Phase One IQ250 Low Light Performance

April 16th, 2014

Phase One IQ250 Low Light Performance

Phase One IQ250 Low Light Performance
As many of you know, we recently returned from China where we had an opportunity to train and work with some amazing photographers in China. As part of that trip, we maximized our time working in the field building our portfolio.

It’s so important that we invest in building and enhancing our portfolio. I am always looking for new opportunities to shoot something different. Any trip I take is a perfect opportunity to squeeze a shoot in. Maximize your time whenever possible.

This was our last night in China, and sure I could have just hung out and relaxed, but there was no way that was going to happen. Taylor and the team were all over me to get another shoot in. Gotta love a little peer pressure.

Earlier in the week Taylor had found a green sequined dress at a local market for a steal. We wanted to do something with a little Asian inspiration. Go figure, we were in China.

On tap, the Phase One IQ250 and one Profoto B1 for additional light where needed. The truth is, with shoots like this we just want to get out and play. I mean we have an idea of here we want to go and what we want, but at the same time we don’t want to be locked into a box.

First location was basically the middle of the street. We wanted something that really captured the energy of Hong Kong. The big test here was how would the IQ 250 perform in low light? Everyone keeps telling me that Medium Format cameras can’t handle the demands of the wedding and portrait photographer. Well, so far, I have not seen that at all. Tonight, we were going to put that to the test.

In between buses flying by we would stick Taylor in the middle of the street and get dialed in and a sense of the shot to make sure we were getting what we were looking for. Test shots are always something I am sure to get. Once I am dialed in, we can start flying. The trick to this shot was balancing the movement of the people (wanted them to be blurry), freezing Taylor with the flash, and and then letting in enough ambient light to ensure the shot doesn’t look too artificial. Too much flash and you overpower the light in the scene which is the same light that sets the mood.

Both of the shots below are single shots – not composites.

Here is the shot. Click to see larger.
Image Specs.
Phase One IQ 250 // Schneider f4.5 28mm
Handheld @ 1/10 sec @ f6.3 , ISO800

Phase One IQ250 Low Light Performance

Next up, find a local market with neon street signs to really get that Hong Kong feel. The spot we had mapped out during the day was a total bust. 80% of the street lights were off for some reason. That’s ok. Don’t panic. Let’s just walk and I am sure we will find something. After all, we are in Hong Kong, how hard can it be? An hour later… still nothing that worked and the team was getting frustrated and a little cranky and by the team I am referring to me. Phase One IQ250 Low Light Performance I was literally ready to head back to the hotel when it hit me… I saw this dirty alley with clothes hanging, dingy light, and restaurant workers sitting on break. Jack pot!

Of course, this turned out to be a major challenge. Low light and mixed at that. We had fluorescent and tungsten sources. To make it worse, I really needed to separate Taylor from the background so we used the Profoto B1 to create some separation. The different color light actually worked out well in my opinion. It gave the scene a little drama and the truth is we were in a freaking alley. What alley is perfectly lit? Not one I want to be in, lol.

There were several challenges to this shot. Lighting being the obvious. So, to light Taylor I chose to use the fluorescent light on the wall. I had to make sure no shadows were being cast on her face by her arm or the fan. Had to be as clean as possible. The B1 was triggered remotely to fire directly at Taylor from behind to create some separation. We had no light modifiers with us so light was spilling every where. I had Laurin behind Taylor using empty food boxes from the dumpster to block light. Hey, don’t judge me. You do what you gotta do.

While it may not be a print competition shot, it’s definitely a shot that took some work and skill to pull off. Add to that, the IQ250 performed incredibly well in the low light. Honestly, I was truly impressed.

Here is the shot. Click to see larger.
Image Specs.
Phase One IQ 250 // Schneider f2.8 55mm
Handheld @ 1/30 sec @ f2.8 , ISO1600

Phase One IQ250 Low Light Performance

As usual, get out there and shoot. There is no substitute for getting out there and experimenting. It makes you a better photographer and a better artist.

Enjoy!

photography high end sales

April 1st, 2014

photography high end sales

photography high end sales

When you want to sell big, the sale has to start from the very beginning. Photographers often expect their images to “sell themselves,” and while this desire is admirable, it’s not sustainable when running a business. High-end sales start with marketing and branding. What image of your business does the marketplace have? What messages is it getting from your marketing?

When our branding and marketing send the right message, the phone calls that come in
start to be more qualified, right from the start, and that should be a goal of any high-end photographer. But what about when you’re just not there yet? You want to start selling big, but need to make the transition with old clients—and with new ones calling to inquire about your pricing and services.

The initial phone call can make or break your final sale. Our language on the phone, how we treat our clients and the process that is delivered to them are all important factors in how clients perceive the value of what we do.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // April 2014 issue.

empowering through boudoir

April 1st, 2014

empowering through boudoir

empowering through boudoir

As boudoir photographers, we have the unique opportunity to empower our clients to be their sexiest, most confident selves possible. Women come to us yearning to find that spark within that has been beaten down by not just the media but by day-to-day life. Women are trained to be the good girl: humble, quiet, avoid making a scene. The end result? Complete discomfort in our own skin! Everything that makes us individual and uniquely feminine is suppressed, and we find ourselves shrouded in self-doubt. By the time your client arrives at her session, she’s ready to overcome all that—with you as her guide.

Without us even trying, a boudoir session presents organic opportunities for empowerment. From the primping and pampering through hair and makeup, the carefully curated lingerie and jewelry she adorns, the sexy poses you coach her in, to even the sensual ambiance in your boudoir studio—all these things contribute to that empowerment.

But how to achieve even better, farther-reaching impact? Read on.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // April 2014 issue.

 

Picture Perfect Critique

April 1st, 2014

Picture Perfect Critique

Picture Perfect Critique

I have always been an advocate for the invaluable educational opportunity that image critique can bring. I think it’s one of the very best ways to understand your work. Having your photos critiqued can bring to the surface both weaknesses and strengths you might not even know are there. Equipped with this knowledge, you can work on those aspects that need fine-tuning. Most of the issues with images fall into four main categories: technical, location, background and pose/expression.

Every month, I will critique five images chosen by Shutter from reader entries.

The best part is that I will critique them on video, and use PhotoShop to draw callouts to show you where the issues lie. It’ll be as if we were sitting in the same room going over your images together. I love this industry, and I have dedicated many years to pushing my fellow photographer friends to invest in their education and prioritize their skills and mastery of the art.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // April 2014 issue.

 

lighting techniques with one light

April 1st, 2014

lighting techniques with one light
lighting techniques with one light

Back in the Sept. 2013 issue, I explained how to create high key studio lighting that produces magazine-cover results. The setup involved three individual lighting zones, four umbrellas, four reflective panels, two subtractive panels, a beauty dish, a softbox and about a gazillion studio strobes (actually eight). This all probably left more than a few heads spinning. I did, however, promise to revisit the topic at a later date and provide a stripped-down version. One that anyone could easily replicate with a very short equipment list that most photographers already have on hand. A promise made is a promise kept, so this month I’m making good and sharing a super-simple one-light setup. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. The big question: Can one light really give you high-end lighting results that come even remotely close to what’s possible with eight lights? I’ll let you be the judge of that, but I’m betting the big results from this little setup will surprise you.

I’m all about shadowy dramatic light, but in the world of fashion/glamour magazine cover lighting, which is essentially beauty lighting, flat lighting seals the deal every time. The technique I’ll share with you this month produces beautiful, broad wraparound light with evenly distributed fall-off from a single light source that originates with anything but those characteristics. In fact, because it is one speedlight or bare-bulb strobe (either will work), by nature the light starts off as a small, hard source.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // April 2014 issue.

photography business basics

April 1st, 2014

photography business basics
photography business basics

Despite the abundance of photography blogs, websites, webinars and workshops, too many photographers seem to be missing a long list of basics. I’m not talking about social media, networking or even all the exciting new technology. What so many people seem to have forgotten are the most basic fundamentals of business and communication.

These are in no particular order, but each one can make a serious difference in your attitude and your effectiveness in building a stronger brand.

Outsource!

None of you would defend yourself in court. You’d hire an attorney, because a lawyer has expertise you don’t. So why, then, would you spend hours working on various aspects of your business that you’re not good at? An old buddy, Jeff Jochum, is the first person I’ve ever heard refer to it as “right sourcing”—and that says it all.

Why waste time trying to reinvent the wheel when there are experts out there to help you? I see photographers wasting valuable time designing everything from logos to blogs to websites. Hire an expert. Companies can help you with virtually every aspect of your business.

Say, “Thanks!”

There are few things more powerful in this email and texting age than a handwritten thank-you note. If somebody has done something really nice for you—a client just gave you an awesome referral—write a note. It couldn’t be more basic.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // April 2014 issue.

featured photographer julie mcgann

April 1st, 2014

featured photographer julie mcgann

featured photographer julie mcgann

As photographers, business owners and artists, we have to find our niche. What is it that makes you stand out from the crowd? How will you differentiate yourself in an increasingly competitive market?

Julie McGann seems to have figured it out. Her work is limited only by the imagination. She loves making her clients’ dreams come true in a way no ordinary photographer can. She uses all the tools available to her in a way that truly allows her work, and studio, to stand out.

Recently, Shutter caught up with Julie to ask her about her studio and work, and to get some guidance for photographers. Regardless of your style of photography, there is always something new to learn from our successful peers.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // April 2014 issue.

 

photoshop black and white effects

April 1st, 2014

photoshop black and white effects

photoshop black and white effects

When I create a black-and-white image in Photoshop, a small part of me giggles like a schoolgirl. Something about the mood it radiates can be quite powerful. I’m swept back in time to my days in the darkroom. I can almost smell the fixer in the air (but thankfully not on my hands!).

Changing color images to black and white can have a dramatic impact on the feel, or emotion, of the image. Maybe you shot it for the sole purpose of converting it to black and white, or maybe a color image just doesn’t exude the emotion you intended. I’m going to show you how to tackle the latter case: to convert to black and white in Photoshop without just selecting the Desaturate option. I’ll go over how to stylize it with a few options using the Channel Mixer and Contrast adjustment layers, and by adding a grainy film effect using Noise.

Press Command + J to make a copy of your image. (Get into the habit of always working on a copy rather than the original.)

Select the icon at the bottom of your Layers panel (Fig. 1). You’ll
notice the color options red, green and blue, as well as Presets, Output Channel, Monochrome and Constant. Check the Monochrome box. The Output Channel now reads Gray (Fig. 2). Now you have a few options. You can play around with the presets, such as Black and White, Infrared, and different-colored filters. The presets are a great starting point.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // April 2014 issue.

 

same day slideshow

April 1st, 2014

same day slideshow

same day slideshow

Same day slideshows were originally created as a marketing tool aimed at wedding reception guests. While they also wow the bride and groom, the primary benefit
is being able to show off your work to their friends and family—free, very effective advertising during a time of high emotion. In fact, it’s one of the best marketing tools out there, and one that doesn’t cost us a thing. The same-day edits process can be intimidating at first, but it shouldn’t be if you’re just starting out. You can do just 10 percent of the process and still gain incredible brand recognition that will result in leads and bookings down the road. I can’t tell you how many inquiries I receive that tell me that they, or their friend, or even their mom saw my pictures at a wedding. This method works.

Take the right pictures

There are three types of pictures you need to take for a successful same-day slideshow. The first is obvious: pictures of the bride and groom that will tell their story.

Secondly are the guests. When you show pictures, everyone’s secretly hoping to see themselves. Think about every time you’ve been in a group picture. Who do you look for when you see the image the first time? Yourself. Include a few candid shots of guests, and you’ll have them even more interested in your work.

Third, make sure you take pictures of the details. Shoes, dress, rings, cake, invitation, centerpieces— everything. You might not put too many of these pictures in the actual slideshow, but they’re a must- have for submitting to publications after the wedding, and great for adding color and detail to the album design. Your clients have also put a lot of time and thought into these things. They worked hard on each and every detail before the wedding, and they’ll want to remember them afterward.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // April 2014 issue.