Posts made in May 2012

Candid photos with a mix of red and blue tones

May 30, 2012 10:00 am HKT No comments

20120530 Candid photos with a mix of red and blue tones - 1

After the last blog, I decided to share more photos taken in the new café. I think it is a coincidence here that the tones in these photos are a mix of red and blue, or warm and cool, so to speak. And I also mean the cool tone coming from the laptop LCD screen. The exception is Photo 3, which shows only a cool tone. Here you can see the name of the café in Chinese characters, which spells one of the famous brand names in the café business. Under the name of the café, you can see large Chinese calligraphy written on the wall, which are remakes of Hong Kong’s famous Graffiti.

You can also see how diligent students are working here all day long. Most of them occupy the seats for quite a long period of time, due to their workload, I guess.

20120530 Candid photos with a mix of red and blue tones - 2

20120530 Candid photos with a mix of red and blue tones - 3

20120530 Candid photos with a mix of red and blue tones - 4

20120530 Candid photos with a mix of red and blue tones - 5

Equipment Setup

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4 Photo 5
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 85mm f1.2L II USM 1 1 1 1 1

New product demo: Photography & Cinema Pico Flex Dolly Kit

May 28, 2012 9:54 am HKT No comments

Alex shows you how to use this popular dolly kit to achieve incredible dolly shots!

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Using a portrait lens for café photos

May 25, 2012 10:00 am HKT No comments

20120525 Using a portrait lens for café photos - 1 20120525 Using a portrait lens for café photos - 2

There is a café that just opened in Hong Kong, and I went out to take some shots there. It is not like most of these places, where the staff and customers are always avoiding cameras. So it was a perfect place for DSLR or iPhone photographers to get their shots. I used the perfect portrait lens, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 II USM, for all the photos here, as you can tell by the shallow depth of field in these pictures.

In most cases, people will tend to shoot their favorite restaurant with a wider lens that can get the images very sharp. But it’s worth a try to use a faster lens like the one I was using to get the effect you see here. It is the atmosphere that I wanted to capture instead of the actual environment, so I value the blurred images more than clear, sharp subjects. Without the blur, what I am trying to capture wouldn’t be as easy to see, don’t you agree?

20120525 Using a portrait lens for café photos - 3 20120525 Using a portrait lens for café photos - 4

20120525 Using a portrait lens for café photos - 5

Equipment Setup

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4 Photo 5
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 85mm f1.2L II USM 1 1 1 1 1

Achieving better subject-background separation

May 23, 2012 10:00 am HKT No comments

20120523 Achieving better subject-background separation - 1 20120523 Achieving better subject-background separation - 2

I always talk about how to make the subject shine, or to make the subject stand out against a background. It is common practice to use a portrait or faster lens that can create a shallower depth of field to serve this purpose, or to use artificial light as backlight to separate the subjects from the background.

Photo 1 shows you a product marketing photo (Ciesta Pampas Camera Bag), taken without artificial lighting. I am not trying to give any credit to myself but I think this photo is pretty ok because the light color of the subjects enables them to stand out against the darker background. And the photo looks natural too. Photo 2 was shot without artificial lighting as well, but the posture and gesture work to make the subject shine. Photo 3 was shot with ambient light too. But the subject is less eye-catching because the colorful products in the shop window have stolen the show.

20120523 Achieving better subject-background separation - 3
20120523 Achieving better subject-background separation_Cactus v5 - 4

As you can imagine, it is my job to demonstrate how to use portable flashes to enhance the photos and to take more “professional” marketing shots using lighting gear. So there you go with Photos 4 and 5, which feature Coucou Bebe reversible camera neck strap. I set up a backlight for Photo 4 to outline the model’s profile and also to shed some light onto the show window in the background. As for Photo 5, the angle of the backlight has changed a little bit to cover the model’s face, also making the background more visible. As you can see, the harsh light was reflected on the wall behind the model. You can see this kind of lighting effect in some kind of concurrent fashion photos that deliberately show the light source for added interest.

20120523 Achieving better subject-background separation_Cactus v5 - 5

Equipment Setup

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4 Photo 5
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 85mm f1.2L II USM 1 1 1 1 1
Flash Trigger Cactus V5 Wireless Flash Transceiver Duo 1 1
Portable Flash Cactus KF 36 Manual Flash 1 1

Unique tips on indoor portraiture in different scenarios

May 21, 2012 12:03 pm HKT No comments

Alex finds his inspirations when trying to overcome the circumstances in an indoor photo session.

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