Many of you may remember Stephanie’s wedding dress photos from last year. That will be a shoot I will not soon forget. It was one of the lengthiest shoots I have done. At a bit over 5 hours we covered a range of concepts and left the location exhausted. Stephanie had an endless supply of props; still don’t think we shot everything she had ideas for. The sky was absolutely perfect!! I feared for my equipment…electronics and water don’t mix. The fact that there was water in a San Antonio creek during a record drought was amazing.
Narrowing the photos down to the 10 I posted was extremely difficult. We had so many fantastic images, and I knew at some point I would revisit the images. One concept that I withheld from the first post was the snorkel and flipper shots. After browsing through the images again today I decided to post the one below. My tendency is always to shoot into the sunset. Everyone knows you get the most brilliant colors and supplementing that with some dramatic lighting makes for sensational photos. Once we moved into the larger pond area, the backdrop towards the sunset was not very appealing. With multiple obstructions and unclean lines I opted to shoot away from the sunset. Hey what do you know, there is that awesome sky now providing brilliant color in the opposite direction as well. The clouds added just the right mood and effect to make for an amazing background.
I debated putting this post up on my blog for commercial work, but the main blog here won out. This probably falls more in line with commercial photography, but the lighting and set ups are similar to what I might do for bridal portraits or an engagement shoot. The session was built around some concepts and ideas by Gambrell Renard. The purpose was to get together a group of creatives in different areas and produce some stunning images.
Gambrell produces custom home decor that is stylish and beautiful. The group of creatives included custom dress designer Valerie Perez of Verseau, custom jewelry designer and maker Diana Bolch, and custom furniture designer James Breaux of breaux-arts. To add to the all star list was Cassandra Lazenby, producer of Great Day SA to model for us.
Oh yeah, the location? Partially furnished unsold condos near Olmos Park in San Antonio. The goal was to get some great photographs that showcased the products in an artistic and stunning manner. Gambrell brought the concepts and masterminded the set design, which just left some lighting tweaks and composition on my part. Even running a bit late everything came together nicely and we were able to move through the various ideas and get some great images.
See Gambrell’s blog post for additional info on the table.
Back in September 2011 I had a fantastic time of working with Beatrice on her bridal photos. Given the blistering summer we had here in San Antonio, we opted for a morning shoot at the McNay Art Museum. An added bonus was the opportunity to shoot unencumbered by the throngs of other photographers who would show up later, it pays to not sleep in. Of course I posted some of the images on the blog after the wedding, but I wanted to throw a couple more up for fun.
The first image is a behind the scenes shot. Unfortunately I did not get my lighting set-up in this shot, but it was rather simple. I was using two speedlights, one to camera left at a 45′ angle to Beatrice with an umbrella to soften the light. I had the second bare speedlight set up camera right and just behind her to throw some highlight on her dress. Of course I balanced everything with the sunlight to get a dramatic looking image. The behind the scenes image was a quick shot to get an idea of the exposure for the sky. The second image is the result of the setup.
I have a follow up to last week’s post on the “Brenizer Method”. While in Red River I also created a set of photos with Hannah for the purpose of stitching them together using the method. This set was a bit harder to work with and required a lot more post processing once the stitching was done.
While in Red River, NM this past summer I made a series of images with the intentions of processing them with the “Brenizer Method”. For those who have not heard about this method or style, it consists of taking a series of photos of your subject and the immediate surroundings, then stitching them together in Photoshop. A key element is to use a very shallow depth of field. The stitching of the images effectively reduces the depth of field even further and turns the resulting final image into larger format photo than what the camera was capable of producing.
Some additional information can be found on Ryan’s site, the creator of the style. Ideally the images would be made with the shallowest depth of field lens possible, so that the final photo would take on a surreal appearance. For the image below I used 15 separate photos all captured with a 50mm 1.8 lens at the widest aperture setting. As with any style there is a learning curve and there are a few things I would certainly do a little different next time, but the end result was very pleasing.
It seems my posts this week are all about kids. I had the pleasure of shooting my nephew’s 2 year old photos this past week here in San Antonio. This was a session that was short and sweet…you can only push a 2 year old so far before things go bad. Fortunately we knew when to stop and the photos turned out great, with no meltdowns.
Little Julian is 5 months old and he was such a sweetie on the morning I photographed his portraits. Knowing how well a baby is going to do for a portrait session is difficult, but with his mom’s help we were able to create some cute photographs and leave Julian happy and ready for the remainder of his morning.
Ask most any photographer and they will tell you the worst time to shoot outdoors is mid-day. With the sun directly overhead the image is likely to either have deep shadows or blown highlights, not an appealing result for professional photos. Most often under these conditions, the subject is left with deep shadows in the eyes.
A great way to overcome this is to use a flash when shooting portraits in overhead direct sun. This will fill in the shadows and even out the exposure for a more appealing look. The only drawback is that direct flash often leaves the image with a snapshot like appearance since the additional light is coming straight from the camera.
The next step to improving the image even further is to move the flash off the camera and direct it to the subject at an angle. Not only will the shadows be filled in, but the angle of the light will help add dimension and a more appealing look.
On a recent engagement shoot with Jacqui and Roy, we were out during mid-day. I actually employed a couple of techniques to produce an appealing look. Many of the poses were within the shadow of the building or trees, which helped even out the amount of light and reduce the direct light falling on them. Since I am all about off-camera flash I also used that to enhance the photos.
In this first photo you can see how the image appears without any additional light. I adjusted the exposure to get a beautiful looking sky, but you can see Jacqui and Roy are completely within shadow with no detail.
In the next photo I added off camera lighting and fired my flash through a translucent umbrella to reduce and soften the shadows. What a dramatic difference.
This is one of the last images I have from the photo-walk in downtown San Antonio. This is a photo that Darren set up as he chased them down one of the corridors leading to the Riverwalk. Being that I had my off-camera flash ready to go with settings already dialed in he allowed me to take the shot. Looks like it is time to plan another trip downtown. Anyone want to join us?
With Kate and Luke’s wedding on the blog, I can now post her bridal photos. For Kate and I both, it was hard not posting and showing the photographs sooner. Back in May we met up at the McNay Art Museum, one of the only locations in San Antonio with green grass. With her sister Holly and good friend Chase along for assistance, we set out about the grounds capturing some beautiful images.