Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Light and white

  Just to do something different, I decided it would be nice to try a hi-key type of shoot. Light and white. Krisi volunteered to model, which was nice and I appreciate it a lot. It was a fun shoot, she did a great job, even if my model guiding skills are still evolving and at the moment are close to zero. In my opinion hi-key is a bit easier than low-key. Just make everything white around you, and let the light flow. For this shoot I used only one speedlight shot through an white umbrella, and one silver reflector to the right. Simple but effective. Even if I still love somewhat more more dark toned images, it's still nice to make some airy light and bright images from time to time.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


  If I could choose where to shoot, it most certainly would be away from home. Maybe in an abandoned building or in a mysterious forest. But as much as I do love to shoot outside it can be a challenge sometimes to haul my self out there, you know because of laziness. One more thing is that if I have the privilege to work with someone who is willing to model, I just don't like the idea of him or her freezing to death. It's not that much of a problem during the spring, summer or fall, but the winter. So if the weather isn't fine enough just stay at home. It's so nice to work inside when it's warm and cozy. Good for me, good for the model and the equipment. So what would you have to have in mind when shooting portraits at home?
  I'm not lucky enough to live in a fancy place with lots of square meters. What's worse is that the ceiling is pretty low, you can stand and touch it with your hand without a ladder or chair. The ceiling is white as they tend to be often and the walls are painted light beige. Not too bad if you want to shoot images that require light, maybe some hi-key portraits. But how about some dark low-key stuff? Biggest issue would be the light bouncing from the ceiling and walls, and hitting things you don't want. So definitely a problem, but solvable problem.
  A large black piece of fabric will make a nice dark backdrop and kill some of that light that otherwise would reflect from the walls. The next thing would be to control your light. For the following images I used two different kinds of light modifiers, a home made grid which nicely directs the light to only one direction, and a flash bender, which allows you to direct the light and prevent light hitting for example the wall or ceiling or both.
  So in the end it's all about controlling the light. In a a large space it's obviously easier, but if you are working in a small room you still can manage. Fastest sync speed possible, stopped down f-number, inverse square law, light modifiers, all of these help you to have control over your light.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lighting up the winter

  I'm on little vacation from nature photography it seems. Of course I'm already eagerly waiting the herp season 2017 to get off, but it will take a while until we are there. So what to do while waiting? Days are getting shorter and that means less light. Good time for some portraiture with some artificial lighting. You don't need to fancy equipment. One flash light may be enough, just as I wrote in my previous post. The rest is up to you. A model and some props. As a model for this shoot was chosen my lovely wife. She was the MUA as well. Clothes from her wardrobe. Some props hanging around were chosen as well... grandpas old alarm clock, a small hat hanging on the wall as a decoration, one free running cat, a snifter and some cheap brandy ( the idea was to use some red wine, but some moron drank it all.). Oh, and a fabric that's waiting to become a dress some day was used as a backdrop. Simple, right? Afterwards some PP. Tried to achieve some kind of a steampunk western look with the filters I used. For an half an hour shoot I'm pretty satisfied with results.


Monday, November 7, 2016

How many do you need?

  Obviously the essential form shaper in photography is light. We have the ambient light and then there is the artificial light. So often we tend to love the first, and to fear the second. It feels so safe to rely on the surrounding light. Just choose your aperture and shutter speed and go. But how about when the light surrounding us is not good or there just is too little of it? Of course we could always pump up our ISOs or use a slower shutter, but all this could introduce some other problems, like noise or unsharp subject. That's when the artificial light comes in handy. There's lots of options available, but my favorite is manual speedlights. They are cheap and easy to haul around where ever you go. So, how many lights do you really need for a shoot? I own a couple speedlight units. I carry them with me almost always and everywhere, and then I usually found my self using only one single. We are pretty satisfied with only one sun, so why wouldn't one speedlight do just as well? The only thing to remember is, get that thing off camera. No matter if you use a cable, optical or radio trigger... Get it off your camera! And learn to work with one light first, later it's easy to ad some more lights if you feel or have to. Here's a few portraits made with only on single off camera flash...


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sauna shoot

  Shooting interiors is really not my favorite, but I couldn't resist when I was offered a chance to make a couple of photos of a recently renovated sauna in Helsinki, Finland. The real challenge in interior photography is the lines. When I made my first interior shots few years ago I tried to shoot from strange perspectives, and as you can guess the images looked distorted and strange. Later I learned that the best way to shoot is to try to keep the lines straight. Just try to avoid tilting your camera, unless you use a tilt shift lens. The good thing with architecture, buildings, rooms, etc. is that they tend to be very static subjects, so you don't need to hurry too much. Place the camera on a tripod, use long shutter speeds, try different variations in shutter speeds, apertures and composition. just take your time. Use ambient light, turn on the lights, ad some flash light.