This is the final image from a teaching video we did on how to use the FourSquare FireFly. This entire set was lit with three FireFlys and one FourSquare with a 40 degree grid. The set is 10 feet high and 25 feet long. All the props were made from foam core board and painted with poster board paint. The rainbow was cut from MDF board 1/2″ thick. We used MDF here so that the seat structure for the model could be attached to something of substance.
Our original image was very flat as the FireFlys did their job well. Even across the width within a quarter of a stop left to right. Next we decided to highlight the model so we brought in a gridded FourSquare, up the power and exposed for the new “brighter” reading in turn dropping the “even” exposure down a good stop.
We retouched out the seams between the flats that are making up the background. We also took out the foot prints on the green background paper we used for the floor. Normal dust and stuff, upped the contrast and added saturation. Bingo!
Take a look at the You Tube channel for the full length video on how to.
We have a client, who is in the firearms trade, with a local shop here in Denver. He has made the big time on TV but we still need to photograph some of the pistols the shop has for sale. What we did here was nothing more than building a 2’x2’x2′ cube. The top is routed out so we can slide two pieces of plexiglass into the groove for our shooting surface. One piece of plex is matte white and one matte clear.
The inside of the box has a plex mirror piece that sits at a 45 degree angle, corner to corner. It just sits in there. We have used a little wood cleat to hold it from sliding out. We can easily remove it to clean it when needed. The inside is painted with Rosco White scene paint. One of the sides is open and allows us to put diffusion material facing the mirror plex. We have found that the extra diffusion gives us a real even white surface. If necessary we can blast straight into the mirror for a different effect.
It gives us a real clean drop out background. We have even put gels on the mirror to give other color effects to the background behind our subject. If you change the size of the reflector on the bottom light, it can change the value you will get on the white plex. The more efficient the reflector, the less power needed and options open up on how and where you place your flash head.
I always use black felt board on top to surround my subject to minimize any kick back or flare back into the lens. This makes sure the subject is sharp and has good contrast. Then I add in my fill lighting on top, usually a large soft source.
We decided to build this box instead of setting up a temporary one, out of saw horses and plex, every time. It has cut down our set up time to just a few minutes. It also has a far more consistent look that a temporary one.
Well now, all that power in one Lightware MF1217 (12″x 17″x8″). This is my road kit. It is small and then small and did I mention small? In addition to the Dynalite case, stands, gels, boxes, cables and background go in another Lightware bag. I use a MF2012 case for my speed lights, cameras and lenses. So in all it’s just one for me and two for the assistant.
Yes an assistant. When you are on the other side of 50 it is nice to have the help plus an extra set of eyes to make sure you don’t put salt in your coffee instead of sugar. Having gone to the digital side makes some things easier but a lot of things more expensive and not quite so easy.
I think that lighting has been made easier. Easier in that we don’t need as much power because we are not exposing for 4×5 or 8×10. Good lighting is still necessary and greatly defines those with and without the knowledge or experience. You can have a great deal of finesse using much smaller and lighter tools. I never would have used speed lights for a 4×5 shoot for fear of not having enough juice. But now, they are one of the staples in the location kit.
I saw this car on the way home from a shoot and had to find the owner. It was a year later before the car owner (Howard), the location, and I were all available on the same day. My good friend Joe Farace,(JoeFaraceBlogs.com) has used this location many times in the past, but this was my first. Joe is a car nut and locations like this just “speak” to him. I would have to agree.
This is a 1931 Ford Victoria totally, and I mean totally, redone. There was a lot of wood in the original car but Howard replaced all of it with metal.
I had the idea from the beginning to keep the car “normal” and mess with the background in HDR. When I shot the car I only used direct sunlight and a large white fill on the right side. Then I took four exposures and processed through HDR Photomatix Pro. We dinked alot with the background and “painted” the car back in. After a little retouching it was finished.
I had the idea from the beginning to keep the car “normal” and mess with the background in HDR. Much thanks to Howard for the use of the car and the Adams County Historical Society for letting me use the gas station.
FYI … Howard has another one in the wings almost ready to photograph.