Creating a Sunny Window in studio

So I had this brain storm the other day, and I figured out a way to create the illusion of a bright sunny window where no window exists at all.  The following photo is the fruit of my labor, and the rest of the article explains how I created it.

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Creating a Rembrandt like still life

Last night I decided that I wanted to try to create a Rembrandt like still life photo using a few squash and apples… To set the scene, I placed an old eight sided table in the middle of my studio, and then ran the backdrop down the wall and then draped it over the table.  

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Exposure!!

I learned the mechanics of proper exposure many, many years ago – back before digital was even invented, back when I shot with film with my old Pentax K1000.  So when I picked up my first DSLR a few years ago, I was ahead of the game somewhat from most.  People are buying DSLR’s today, and really don’t know how to use them beyond Programmed Auto mode.  As a matter of fact, until recently, I still relied on one of the semi-auto modes myself when doing my photography.

For action photography, like barrel racing, I knew I needed a fast shutter speed to “freeze” the action. So I would use Shutter Priority mode on the camera (“S” on Nikons, and I believe “Tv” on Canons) and manually set the Shutter Speed to 1/500 of a second, and then let the camera automatically adjust the Aperture.

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Studio: First light!!

Yesterday I received the drapes, and two of the backdrops for my basement studio. Today I received the last backdrop for a total of three different looks!

I set everything up and the drapes fit perfectly, hanging slightly above the basement floor.  The area I have sectioned off is 10.666 feet across, and 11 feet deep.  The end opposite of the backdrop however is open ended, so I can move the camera back as far as 22 feet if I have to, but in trying it out, 13 or 14 feet back seems to be pretty much ideal.
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Studio Hardware

I’m almost ready to try out the new studio!  I purchased some galvanized pipe and ceiling hooks today and mounted everything in the locations where I had planned for a “test fit.” The pipe above the lower perpendicular pipe, will be used for the backdrop. It’s mounted 12″ away and parallel to a concrete block wall. It can only have one ceiling hook on each end to support it because the backdrops are one solid piece 10 ft wide.  The lower pipes running perpendicular to the block wall will be used for the blackout curtain walls – one on each end of the backdrop. These can have multiple ceiling hooks per pipe because the curtains are narrower, multiple sections (54 inches each, 4 per pipe).  I’m now just waiting for the curtains and backdrops to be delivered!!
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Studio.. (Basement cleaning)

Oh my goodness!!  I made a clean spot!!!  It doesn’t look like much, but I was 4 hours getting from “Before” to “After” and there’s still quite a lot to do!  The pale green dresser on the right – that’s going too, or at the very least, moved.
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Studio Plans!!

OK… So today I’ve been looking things over, studying the finer details, and running around with a tape measure!  As of right this second, these are the plans for my basement studio. [Read more…]

Studio Saga…

As some of my loyal followers are aware, I’ve been in search of my own studio off and on for quite a while now…  Today I sadly report that I am no closer to having one than I was when I started…  I would love to lease some space on “main street” but the fact of the matter is – that will never happen. Living in a farming community, in a region of the state that’s already oversaturated with photographers, I just can’t justify spending 4 times the amount in rent than I would ever take in. Unless of course I raise my rates, and that’s something I do not want to do.  My business plan is to provide the best quality photography at the cheapest prices – period…  I’m not trying to get rich, but get by – doing something that I love to do…
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Lighting!!

A few days ago I ordered, and received, two of each.

  • Yongnuo RF-603NII wireless transmitters and receivers;
  • Yongnuo YN560-III Speedlites (with built in wireless receivers compatible with the above RF-603’s);
  • BAVA Speedlite and Umbrella light stand mounts;
  • Westcott 43 inch Umbrellas.

This past Saturday I had a chance to try them out with Alyson at her home! I had previously booked a session on Saturday with Alyson, and I was going to use just my hot shoe mounted Nikon SB-800 Speedlight to do the job, but the arrival of the remote lighting gear presented an opportunity that I couldn’t resist! The timing couldn’t have been more perfect either because it was really dark that day. Heavy overcast and rain – so ambient light was minimal.
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Post Processing Portraits

“A portrait that is post processed properly, won’t look like it’s been post processed at all.”  

Ok, I confess, that’s my own quote. But I think it’s a great philosophy to follow regarding post processing photos – portraits in particular.

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