Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bringing it indoors

Alright, I’ve been shooting out of doors for the last bazillion years. It is my forte. My very first roll of film shot through my first big boy camera was shot outside. It was a Minolta XE-7 with a 50mm lens. A few bodies later, I still find myself shooting my best when I am outdoors.

A couple of years ago, I read a piece written by a professional studio photographer that said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “Photographers that shoot natural light do so because they don’t understand how to use flash equipment.” That has been stuck in my craw for a few years, after all, I do everything in natural light and it ain’t always easy. From my point of view, any fool can set up a bank of soft boxes and shoot that all fricken day long and tweak and tweak and tweak until he’s blue in the face, midnight or noon. Now shooting untitled-2 February 22, 2012-188natural light comes with challenges. You gotta be fast on your feet and work with what comes. You have to be fearless with the light, my friend.

It has been in the back of my mind that I needed a more professional looking shot on my LinkedIn profile, and have been putting it of, and putting it off because I knew that I could shoot a good shot myself. Well it is time to fish or cut bait.

On top of this, I’ve been studying a bit on high key and low key shots, studio lighting and working with models. This is jut to expand my knowledge, I’m not going to get into portrait work. If I said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times, being an engineer is a lot easier for me than being a professional photographer.

So in my studies, I’m learning all the lingo and what fancy doodads and toys are needed to take a good portrait. Lights, umbrellas, strobes, reflectors, backdrops…hokey smoke Bullwinkle! Do you really need it all?

Well, no. If you’re not going to be professional, you don’t. In my management style, I have the concept of “Having to have before you can do”, which is an outpoint, or excuse if you will, for not doing something because you don’t have all of the doodads and toys you think you need.* Which is a big, fat consideration that will stop you in life. Let’s face it, if I bought all of the lights, umbrellas, strobes, reflectors, backdrops that I needed to do a professional job, I’d have to be an second job to fund the project anyway.

So, what you are being subjected to was done with one SB700 speed light and the flash on my Nikon D80. The backdrop for the low key shot was a dark blue cloth. The background for the high key shot was a cowslip yellow wall that I blew out with the SB700.

untitled-1 February 25, 2012-189

untitled-3 February 25, 2012-189-2

Okay, these will do fine for a LinkedIn. The important point is that the old dog is learning new tricks.

*A prime example of not “Having to have before you can do”, a couple of years ago, I took a walk out on the breakwater. There were about 20 fishermen out there. I saw all sorts of fancy graphite poles, high-end rods and reels. Then I saw an old-timer out there with his monofilament line wrapped around a beer can. I watched him skillfully cast the line off the beer can and fish with as much pleasure as the others.


Frank said...

I'm with the 'old-timer' ... use what you have to hand.

Roy said...

For an "Old dog" you look pretty good Steve.
You can't beat natural light really, its the only way.

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