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About Brian

  • Birthday 01/30/1973

Member Information

  • Main editing computer
    Mac desktop
  • Editing software
    Lightroom with Photoshop
  • Monitor Calibrator
  • Cameras, lenses and other photographic equipment
    Nikon D4s, Nikon D850, Nikon Trinity and a few other odds-and-ends. Follow me on Instagram! @jennie.brian.seetheworld

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  1. I’m sure there are reflectors and more likely, white foam boards. Found this article to show you what I mean: http://weedit.photos/2017/white-foam-core-photography/ The most important thing with these shots is to fiddle and practice. Being aware of how aperture and flash power relate to one another AND how the Inverse Square Law works is essential. Huh? You need a large window, a better light than a speed light / Alien Bee and a white foam core board. Invest in at least a 5 foot or better yet, 7 foot wide octa softbox. The bigger the modifier, the softer and smoother the effect in the shadows and overall light. Also, practice-practice-practice! You can’t “wing it” with this type of look. One final thought, you need ROOM. A small area in your basement will just drive you nuts. I’m taking about a room with 10-15 foot ceilings and enough width and depth so the light doesn’t bounce around. Keep in mind that photographers don’t always tell you the whole truth. I’ve know of several photographers who give workshops, tell their students to use Alien Bees and cheap modifiers when they themselves use $2000+ Profoto Lights and fancy/expensive modifiers. So don’t fall for the “She says she only uses a speed light and a 60” umbrella...” statements. Most of the time, they are lying to you.
  2. Yeah, I think she is using a small Octa Softbox and probably a Profoto Light. She's not using Alien Bees, that's for sure, that light is too even and consistent. Looks like some sort of umbrella was used by the OP? Wrong Modifier for this look. This is a Rembrandt Lighting Style, more info here. You should master Loop Lighting, as it's the most flattering for the majority of people. Rembrandt is great for more dramatic shots like this and should be #2 that you master. Actually, you should master all of those 7, but start with loop, Rembrandt, and short lighting. Oh, never "Broad-Light-a-Broad." Broad lighting adds pounds to the subject's face and really only works on skinny people.
  3. @Damien Symonds, could you answer this? This isn't a hardware question.
  4. Brian


    This is what I have: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/660321-REG/Manfrotto_496RC2_496RC2_Compact_Ball_Head.html What I do is leave the Ball Head slightly loose, meaning you want some resistance but not too much and you don't want things to flop over. I call this "Freestyle Method." You can move in all sorts of directions while mounted on a monopod.
  5. Brian


    I would invest in a monopod and a ball head. I've also found that going twice the shutter speed is better with digital. So if you are at 200mm, your SS should be 1/500 or more.
  6. I just noticed something!! What version of the 24-70 are you using? The older / original Canon 24-70? Or the newer Version II? Or is it a Tamron / Sigma? The reason I ask is the original Canon 24-70 produces images like this, especially at 24mm and 70mm. I know several photographers in real life who can not trust the original Canon 24-70 on paid gigs. The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L Version II USM Lens fixed a lot of quirks that the original had.
  7. Brian


    Focus and recomposing is tricky. You can't move that much, as we are only talking a few inches of you moving. If you really wanted them both sharp, I would have been around f/5.6. Maybe even as far as f/8...but I'm more at f/5.6 for these shots. You could have tried f/6.3 or f/7.1 too. Don't worry about the background being blurry and wanting to use f/4 or f/3.5. The reason is, and it looks like you used your 70-200, is to use compression to your advantage, meaning you want to take a few steps back and zoom in to suck in the background, which will help blur things and maintain enough DoF to get both relatively sharp. Also, what Shutter Speed were you at? What focus mode?
  8. Brian


    What lens do you use in the studio? A prime or a zoom? Traditionally, prime lenses are always a tad sharper than zooms. Also, you are dealing with natural light, which is pretty even in this photo as there isn't a huge contrast swing to help define things. I agree with Damien, this photo is fine.
  9. Well, yes...that is the base of those type of sun-lit shots. The trick is something has to reflect the strong sunlight BACK into your subjects, otherwise it's all shadow. This could be light-colored dirt (Used for the Girl kissing the Horse,) a white wall (Engagement shoot) or a reflector. Damien is correct, it is all about the angle of the Sun. Depending on your geographical location, your results will vary. Places further North of the Equator (or South for you Southern Hemisphere Peeps) will produce a different look than those closer to the equator. As for the engagement set, she is surrounded by white walls and is over-exposing. This Technique is called "ETTR" or Exposing to the Right, meaning she is at least one or two "ticks" overexposed. Combine that with her Canon 50mm f/1.2L prime to get things sharp and heavy usage of Photoshop Actions pushing things further for that "Airy" look. I'm sorry, those colors in that Engagement Set are NOT natural. Porcelain Skin Tones / loss of detail (no skin blemishes and loss of detail on white shirt) are a dead give-away. They are Photoshoped Colors. Make note of the time of day when she shot that session. It's not during the golden hour, probably about two-three hours before sunset, which will allow the strong sunlight to wrap around her subjects. She chose a spot to have the sun diffused / blocked, or to put her subjects in shadow and then let the background be over-exposed. This technique needs practice. You can't expect to casually pick it up. The skill-set for things like clouds, location, time of day, the actual date that the photos are taken all take practice to learn and are applied before you put the camera up to your eye; there isn't a set recipe. I deal with this type of lighting all the time with my Wedding Gigs. Lots of crappy shots with a sprinkling of "Chorus of Angels Singing" shots. Remember that.
  10. Brian

    focus check

    Because you are still thinking along the lines of shooting natural light. Aperture Controls what POWER SETTING you use. There is less light coming out of your Einstein 640 so you open up your Aperture to let more light in. If you increase your power in the E640, you would go to f/5.6 to compensate. Also, do not be fooled by the modeling light. I will say it again, you can not use your camera’s built in meter to figure out what power setting to be at. For that, you need a HAND HELD METER, like a Sekonic L-358 or something newer. Of course with practice and experience, you can get away without using a hand-held meter. Once you figure out moving the power setting to ____ and use this thingy with this other doohickey and put that whatchamacallit over there and have your subject do/turn ______. LMAO!! I know some photographers that do this on a regular basis. They have been doing it this way for years; it’s very much like a Musician playing by ear. They can play something, but couldn’t tell you what key they are in or what chord progression that they used. Same thing with photography and light setups, thise can’t tell you WHAT they did to produce that photo My way of doing things is very methodical and theory based. Once you get “Natual Light Methods” out of your heads will you start to understand. It’s really not that hard, it’s just a new skill set. The main reason is your light source is usually 6-8 feet away vs 93 million miles away. One quick way is to look at your eyes in the mirror with a bright light nearby. What happens to your pupil? They get smaller, just like the aperture blades in your lens. (F/11, f/16, etc.)
  11. Brian

    focus check

    I also mentioned distance in my original answer. That statement was based on something called the Inverse Square Law. The inverse Square Law dictates that you lose 75% of the intensity of the light as you double the distance between your subject and flash. So if you have your flash two feet away from your subject, and move it four feet away, you have about 75% less “umph” to work with than before. Same thing goes for when you go 4 feet away to 8 feet. But there lies a clue 4 to 8 feet, is pretty good wiggle room. So if your light stays within that 4-8 feet range, you shouldn’t have to mess with your power setting or aperture. Think of placing your light on a big dartboard. In the center is your subject and the “rings” are where you put your light. If you obtain proper exposure AND keep the distance the same from your light to your subject, your aperture and power setting stay the same. Here is an example. You have a favorite PLM and your photos look awesome when the light is 6 feet away and you shoot at f/4. If you put your light on the opposite side of your subject, AND KEEP THE SAME DISTANCE, the only thing that will change is the placement of the shadows and overall look. Your aperture& flash power stay the same, since the distance is the same. That’s the Inverse Square Law in action. That’s also the reason that flash photos look so “icky” when you use a stupid pop-up flash standing 8 feet away from your group photo. i realize this is a lot of info. If you care to discuss this further, hit me up in the DSLR Bistro.
  12. Brian

    focus check

    So to answer your question, no you don’t have two aperture settings. I know it appears like you take two photos, one at f/11 and one at f/8, but that’s not the case. When assigning aperture values to lights, it’s a way to get around different manufacturer’s power output for various flashes / strobe. I could tell you to set your Nikon/Canon whatever to 1/4 power. I could also tell you the same on say a Alien Bee or Profoto Flash. Since the light bulb from the Bee or Profoto is physically larger, it’s throwing out a firehose worth of light compared to a garden hose from your Canon / Nikon Flash. Understand? It’s a way to keep things simple and consistent. Since a Profoto Light is way more powerful than a pop-up Flash, telling you to set a Profoto light to 5.0 will produce different results than your pop-up flash at 1/2 power. It’s easier to use an aperture Number than a power setting number. Of course if it’s just you and your private studio and it’s your lights, you can fiddle and figure out your recipes on what looks good. If you want to try and explain your lighting setup and power settings to someone else, use the universal light ratio numbers, written with Aperture Settings. Clear as mud?
  13. Brian

    focus check

    Here is the video. Watch it multiple times until it sticks.
  14. Brian

    focus check

    There are TWO Exposure Triangles. One for natural light and one for flash / strobe photography. When it comes to flash photography, not only does aperture relate to depth of field, it also controls your flash power. A two light setup, say f/11 and f/8 is a very typical one. That means that the main (key) light’s power is one stop greater than the second light. That’s a 2:1 Lighting Ratio The Golden Rule of Flash Photography: Aperture controls flash power- Shutter Speed (and ISO) controls Ambient Light. If you are setting OCF’s manually, your camera’s built in meter is COMPLETELY WORTHLESS when it comes to manual flash photography. That’s because the camera’s meter is basing its recommendation on existing (ambient) light. Your flash hasn’t fired yet, so there aren’t any readings. The only exception to this rule is if you are using TTL (Automatic) flash that uses algorithms to set flash power based on the manufacturer’s way of thinking. So say you have one light at 1/2 power and another at 1/4 power. That is a one stop difference which means the “umph” of the key light (or intensity of the light) is one stop brighter than the second (fill) light. Why f/11? Because the optimum exposure from the light of that key light hitting your subject requires you to be at f/11. If you had a hand held meter and put it to your subject’s chin and pointed it towards your flash, and took a reading, “proper exposure” would be f/11. If you set the main light to 1/8 power instead of 1/2, that’s a two stop change, in which case you would be at f/5.6. (Less umph from the flash means you need more light hitting your sensor to obtain proper exposure, thereby opening up your aperture. That’s why if you want to be at f/2.8 for shallow DoF for those fuzzy-wuzzy sleeping baby photos that you are at 1/32 power or even 1/64th. Zack Arias has an excellent Creative LIVE video that explains it better than I ever could. Let me find it.
  15. Rule of thumb when shooting digital that I try to use, is that shutter speed should be twice of the focal length. Back in the film days, your focal length and shutter speed where closer together 50mm was 1/60th, etc. So at 70mm, you want 1/160th or better. 200mm, 1/400th or 1/500th of a second, etc. For those reading this and have high resolution cameras, like a Nikon D850, you almost want 4 times the focal length. The more MP you have, the worse camera shake will bite you. But I’m digressing here. I have found that laying on the shutter and taking three shots consecutively...the second shot will be the one that has the sharpest focus. Especially when you are at 1/60th in low-light conditions, hand-held, such as this photo.
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