Time of Day Impacts Your Photo

Leary family reunion at Ocean Isle Beach, NC. We are enjoying our accommodations on the beach front. [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 51200, ƒ/5.6, 1/100]
Time of day makes a HUGE impact on a photograph. Take a look at these two examples.

[Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 500, ƒ/5, 1/500]
The photos create two different moods and the reason you may use one over the other is for the purpose it is to serve.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/500]
This photo during the daytime with all the chairs helps give context to the house and it’s location to the beach.

[Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/50]
If you can take photos at different times of day of a location take them both and do your best to make each one work.

[Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/35]

Shooting my daughter’s Senior Photo

Chelle Leary’s Senior Portrait [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/2000]

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive small percentage of sale. This helps cover my costs for blogging.


I did some senior pictures of my daughter this weekend for graduation announcements. Here is one of the photos and here is the lighting setup.

I put a strobe behind the bushes and added a CTO +1 to warm up the background.

Chelle Leary’s Senior Portrait [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/1250]
Now here is basically the same setup but without the CTO +1 gel on the background light.

Chelle Leary – Senior Portrait [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/2.2, 1/8000]
For this photo I wanted to use the blue sky to compliment the blue dress. I got down really low on the ground and shot up. Here is the lighting setup.

Chelle Leary – Senior Portrait [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/2500]
Here is another setup I did with Chelle for a different look.

One last photo. I took this to show Chelle in her prom gown, a replica of Hermione’s Yule Ball gown, in the blue as described in the book by J. K. Rowling.

Chelle Leary – Senior Portrait [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/2500]
Now I am letting the sun be the hair light, which most of the time is opposite the main light. The main light here are two Alienbees B1600s with translucent white umbrellas. One is over the other to create a strip lighting affect.

The trend today with senior portraits is to bring into the shoot those hobbies and passions of the senior. Chelle loves Harry Potter and we used the book and the dress as ways to personalize the photos so that it conveys what is important to her.

Now we also just picked a fun outfit that also communicates her style to others.

I prefer the outside to the studio. However I like the background to be out of focus and just creating a mood for senior photos.

Pocketwizards are used to shoot with High Speed Sync on Alienbees B1600

My lens for the photos Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8.
My Camera the Nikon D5
Pocketwizard TT5 & TT1 kit
Pocketwizard AC-3
Pocketwizard AC-9
Westcott 2001 43-Inch Optical White Satin Collapsible Umbrella
Alienbees B1600

Simple Hotshoe Headshot Setup Using MagMod

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 50, ƒ/1.8, 1/200–Neewer TT850, Neewer Wireless 16 Channel Remote, MagMod Magsphere, MagMod Magbounce, 

While I have shown you this type of photo many times this time I shot it with the cheapest system I could configure.

This is the setup. Now here is the list of items for you other than camera:

Since the flashes can be powered way down I was able to shoot at ƒ/1.8. 
The Magsphere spreads the light around the sides which then catches on the Lasolite Triflector silver panels and lights under the chin and on both cheeks. The flash is the main light above the subject creating that wonderful butterfly light. The main light was powered at 1/64th power and the background was at 1/4 power.

MagSphere

The Magbounce is on the background light spreading the light evenly across the Westcott White Collapsible background.

MagBounce

The cool thing is the Neewer TT850 is rated to fire 600 times on full power with a full charge. I am no where near this power consumption, so I could do a lot of headshots before changing the battery.
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday morning devotion–Photographer’s Humility

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art, ISO 3600, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

WHY?

During my time teaching the students of the School of Photography at the University of the Nations campus in Kona, Hawaii I had them tell me WHY they made a photograph.

Asking this question made them quickly realize that the reason they were making a portrait for example was to capture a person’s personality and communicate it best that they could.

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/200

Portrait photography is a great example to me, when done right, of how we as Christians should be living our lives.

Philippins 2:1-11

Imitating Christ’s Humility

2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,

    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

7 rather, he made himself nothing

    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,

    being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man,

    he humbled himself

    by becoming obedient to death—

        even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

    and gave him the name that is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

    to the glory of God the Father.

In portrait photography you do everything you can to get to know the person. After getting to know the person you work out a way using posing, lighting, composition and through dialogue with the person pull out of them that brief moment that captures them in such a way that their closest friends feel like you captured the best of their friend.

You, the photographer, must diminish for the subject to be celebrated. When well done people see the person and not all the photography stuff that it took to make the photo.

C.S. Lewis writes, in Mere Christianity, that pride is the “anti-God” state, the position in which the ego and the self are directly opposed to God: “Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” In contrast, Lewis states that, in Christian moral teaching, the opposite of pride is humility and, in his famous phrase, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” 

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/200

When you do a great job as a portrait photographer people seek you out not because of your photographic skill. They seek you out because of how good your subjects looked.

“True humility” is distinctly different from “false humility” which consists of deprecating one’s own sanctity, gifts, talents, and accomplishments for the sake of receiving praise from others. In this context legitimate humility comprises the following behaviors and attitudes:

  • Submitting to God and legitimate authority
  • Recognizing virtues and talents that others possess, particularly those that surpass one’s own, and giving due honor and, when required, obedience
  • Recognizing the limits of one’s talents, ability, or authority; and, not reaching for what is beyond one’s grasp
Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/1000
Moments like this of this little child in Togo remind me that there is something greater than me that allows for these moments to happen. I did not speak her language and did not get to know her as I normally would do for a portrait, however I believe God was working with us to allow for this to happen.
I have to acknowledge that most all my portraits happen for reason I cannot always explain. While I did everything technically to get the photo, it is the expression and moment itself that is always beyond my control. I believe that this is where God takes control.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. – 1 Peter 5:6

Humility isn’t about being a doormat; it’s about being a doorway–a doorway through which others enter into the presence and power of God. By focusing on building others up and help­ing others connect with God, we show them the love of God, who desires the best for them.

Interviewing Techniques for Kona, Hawaii Multimedia Storytellers

Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 280, ƒ/8, 1/100

When I teach students photography, multimedia and/or storytelling I often find myself reflecting over the content.

Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/1250

When I was down at South Point on The Big Island of Hawaii you see how all the trees are bent in one direction.

Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 100, ƒ/10, 1/200

When I say all the trees I really mean all the trees are bent from a constant wind. The wind is so constant and good that they put windmills here for wind power.

Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 100, ƒ/7.1, 1/800

While this strong wind is great it will affect the landscape. Well when I teach I am trying really hard to not make so much of an impression it looks like my students are too over powered.

Some of the things we discussed today was interviewing techniques. Now when I taught with my friends Jeff Raymond and James Dockery we compiled a list of tips that we give to the students. Here is that list plus some that I have added this week:

INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES
  1. Remember the audience doesn’t know the question from the interviewer if they are not recorded or on camera. Remind the subject to phrase their answer so that the question is understood in their answer, sometimes by repeating the question.
  2. Write down at least 5 good questions beforehand
    1. Listen to their responses and be ready to deviate from your list
    2. Listen as if you only hear their words, not the question you asked
  3. Ask open-ended questions
    1. Ask questions that CAN’T be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’
  4. Ask “how” and “why” questions
    1. If the person speaks in the abstract, ask “Can you give me an example of that?”
  5. Dig for anecdotes and details
    1. Ask the person to tell you exactly what happened moment by moment
    2. Ask specific details along the way.
  6. Understand them and their story
    1. Try to see the world through their eyes
    2. Remember, it’s not your story. Get their story right.
  7. Ask your questions then be quiet. Use silence and don’t be afraid of it. No noises to affirm them. Affirm with gestures. Your noises will distract from the sound quality. 
    1. Don’t finish their sentences.
    2. Be a good listener. Sit quietly as they wrestle with what they are trying to say.
  8. Coach the person to speak with the passion they feel about the subject.
    1. Can you say that again, but with more feeling?
    2. Remember they may be pretty up tight in front of the camera and need to not just relax but bring the emotion through their voice.
  9. Get the basic details right
    1. Get the spelling of their name (business card, or have them write it down).
  10. Clarify
    1. If something they said didn’t make sense, ask for clarification.
    2. Review your footage while you’re still overseas, where follow-up is much easier than after you go home.
  11. Get to know your subject before interviewing them. This will not just help them be more relaxed but help you know how to interview them and perhaps help them relax.
  12. You can do the interview at the end of the coverage and not the beginning. I find it is easier to have someone sum up what we saw today than have them talk about a lot of stuff that by the end of the day I never caught on camera. This helps you from lacking in b-roll or images. 
  13. Ask the subject to summarize what you have seen that day. While you may not use all of this, it will help you with a starting place for the narrative.
  14. Mirror them. Keep them going by nodding and smiling.
  15. Keep them on topic. If you have two or more interviews in your package planned, then each person needs to know what they are covering. Sometimes I break it down as to let one person tell me why something happened and the other to explain what they did to make it happen. 
  16. Help them revise their comments. Often i need about 30 to 45 seconds of comments and a person may talk for more than 5 minutes. If I were to edit it later their will not be a good flow. I try and help them summarize what they just said or even edit. When I say edit–I mean cutting content.
  17. Get variety. I like to often record a longer comment and then follow up with them making it really short. Sometimes I use the longer comment. Get another direction just in case. After doing this for a few minutes often this gets their minds engaged and they find a new way to articulate themselves. Allow for this to happen.

    Now just remember that you don’t need them to tell you everything in words. You will help communicate a good part of what they do also with visuals that you will capture and use as b-roll. You need get them to tell you the things that the visuals don’t convey. While you have a visual that shows something happening, it often doesn’t help the audience know why.

    If you do a good job interviewing then the story will be unique the branches of the story can be like Angel Oak Park on Johns Island near Charleston, South Carolina. Angel Oak is estimated to be 500 years old. The character of the subject will shine through and be who they really are rather than all the wind forcing it’s power on the tree.

    Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 400, ƒ/8, 1/250

    Shooting Nikon D5 at an event with ISOs of 66535, 51200, 28800 etc

    Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, Neewer TT850, Neewer Wireless 16 Channel Remote, ISO 51200, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

    This week I was shooting for the first time at high ISO numbers that I would have never used before for an event.

    The event was in a restaurant/bar where the lighting was quite dark. The lights were spot lights from above which meant many times the subjects faces were inadequately lighted. Once I used a flash to correct the background went extremely dark.

    Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, Neewer TT850, Neewer Wireless 16 Channel Remote, ISO 66535, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

    There were windows but that meant an even greater problem that only a flash could solve. So my assistant is holding a flash off to the side and I am triggering it wirelessly.

    Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, Neewer TT850, Neewer Wireless 16 Channel Remote, ISO 28800, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

    Here are the camera settings for the Nikon D5

    • Aperture priority [ƒ/4 or ƒ/5.6]
    • Auto ISO
      • 100 – 102400
      • 1/100
    Now when I was using the Neewer TT850 flash it was too bright even at 1/128th power. To fix this I was using the MagMod light modifier system. I put two Neutral Density Gels over the flash to just wink a light in when I was shooting at those extreme high ISOs.
    While it took me a couple minutes to figure out this system having done something similar in the past with lower ISO settings was helpful.
    As you turn the ISO up your flash needs very little power to do the job. Just remember this if you try something similar.
    Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, Neewer TT850, Neewer Wireless 16 Channel Remote, ISO 66535, ƒ/5.6, 1/100
    The Nikon D5 is more than just a sports camera. It is a camera for every situation. 
    Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, Neewer TT850, Neewer Wireless 16 Channel Remote, ISO 66535, ƒ/5.6, 1/100
    I am thrilled with the quality of the high ISO of the Nikon D5. I now can do things not possible before with my Nikon D4.