Headshots for Columbus State University Theater majors

Chelle Leary Headshot [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/9, 1/160]
Here is the lighting diagram for the setup for you. I am only using the one Lasolight reflector and took the sides off.

 

I did some headshots for my daughter and other Columbus State theater students. Here are some of the photos and the setup I did inside my daughter’s dorm room.

Setup of (3) Alienbees, main light Beauty Dish, Lastolite Triflector MKII Frame + Silver/Gold Panels

Looking toward camera perspective. The model is in front of the two side strobes.

Setup of (3) Alienbees, main light Beauty Dish, Lastolite Triflector MKII Frame + Silver/Gold Panels

Cole Kiker headshot [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/160]
Here is the lighting diagram for the Cole Headshot.

I used the same setup for Chelle here as well.

Chelle Leary Headshot [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/9, 1/160]
By turning the background lights away from the background toward my daughter I was able to rim light her. I put 30º grids on the lights to keep the light from hitting the lens and causing a flair.

Chelle Leary Headshot [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/9, 1/160]
Chelle Leary Headshot [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/9, 1/160]
Cole Kiker headshot [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/160]
This one shot here of Cole is with just the one Beauty Dish light only straight above him. It creates what we call “Butterfly” Lighting. The light casts a shadow under the nose that often looks like butterfly wings.

This helps you see why you want to have this as the main light for headshots. It helps create the shape of the face. The shadows created by the cheek bones help contour the face.

Cole Kiker headshot [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/6.3, 1/160]
Here the beauty dish is off to the right of Chelle.

Chelle Leary Headshot [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/9, 1/160]
Here is that setup of Chelle with the one light

I will be returning to Columbus State University to do more headshots for theater students in the next few years. Stay tuned to see more headshots.

What I am learning from being Audited

This year I got a notice in the mail from the IRS requesting documents. This is an Audit.

Every year when I file my taxes I have been using TurboTax.

For the past 10+ years I pay a little amount for their accounting service that helps you in the case of an audit. While working with them to get all my documents in order for the IRS I learned a few things that I think you need to know.

Three Documents for Expenses

I learned through this process that there are three things you are needing to document and have ready like a book keeper.

Invoice – Need to show what you were billed for from the provider
Payment – Need to show that it was paid
You Paid It – Besides showing it was paid, you must show that you paid it and not someone on your behalf.

I am using Quicken for Mac to track all my expenses. Here are a few of the ways I pay bills:

Check – Checking Account
Visa Debit Card – Checking Account
MasterCard
American Express Card
PayPal

I am paid two ways

Checks
PayPal

In the software Quicken you can attach to every entry documents. Before I can attach those receipts, invoices and statements I must have a digital file like a PDF or a picture. I bought a Neat Desk Scanner years ago and have been using their software, which is now an online system.

The Neat Desk scanner lets me scan a stack of receipts making things go much faster than a flat bed scanner would do.

After scanning documents I save them in a separate folder for the year they were created. Then I attach them in Quicken to the transaction.

In Quicken they have categories already for you to use and customize. The best part for working with your Taxes is they have all the Schedules included so that you can assign a category to a tax schedule like I have in this example with the Camera Repairs in Schedule C: Repairs and maintenance.

The Headache

While I have all my documents I quickly realized the problem was getting exactly what the IRS needed in a format that met their requirements was the biggest problem.

I had to go through my AMEX & Bank statements and circle every item related to a particular category showing that this was paid with my money.

You can also do this with a scanned receipt of each and every transaction.

It was easier for me to contact all the Doctors, Hospitals and medical providers and ask for a 2016 statement for all charges than providing scanned invoices. I was missing a few of the statements because I had thought I just needed to show I paid the bill not show the invoice as well.

Using Quicken I was able to create a spreadsheet of each category and payee for a particular topic that I was being asked to provide evidence to the IRS. I was mainly dealing with medical expenses due to a very expensive year for our family with medical issues.

I was misinformed

I had always been told you just need to put all your receipts in a box and if ever audited just show up and they can go through them if they want. WRONG!!!

My accountant informed me that the IRS on numerous accounts with her have said they are not their clients book keeper. You must have this in order. Also the box could only work when you are actually called in. You don’t want this to happen. You have opportunities to provide all this electronically to the IRS and handle without going for the face-to-face audit.

Tips

Spreadsheet – Be able to provide spreadsheet for any category which Quicken helps with this
Invoices & Statements – Scan all these or have them ready to scan if audited
Receipts – Scan all these or have them ready to scan if audited
Bank & Credit Card Statements – Keep all of them and have them ready if you need to scan them for the IRS during an Audit
Scanner – I recommend a scanner that is a sheet feed scanner capable of scanning multiple documents and software to help organize you documents.
Accountant – Work with an accountant to do at least your initial setup of how you need to gather documents for Taxes and for possible audit.

Tips on Invoicing

I wrote a blog early called “7 Tips for the financially struggling photographer“. In the post I talk about using the software FotoBiz for invoicing and pricing jobs. Check out that post if you need help with pricing and invoicing.

Shooting architectural dusk photo using Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT

Chick-fil-A Sunnyvale FSU is located in Sunnyvale, California. [Nikon D5, 14-24mm. ƒ/5.6, ISO 800, 1/60–(3) Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT]
The past few posts I have shown you how I use Alienbees B1600 studio strobes to light up buildings for architectural photo shoots.

When flying to San Jose, California for another shoot I decided to only take a smaller case of three Godox V860IIN hotshoe flashes + Godox X1NT transmitter.

Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT

Now when I shot these I did change the ISO to 800 to let the flashes light up the building much easier than at ISO 100.

 

After I shot this photo a few times seeing about the change in the light as the sun sets the wind stopped blowing and the flag was no longer waving.

Just so you can see what the flashes are doing here is the photo without the flashes.

Chick-fil-A Sunnyvale FSU is located in Sunnyvale, California. [Nikon D5, 14-24mm. ƒ/4, ISO 100, 1/2.5]
So you can see that you can shoot at ISO 100 here you see this photo below. This was shot 30 minutes after sunset.

While I prefer the sky in this shot the waving of the flag I think made the other photo much better.

Chick-fil-A Sunnyvale FSU is located in Sunnyvale, California. [Nikon D5, 14-24mm. ƒ/4, ISO 100, 1/2–(3) Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT]
I hope this shows that it isn’t how much gear you have, but knowing how to use it that will make or break a photo.

Writing with Light

Chick-fil-A @ Perimeter at Hammond Drive FSU [Nikon D5, 14-24mm, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/60 – 4 Alienbees B1600s] 8:21 pm
Getting a photo like this demands more than just a tripod and waiting for the right time of day.

Here is the result of doing just that in this photo below.

[Nikon D5, 14-24mm, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/13] 8:25 pm
To help light up the building I used 4 Alienbees B1600 strobes with 11″ Long Throw Reflector. This is what I call “Writing with Light”, which is the definition of photography. Sometimes nature needs some help.

Alienbees with 11″ Long Throw Reflector

For half of the photos I shot at ƒ/8 with the Alienbees on full power. Then I cut the power in half on the Alienbees and changed the Aperture to ƒ/5.6.

[Nikon D5, 14-24mm, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1 sec – 4 Alienbees B1600] 8:47 PM
Sunset was at 8:26 pm. Pretty much you can bet on the best photos of buildings with lights to be 20 minutes after sunset as in this photo shot at 8:47 pm.  This is when the lights on the building and inside at matching the sky brightness.

[Nikon D5, 14-24mm, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1 sec] 8:47 pm
Again here is that same scene without the Alienbees adding light to the side of the building.

Just so you know exactly the light at sunset at 8:26 pm here is that photo as well for you to see.

[Nikon D5, 14-24mm, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/13 – 4 Alienbees B1600] 8:26 pm
The problem is that the lights on the building are not showing up. We need to open up the exposure for the lights on the building by changing only the shutter speed from 1/13 to 1 second.

Tips for shooting buildings at Sunset

Arrive early and find best angle to shoot building
Use Strobes or powerful flashlights to light up building
Use a tripod and cable release with the camera
Start shooting 5 minutes before sunset
Stop shooting about 30 – 40 minutes after sunset
White Balance for Sun or Flash
Shoot in RAW