Posts made in October 2011

Taking portraits with filtered flash and small softbox for more inviting photos

October 31, 2011 9:44 am HKT No comments

Alex achieved lively and energetic photos of Oscar in action using GamiLight Portable Soft Box and a filtered flash.

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Emotion-free faces

October 28, 2011 10:00 am HKT No comments

20111028 Emotion-free faces - 1 20111028 Emotion-free faces - 2

When we work on portraits, we always try to capture the many gestures and expressions of the model. If you are working with a model who is really professional and expressive, you will be extra busy, as you will have to press the shutter button more frequently. In case you are using portable flashes, make sure the flash is firing when you release the shutter.

Lately, I have been working on quite a lot of model portraits. The work flow, as I would describe it, is peering through the viewfinder searching for the right expressions. Somehow, I find the models’ facial expressions and gestures are more or less similar. I dare not say that I was fed up, yet I find it inspiring to shoot something different.

These mannequins are my new subjects. In fact, although they lack expression, to me their beauty and grace lie in the calm look on their faces. Next time, when you do a model’s portrait, instead of capturing the many different gestures before you, try looking for the beauty and grace of a motionless and emotion-free face.

20111028 Emotion-free faces - 3 20111028 Emotion-free faces - 4

Equipment Setup

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1 1

Hazy blue sky

October 26, 2011 10:00 am HKT No comments

20111026 Hazy blue sky - 1

The shot (Photo 1) here was an original. The very saturated blue and orange colors are the result of the tungsten WB setting. The red light box is definitely the other important element that draws your attention. In fact, you can only capture this kind of scene at the magic hour, when the sky is extra blue, provided that you are around shops lit with floodlights. But keep in mind that this kind of photo may be ruined if part of it is blown out (shown by the reference photo). Even if you find an amazing scene similar to the ones here, take great care in preventing lit areas from getting overexposed. You can do this either by adjusting the shutter speed/aperture or by re-composing to avoid those blown out areas included in your photo.

Photo 2 was taken a bit later than Photo 1, when the sky got a bit darker. In fact, this city, Shanghai, is “famous” for its hazy sky throughout the year. But this is nothing to be worried about. If you just wait for the magic hour, you can find this blue background so you can take the shots you want.

20111026 Hazy blue sky - 2

20111026 Hazy blue sky (Reference Photo)

Equipment Setup

Photo 1 Photo 2 Reference Photo
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1
Lens EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1

New product demo: Portable Soft Box 9cm x 9cm

October 24, 2011 9:38 am HKT No comments

Working in a mall that forbids the use of flash, Alex found this extremely handy soft box awfully useful.

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Artificial lighting

October 21, 2011 10:00 am HKT No comments

20111021 Artificial lighting_Cactus v5 - 1 20111021 Artificial lighting_Cactus v5 - 2

Last time I talked about compositions and the rules related to compositions. In this blog, I would like to discuss some information about artificial lighting. Lighting can help highlight your subject, or it can be the subject itself. With these photos, I wanted to show that you can use flashes and filters to create a scene.

For Photo 1, I used two flashes, one mounted with a blue filter and the other with a red one, to light up the backstairs. You can refer to the reference photo first to get the idea of how it looked without my lighting setup. What I did was put the blue flash behind the door and the red flash down the stairs. Lit up, this area could be the perfect background for some freaky shots with models. To me, it was also fine without any human subjects. Likewise, it could be lit in another way and end up like one of those location setups in B-horror movies (shown in Photo 3). To achieve this, I simply moved the red flash to a place down the white wall, and then the whole scene looked like some haunted stairway.

You can make use of a blue flash to create a scene like Photo 2. To get this photo, I simply held the flash with my left hand over the stair rails of the balcony, making it look like the moon shining on the balcony itself. But the photo would look better if more apartments in the background were lit up by the residents.

20111021 Artificial lighting_Cactus v5 - 3

20111021 Artificial lighting (Reference photo)

Equipment Setup

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Reference photo
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1 1
Flash Cactus KF 36 Manual Flash 2 1 2
Flash Trigger Cactus V5 Wireless Flash Transceiver Duo 1.5 1 1.5
Flash Filter Flash Filter Blue, red Blue Blue, red