Transforming ordinary locations into portrait backdrops is really fun (and quite the addiction of mine). Today, I thought I’d share two contrasting photos of the same person to show the possibilities you can find in everyday locations.
My friend Brian (a Philadelphia-based jazz guitarist) has been on my case for a while now to take his new press photos. He was telling me how much he liked my work and that he’d want to get some new stuff going for his website and promo materials. So when I finally had some time to get up to New Jersey, I made it a point to set aside some time to do a session with him. That being said, we didn’t have a ton of time and he didn’t want anything too involved anyway.
If you’re into photography, chances are you know how expensive it can get to purchase gear. In the spirit of sharing, I thought I’d throw together a handful of posts that could help the budget-conscious photographer get some great gear.
Shooting in broad daylight can be really scary at first. Hundreds of beginner portrait photography tutorials will advise you to shoot only during golden hour, or to hope for a cloudy day with soft, diffused light. Others will tell you to look for open shade, or just stay inside and find a north or south facing window. These are all valid suggestions (and worth checking out) but I’ve learned that you don’t have to be afraid of the sun. Golden hour sun can be amazing and I love to use it, but you don’t always have that luxury.
For almost a year, I’ve been experimenting with a technique I learned through David Hobby’s Strobist blog. It’s essentially a speedlight attached to the end of a monopod, so that you can achieve mobile off-camera flash. Holding your camera in one hand, you can then position the speedlight with your other hand. In his blog post, Hobby triggered his flash through a modified TTL cord, but I’ve been using either the pop-up speedlight to trigger the optical slave of the SB-26, or a radio trigger. Radio triggers are a little more cumbersome and require bungee-cording the trigger to the monopod to keep it from flying around. The optical slave is a much easier setup, but can be unreliable in certain shooting conditions (more on that later).
I’ve been working on a professional website for the business end of my photography for a month or so now. Creating and editing my portfolio has been the hardest part of the process and I’m certainly not done. One of the other things that has been lacking on the site is a picture of myself for the about page. I’ve been thinking about what I’d want that to be for a while now. Nothing I had previously shot quite fit the bill.
Every time I do a shoot it’s a chance for me to learn and improve. I definitely learned a valuable lesson while creating this photograph of the Navy Band’s sound engineers. I’m going to get a little in-depth today about the thought process behind this photo, and how it’s easy to become “blind” to the little details. The overriding lesson is: Don’t get so stuck on a concept that it keeps you from realizing the other possibilities in a photo.