Religious education stated at our church earlier this evening. As part of Jacci’s plan for the year, she is going to take photos of the students at the beginning, middle and end of the year to document their growth through the year. She asked me to set it up in a corner of the room and to take the photos during the class. Which leads to the obligatory setup shot:
In the photo, each flash sits atop a Ravelli ALS photo stand ($21/each). I recall that I bought the background stand off eBay for about $20. It came in a zipper bag and it’s not very heavy duty, but it works. I’d grabbed 3 sections for the top but ended up grabbing three ends rather than two ends and a middle. It was fortunate that two ends were just wide enough to fit the background. The background is a 5×9′ black glam cloth from Backdrop Outlet, which was $50 on sale (with a rather steep $15 shipping charge, though).
The flash pointed at the backdrop is a Nikon SB-600 (these are ridiculously overpriced at the moment, but I paid ~$200 two years ago). It was covered with a red gel cap ($10), held in place and gobo’ed with black paper tape. A Nikon SB-900 (picked up locally off CL for $340) sits behind the 43″ umbrella (eBay?, ~ $10). Both flashes are mounted with umbrella adapters (~$8 each). The flashes were fired wirelessly using Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS).
Everything in the setup above except the flashes were easily packed into a speaker bag ($15), which made transport very convenient.
What are the take aways from the above? Shopping around can save money. The portable portrait setup was assembled for around $160, excluding the flashes. Money could have been save by using older manual flashes and wired or optical slave triggers. While not nearly as convenient as Nikon’s CLS, once the exposure is set, there’s no real difference when taking a series of portraits. [In fact, I've picked up 3 older manual battery flashes: SB-24 for $65, SB-26 for $100, and a Sunpak 611 for $40.]
Enough of the equipment end…
To shoot the actual portraits, each student stood a little forward of the rear light stand with their toes on black tape I put on the floor. [Note that in the photo above, the red gel can be seen - that's because I started taking things down when I remembered that I should take a documenting setup shot.]
Here is a composite shot of the results, all assembled into one photo:
We took the kids out in the Texas triple digit heat and we did portraits Do not try this if you are not accustomed to deadly heat….And if you are accustomed to it, you know better any way. Us? Well, we’re die-hards. Except there is a price to be paid for shooting in the brain-frying heat. It seems my attention span suffers a little at anything over 105. L-1 and H-1 are not the same thing in ISO settings. I know this when it’s 80 degrees out. But today, I shot at 6400 ISO. Works great for a B&W vintage look. So it’s all good.
Yesterday evening, we went to visit some friends to shoot their 6 month old son, Gabriel. We brought cloths, props, light and background stands, and our big equipment bag to set up a studio in their living room. I’ve pulled some of the photos for a behind the scenes look into our studio-on-the-go photo shoot…
Here, Jacci sit with Gabriel while mom changes for the mother-son photos.
Grandpa and Grandma came to pick up Great Grandma, so while they were there, Grandpa takes some time to out to love on Gabriel. Gabriel really lit up when he saw his Grandpa come in and talk to him.
We found that the musical noise making pig could get Gabriel’s attention and would sometimes make him smile. Here I am operating said pig and getting caught in frame while doing so…
Here’s a mother-son shot Jacci edited last night to put up on the daily photo page.
Here’s one of Gabriel and Yoshi, one of their pets. The pet posing did not go so well since they were more interested in getting their treat than the shot…
This morning, Jacci and I had a shoot with two models and their dogs in the water at John J Stokes park in San Marcos. Much fun was had by all despite the near crippling fear and distraction caused by the thought of waterlogged photo equipment. Somehow, though, I don’t think everyone shared the same level of aprehension…
Anyway, here are few quick teaser shots from the session:
Haven is new to the modeling world…so new that this was his first shoot. You wouldn’t know it though. He did awesome. This is my favorite shot from the evening (shot by David and then processed three ways by Jacci).
…And the 2nd group, one image processed three ways.
All 6 effects were achieved with Kubota actions. We used V2=Production tools Skin Powder Genie on both images before using the effect actions which were:
3. Chocolate Syrup I
4. B&W Secret Formula
5. Antique with Glow
6. Fashion Passion
Play around a bit with combinations of these and other actions and see what pops in your images