Posts tagged Lighting

Changing Mood By Photographing Opposites


Before I owned a studio full of lighting gear and travelled with assistants, I spent years as a photojournalist who owned little more than a Domke F-2 bag with two camera bodies.  When you boil things down, I’m a location photographer who happens to have a studio.

When on location, I often have to travel quickly, adjust on the fly and create visual gold out of thin air.   When it comes to using light, I’ve learned to work fast and to think in opposites.  More on that in a moment.  The advantages of also having a studio means that I can test and experiment with my lighting before going on scene, which is a huge plus.

A recent collaboration with Virginia, a local actress looking for theatrical images, demonstrates the idea of “opposites” well.  The challenge was to create a series of distinct looks in the studio in a relatively short period of time, relying only on lighting and a few key elements. As a mental exercise, I try to challenge myself to create looks that are visual “opposites”–i.e., if I photograph a scene heavily lit, then I’ll try one completely using natural light. If something is very dark toned, I’ll try one scenario that is all light or white tones. It’s a way of expressing something completely different even with the same subject and location.

My favorite image of the day was of Virginia wrapped in a flowing red scarf, blowing in the breeze. In the absence of the background, the red scarf gives life and movement to the image and I love how it turned out. Then there’s the quiet moment of Virginia, looking dark with warm, low-contrast tones. Contrast these with images where she is looks unflinchingly at the frame, a study in bright tones.

One space, a few elements, and deliberate lighting to help convey a different mood. Virginia knocked it out of the park.







Lights on Location Workshop


Mike and Molly Zubik, of Gorham, Maine. (Brian Fitzgerald)
Ferry Beach in Scarborough, the setting for the Lights on Location Workshop

It’s now October, which means that it’s time to start thinking about holidays, jackets and how to escape the coming cold.  It also means the final workshop of our 2011 series is almost upon us.

The Lights on Location Workshop is slated for 4-7:30 pm on Tuesday, October 18th at Ferry Beach in Scarborough.   This is a hands-on-cameras workshop focused on real, practical shooting with strobes (studio and speedlight) in combination with sunlight outside.

If you’ve ever struggled with portraits on the beach, or getting a great fashion style shot, this workshop is for you.   We’ll be shooting in full sunlight and at dusk using studio strobes with battery packs and with speed lights, with a variety of light modifiers.

The goal is to give you confidence that you can balance natural with artificial light to make a stunning, dramatic image for your portfolio or for your clients.

I love gear as much as the next photographer, but the focus here is unleashing your creativity.  As such we’ll delve into light basics, lighting with just one or two lights,  high-speed flash photography, and maximizing the effectiveness of your camera manufacturer speed lights. The focus is on maximizing the gear you already own, but we’ll show examples using more lights and some more sophisticated lighting controls.

To sign up for the workshop, click to pay here.   Space is limited to just 10 participants.  Hope to see you there!