Monday, January 16, 2012

Painting with light

One of the things I have always maintained as a photographer was to learn new techniques so that my work is always fresh and I don't become stagnant in my photography.  This weekend I was able to participate in a lighting seminar with a twist.  First no flashes or strobes were allowed in the Studio.

This was great for me as my studio lighting system does not use strobes, I use a continuous lighting system. The second part was the fun, we are going light our model with flash lights, laser pens, create smoke without fire and do multiple exposure work in one exposure.

single exposure multiple poses (model Kat Slump).
As you can see in this photo the effect can be truly amazing, but also can open the doors to many different effects and opportunities.

In this image, we took a 35 second exposure, but wait if only it were that easy.  Our instructor,  for the course, Patrick Kornak (Professor of Photography) was from The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) and showed us the technique, but also showed us how to make the tools that were used in the course.

creating smoke effect (model Kat Slump)
In this one, again, plus 30 seconds exposure, but using a quick Pop 1/2 sec on off and light painting on a moving background and also on the Glass Orb. At first, you would think that all of these, elements were done in photoshop.  In fact, these photos were never touched in photoshop or any photo editing software they are taken out of the camera and converted to web size jpegs I have a canon so I used the Canon DPP that comes with my camera.. So what you are seeing is straight out of the Camera no manipulation after the shot.
both shots are at ISO400, F8, 35 and 37 secs.

What these techniques do is allow me as the photographer to create more interesting images for my clients using various techniques, and styles the options are basically limitless. There is a lot of trial and error in the processes, but our instructor gave us a great basis to work with and now, we can take what we have learned to our clients.

The other part of our course was using continuous lighting, over the last few years there has been a big argument around the use of continuous lighting versus strobe or flash type lighting. this course more the reinforced my belief that continuous lighting allows the photographer to get it right the first time with portraiture.

Continuous Lighting (Model Kat Slump)

As you can see the images are better lit with less harshness in the shadows, and more natural tones in the colouring.  This type of lighting using a fluorescent tube setup provided plenty of light but allows the photographer to see exactly where the light is going to land in the picture and make adjustments before the photo is taken.

This type of lighting also is adjustable in strength with an immediate effect, newer type of continuous lighting is now cooler and with longer life bulbs that are daylight rated, require less adjustments in camera to get the lighting right.  Don't get me wrong, it still takes an understanding of light and skill in applying the technique. It is the end product that gains and in the end the Customer wins.

Continuous Lighting (Kat Slump)
Now before everyone jumps on me, I am not saying that there is no use for strobes, there is especially in speed and movement photography! But for most situations in portrait work and commercial still work, continuous lighting will work doing the job well, and in the small instances where there is the chance of movement a hot shoe flash will suffice to stop the motion.   

In each of these situations, all that was used was 4 Fluorescent  lights and adjustments made by moving the lights where you want or removing one or more from the set up.  This gives you a much more natural and warm portrait and puts mood into the image.  

I have for the last year been a proponent of continuous lighting and this seminar reinforced my belief and made believers out of a few more photographers. Continuous lighting is becoming  a very positive alternative to expensive strobes and hot lamps.  The lamps have standards of up to 5000 hours each and don't get hot, providing a consistent light source and pleasing images.  It brings even more truth to this quote.

Lifes light. Life is light. You can make light do anything you want to. Photography means 'light writing'. - L. Ron Hubbard

Over the next few weeks I will be introducing you to some software that can assist your photography.

I will leave you till next time on this note:

Photography is all about light, composition and, most importantly, emotion. - Larry Wilder 

Until Next time .........................

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