and how to flatter my subject. Eventually, however, I wanted to get a bit  more creative and advanced.

Seeking to take my lighting up a notch, I start to research advanced tutorials or creative lighting and I really didn’t find very much.

This is why I’ve spent the last several months to create my brand new ebook, The Creative Studio Lighting Guide with 30 creative studio setups. Whether you have one light, 4 lights, or unusual modifiers, it is going to help introduce you to entirely new worlds in the studio.

For this article I’d like to share one of the lighting setups you can find in this guide, and how mixing constant light and studio strobes can create stunning results. This setup is in the sample section of the guide that has 5 completely free creative lighting tutorials to get you started on your path to creativity in the studio!

Lighting Gear Used:

  • 2 Profoto D1 Air 500 Watt
  • Light 1 –  Profoto Softlight Reflector (beauty dish) + Grid
  • Light 2 –  Profoto zoom reflector with barn doors + gels (modeling light only)

Other Gear Used:

  • Rosco gel kit
  • Avenger D600 mini boom arm

Distance of Subject to Background:

  • Not Applicable

 

SETUP

Light 1:

  • Distance from subject: 32 inches
  • Distance off center: 9 inches
  • Height above eye level: 12 inches
  • Power (Fstops): F/9

Light 2:

  • Distance from subject: 52 inches
  • Distance off center: 20 inches
  • Height above floor: 24 inches
  • Power (Fstops): F/3.5

Camera Gear & Settings:

  • Camera: Canon 5D III
  • Lens: Canon 24-70mm 2.8 II at 24mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4 sec
  • Aperture: F/9
  • WB: Flash

Diagram

The goal of this studio lighting setup is to infuse energy and motion into the frame by mixing one constant light, one studio strobe and a long exposure. The end result will help this dress and the scene to come to life, making the dress appear as if on fire!

Let’s take a look step-by-step at considerations for building this two-light setup filled with movement and drama!

Final-2

Step 1:
You’ll want to begin by completely removing all ambient light in the shooting space. Be sure no light is coming through the windows and that overhead lights are turned off. This will affect the look of the final photograph.

Step 2:
Next, you’ll start with your main light. Place a strobe with a beauty dish with a grid as the main light illuminating your subject’s face. The beauty dish will create crisp but glowing light on the face. The grid will focus the light primarily around the subject’s face and torso.

As you can see in this image, by adding the grid the entire lower half of her body is completely in shadow. Since grids focus light and create more rapid fall-off of light, this is going to be perfect for adding the next element of the scene.

1

Step 3:
Next, you need to add a second light pointed at the lower half of the subject’s body. For this light you will turn OFF the strobe capabilities and only use the modeling light. Here I have used a zoom reflector with barn doors and a red gel for creative effects. This light will be used to illuminate the dress, and I use the barn doors to make sure this light does not hit the subject’s face. This is one of the benefits of placing gels on barn doors: you can control the spill of light more precisely.

Now that the strobe capabilities are turned off and the ambient light in the room is eliminated, be sure the modeling light of this second light is turned up to its fullest power.

If you take a photograph while shooting at a ‘normal’ studio shutter speed (around 1/200 sec) you will see almost no light added to the bottom of the dress. This is because your exposure does not let in enough ambient light to record the color of the dress. In the next step, we will change this.

2

Step 4:
In order to achieve see color/detail on the bottom of the dress, you will need to use a long shutter speed (aka ‘dragging the shutter’) to allow the background light to register in your exposure.

By using a longer shutter speed, in this case 1/4sec or 1/8sec, you leave the shutter open long enough to pick up the light from the modeling light.

With the longer exposure in this image you can see the red illumination registering on the bottom of the dress.

3

Step 5:
Now is the time to get creative in this shot. Because of the long exposure, you now have the opportunity to add movement to your scene. In these examples I have thrown the dress in the air to create movement in the frame that registers through the long exposure. The moving fabric combined with the red gel results in a fiery appearance for the dress. Also try zooming your lens in or out, moving your camera left and right, or physically moving your body in and out during the long exposure. Each will produce different creative results.

4

Tip:
Once you get all your settings right, you may want to turn off the modeling light on the beauty dish. During the long exposure the constant light from the modeling light may register on the subject’s face and create unwanted motion blur.

One thing to keep in mind for this shoot is that the subject’s wardrobe choice will make an impact on the final image. The subject will need to be wearing a clothing/items to pick up the light from the constant light (modeling light). In this case a shimmery dress is perfect for the effect. You’ll want to avoid dark colors or matte fabrics. Sequins, light colored clothing, or anything that shimmers will best showcase this effect.

Takeaways:

Final-1

By combining the constant light of a modeling light, a studio strobe, and a long exposure you can create truly striking and creative studio results. By dragging your shutter you are able to move your camera and/or subject to create interesting blurs and shimmers to your images that open up endless creative opportunities with just two light sources.

BTS1 BTS2

If you’d like to see more from my Creative Studio Lighting Guide, definitely check out the link to download 5 FREE setups or check out the full guide of 30 creative studio setups available at http://learn.lindsayadlerphotography.com/creative-studio-lighting-guide.

You can see more of Lindsay’s work at LindsayAdlerPhotography.com, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also see her live in Las Vegas at Photoshop World from July 18-21!

BRAD_NOTC_Blog_05.18.16_HomeIntoStudio2

Transform Your Home into a Professional Photography Studio, Part 2
Join Rick Sammon for part 2 of his series on how to transform your home into a professional photography studio! Building on his previous class, Rick takes it to the next level by bringing in more advanced accessories, more advanced lighting techniques, and a professional model to show you a whole new set of tips and techniques that are easy to replicate. You’ll be surprised to see that without spending a lot of money or time, you can channel your energy and creativity into getting studio quality results in your own home. In each lesson Rick discusses the gear you’ll need, how to set it up, how to work with your subject, and then shows you how to get the shot.

BRAD_NOTC_Blog_06.01.16_AdobePortfolio

Build a Stunning Website in Minutes with Adobe Portfolio
Did you know you can have a beautiful, professionally-designed online portfolio up and running tonight for free, if you subscribe to any of Adobe’s Creative Cloud plans, including the Photographers Bundle plan? It’s called “Adobe Portfolio” and it’s included in your Creative Cloud subscription and this course, by Scott Kelby, is designed to take you, step-by-step through the simple process of getting your portfolio up and running right away. You’ll be amazed at how full featured Adobe Portfolio is, and how easy it is to pick your template, upload your images, customize your layout, and share it online. It’s way better than you’d think.

Raymond Osborne E-4 Military Police 1985 - 1992 Veterans Portrait Project Pleasanton, California

Mentorship is Invaluable
I’ve known photographers who hold their cards very close to their chest for fear of showing their proverbial hand. I’m not sure why they’re fearful. After all, you can teach someone a technique and they will not produce the exact same picture implementing those techniques. You see the technique may be replicated, the art and vision cannot. That’s solely distinct from one individual photographer to another.

Pearsall_Image-002 Pearsall_Image-003

On the other hand, I’ve met photographers who pass it on freely without any expectation of return. In fact, I’ve been the recipient of such mentorship. That’s why I’d say I fall into the latter group. In my mind, there’s no harm in it. Some may argue that I’m grooming competition that could take food from my table. That’s a valid point, but I’m unafraid. I’m secure enough in my abilities to share with others without fear they’ll overtake me. I am who I am. They are who they are. Besides, I’d be very proud if they became uber-successful. That’s just another form of accomplishment – to have impacted someone’s life so greatly would be an honor. There’s also the old adage that healthy competition brings out the best work in all of us!Pearsall_Image-004 Pearsall_Image-005

To that end, I don’t view it as creating competition. Rather, I’m giving back to my profession. That’s why mentoring others is so important to me, and I do it in many ways. I’m listed as a mentor with the National Press Photographers Association, and I’ve written books and blogs, and I do podcasts, webcasts and public speaking. I talk to middle school, high school and college level students and teach professional photography workshops. Any way I can help, I try.

Over the last 15 years, I’ve developed many fun, unique ways to mentor and teach. I’ve had middle and high school photography student internships, college internships, first assistant opportunities for newly graduated photographers and more. There’s something to be said about improving yourself by cultivating others.

Pearsall_Image-006 Pearsall_Image-007

Most recently I’ve used my program, the Veterans Portrait Project, as a learning tool. With the support of Nikon Professional Services, we provided Nikon DSLR cameras to 66 Raritan High School digital photography students so they could learn how to take studio portraits. For two days, we taught the art of portrait photography, how to communicate with strangers, types of lighting techniques, posing and exposure fundamentals. On the third day, the class culminated with a Veterans Portrait Project event where the students stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me and took portraits of local-area veterans. It was amazing to see how much the young students flourished behind the camera, and in front of our eyes. It was a huge success. Check out some of students’ work. I think you’ll be equally impressed.


At this point, you may be asking what’s the purpose of this post. This is my attempt at inspiring you to take someone under your wing, and be a mentor too. It’s also my round-a-bout way of saying we’re all responsible for the future of photography and we should all be contributing to its success. Whether photography is old-hat to you or you’re new to the game, you’ve got something to offer someone. Let’s be open, ready to share and inspire each other. Let’s flourish in this art together. See you at Photoshop World 2016!

Pearsall_Image-008
Pearsall_Image-009

You can see more of Stacy’s work at StacyPearsall.com, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also see her live at Photoshop World where she’ll be teaching her class Combat From Behind The Camera!

From Flat to Fabulous with Scott Kelby
Take your photos from flat to fabulous with Scott Kelby! If you’ve ever experienced being let down by how a photo can look right out of the camera then this class is for you. Join Scott as he takes you from start to finish through his entire post-processing workflow on a wide variety of photos, with an even wider range of problems. You’ll learn how to use Camera Raw to do the basics, how to use Photoshop’s suite of tools for magically removing unwanted objects from the scene, how to crop, how to convert to black and white, how to do whatever it takes to make your photos look fantastic. Pull up a seat and watch over Scott’s shoulder as he shares his thought process, his tips, and his techniques for dealing with landscapes, portraits, collages, cityscapes, panoramas, and more. By the end of the class you’re sure to be thinking differently about some of those photos you were ready to delete, and you may uncover areas of Photoshop that you’ve never seen before.

In Case You Missed It
Ideally, every photo we take would be perfect: perfect exposure, perfect white balance, no backlighting, no harsh shadows. Of course the reality is that some images need to be fixed, and in this course we will look at ways to deal with common problems. In each lesson Dave will fix a problem image, real-time, step-by-step. Check out Fixing Photographic Problems with Adobe Photoshop with Dave Cross at KelbyOne!

dc-headshot-2

I always advocate experimenting in Photoshop to see what happens. Sometimes the results are not at all what you might have expected – in either a good way or a bad way. If you don’t like the results you can always undo, delete or start over. But you may love the results – or at least see some potential that encourages you to keep going down that path of experimentation.

One example of experimentation is using a common technique in an “uncommon” way. Here’s a technique that I’ll be teaching in my Photoshop World class called Photoshop Textures, Borders, Edges and More. It involves using Refine Edge, but to make an unusual edge rather than a perfect selection.

First we need to find an image that will create a cool edge effect, so look for an image with lots of detail like stone texture, branches etc. – a photo with a plain blue sky would not work as well.

NOTE: You could use this technique to create a mask on the same photo, but I’m going to use it to create a mask for a different photo.

In this example I’ve chosen a photo and rotated it 90 degrees since I’ll be using it in landscape orientation.

STEP ONE: Use the Marquee selection tool to make a selection that leaves a small area not selected. (This is one of the factors that you can experiment with as you try this method).

edge1

STEP TWO: Click the Refine Edge button, and in the dialog move the radius slider quite high, and experiment with turning on the Smart Radius option. Take advantage of the preview to see the results you’ll get from different settings.
Change the Output to Layer Mask.

edge2

STEP THREE: Drag the layer and mask into the second document. Unlock the Background layer, and then drag the Layer Mask onto the unlocked layer. Finally, delete the copied layer.

edge3

Here’s the final result with a white layer added below to simulate what the edge would look like when printed.

edge4 edge5

VARIATION: After the mask has been created, you have one more opportunity to edit the effect: double-click on the mask and in the Properties panel click on Refine Mask. Then you can experiment further with different settings.

In this example, I used a small radius and increased the Contrast to change the look of the edge.

edge5 edge6

Remember, once a mask has been created, it’s easy to copy it into another document and resize or tweak as you need.

Of course a key part of this ability to experiment is to work as non-destructively as possible. This means using layers, layer masks, smart filters etc. to give you as much opportunity as possible to try multiple operations, knowing that you’ll be able to go back if you’re not completely happy with the results.

Remember, by nature Photoshop works in a very linear way – you have to choose to work in a non-destructive manner to give yourself the greatest ability possible to experiment.

Dave Cross shares his favorite non-destructive Photoshop techniques – and much more – on his online training site: online.davecrossworkshops.com. He adds new content each week, often in direct response to member questions. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

At Photoshop World Dave will be teaching 3 classes: Photoshop Textures, Borders, Edges and More, The Power of Using Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign Together, and Smart Objects, Layer Comps and Libraries — Oh My!

Aviation Photography: Post-Processing Historical Planes with Moose Peterson
Join Moose Peterson as he takes you through his workflow for post-processing some of his favorite historical aircraft photos. Moose takes you through the basics of how he uses Bridge, Camera Raw, and Photoshop to finish his aviation photographs, and then each subsequent lesson builds on those basics and shows you how to tackle increasingly more complicated situations. In all cases Moose starts with the vision he had in his mind and his heart when he took the photo, and teaches you how to use the software to finish telling the story and evoke emotion in the final image. There’s no slider for romance, so it is all on you to bring your own passion and vision to each step of the process. From enhancing drama to making the subject come alive, Moose shares his tricks of the trade for creating the types of photographs that have been the key to his success.

In Case You Missed It
Make sure you also check out Moose’s class The Art of Air to Air!

Close