Saturday, April 11, 2009

Crazy Booth!

I just finished post-processing photos from my first "crazy booth" photo shot. We hosted a party tonight, so I set up the lighting gear and invited my guests into the studio. The only rule was that everyone had to act silly and that they *should* wear or use one of the props I made available.

If you're a strobist, I'd highly recommend giving this a try next time you're hosting a party. Set up your lights ahead of time, making sure to get everything just right. You can get away with a single flash, but make sure to use a shoot-through or reflective umbrella, and keep it around front, 45 degrees from center and a little overhead.

I shot against my seamless 107" charcoal paper background, with three lights:

1. Key light
Alien Bees B800 - above, camera right with large soft box (32"x40") and grid, fired with built-in optical trigger

2. Fill light
Nikon SB-28, 2 stops below key, camera left into 43" reflective umbrella, fired by Pocket Wizard wireless tranceivers.

3. Background light
Nikon SB-26 through Honl 1/4" Grid, pointed down towards background from 7ft, fired with built-in optical trigger

You can see one of my test shots in my previous post, here.

Keep the subjects far enough from the paper that they're not casting shadows on it. I light lighting the background with a grid or snoot, aiming it right behind the subjects. This gives the shot a natural vignette that you can amplify in post-processing very easily. Make sure to keep the lights off to the sides enough for some good depth, and to help prevent reflection in your subjects' glasses. I like keeping my fill like 1.5-2 stops darker than my key - this fills in the shadows while preserving depth and preventing the lighting from being too flat.

One other note is that my basement studio has light green walls which would be a nightmare if they reflected back onto the subjects. To prevent this, I use a grid on my large soft box and a reflective umbrella to keep most of the light hitting the subject and the edges of the background.

Any Resemblance To a Gang Sign Was Completely Unintentional

I set up a crazy booth for a party. The rules were simple - you have to be goofy, and you *should* wear or use one of the props we made available. Here's one of my test shots to get my lighting just right. Normally I delete these, but I just couldn't get rid of this one :).

That's a Sekonic L-358 flash meter around my neck, which I use to test my lights. The added RT-32 transmitter chip inside triggers the Pocket Wizards for me.

Shot against Savage seamless 107" charcoal paper background

With Canon 40D, 17-55mm f/2.8 IS, Bogen 190XPROB tripod legs, Bogen 322RC2 grip action ballhead, and 10-second timer.

Strobist Info:
* Key: Alien Bees B800 - above, camera right with large soft box (32"x40") and grid, fired with built-in optical trigger
* Fill: Nikon SB-28, 2 stops below key, camera right into 43" reflective umbrella, fired by Pocket Wizard wireless tranceivers.
* Background: Nikon SB-26 through Honl 1/4" grid, pointed up towards background, fired with built-in optical trigger

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's Day - The Day the Internets are Useless.

Flickr Scout is a great tool for those obsessed with finding out how many of their photos have made it on Explore, but today they'll tell you that (basically) all of your photos have. It's cute and all, but annoying.

Every year, each site tries to outdo themselves from last year that it's getting harder to figure out what's real, and what's a goof.

Sites like ThinkGeek are still funny, because it's clear that Squeez Bacon is a joke, but if you're one of the few that still surfs Slashdot, good luck. Same with Digg. I prefer to opt-out of the internets (as much as I can) each year on this day. It's just too heartbreaking when you realize that article about nanobots or cold fusion were jokes! :)

If you're interested, here's what they're telling have been on Explore, lol:

1. Nevermind, 2. Dew Drop Lens, 3. DMU, 4. Yeah dude, I rock!, 5. Dew Droplet Refraction, 6. White Background: Setup, 7. Star Trails, 8. Strobist Lighting Setup for Kaitlyn Shots,

9. Comet C/2007 N3 (Lulin) - 67 Image Stack: f/2.8, ISO3200, 2 seconds, 100mm, 10. Self Portrait: Background Paper Test, 11. There Are Four Lights, 12. Any moment now, 13. It's full of... stars...., 14. Northern Lights in Pennsylvania?, 15. Bah Humbug - A Strobist Christmas, 16. Eclipses,

17. Comet C/2007 N3 (Lulin), 18. Brian, 19. , 20. 1950, 21. Ashlyn Rose, 22. Thriller!, 23. Valley Forge, 24. Self Portrait,

25. Sunset over Lincoln Memorial, 26. Lake, 27. Self Portrait: Background Paper Test 2 - Gray -> Purple, 28. Setup for Kaitlyn's 3 Month Photo Shoot, 29. Orion's Belt, 30. eye., 31. Epic, 32. Moments Before The Glass Broke,

33. The Night Sky, 34. Bound, 35. It Didn't Have to End Like This, 36. Tree at Night, 37. Cat's Eye, 38. Sunset Sycamores, 39. Heavy Water, 40. Glass Ceiling,

41. Crescent Moon Sunset, 42. Into a Thousand Pieces, 43. Ice Crystals on Windshield, 44. It's Coming Down, 45. 520–570nm, 46. Strobist Setup: Strobist Sandals Photo Shoot, 47. Apple Orchard Setup, 48. Winni the Pooch - 1,

49. Fighting The River, 50. I Think I Can Make It Across, 51. Alone Down Here, 52. Sydney, 53. No Second Chances, 54. California Sky, 55. Don't Stop Looking Back, 56. Gary Fong LightSphere II Cloud Diffuser with Universal Mount,

57. Waning Crescent, 58. Santa's Firetruck, 59. Spot, 60. puke, 61. Grain, 62. Comet C/2007 N3 (Lulin) - 48 Image Stack: f/2.0, ISO3200, 2 seconds, 50mm, 63. Angelina, 64. Party,

65. Splinter, 66. Radial Symmetry, 67. Over The Rock, 68. Matthew, 69. Ashlyn, 70. Timmy, 71. Snow Cones, 72. Sunrise from Haleakala, Maui