How To Turn A Really Drab Room Into An Impressive Studio

31 10 2012

This was shot in a classroom at the Calumet Store in London, England.  It’s a simple two-light setup, one with a PowerSnoot on a lightstand, and the second with a LSC Snoot (Black) with three different color domes.  The trick here is to make sure that your flash from the “spot” light (on model’s face) does not hit the wall behind the model.  This is why the Snoot is crucial for this purpose.  It directs light right on the model but not on the wall.  If I didn’t have the snoot on, the wall would be “contaminated” by white light and you wouldn’t see the beautiful halo effect behind the model.

Here is the lighting diagram…

The Powersnoot was on a lightstand.  The flash itself was set to E-TTL, and I had the subject face the camera.  There are two very important things to remember if you want a deep deep color on the white wall:

1) Underexpose the flash unit by two stops (therefore the camera with the color dome was set to TTL-2)  and

2) Make sure that the light from your main light does not spill onto the wall.  If this light spills onto the wall, this causes the color to “dilute”.  This is why the PowerSnoot is important.  It directs light in such a tight beam that you can have it light just the face, and not the wall behind.  Note where the snoot was positioned.  If you drew a straight line from the PowerSnoot to the wall, it would only hit the wall way behind the subject.

The light behind the model was on the floor, using the same little stand holder that came with the flash.

The camera was set on “M” (Manual) setting because the TTL will take care of the flash exposure accurately.  When shooting Manual, you can change the shutter speed up to 1/250th of a second.  When indoors, and when ISO is set to 100, having this fast shutter speed will obliterate available light.  When shooting outdoors, I use HSS (High Speed Sync Mode) aka “AutoFP” on Nikon series cameras.  This allows me to shoot at up to 1/8000th of a second, at ISO 100.  That makes the available light completely dark.  Changing the shutter speed and aperture in Manual mode, you can mix the background light and the flash lighting with a wide range.

I’m In Seattle This Weekend! (Huge Photo Show)

29 10 2012

Saturday 4pm – 5pm • Sunday 3pm – 4pm

I will be doing my “ugly room series” live, demonstrating how you can use small and inexpensive lighting to create spectacular effects.  It’s a huge show, the biggest on the West Coast, and it’s in Seattle.  Come over and say hi!

Lynnwood Convention Center (click here for directions)

Training Video For My French Partners

25 10 2012

I always look twice when I see an american looking person speaking chinese. Or a chinese person speaking french or spanish. I don’t even really think about any of this until I see myself on a video. Before I enrolled in French Immersion at the Institut De Francais on the beautiful French Riviera between Nice and Monaco (15 mins from each, right in the middle). I was going to France a lot. I remember calculating that one out of every five days of a three year period, I was in France. It’s very comfortable and like home to me over there, but it didn’t always use to be. It can get really lonely and frustrating if you don’t speak the language, especially if traveling alone. You have nobody to talk to!

I’ve been speaking spanish since 15, and that’s my second language. There are published studies showing that after the age of 14, acquisition of a new language is very very hard, because language skills are imprinted way before this. Your mind moves onto other things (like math, etc) once you get to a certain age, because you’re certainly designed to be able to speak as a pre-teen!

I read a recent study that in the top five of the reasons people advance in an executive career include; Experience, Physical Attractiveness (!), and foreign language skill. In that order. And it makes sense. If I’m going to open an office in Munich, and I have an able-bodied junior associate here that speaks german, all of a sudden he/she becomes promoted to branch manager.

Provided he or she is good looking(?!)