Two weeks ago I held a seminar and work shop about studio lighting in collaboration with the camera store Scandinavian Photo. For four hours I taught the small class about the theory of light, different light shapers, lighting setups and all you need to take your flash photography to the next step. Then we started the work shop and everyone got to put their newfound knowledge to the test for another four hours.
When it all was over I asked one of the attendees if I could take a quick portrait because I really liked the character of his face. Said and done, I took one Profoto D1 250 flash that stod there with a 3×4′ softbox on it, did a quick readjustment and left the backgroud light as it was. Then I started shooting and ten minutes later I had this black and white portrait.
Afterwards I also asked the model for the day if she would mind to stay for another fifteen minutes, she said yes and I just shot with the same lighting setup.
You can see the results from both of these really quick portraits above and I don’t know what you think, but I think they are great examples of how different portraits you can get with the same lighting setup.
The are both shot with a Nikon D800 and a Lensbaby Composer Pro with the Edge 80 lens, a wonderful lens!
Right now the Studio is being renovated so I can’t shoot but the day before the renovation began I did a quick photo shoot. The modell is named Sulan and has a bunch of tattoos so I just felt I had to do the obligatory tattoo shoot but with a little twist (at least I think I did one).
Instead of just taking one portrait showing of all the tattoos I did a whole serie with pictures in which you can’t see his face and the one straight forward portrait Gordon style. I also took some “safety shots” in form of the two last portraits. I like those two as well but they aren’t part of the serie, they are stand alone portraits which I might use another time. All pictures are shot with a Nikon D800 and a 45mm f/2.8 PC-E Tilt/shift lens.
The lighting is simple and consists of one Profoto Giant 210 Silver a little to the left and quite high. I also have another light with a softbox on the background but that’s it.
At first I did some beauty retouch but then I decided just to do some simple dodging and burning. This decision was made to let the pictures become natural and naked, just showing of him and his tattoos and nothing more. The last two portraits though have had some retouch done to them.
Ok, I know I haven’t given the blog the love I should have the latest months. But now I have a large catalog of unpublished photos and lighting diagrams that I will try to write about this summer. That means that a lot of the pictures I will publish now is a little bit old for me but that’s just how it is. But I will also update you guys on my latest love, developing at home!
We begin with these two portraits which I took many months ago.
The lighting is very simple and is the same for both the close up and the wider shot. I used the Profoto Giant 210 Silver as the main light because of it’s size. The size makes it a really soft light and as you can se there aren’t any sharp shadows in the final images. The size also helped me with getting a light that would cover all of her body but still be able to be very close for a fast falloff. Would I have moved the source further back the body would have been more evenly lit with less shadows on the dark side. It is also good to have a large light source if you want the model to move around a lot.
I also put a beauty dish with a grid for hair light but I turned it off on some shots because I didn’t know if I liked it or not, as you can se I ended up choosing Images where that flash wasn’t turned on. As you can se I have no light on the background, I chose to use the mainlight for that as well.
I haven’t done much editing except for one thing. Mainly Iv’e done a little basic retouch and color correction but on the close up I actually removed the dress in post. I didn’t think of it as I was shooting but when I looked at it afterwards I thought the dress was distracting so i removed it. If you want to know how I removed the dress please let me know in the comments and I’ll se if I can make a video.
I took this portrait of Cimon Lundberg, a swedish blogger, when he needed new press photos. The inspiration and idea to the shoot came from portraits of old movie stars but to do it with a modern look.
The main light comes from a Profoto 5′ Octabox which I placed almost over him but with a small angel
to get a soft fall of downwards. It also gives very defines shadows in the face and clothes. I like that setup for both close-ups and wider shots. On the opposite side I placed a rimlight to show of the form of his head. There is also a smaller striplight with a grid more from above that interacts with the rimlight to get more light in the hair.
The background is lit with a 3×4′ softbox to get a nice gradient.
The lens used is a Nikon 45mm PC-E f/2.8 with a downwards tilt that makes the sharpness just hit his eyes or face ande then go softer upwards and downwards. This is to get a little old school feeling of a large format camera. I used a frame for the same reason but I still don’t know if I like it or not.
In this video you can see all the post processing that have been done to the first portrait.
Backstage photos: Anna Ahlvin and Rasmus Viktorsson
A couple of weeks ago I read about a photographer who used his large format camera as a lens to his dslr. This makes is possible for nice macro shots because of the large format cameras bellows but I got another idea.
I tested it out at home, took some macro pictures, liked the results and got a feeling of how to work with this setup. Next I took it to the studio to use the same technique for shooting portraits.
Get the two cameras to work together
When I tell people about this project the first question I get is always how I connected the two cameras to each other. The thing is, I didn’t. I just removed the back and focusing screen on the large format camera and put it on a stand. Then I took the Nikon D800, removed the lens, put it on a different stand and placed it as close to the large format camera as possible facing the same way.
The cloth I usually use to help se focus on the large format camera became a seal between the two cameras. That’s how easy it was to mount the D800 as a digital back on my Wista 45 DX. The lens on the Wista is in open mode and i use the shutter on the D800.
To focus I used Live View on the D800 and the bellows on the large format camera. To get it to work optimal the cameras must be as close as possible, otherwise there will be problems.
Why do this you might ask? To get a nice soft focus, full tilt-shift control and if you play with the sealing cloth you can get nice old school light leaks.
Lighting with continuous lighting
I had the luxury of being able to play with Profotos Prodaylight 400 Air, a HMI wich hadn’t even been launched yet. I took one light and put it in a Profoto Hardbox to get a hard directional light. I put the light quite far away so that the fall of wouldn’t be to short and both persons would get the same amount of light. I didn’t however want a hard light so right beside the models I diffused the light with a large Chimera diffusor panel. This gave me a quite fast fall of from shadow to highlights but with a very diffused edge.
Why continuous light? To get as much light as possible for focusing and to get this retro feeling.
A quick review of the Prodaylight 400 Air
The new lamps from Profoto are nice and easy to work with and the new ballast is much smaller then the one for the stronger lights. If you want to shoot with a wide open aperture they are enough but if you are a medium format shooter they may be to weak.
Because of the size the would be good to use when filming interviews and because you can use almost all of Profotos light modifiers the are even better for who doesn’t want to use a large octabox for a interview?