My “Double Your Pleasure” post about the team photos I did for ESPN got such a big response! So I thought I’d share this group photo I did last weak using the same technique. Anchor Commercial has been a client of ours for many years. One of the things they have me photograph for them each November is a group shot they put in a Christmas Card to send all their clients. Rather than setting up on the South East side of their building where they’d be squinting in to the morning sun, we decided to set up on the North West side. This provided a nice rim/back light. However, their faces were in extreme shadow. So I set up my double-flash technique with two SB-800s on each of two light stand, firing them through my favorite Westcott 43” Collapsible Umbrellas, and triggering them with my trusty RadioPoppers. Here’s the scene before everyone arrived, and the final image they selected for their card.
I used to love those Wrigley’s commercials…”Double your pleasure with double-mint gum”. J
At my workshops, one of the questions I get a lot is “how do you get enough power out of those little flashes for big groups”? Well, I double (or even triple) them up. I have a couple home-modified umbrella brackets that can hold 1, 2, or 3 flashes. Basically, a flash like an SB-800 puts out around 50 watt-seconds of power. So if you need more power, putting two together gives you 100ws, putting three together gives you 150. Another reason for ganging flashes together is so that you can use a lower power setting on each, thus increasing your recycle time AND extending how long you can go before replacing batteries.
This is my 3rd year photographing the ESPN Charleston Classic. The event is kicked off with a huge Welcome Dinner on the hanger deck of The Yorktown, a decommissioned aircraft carrier. At the event, I have to photograph a group shot of each team. The first year, I brought my big AlienBee studio strobes. Well guess what I didn’t think of…wall outlets are EXTREMELY rare and hard to find on an aircraft carrier! The last two years, I’ve made life so much easier by using my wireless lighting system; no hunting for outlets…no McGyvering several extension chords together…no taping down cables.
I simply set up my light stands with two flashes in each, firing into a shoot-through umbrella for soft, even illumination. Each flash is set to around ¼ power and triggered via a RadioPopper. I’m using my D3 at iso 640, f5.6 for plenty depth of field, and 1/30 of a second for ambient light in the background. If you’re still using studio lights on location, I recommend doubling up your flashes. You’ll love the freedom of going wireless!
I am, and always will be, a student of light! Most days I can find absolutely gorgeous natural light to work with. But sometimes a shot needs a little extra “something”. During this fun shoot with James & Ashleigh and their beautiful daughter, I started photographing this story-telling scene with all natural light. But the exposure value on Larkin was the same as James & Ashleigh’s. Even though the shallow depth of field made it clear that Larkin was my main subject, James & Ashleigh were competing for my attention. So to make them recede even more into the background and make Larkin really pop, I used a single SB-800 on my light stand off to my left to give her that extra lift. I didn’t pump it up too high…just enough to give her a little extra kiss of light and make her the true centerpiece of the shot. As always, the remote flash was triggered with a RadioPopper Px remote. Next time you’re out shooting, try adding a kiss of light to add extra depth to your shot!
Before Cami & I left for Maine last week, I had a really fun shoot with the Hilton Family on Folly Beach. Dr. Hilton is our dentist and we LOVE the great care they give our smiles! J (Check out www.hiltondental.net.)
I have been a HUGE fan of RadioPoppers since they liberated me from the line-of-sight limitations of my Nikon Creative Lighting System. I absolutely LOVE the versatility, dependability, and control that the whole Nikon CLS flash system gives me. Extending all those qualities to HUNDREDS of feet instead of a couple dozen, and being able to place remote flashes around walls and behind subjects, all while maintaining full i-TTL functionality and high-speed-sync, truly allows me to bring my vision to life without any limitations.
This past July I traveled to Romania with a very compact lineup of gear that included a RadioPopper Px System. (To see some my other posts and photos from Romania, Click Here.) I have a couple of tricks I’ll share some day that allow me to attach the units in a more compact and streamlined manner to my flashes. This maximizes my opportunities and minimizes set-up, tear-down, and excess space in my camera bag…especially important while doing run-n-gun street-level travel assignments like this!
In spite of the different radio frequencies floating around most of Eastern Europe, I had absolutely no problems with interference. My RadioPoppers worked every time and made for some really dramatic shots that never would have been possible without them! Since I’m such a believer and real-world tester of their products, the wonderful folks at RadioPopper have been kind enough to sponsor my “Light Bending 411” wireless lighting workshops like the one I’m doing in Maine next week. So please check them out at www.radiopopper.com and let me know if you have any questions or would like a discount code so you can order your own set!
I had a really fun time photographing Shelley, Chris, and their son Logan last year. So I was ecstatic when her Mom called to ask me to photograph the WHOLE family. J It was so beautiful, peaceful, and un-crowded out on my favorite stretch of Folly Beach. One of the joys of my job is getting to know folks as we walk to and from the beach…hearing about all the interesting things they do, their amazing accomplishments, their passions, and what’s important in their lives. I’m so blessed to be able to do what I do!
Alison & Kevin had a GORGEOUS ceremony last Saturday! The sky was blue, the temperature was perfect, and Alison & Kevin were a BLAST to hang out with!!!
I met up with them at Alhambra Hall where the wedding party was getting ready. Kevin & Alison shared their “First Glance” shortly after that, giving us time to get some fun wedding party photos before heading to the church. Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian has a beautiful historic sanctuary that I love photographing in. We always obey each church’s protocol, even if it means no photography inside the sanctuary during the worship service. But I was kindly allowed to polish the glass windows at the back to shoot through them from the foyer, and also mount my fisheye remote camera on the balcony for some unique shots.
After the ceremony, Alison & Kevin burst from the church to an excited gathering of friends and family clapping and blowing bubbles as they rode off on their horse-drawn carriage. The reception followed at the always-popular Alhambra Hall. It was an EXCITING party with lots of laughter, emotional toasts, crazy dancing, and a beautiful sunset for some of my favorite shots of the day. Later, a full moon rose in time for me to grab a couple dramatic images before Alison & Kevin made their grand escape among waving multi-colored glow sticks. What a FANTASTIC day! To see the rest of their photos, head over to www.chrisandcami.zenfolio.com.
Alison & Kevin, may the joyous glow of your love for each other never fade…
I first got to know Dr. Lori Donovan when I photographed her wedding seven years ago. Hard to believe it’s been that long…she’s just as beautiful as the day she wore her wedding gown! Now Lori, with the help of her super sweet Mom, Maxine, and indeed the whole family, has become an instant success in the field of eye care. After out-growing their original building in just a few short years, I got to do a photo shoot for them to showcase their brand new state-of-the-art facility! Check them out at www.bellehalleyecare.com.
Although I primarily showcase our wedding/portrait work on here, we photograph a wide variety of subjects and genres. So I thought I’d write a post about a fun shoot I did for healer Ayal Hurst the other day. She’s a long-time client of ours and so full of positive energy. It’s always a pleasure working with her. Plus she’s a fellow artist, designing and creating beautiful jewelry and truly unique paintings with depth and dimension like you’ve never seen before! Her and her husband also run a very peaceful Bed No Breakfast downtown.
When photographing Products and art, it’s important to use feathering techniques to prevent hotspots. Feathering the light means not pointing it directly at your subject, but aiming it such that just the softer “edge” of the light source illuminates the product. Here I used a soft-box with 2 SB-800 strobes coming in from the right. Feathering gave me “almost” even illumination across the camera plane. But I added an umbrella with a single SB-800 from the left to fill in and further even out the exposure. All strobes were triggered by an SB-900 Commander on my D3, pointed backwards AWAY from the painting so as not to create any glare, and controlled via RadioPoppers.
I’ve been getting such WONDERFUL feedback from the Wireless Lighting Workshops I’ve been teaching. THANK YOU to everyone that has participated and made it such a success. I’ll be teaching my “Light Bending 411” course again on November 6th! I’ve been asked by The Aroostook F-Stops, an extremely active photography club in northern Maine, to come do a full-day program for them. The club’s fearless leader, Tom, has been so organized and fun to work with. His wife is a fellow alumni from The American School of Kinshasa (TASOK)…so we’ll have lots of catching up to do! Since Cami spent several summers in Maine and has many fond memories from this beautiful part of the country, we’ll be going up early and taking some much anticipated R&R. We’ll fly into Portland and wind our way up to Aroostook, hiking and sightseeing in places like Acadia National Park, and staying in quaint B&B’s along the way. I’m truly excited and look forward to sharing my enthusiasm with these wonderfully talented photographers in Maine!!!