Archivi categoria: gels

Using Dichroic Materials for Art Photo Shoots

I came across dichroic film years ago while researching materials for an art lighting business, Lightlink Lighting. The color changing properties of this material was so inspiring I ended up creating new lighting designs based on it.

Dichroic — from the Greek meaning “two-colored” — film comes in at least two versions: a heavyweight clear vinyl that reflects and filters light in the blue/green/magenta/indigo range and a lighter weight version that reflects/filters light in the magenta-gold range, as seen below.

Magenta/Gold film folded on itself intensifies its depth of color
Blue/Maganta film. It lights up blue/indigo while it reflects magenta.

Being both a mirror and a filter, dichroic film can be used to bounce multi-colored light, as well as re-filtering it against itself. So unique and complex effects can be achieved by layering it against itself and other optical and lenticular materials like lenses, mirrors, prisms, lasers, fiber optics, perforated metals/wire cloth, diffraction gratings etc.

Aside from the lighting, one of the first photographic enhancements came as an accident in the form multi-colored gels, which add unexpected tonal range and drama to materials like the wood in guitars, as seen below (Magenta/gold film in the sunlit window was used in both compositions):

The number of uses in photography is only limited to your imagination. Here it’s used in various versions of the art lighting, which led to the photography in the first place:

Dichroic Temple – 2016 ADEX Platinum award | EnLIGHTenment Mag – photo: Chris Cooper
Dichroic Temple – 2016 ADEX Platinum award | EnLIGHTenment Mag – photo: Chris Cooper Dichroic Twig [cross-section] – 2016 ADEX Platinum award – photo: Chris Cooper
F1 Suspension – 2016 ADEX Platinum award | EnLIGHTenment – photo: Charles Schirmer
Prism Series – 2017 ADEX award nominee – photo: Mike Brannon

So, those are just a few examples of how the film reacts with passive sunlight, LED, Fiber-optic and incandescent light behind it. What else can you do with it? Next it’s used in the form of a gold-coated glass diffraction grating to split the light across the water in the bowl.

You can actually see the film (purple + olive gold strands) filtering the sunlight as it hits the oil and water in the bowl above.

Here the colors are at their most intense due to a reflector below the bowl
Gold diffraction grating as used above. 2.5 x 1.5. These are optics factory seconds.
Magenta Mat – Magenta | gold dichroic film in sunlight

Above is just a large sheet of the magenta/gold film in the window tinting late afternoon sunlight as it hits a bamboo mat, giving it a bit of a Zen-like feel.

Here intense magenta tinted sunlight light washes over a bronze temple drum.

Below is a projected abstract created with reflected sunlight from hitting two layers of different dichroic film types at the same time. It’s not a double exposure. You can easily create an entire series of these type images with minimal materials and space.

Alien Life – Both forms of dichroic film at once giving a pseudo 3D effect
Psychedelia III – Blue | Indigo dichroic film

The last image is my favorite model playing around, being mysterious with a strip of the film during a glam shoot last Fall.

Dichroic film and diffraction gratings are just two optically enhancing materials you can use in a myriad of ways on all types of shoots. They enhance the subject, alter the mood, color or implied texture, or they can be the subject itself.

One way to explore this world is to just start collecting as many types of these materials as possible and when inspiration strikes and the light is right take one or a few of them and try whatever idea comes to mind.


About the author: Mike Brannon is a well-published, award-winning guitarist/lighting artist/writer/ photographer, and apparently likes slashes, nature and anything to do with guitar or light. You can find his photo work here, lighting design work here, music here and here, and writing at EnLIGHTenment, AllAboutJazz.com, Vintage Guitar and Jazzreview

Quick Tip: How to Use Gels to Change the Look and Feel of Your Portraits

Popping a gel in front of your rim light is a quick, easy way to change the feel of your portraits.

As JP Morgan of The Slanted Lens shows you in this quick tutorial, there are a few things to consider when using gels to augment the look and feel of a portrait—from your background, to the clothes your subject is wearing, to whether or not you’re using a smoke machine.

Morgan chooses to use a Rosco V-Hazer, which is a little different from a smoke machine, to put some particles in the air that will catch that accent from the gelled rim light. That way, when he starts playing with gel colors, you can really notice the difference:

The Slanted Lens Gels 1

The Slanted Lens Gels 2

The Slanted Lens Gels 3

The Slanted Lens Gels 4

Check out the quick video at the top for a run through of different gels and how to use them, and then let us know if you have any tips of your own to share.


Image credits: Photos by JP Morgan and used with permission.

How to Keep Your Gelled Backgrounds Perfectly Lit in Studio Portraits

gelledbg

In a recent article, I spoke about the best ways to perfectly light your background with colored gels. We covered the best things to keep in mind if strong and vibrant colors across your backdrop are your objective. It turns out that gelling your background is actually relatively simple — it’s keeping those strong vibrant colors that’s actually the tricky part.

What usually happens when we begin a portrait shoot is that we setup our key light to light our subject, and once we’re happy with that we then move on to place another flash to light and gel the background. This is your first mistake.

What happens next is that we set up the gelled background light, take a picture and see that the background gel color behind the model looks pretty washed out and insipid. There’s no rich color saturation back there and it’s not giving you the color that is promised on the marketing of gel packs at all!

The model looks great though, she’s evenly exposed but the background has no saturation whatsoever… so what do you do? Well it’s clearly not the key light, as the model is looking great, so we go to the gelled background light and faff about with that by turning the power up and down and start moving it closer and further away but to no avail. Obviously the gels must be broken.

Thankfully, no, the gels aren’t broken and there’s a relatively easy solution that simply requires you to turn off your key light that’s lighting the model and setup up your gelled background light first. Getting a great looking gelled background is pretty straightforward, but once you’re happy with your gelled background do not touch this light again.

reasons

Yup, getting the gelled background is easy, it’s keeping it that’s the real problem. The reason this is strange is because we always set up our lighting with a key light first and then add and adjust the other lights around it. Key light, fill light, then hair lights and so on, but we need to rethink this process with a background light and treat it like a completely separate setup.

Think about it like two different lighting setups in one shot rather than one big one. This way you can clearly separate the two, the background gel shouldn’t affect the model and the model lights shouldn’t affect the gelled background.

Ok, so let’s assume we’ve followed all the steps to getting the perfect gelled background. We’re in love with the color we’ve achieved behind the model, it’s looking great with all its saturation and strong color, and we know that once we’re happy with it not to touch that light again. What are the things we need to know when setting up our key light on our model to avoid ruining that beautiful colored background?

Let’s look at the 5 key reasons your gelled backgrounds may be getting ruined and some ways to avoid them.

1. Modifiers: Soft light modifiers and hard light modifiers on key lights
2. Directionality of Key Light: The angle of key light in relation to the model
3. Distance of Key light to Model: The inverse square law effect
4. Light Control: Flagging and controlling light spill
5. Distance of Model to Backdrop: Where in relation to your backdrop to place the model

Modifiers

On the left you have the umbrellas and softboxes, these are soft light modifiers and on the right you have grids and snoots, these are hard light modifiers.
On the left you have the umbrellas and softboxes — these are soft light modifiers. And on the right you have grids and snoots — these are hard light modifiers.

The modifiers I’m referring to are the modifiers that are attached to your key light. I’ll keep it simple by breaking them into two groups; hard and soft light modifiers. The soft ones are obviously the softboxes and umbrellas, these spread the light over a far wider area and the hard light modifiers are the ones that provide a very directional light like the grids and snoots.

If you light your model with a soft light modifier you need to be aware that your light will quickly and easily spill onto your gelled backdrop unless you take great care to control it properly. Using hard light modifiers is a lot easier to control but will obviously give you a very different look to the key light and how it affects your models appearance.

Choosing your key light modifier shouldn’t be dictated by whether or not you’re using a gelled background but you should be aware of what effect each one has so you can plan your setup accordingly. If you’re using a hard light then you can afford to be a little more relaxed with its placement whereas if you want to use soft lights like soft boxes you need to pay careful attention to the other factors I’ll be going over to ensure your background doesn’t get washed out.

On the left is how your gelled lit background looks before you introduce another light to the set. In the middle we have a softbox as our key light and on the right we have a gridded dish as our key light. It's very clear to see that the key light modifier plays a big role in how our gelled background is affected.
On the left is how your gelled lit background looks before you introduce another light to the set. In the middle we have a softbox as our key light and on the right we have a gridded dish as our key light. It’s very clear to see that the key light modifier plays a big role in how our gelled background is affected.

Directionality of Key Light

The directionality of your key light refers to which angle you place it in relation to your gelled background. A lot of us like to use varying lighting styles on our subjects like narrow lighting, butterfly lighting, broad lighting, split etc, etc. Some of these lighting styles will lend themselves to gelled backgrounds more than others, though.

For example, butterfly lighting is a beautifying lighting technique that requires the light to be directly in front of the model, thereby accentuating symmetry within the look. Conversely narrow lighting highlights shape and form by placing the light to the side and uses directionality of light to cast shadows on the model in relation to the camera.

Butterfly lighting usually requires you to point the light straight at the model which unfortunately means you often wash out the gelled lighting behind her. Narrow lighting on the other hand requires you to place your light to one side in relation to the camera and model and usually means that it isn’t pointing towards the background. As a result it doesn’t wash out the colored gel nearly as much. Take a look at the following diagrams to see exactly what I mean.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t ever shoot butterfly lighting when using gelled backgrounds. It just means that you may have to employ other techniques and workarounds mentioned here to achieve the desired look.

Butterfly lighting requires our models key light to be directly in front of her. If we have a gelled light behind her lighting the background it can mean that the background gets are washed out.
Butterfly lighting requires our models key light to be directly in front of her. If we have a gelled light behind her lighting the background it can mean that the background gets are washed out.
Narrow lighting means that our key light is placed to the side of our model and creates more shape and form by casting shadows across our model. The benefit of this lighting is that our key light isn't pointed towards the background and thereby isn't affecting our gelled light.
Narrow lighting means that our key light is placed to the side of our model and creates more shape and form by casting shadows across our model. The benefit of this lighting is that our key light isn’t pointed towards the background and thereby isn’t affecting our gelled light.
In the image above, we've placed our key light straight on to the model to get the butterfly lighting effect. Unfortunately as a result we've lost all the saturation on our gel behind her.
In the image above, we’ve placed our key light straight on to the model to get the butterfly lighting effect. Unfortunately as a result we’ve lost all the saturation on our gel behind her.
In this setup we've opted for a more directional light on our model so we've placed our key light to the side and not pointed it straight towards the background. As a result, all of the light is on the model and none is on the background.
In this setup we’ve opted for a more directional light on our model so we’ve placed our key light to the side and not pointed it straight towards the background. As a result, all of the light is on the model and none is on the background.

Distance of Key Light to Model

Utilising this technique of bringing your key light quite close the model is often easiest to achieve on beauty shots. The beauty dish key light I'm using here is probably no more than 3 feet from the model and she in turn is no more than 5 feet from the gelled background. Use this technique correctly and you can shoot with gels in very small spaces.
Utilizing this technique of bringing your key light quite close the model is often easiest to achieve on beauty shots. The beauty dish key light I’m using here is probably no more than 3 feet from the model and she in turn is no more than 5 feet from the gelled background. Use this technique correctly and you can shoot with gels in very small spaces.

Utilize this technique properly and it may well be the most powerful tool in your lighting arsenal. The distance of your key light to your model is crucial to getting uncontaminated gelled backgrounds and it’s a common problem that is often overlooked. This is tricky to explain with mere words but essentially the closer the key light to the model, the less light that actually falls onto the background. The principles of this are based around the inverse square law theory, which is a whole other article, but essentially as you bring your key light closer to the model the more you have to turn your key light down to compensate.

For example, if your key light was 2 meters away from your model and you took a correctly exposed picture at f/8 (we’re assuming a constant shutter speed of 1/160th and an ISO 100 for a normal studio setup) and we moved our key light closer so that it was now 1 meter away from our model (half the distance) and took a shot it would now be one stop overexposed (one stop equals double the light). We don’t want to change the settings on the camera because remember our gelled background light is set to those settings so we turn the power of our key light strobe down one stop (half the light to match half the distance moved). If we take a picture now the model is correctly exposed again.

Like I said this is a real pain to explain coherently with text alone so let’s take look at a diagram below to elaborate on what I mean.

In this setup our key light is relatively close to our subject but she's evenly exposed.
In this setup our key light is relatively close to our subject but she’s evenly exposed.
In this setup we have our key light a lot further away so we have to turn the power of the light up to compensate.
In this setup we have our key light a lot further away so we have to turn the power of the light up to compensate.

So we can see that by moving the light away and upping the power of that one light that we can still correctly expose the model without having to change any settings on our camera. The same applies if we want to move the light closer, we just have to turn the power of the light down to compensate, we don’t have to adjust the camera.

Now lets see what happens when we introduce our gelled background light that we already had perfectly set up before. How does this technique affect the colors of that gel we so painstakingly got right previously.

In this shot our key light is close to the model and closer to the background but the gelled background color has maintained its tone because we've turned down the power of the key light.
In this shot our key light is close to the model and closer to the background but the gelled background color has maintained its tone because we’ve turned down the power of the key light.
In this setup we've moved our key light a lot further away from the background but also a lot further away from our model. To compensate for that extra distance we've had to increase the power of the light but in doing so our background gel now looks completely washed out.
In this setup we’ve moved our key light a lot further away from the background but also a lot further away from our model. To compensate for that extra distance we’ve had to increase the power of the light but in doing so our background gel now looks completely washed out.

As I mentioned a moment ago, if you get your head around this concept your mastery of lighting will go through the roof because it is an incredibly powerful tool if you can utilize it to your advantage. I know it’s tricky and a little counterintuitive as when I was teaching this to new photographers in the studio where I worked this was always the hardest part for them to get their heads around. I think the reason for this is because when you move your light further away from the background you’re actually adding more light to the background whereas normally you’d think that by moving it further away you’d get less light back there. Granted you’ve added more power the to the light but it still seems odd when you’re starting out that this happens.

There are of course downsides to this technique and that is that by moving your key light closer to the model you change the effect the light has on the model as well. This is something that you’ll have to play with but if you’re happy with how your modifier looks when it’s quite close to the model then this may be the technique you need.

Light Control

The term light control has many connotations but in this context I’m referring to controlling the light after it has left the modifier. If you have complete control of your light after it has left the light source then that means no light is spilling onto your gelled backdrop. This is a little easier said than done but there are a few little studio tricks that you can employ to ensure your light is only going where you want it to and this technique is often referred to as flagging the light. Still-life photographers are absolute masters of this as they are often working with very small objects like food and bottles etc but their light sources are still the same size as ours when we light larger objects like people. As a result they need to be extra careful of where their light is going and spend a long time before shooting begins ensuring no unwanted light spills anywhere where it shouldn’t.
I’ve used Cinefoil here to mould onto my barn door to create an extra large flag to control the spill of light.
I’ve used Cinefoil here to mould onto my barn door to create an extra large flag to control the spill of light.

One tool we can use to control the light is Cinefoil or Black Wrap. This is essentially matte black, heat resistant and extra thick tinfoil that we molds onto our lights to control any spill.

It’s relatively inexpensive and although more popular in the film and movie industry it’s invaluable to have a few sheets in your bag in case you need it. Simply mold it into any shape you want and when you’re done, flatten it back out and return it to your bag for next time. I’m sure the benefits of this speak for themselves but if you’re using a hard light source like a snoot or grid a few well placed sheets of this you can make sure that no light from your key light spills onto your gelled background even if your quite close to it.

I've used Cinefoil here to mould onto my barn door to create an extra large flag to control the spill of light.
I’ve used Cinefoil here to mould onto my barn door to create an extra large flag to control the spill of light.

There are going to be occasions of course when you want to use larger lighting modifiers like softboxes. Flagging unwanted light on a softbox would require either a huge amount of Cinefoil or a larger and easier to manage alternative. One option is black poly boards, these are present in most studios and they are usually about 6ft high by 4ft wide and painted matt black on at least one side. Simply maneuver these into place next to your lights and angle them so that they funnel the light away from the background but still onto your model.

I use black velvet sheets as flags instead of the large poly boards when I'm on location. They are portable and cheap but just make sure you get the cotton based version as the synthetic one acts more like a reflector than a flag.
I use black velvet sheets as flags instead of the large poly boards when I’m on location. They are portable and cheap but just make sure you get the cotton based version as the synthetic one acts more like a reflector than a flag.

I’ve used these a lot but I also use a cheap and portable alternative when I’m on location too, it’s simply a couple of large sheets of black velvet. I hang them from spare light stands and they give me complete control of the light after it has left the modifier. It might seem silly at first but black velvet is great at soaking up unwanted light thanks to its deep texture. Be sure to get the cotton based version though as the synthetic one is shiny and renders it useless as a light flag.

Distance of Model to Backdrop

You’re nearly there and I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve saved the easiest till last. This last solution refers to how far away your model is to the background. Now I know this seems obvious but you’d be surprised as to how many people place their model right next to their gelled backdrop even though they have the whole studio to play with. Essentially this technique is your “do whatever you want” card to play. Set up your background gel and then place your model far away from it and you can set up whatever lighting you want with her.

In fact you can even use the practically forbidden softbox with butterfly lighting from 2 meters away technique if you really want!

The point is that you’re treating this as two completely different lighting setups, each of them being so far apart that they have no influence whatsoever on one another regardless of what you do in them. Obviously there are limitations and you still need to tie the model and background together in one frame with a slightly longer lens but it’s certainly possible in most studios. Up until now I’ve been dealing with issues that most of us have encountered but we’ve only really encountered them because we’re dealing with a smaller space like a home studio. Eliminate that space issue and you’re free to do as you please.

Even seemingly heretical gelled lighting setups like softbox-lit butterfly lighting from 2 meters away are possible if you separate your model and background. Treat your background and model like two completely different setups and you'll never have to worry about washing out your beautifully lit gelled backgrounds ever again…….as long as you have the space for it that is.
Even seemingly heretical gelled lighting setups like softbox-lit butterfly lighting from 2 meters away are possible if you separate your model and background. Treat your background and model like two completely different setups and you’ll never have to worry about washing out your beautifully lit gelled backgrounds ever again…….as long as you have the space for it that is.

All joking aside, the same principle applies even in smaller spaces too. I even tried this in my front room to see if I could force the effect in a small space as well. The result is that yes, even in small spaces by simply moving your model as little as 3 feet further away from the background like I did in this test can have a dramatic effect on how washed out your background gels look.

Obviously when you're  shooting in small spaces you need to be aware of how close your key light is to the background. Even when I'm using a gridded beauty dish really close to the model, I'm still getting a lot of spill onto my gelled backdrop which is washing out the color.
Obviously when you’re shooting in small spaces you need to be aware of how close your key light is to the background. Even when I’m using a gridded beauty dish really close to the model, I’m still getting a lot of spill onto my gelled backdrop which is washing out the color.
Literally moving the model as little as two or three feet further away from the background can have a dramatic difference. Now that you're a little bit further away your gelled background retains its saturation.
Literally moving the model as little as two or three feet further away from the background can have a dramatic difference. Now that you’re a little bit further away your gelled background retains its saturation.

In Conclusion

Here are the points to remember:

1. Set up your background light first before you set up your model lights.
2. Once you’ve set up that gelled background light correctly do not touch it again.
3. Soft light modifiers on your key light are harder to control and more likely to ruin your gelled background versus hard light modifiers .
4. Certain lighting techniques like butterfly lighting are harder to implement in small spaces when using a gelled background. Instead, opt for more of a side-lit look like narrow lighting to make it easier to control the spill of light.
5. By bringing your models key light closer to her and turning the power down you can actually eliminate any spill of light onto the background.
6. Use Cinefoil, black velvet sheets, or poly boards to control and flag the light. Use these tools to ensure no unwanted light falls onto your gelled backdrop.
7. If you have the space for it, don’t be afraid to move your model and key light well away from the gelled background.

Well done. You made it to the end and my apologies for the long article on this but I do honestly believe that all the points I’ve raised here are valid in the pursuit of maintaining clean and saturated gelled backgrounds.


P.S. I also teach all these things in person in my Gelled Lighting Workshops in the UK.


About the author: Jake Hicks is an editorial and fashion photographer based in Reading, UK. He specializes in keeping the skill in the camera and not just on the screen. You can find more of his work and writing on his website, Facebook, 500px, Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr. This article was also published here.

Quick Tip: How to Turn a Dreary Grey Sky Blue On-Location

greyblue

The weather doesn’t always cooperate when you’re shooting on-location. So what do you if you’re faced with a dreary grey sky and waiting for clearer weather isn’t an option? This quick tip by photographer David Bergman might help.

David shared the tip on Adorama TV‘s “Two Minute Tips” series, and it’s a simple way to turn a dreary background blue. All you need is an understanding of white balance and some warm gels.

See how Bergman does it in the video below:

Obviously this is a band-aid fix, but even if it’s not ideal, it’s still a neat little trick to keep up your sleeve for the next time the weather decides to be a party pooper.

(via DIYP)

Quick Tip: How to Turn a Dreary Grey Sky Blue On-Location

greyblue

The weather doesn’t always cooperate when you’re shooting on-location. So what do you if you’re faced with a dreary grey sky and waiting for clearer weather isn’t an option? This quick tip by photographer David Bergman might help.

David shared the tip on Adorama TV‘s “Two Minute Tips” series, and it’s a simple way to turn a dreary background blue. All you need is an understanding of white balance and some warm gels.

See how Bergman does it in the video below:

Obviously this is a band-aid fix, but even if it’s not ideal, it’s still a neat little trick to keep up your sleeve for the next time the weather decides to be a party pooper.

(via DIYP)

How-To: Shoot an #IceBucketChallenge Speedlite Portrait Photo

Ice Bucket Challenge Flash Portrait Photo

Get a cool shot for a great cause

If you've been on any social media network at all in the past few weeks, you're almost certainly familiar with the Ice Bucket Challenge. For the unfamiliar, it's a viral social media campaign that challenges people to raise money to help fund research to cure ALS. You have to make a video while you dump a bucket of ice water on your own head, then call out some friends who have 24 hours to then complete the challenge themselves. If you do it, you're on the hook for a small donation ($10-$25). If you opt out, you're on the hook for $100.


I am an extremely handsome man

It's fun and it serves a great cause, but since I'm a photographer, I thought a portrait might fit my personality better than a video. So, I busted out a few lights and made myself a few portraits, then made a donation. I had a surprising number of people message me to ask how I did it, so I figured a tutorial was in order. While I'm not officially challenging any of you, making a donation certainly would't hurt. And feel free to share your videos and photos in the comments.

Location
Since we were going to be throwing water all over the place, it was clear that we needed to be outside, so I simply went out into my yard at roughly 6:30 in the evening. You wouldn't guess by the dark black in the background, but the sun was still well above the horizon when we shot this.



Setting up the shot
I marked a spot in the grass where the subject needed to stand, that way I didn't need to move the lights or adjust their power once they were in place. I decided to use my Canon 7D with a 70-200mm lens because it would allow me to get pretty far away from all that splattering water.

Pre-flash exposure
I wanted to make the background as dark as possible, and use a very narrow aperture in order to make sure all the water splashing around the frame would be in focus. So, I started at F/11 with a shutter speed of 1/200th sec, which is the fastest my flashes will go without going into high-speed sync. At ISO 100, this made the background pretty much black, so we were already good to go.

Adding flashes
I positioned a Canon 580 EX slightly to camera right as the main light with no modifier. I left the flash head zoomed out to 24mm so it would cover all of the water in addition to the subject. Then, I placed two flashes (a canon 580 EX and a Canon 420 EX) behind the subject. Each rear flash was between five and six feet behind the subject and about 3.5-feet to either side. That gave us enough room that the flashes wouldn't get splashed and we wouldn't need to crank the power level on the flashes too hard.



The rear flash to camera left has a purple gel placed over it, while the less-powerful flash to camera right has a blue gel taped onto it. The gels aren't necessary, but I really wanted the images to stand-out to people who might be scrolling quickly through their social media feeds. The blast of color helps with that. But, the effect would still be very cool without it.

After a little tweaking, I ended up keeping the power level of each flash at just over half-power. With fresh batteries, it let me get a few pops off during each pour to minimize cold, we do-overs.

Getting the shot
The timing was one of the trickiest things about the whole process. Getting a great splash required precise timing. For the self-dumping shots, it wasn't that difficult, but coordinating with a dedicated pourer for the kid shots too more finagling. Counting down from three helped, and shooting with both eyes open helped as well. Framing things a little looser and cropping in later also came in handy.

There's a lot of action happening in the scene, but our subject remains static, which means taking autofocus out of the equation all together is a good idea. You don't want the AF locking onto an errant water droplet and dragging the focus away from the person taking the challenge. You can lock the AF on the person's face before they start the water dumping motion, or, use manual focus from the start and just maintain your distance from the subject. Since I was at F/11, I had quite a bit of leeway anyway.



Editing
I was intentionally using hard light because I wanted a lot of contrast and very clearly defined edges and shadows on the water droplets. Because of this, adding even a bit more contrast during processing made the effect even more pronounced. I also added a small amount of clarity in Lightroom for the same reason.

There were still a few visible details left in the background of the image due to spill from the flashes, so I did some simple burning using the Lightroom paintbrush tool.

Other options to explore
Just because I decided to go crazy with the lights doesn't mean it's the only way to do it. In fact, there are a lot of other ways to get a great picture with water splatter. Here are a few things to remember when setting up:

  • Keep your shutter speed as fast as you can if you don't plan on using a flash. Even if that means cranking up the ISO. 1/500th even seemed a little slow when I was experimenting with it. Getting up over 1/1000th seems ideal.
  • This is one of the rare occasions where using an on-camera flash works totally fine. It will help you freeze the action and because water will be obscuring the face a lot of the time, the shortfalls of the harsh light will actually work in your favor for once.
  • Picking a plain background (or using flash and keeping your ambient exposure very dark) will help the water stand out from the background. Leaves and other busy patters make the droplets harder for the eye to pick out.
  • Using a light source from behind your subject helps accentuate the water. It doesn't have to be a flash, either. You can use a lamp, or even the sun if you want to. The trick here is that you'll need to keep your shutter speed fast even though you're using a flash, otherwise you'll get blur.
  • Give yourself enough depth for field so you can keep most of the water in focus. The sharp droplets really do draw the eye. When they get blurry, the effect isn't as pronounced. Of course, you may like that better, so it's really up to you.
  • Remember that water is bad for camera gear so long lenses are your friend. Just be sure to back up enough to leave room in the frame to catch all the splashes.


Oh, and if you're doing this specifically for the #icebucketchallenge, then be sure to donate!

Ice Bucket Challenge Flash Portrait Photo
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Ice Bucket Challenge

read more








Continua a leggere
Scritto da PopPhoto.com: Main Feed

Super Colour: Exploring the Play Between Color, Light, Motion and Emotion

Super Colour: Exploring the Play Between Color, Light, Motion and Emotion supercolour5

By his own admission, photographer Andrew McGibbon doesn’t like using natural light. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with shooting natural light — he’s done it before when the situation called for it — it’s just that he prefers the wow factor that he knows he can get by experimenting with crazy lighting setups.

He wants to create “surreal” images, and so it makes sense that he would be the photog behind Super Colour, a series of psychedelic portraits taken by combing the effects of colored gels, paints, powder and sometimes water.

Here are a few of our favorites from the series:

Super Colour: Exploring the Play Between Color, Light, Motion and Emotion supercolour4

Super Colour: Exploring the Play Between Color, Light, Motion and Emotion supercolour3

Super Colour: Exploring the Play Between Color, Light, Motion and Emotion supercolour1

Super Colour: Exploring the Play Between Color, Light, Motion and Emotion supercolour6

Super Colour: Exploring the Play Between Color, Light, Motion and Emotion supercolour2

Super Colour: Exploring the Play Between Color, Light, Motion and Emotion supercolour7

Some of the shots that fall under the Super Colour series were taken for ads, others for fun, but all of them, as he puts it, are an exploration of the relationship between “colour (obviously), light, motion and emotion.”

Click here to head over to Behance and see more Super Colour photos, and be sure to check out McGibbon’s blog for some behind the scenes shots as well.

Super Colour!! [Behance via Orms Connect]


Image credits: Photographs by Andrew McGibbon.