Happy Monday everybody. I’m sharing one of my favorite portrait lighting set-ups – one that creates lots of drama and shadows yet it’s super easy to set-up.

Above: We’re using just one light — an Elinchrom ELC 500 strobe (but this technique will also work, or course, with a Canon, Nikon, Phottix, etc. flash as well), with an  Elinchrom Rotalux “Deep Octa” softbox here (but you can do this technique with whichever softbox you have). It’s not so much the type of softbox — it’s how you position it. The key to this technique is putting your softbox way up high — a bit in front of your subject, and aiming down at your subject at a really steep angle, almost like it’s a shower head.

Why does the background look black?
You can see there’s a 5′ wide roll of gray seamless paper behind her — so why does the background look black? It’s because there’s no light hitting that background at all. The light is literally aiming down at the floor, and since she’s not too close to the background, no light makes it back there at all, and the background turns solid black.

Above: When you have this light way over to one side like this, you’ll have to remember to tell your subject to “play towards that light.” If they turn the other way, you’ll get a really well-lit shot of their ear. You can see the position of the light pretty well in this example, and how I’ve had our subject turn toward her body toward the light.

Camera Settings
As far as camera settings go: I’m in Manual mode (as always when shooting flash), with my Shutter Speed at my standard 1/125 of a second, my ISO at 100 (I always try and use my lowest native ISO when shooting flash to get the cleanest shots possible), and my f/stop was f/6.3. I’m using my go-to lens for portraits, a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8, and I stand back and zoom in tight to take full advantage of the lens compression (I feel it’s much more flattering for portraits).

Above: Here’s another view of the set-up, just so you can clearly see the placement.

Well, there ya have it. I hope you give this one a try. :)

Got 30-seconds?
If you want to really dig in further on this type of lighting, (including adding a 2nd light, and some really helpful accessories) I did an entire course on this type of dramatic lighting – but using a regular rectangular softbox (I’m putting the official trailer below – it’s just 30-seconds – hope you’ll give it a quick look).

Here’s a direct link to the class (you can watch it right now, free – just take the 10-day free trial and start learning immeidately).

That’s it for today. I’ve got a cool little Photoshop Camera Raw tip for ya tomorrow. :)

Best,

-Scott

Designing Graphics for Social Media in Photoshop: 101 with Dave Clayton
Learn how to use Photoshop to help get your message out on social media! Join Dave Clayton to get a designer’s perspective on using your images to build your brand awareness on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Each social media outlet has its own set of parameters you need to consider, and with Dave’s Photoshop templates and techniques you’ll be well on your way to creating a cohesive message tailored to each platform. Whether you have a business or a hobby you’ll benefit from learning how to optimize the way your images appear, create more brand awareness, and get more enjoyment out of the process.

In Case You Missed It
Learn how to get started as a concert photographer with Adam Elmakias! Adam is a music photographer based in San Diego who got started in the business at a young age and has learned the ropes from spending time in the trenches with bands on the road, and in all kinds of venues. In this class Adam will teach you all the tools you need to be a successful artist today, from how to get a photo pass to the importance of networking, and from how to build your brand to how to find balance with social media. The photo industry is constantly changing, and one of the most important things you can do is position yourself to be an influencer within your photographic community. Adam addresses all of these points and so much more!

Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson

What’s Brad Been Up To?

Hey everyone, I figured I would take this opportunity to just check in and let you know what I’ve been up to so far this year! I’ve been doing a bit of a hodgepodge of things, but I’m definitely staying busy…

I kicked the year off with a few thousand of my friends (and Styx and Keith Urban) at Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight at Bicentennial Mall Park in Nashville.

Photo by Robby Klein

As if that wasn’t enough fun, just a few days later I made my debut at The Ryman when I helped my buddy Robby Klein out on a shoot there.

Then there was a Run The Jewels concert a few weeks later.

At some point in January, I decided to start taking this whole photography thing more seriously.

And figured, if I’m going to take this seriously, then then what better way than by helping my buddy Rob Foldy out on a shoot at Vanderbilt University for ESPN?

Photo by Matt Divine

In February, I took a trip to Vegas for WPPI where I led an available light portraiture photo walk. Rob returned the favor by helping me out here ;-)

When I got back, I took some pictures of my favorite pup nugget, Opal Pancake, to give my sweetheart for Valentine’s Day.

(She may have also had a birthday recently…)

I’ve also been shooting some video content for my buddy Phil Barnes, a musician and songwriter in Nashville.

Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson for The New York Times

In March, I helped Robby Klein on another shoot with Kellie Pickler for her Selma Drye home goods collection, then followed that up with helping my buddy Eric Ryan Anderson on a shoot with Paramore for The New York Times.

In April, I shot a couple of videos for a new music startup called Crowd Music.

And one for my friend Annette McNamara to help her promote her corporate headshots.

Then I met up with the old gang in Orlando for Photoshop World.

And from Florida, I went to Atlanta and spent a few days editing photos for The Orange Conference.

Last week I shot Tycho when they came through Nashville and played at Marathon Music Works.

And just a few days ago, I photographed the Iroquois Steeplechase horse race at Percy Warner Park in Nashville.

Coming up next month, four days of shooting at the Bonnaroo Music Festival for Red Bull! This will be my first time photographing the iconic music festival in Manchester, TN, so I’m pretty stoked for that experience!

It’s been an exciting 2017 so far, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds for me!

Brad Moore is a Nashville based entertainment and commercial photographer and videographer. You can see more of his work at BMOOREVISUALS.com, and follow him on Instagram, Vimeo, and Twitter.

Hi gang. I’m happy to report that last weekend I found a new source for V-flats here in the US, and the price is right and you can find them in 65 locations (mostly in the Central and Northeast, South, and everywhere out West), and when I show behind-the-scenes shots using them, I always get asked about where to get them.

In the past, it was “Find a local sign store” but a lot of folks were kind of reticent about going into a sign store and asking for ‘Gator Board,” so I’m glad I found this new source. First, let’s look at what a V-flat even is.

Above: Here they are on either side of our model. It’s two large 4-foot x 8’foot panels that you put up against each other (like two swinging doors in a saloon) and then you simply run a 3″ piece of white Gaffer’s tape (you can find white Gaff at B&H) from the top to bottom of the seam, and you’ve got a V-flat. The main reason we like a “V-shape” is that it can hold itself up when positioned in the shape of a “V” or “L” (where they are pretty much “L’s”).

Above: Here’s what they look like from behind (from a different shoot on a different day). But you can see how the “V” set-up keeps them standing in place. You can also see the seam (on her right) where you tape right down the seam with Gaffer’s tape.

Above: Here’s what the final images look like, fully lit with help from those V-flats.

Now, onto our source:

Above: I was taking my wife Kalebra and our daughter (we call her “Yittle”) for a day of artistic shopping fun to “Blick” — an awesome nationwide art supply store, and in the back of the store, I found this nice collection of foamboard, in solid white or black. This is a shot of the Blick in Tampa, Florida.

Above: Look at this! It’s the exact 4-foot x 8-foot sheets we’ve been dreaming of!!!

Above: The price for the 4-foot x 8-foot board isn’t bad — just $34.99 (and you’d need two of them), so $69.98 and you’ve got yourself a V-flat (although I showed using two — one on each side, in the examples above, I generally just use one unless I’m shooting full-length fashion, in which in some cases I build that “tunnel” with a V-flat on either side.

The official name of the store is “Dick Blick” (stop snickering) and to see if there’s one near you, head over to their official website (there are 65 stores in the US, so there might be one near you, unless you live in Texas, Oklahoma, a Dakota, or Alaska, or a few other midwestern states that are V-flat deprived).

Anyway, hope you found that helpful. :)

Best,

-Scott

Hi gang, and welcome to my new series on Photoshop features that can really be helpful…if you only knew they existed, and what they did. There’s some really great stuff buried in Photoshop, and it’s stuff that maybe we don’t use every day, but once unearthed, they can make a big difference.

I’m calling this new series “Buried Treasure” and we’re starting with one of my favorites (I had to use it just yesterday), and in the short video tutorial below, I’ll show you how I used it, and a way you might not have thought of where it can be really helpful. Here goes:

Hope you found that helpful. More to come later this week. :)

See you on Friday in Minneapolis?
I hope so — I’ll be there with my Lightroom On Tour seminar, and so will about 300 other photographers who are ready to make a big leap in their Lightroom life. Hope I’ll get to meet you there.

Have a great week (’cause it’s gonna be a great week!).

Best,

-Scott

Hi everybody and happy Friday. I was taping a segment to a new class I’m doing — a follow-up to my “Just One Flash” called (wait for it…wait for it…) “Just one more flash.”

Anyway, when the taping was over, I wanted to try something a little different portrait wise (well for me anyway), so I did a very simple portrait where the goal was to try and give it a window light look, and I thought I’d share the final image, some behind-the-scenes shots, and talk a little about camera settings and post processing. I’ll do that all in the captions below.

Above: Here’s the final image. 

Above: Here’s an over the shoulder view of my shooting rig. I’m using a Canon 5D Mark III with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (my go-to lens for portraits). My camera is tethered into Lightroom CC on my laptop using a 15′ TetherPro USB cable from Tethertools. It’s supported on a Really Right Stuff tripod with a Tethertools Rock Solid Tripod Crossbar; an Aero Table, and the strap that keeps my laptop from sliding around is an “Aero Secure Strap” and you can’t see it in this photo, but my tripod is on a rolling rig that is designed to let you easily roll the whole thing called a Rock Solid Tripod Roller.

Above: Here’s a clean view of the lighting set-up. I used just one Elinchrom ELC 500, and put it close enough to the cloth backdrop that some of the light would spill onto the backdrop. I didn’t want a bunch of light because I wanted kind of a dramatic portrait, but I needed a little spill. You can see from the shot above that my subject is seated way at the back of the softbox (a technique called feathering where your subject is far away from the hotspot in the center of the light).

Above: The softbox I used was an Elinchrom 53″ midi-octa, which is kind of my go-to big octa for portraits (and it’s not too expensive considering how awesome it is. B&H Photo has ’em for $324).

SETTINGS:
I had the power of the Strobe pretty low because it was so close to my subject (less than 18-inches and at times less a foot). My camera was in Manual mode, with my shutter speed at that nice happy 1/125 of a second; my f/stop was f/9; and my ISO at 100 (the cleanest native ISO for my camera). Just one single light, and some simple very repeatable settings for a set-up like this.

Above: I started in Photoshop doing some standard portrait retouching stuff (removing blemishes, some skin work, a little work on the whites of her eyes and her iris – pretty minor stuff overall).

I’m embarrassed to tell you how easy the rest was — I opened MacPhun’s Luminar plug-in; I went to their Presets (I have my own set-up presets you can get from MacPhun), but I actually wound up going with one of their built-in Portrait Presets called Smooth Portrait. I like the glow and the color grading it gave, but once I applied the preset, I backed off the amount to 48% strength. I also pulled back the highlights a bit and increased the amount of edge vignetting. That’s it. Easy peasy. I clicked OK, and that’s what you see at the top of the page as the final image.

Hope you found some of that helpful. :)

Have a great weekend everybody! I’ll be working on my new book all weekend — almost done (a brand new one!).

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Next Friday I’m in Minneapolis with my Lightroom On Tour full-day seminar. Hope you can come join me if you’re up that way. :)

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