Back Lighting – Part 4

Lighting is an art all of its own. I think I have mentioned this in several ways previous in this series, however I want to impress you with the value of lighting well placed. “Good lighting” is not always “good enough”. I do not mean to make this a diatribe, just a way to help us break out of our routine lighting techniques and learn something more which will add to our photography value.

There are some unique uses of lighting and techniques equally as creative. One of these techniques is included in the category of Back Lighting, but it takes an odd form. In this illustration to the right, this set-up uses only reflected light. The advantage of using only reflected light from this set-up is this: Reducing the harsh lighting on the surface of the glass, or surfaces like it, provides the illumination required to see the glass as well as giving a wonderful view of the drink in the glass.

I have a fantastic imagination with which I can rationalize answers to pictures or illustrations. However, I want to explain some things which I know I have imagined: I have little experience with flashes, but I have imagined my light source in this illustration as a flash. I have other lights positioned in my mind to add light to the shot, but every other light is a non-flash studio light. Next, since I basically drew this illustration, I was not sure how to illustrate the opaque density of the background Styrofoam board, so instead I will tell you, this technique is based partly on the fact that no light will come through the Styrofoam background and relying on the side lighting from the reflectors.

Just because my illustration has only one light source, does not mean this technique is not valid with more. Have fun with this technique, learning from it and increase its versatility.

Inspiration – Part 2

“…Sing, you islands of the sea; echo back, you ocean caves…”

I have been told that I have a fertile imagination. No, I do not care to explain why. This phrase though communicates to me a beautiful image of crystal blue water, fine sand beaches and islands with caves all around begging for adventurers to explore their expanses! Is this not the dream picture we all have of a perfect “Island get-away” that we secretly wish would come true?

There is something more to this phrase and I will give it to you in two parts.

Part 1: We have described the islands, caves and sea but completely ignored the action to which they are called. “Sing!” “SING!” Who does not enjoy a beautiful voice that dares you to go back to your worries and anxiety? If anyone said “I do not” out-loud, I can refer you to some fine Nouthetic counselors.

Part 2: The purpose of their call to singing. Remember in “History Immortalized” I challenged us all to intentional, proper and encouraging photography. These Islands of the sea and ocean caves are singing and echoing the praises to a merciful God who gave his only son (Jesus), conceived of His seed, to pay a debt for my wrong actions, immoral thoughts and offensive words. God did this not for me alone, but for you too. This was not forced on Jesus either, in fact Jesus (the same Jesus that the hymn says “Jesus Saves”) said of his life “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.” (See: The gospel according to John chapter 10:18a)

The sea, oceans or any large body of water ought always to be treated with care and caution. Just because of the power it has by virtue of the laws of physics does not require us to stay away from it at all times, but rather calls us to exercise wisdom and good sense when enjoying the pleasure of water. I think this caps off what we desire in these grand fantasies including islands, seas and caves a well-defined boundary that can both protect us, but reminds us to mind well our strengths and look for help in our weakness.

Oh! By the way, Jesus did die, but he is the only man to come back to life never to die again. He was witnessed by over 500 people, talking with them, eating in front of them and some touched him. Get a copy of “The Gospel according to John” or find it in a Bible sometime, read it. It is true.

Construction Zone – Part 3

I cannot be sure that I can say enough times that safety is very important in Construction Zones. So without belaboring the point I will let you know that being always observant of your surroundings and scanning the work area will not only show you new possibilities for your next shot, but could very well save your life.

If you have been invited into a Construction Zone, the Safety Officer will give you some very important information and guidelines to follow, both for your safety and the safety of the workers with whom you will come into contact. Please pay special attention to these instructions!

Even if you are not allowed into the Construction Zone, it was well worth the asking!

Another minor point of discussion would be not to assume the Construction Zone to be road construction alone, but also housing construction, business zoning, and what about small projects around the house or artists such as sculptors? There are many items Constructed from many substances! Use your imagination and consider the possibilities!

How do these mentioned projects fit into the category of backgrounds for portraits? Is this not getting a little far afield of the original post intent? I will let you judge that, I only wish to help you cultivate a fertile imagination for your photography. Small projects around the house are great for portraits of children and perhaps an artist wants to showcase themselves as well as pieces of work.

Portraiture and Stock have an odd way of working across their lines of definition. As well they should; to keep us on our toes, showing us that life is not all cut and dried. I have just finished several photography projects. As I bring them to a close, I am learning a lot about what it means to put into practice what I have learned as well as some finer points, just so that a photography experience with my studio is natural, coordinated and inspiring.

We all have our own “Construction Zones”.

Lists of shots

This post will not be as in-depth as others but if you take it seriously, can leave you with a very large load of homework. *Grin*

It has been my experience that I have all of these great shots in my head that I can either set-up or capture in theory. (In other words all of the elements I see in my imagination have been seen together at one time, at the same time.) However, when I find myself in a place that I have imagined a shot, I can not remember the elements I previously envisioned! Perhaps you also have experienced that disappointment and  horror of not being able to provide the photos I had in mind for my customer, now feeling like I will have to sell the shots I currently have twice as hard to make up for my lost enthusiasm. (This photo was taken in October of 2011. This is one of the times when I saw the shot, remembering it was something I had imagined without requiring me to add extra elements before immortalizing the scene.)

Here is how I am changing that costly error.

I have begun making a list of shots to compose by category, location, priority or time of day. (A time-saving tip is to input all of this information into a spread-sheet and then when I am ready to print a hard copy of my list I can prioritize them in the order that I will be shooting.)

I do not know about the rest of you, but I think about the next better shot all the time. My imagination especially runs wild after a shoot and I have just taken some exceptional shots. After I come down from the high of “a job well done”, I catalog the position and settings of the equipment set-up asking “What made the difference?” and every other question “9 ways from Sunday” about how it can be made better.

“All aboard!” Part 1

There are so many things that can be used  as a fresh “vein” in cultivating creativity, but I do not want to ware you out with all of the possibilities. There are literally a million and more options waiting for you!  So this will be the final post in the series of “Cultivating Creativity”.

Could it be possible that we give ourselves too many options in a photo shoot and therefore hinder our ability because we are not focused on the best two or three shots with any variation requested?

Shooting by location can be one of these “open ended” opportunities. On the other hand, there could be some “creative” ways of narrowing the probabilities to make the possible become reality.

Take a train station for an illustration: A train station contains so many possibilities that to use it as a portrait location would require some organization in order to come away with a profitable portrait set. In the same way it can be too much for one imagination to work in for stock photography.

Let me first define some terms: (Or at-least this is how I define these terms.)

  • Portraiture – photography which centers on a person and generally includes a recognizable portion of the face.
  • Stock – photography designed as art for any range of uses which may include the human figure for interest.

The basic issue comes down to this; portraiture is photography designed to sell because of emotional attachments, whereas stock sells because of the artistic value. I would sound rather cold if anyone were to hear me say it this way without this explanatory context. This by no means is a put down to portraiture! Portrait photography is one of the most recognized markets in the art world and a very good job done by all of my photography peers, professional and hobbyist alike!

Now let us consider some more ways to narrow our options of shots by location. Shooting some of the basics of composition, such as; leading lines, focal direction, rule of thirds and time lapse.

How about photographing components of an object, or vehicles that come and go from the location? Buildings on the grounds or doorways? You can even make it complicated if you wish; regarding physics, shoot the components of an object which create or absorb friction. …

 

Part 2 will come out this Friday. Stay tuned!