Learning To Shoot Portraits With Continuous Lighting
Photographers will always have projects that they are working on. We create constantly, and in so doing, accumulate a variety of images we seek to put some perspective on. When you get to that place in your photography, and you have all of these images, you then decide how you wish to catalog them. I call that a project. Others may call it a photo book opportunity. It’s all one of the same. One of my projects has been to shoot portraits of the people that work and create Earth Friendly Products. If you are not familiar with that brand of green natural products, then head over to ecos.com or visit my other blog site, earthyreport.com for an education on all things green. I’ve been doing green since I was 12, and made it my livelihood since 1993. The company has grown, and with it the number of individuals that keep it going. So, that job provided me with the idea to capture the individuals that work hard to create the products.
Personally, shooting portraits has not been one of my past great strengths. Shooting candid street portraits I’m fine with, but having someone sit down in front of you, not so fine. The lighting always concerned me, and I felt that I didn’t have enough practical experience to do a proper light set up. So what do we do to get around this lack of experience? You can read lots of books. You can get your friends and family to sit for you, but that never seems to have worked well for me. Or you can attend a workshop and learn a thing or two from seasoned pros who specialize in lighted portraiture. Fortunately for me, American Photo magazine puts on a multi city tour with pros that help you learn to shoot with lights. Now the one interesting aspect of this workshop, well actually two, was that you get to shoot fashion models, and boudoir models. Who couldn’t resist such an opportunity? Before you let your mind wander, there were both male and female models, and yes there were both female and male photographers at the workshop. The workshop venue was in the SoHo area of New York City in a beautiful old loft building. American Photo along with their corporate sponsors set up a variety of lighted sets for us to shoot and learn on. Some of the sets used natural light, and the rest used continuous light kits. All of the light kits were led, and none of them had radio triggers or strobes to shoot. It would have been impossible to shoot strobes with all of the attendees present. The led kits were from Westcott, and every station had a three light set up. Some stations used diffusers, and snoots to give you a variety of shooting opportunities. The workshop was fairly inexpensive, and if you are interested check out American Photo’s web site for future dates, though I believe this seasons schedule is coming to a close after they hit Atlanta. But, they do it every year with the cities and venues altering with each new season.
I can tell you that you need to be careful with your white balance when you shoot with continuous led lights. If you shoot auto white balance you’ll get a green tint to your images. So adjust accordingly. It was a fun, but physically demanding day of shooting. We went from 9:30 to 5:30 with a break for lunc and a couple of 30 minute lectures. Equipment used included the Nikon D4, 85mm 1.4 prime af-s, 50mm 1.4 af-s, Sigma SD1 with 70-200mm (on loan from Sigma during the event). Here are some of the results from that day.