10 days ago or so, I taught outdoor portrait lighting techniques at the Cascade Center of Photography in Bend, Oregon. I demonstrated multiple techniques including reflectors, diffusion panels, and wireless flash.
We went to a location where there was a field of wildflowers that we could use as a background, or in this case, our entire scene. Our model here is Justine and she was gracious enough to kneel in the flowers on a small trail that goes through the field.
This portrait was taken last week during my Outdoor Lighting Portrait workshop at the Cascade Center of Photography. We chose to shoot at a field of wildflowers for this colorful background. The model is Kim and the purpose of this portrait example for the students was to shoot after sunset and then light the model with flash.
The reason to wait for the sun to set is to reduce lighting contrast substantially, then reintroduce light by adding flash to increase lighting contrast-but contrast that I am now in control of.
Here is a fun and lively portrait of Chelsea photographed against a white background. I used a large Octabox and two umbrellas on the background. The key to great white backgrounds is having them about 2 stops brighter than the light on the subject and no more than that.
I recently photographed my friend Kim and her husband and kids in the studio. This is the first image I processed of Kim herself.
This is what could be called a white on white which is a subject that is very light in tone on a white background. This would be her blonde hair and white blouse on a white background. Here’s the lighting diagram:
Wow, my Southwest adventure has been awesome. First, I ran into The Lost Dutchman Miner a few months ago, then Rooster Cogburn after that in West Texas, and now Doc Holiday and Big Nose Kate.It has just been unbelievable.
We left Texas as I wanted to photograph the Chiracahua Mountains of Arizona. I have been there before and its beautiful mountain country, so we headed over and captured some images.
Soon we were running out of supplies and headed for Bisbee to stock up on a variety of goods. While there we heard about the infamous shootout that just happened at the OK Corral up in Tombstone.
Something went down that involved Billy Claiborne, the Clanton Brothers, and the McLaury Bros. and they all had a beef with town Marshall Virgil Earp. Confronted at the OK Corral, Virgil was backed up by his brothers Wyatt and Morgan along with Doc Holliday when something sparked and one bad thing led to another and in 30 seconds several were killed.
Now at that time, details were sketchy, but I knew I had to get there and see what happened and try as best I could to photograph as many involved as I could. I arrived in Tombstone the next day and began asking around as to what happened and where I could find the Earp’s and Doc Holliday.
Virgil and Morgan were wounded and were healing somewhere, but Wyatt was unhurt and Doc had a slight wound. Some folks told me they had seen them about. So I waited and luckily that night there was Doc with Big Nose Kate on his arm. He looked as normal as can be and feeling good enough for the two of them to have a night on the town. And Big Nose Kate was ravishing and that made me think “who gave her that name.” Her nose was not big.
I approached and asked if I could photograph the two of them and he grumbled “why not, ever-one else has” so I got busy quickly photographing. They were not interested in posing for long so I did not even set up a flash, which I usually do, and I just shot with natural light.
In processing I created the old western look with sepia toning while leaving a little original color there. I sent them prints, which took 5 weeks by Pony Express.
A lot of time there is only so much you can do in camera and that is basically capturing the data as it is presented. It’s when you get into post processing where the magic is and this image is one example.
I photographed Kim and her family last week at their home. We shot in mid-afternoon and this made for lighting challenges. It was hot and humid and bright and sunny, so the light was far from perfect.
There are a million ways to make light work for you but it all depends on how much time you have. You can erect panels that block light from hitting your subject, or in the case of this shoot, work in the shade. Unfortunately there was only a little shade that time of day, so I made it work.
What I like about post processing is that you can go anywhere and everywhere. Here I am experimenting with blended color overlays which sneaks in small amounts of yellow and green in specific spots. It looks sorta like cross processing of days past. More to come once these guys make their selection of images and I process them.
Recently, I wrote about stumbling upon the Lost Dutchman miner, of the legendary Lost Dutchman mine, while wandering the Arizona desert photographing and described how he posed for me in a photograph.
After that, I continued across Arizona and New Mexico searching for more great landscapes and flower displays when as luck would have it, I again stumbled on another well know western figure: U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn.
In case you don’t know who that is; he is the infamous Marshall who reportedly shot 64 bad guys. He is from Arkansas but his Marshall duties have taken him around the west hunting for the usual desperado’s.
His most well-known manhunt; was that of murderer Tom Chaney who had killed the father of Mattie Ross and was on the run. So Cogburn went after him hoping to capture and bring him back to Texas for trial.
As we drove from New Mexico into West Texas, we stopped in Sierra Blanca to gas-up and decided to get a drink. Having never been there, we found a small cantina and went on in. After 5 minutes I heard a loud ruckus and there was some fat old guy drunk at the bar.
After watching for a minute I realized who it was: Rooster Cogburn. I could not believe it but told my wife let’s just watch. For an hour he was there bellowing and boasting before sitting at the table next to us.
To make a long story short, we struck up a conversation and I eventually asked him if I could photograph him on the side of the cantina building. He grinned and agreed, but pulled out his 6-gun and said if the pictures were bad he’d shoot me.
I promised they would be very flattering.
So we went out back and I set up two flash units with wireless triggers to add some light on him. I purposely chose the shaded side of the building and then the flash units to add light rather than fight the sun with fill flash.
He was swaying a bit so I used a shutter speed of 1/125th at f/5.6 and hoped there would be no blur. I thought the picture looked pretty good and mailed him one to some address in Mexico. Not sure if he got it.
You love photography and want to photograph full time by launching a photography business. Maybe you are unemployed or wish to supplement your retirement income or simply wanting to earn money doing what you love.
For those with jobs you may not want to quit the day job until your business is launched and earning you an income and enough income allowing you can quit that day job. Maybe you are unemployed and if so you can get started right away but be careful if your financial resources are limited.
So how do you get started? I have compiled these ideas into the 12 most important steps I believe are crucial to finding success as a professional photographer in today’s markets.
This past spring I was enjoying quite a bit of time wandering and photographing the Arizona deserts and mountains. While down in the desert I was stunned when I came across this old miner in the desert with his donkey.
We started talking and I asked what he was doing down here in the middle of nowhere. He told me he was the Lost DutchmanMiner of the infamous Lost Dutchman mine. He continued by telling me that he was truly lost in his attempt to relocate his mine.
I replied that he was a long way from the Superstition Mountains, where history suggests the mine is located. He did not comment obviously fearing if he said anything I might start searching for the mine myself. This got me thinking that the mine might not be in the Superstitions after all.
He asked if I had anything to eat as all he had to eat for sometime was beans and hardtack. I happened to be carrying in my camera bag a crab salad sandwich from Subway and one of my favorite beers: McTarnahan’s from Portland Brewing, and it was still ice cold.
I told him I would give him the sandwich and beer if he posed for a picture and so he did not move as I grabbed this shot. I did use flash fill because the sun was high noon and created the shadows in the eyes.
He scarfed down the sandwich and guzzled the beer (I don’t think he liked it. Never had a beer like that) then without saying a word, headed off into the sunset so to speak, in search of the Mother Lode. I grabbed my gear and went looking for the mine.