Tag Archives: lighting techiniques

Slideshow of my first engagement photos session

When I am shooting portrait sessions, I would like clients to experience some sort of transformation. So I like treat them as if they are movie stars. I often give a scenario and I like to see natural actions came spontaneously from them. Well I should sometimes pay attention poses more, but this is my style and I can capture more lively images.

I could eventually put together a slide-show of the engagement session I had in May. Before this engagement session, I had already met Danielle and Simon and I noticed they were so energetic and funny …a  lot of laughs. So I wanted to capture not only romantic but also some humorous images, and instantly I felt like making a side-show. Well…I had prepared some scenarios for them but most of their actions are came naturally from the couple without my directions. You can see how lively they are! 

At the sunset time, I had a technical issue and my flash light did not work. However, I did not want to give up photographing them in the most beautiful time of the day. So I shot series of  silhouette shots. I think the results turned out more natural and moody photos which suit Danielle and Simon, rather than artificial look by a flash light.  

Please hit the video below, and change to 1080P and full-screen to enjoy HD video. I am so glad to take the photos of such a happy couple as my first engagement session.  Wish their long beautiful life.

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Play with shadow

At a location photo-session, I found the interesting wall decorated with some English writing  Beyond the SHADOW of a doubt, I had to use the wall. As I mentioned before, I almost always set a concept before starting shooting. This time I tried to play with shadow. Well… Idea was good but it took long time to figure out the lighting set-up to create the shadow effectively. I had to ask Janet to keep posing for long time. I wish I had an assistant.

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Please click on the photos for larger images

While I was post-processing, I found this image looked like a music album cover, so I cropped to squire format.

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The model was fabulous Janet Tran from Calgary.

Fredau Hoekstra – Photo session at Studio 35 (3)

I have been Beatle mania since I was 14, and read widely anything about the Fab Four. They left so many episodes about their album covers. For example, their 2nd album, “With The Beatles”. You will find episodes like “B&W photo for an album cover was revolutionary in early 1960”, “the photographer was Robert Freeman”, “he used only window light” and so on. Anyway, for some reason the half lit faces of the Fab Four left an impression on my mind.

Now I know that the lighting technique of the half lit and half shadow is called split lighting. I like the dramatic lighting maybe because of the Beatles album. I tried to use the lighting technique for Fredau Hoekstra at the model photo session at Studio35. However, she was so classy and split lighting looked too dramatic for her. So the key light was moved to higher than split lighting and it became close to Rembrandt lighting. I think I could achieve bewitching but still classy Fredau.

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I like shooting portraits, too!

I have been publishing mostly nature photography. But when I got a digital camera at the end of 2008, my favorite photography still was street photography, so actually I like shooting people as well. However, a difference is, compared to 3 years ago, I am more into more sophisticated lighting techniques. Find good light, read the light, it is the nature photography. On the other hand, you can create light; that is fun part of this type of photo session. Also it is collaborative work with models and assistants. It is a great charm.

I had location-model photo-session at the end of August. For the day, I forgot wireless system for flashlights. So I could not try any fancy lighting techniques. But I was lucky enough that I asked my friend to be an assistant so we completed our works with only reflector. One thing I found from this experience was I could keep up shooting tempo with the only reflector. If I had set up multiple lights at different locations, it would have been so time-consuming. The concept of this session was a wondering girl in the city. I may be too shy to be like David Hemmings in “Blow-up“. (Austin Powers must be easier for you to associate with what I want to say.) So I ususaly set up concept for portrait sessions.  

Please let me how you think about these photos.

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For the last two images, I used HDR. I guess Photomatix did decent job, and I kind of like them. But still degraded sharpness looks problematic. So unless I want HDR feel, I would go with proper lighting setup. Or cut and paste the best exposure of the main subject into the HDR image. I should try the technique  when I have time.

I HAVE TO to introduce the model. Her name is Krystal Shuhyta. One of fears of photographers’ side in the cases of photo sessions is poor communication and unprofessional attitude. But I really appreciate her professionalism. Krystal always responded to my email so quickly and she dealt very well with my strange concept. (I am bad one. I had to ask her to wait for me providing images for over 2 months due to the photo gallery.) She is highly recommended. Krystal is also a photographer and she has started her new business, Fly Free Photography. Please check out her Facebook page.

Lastly, while I was processing the photos of this session. I found I had not taken any close-up shot of her due to the concept. Here is her lovely close-up photo.

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The green sweater by eleven:eleven Butique   

Rhythm, rhythm, rhythm – Light, light light

The photo bellow is Casey Ryder, my best friend and a fabulous musician in Victoria, BC.
So three elements of music are rhythm, melody, and harmony. However, when I was his guitar student and he told me that it would be  “rhythm, rhythm, rhythm”. This means rhythm comes first and it is the most import element in music.

So now thinking about photography. What are elements of the photography? Composition…color… depth of field…shutter speed and motion…you name it. But in my opinion, LIGHT is always most important for photography. Everybody likes sunrise and sunset photos because of the beautiful red sky. Then turn the image to B&W, what can you see? Is the composition good enough? More importantly, am I capturing dramatic light? So many lighting techniques have been developed in 100 years of history of the photography to get ideal lighting. Yes, I believe LIGHT comes always first.

Casey Ryder in Nanton, AB

I bounced flash light to the wall. There was glass door of the cabinet on the wall. So sharp strong light flashed to Casey’s face from his right side.

Please check out Casey’s web site here.