The Shenandoah SMUG met at the Boita Photography Studio with special guest, John Sichenze. John is a landscape and portrait photographer who has been shooting for about 40 years. He started with film and progressed to digital. He says he loves to work in the studio and to create the look he wants by controlling the light.
John went over Strobe lighting and the 5 most common lighting set ups. What I loved about this was that after he went over the lighting types, he let all of us set up the lights, meter them, and then take a picture ourselves.
5 most common Portrait lighting Set-Ups:
- Broad Lighting – Main light illuminates the broad side of the face, and there is a shadow present cast from the nose onto the short side of the face. (Fills out a narrow face/broadens face)
- Short Lighting – Main light is coming from the short side of the face, and the broad side of the face has the shadow. (Slims face, great for rounder faces)
- Rembrandt Lighting/45 degree – You use a short light set up and work with the main light and subject position so the shadow from the nose reach or just touches the shadow on the side of the face. (Good for longer faces, use the shadow on the lower half of face to shorten the face)
- Split Lighting – In lighting, we discussed that there is a patch of light cast onto the shadow side of the face. If the main light is moved so far off to the side of the subject that the patch of light on the shadow side of the face disappears, and only half the face remains lit by the main light, you have Split Lighting.
- Butterfly Lighting – This term gets it’s name from the butterfly-like shadow that is cast beneath the nose of the subject.
John also discussed Main, Fill, and background lights.
Main and Fill – Good to start out with 2 stop difference from Main to fill
White background – 2 stops higher than fill
Black background – If your model’s hair is also black, you need to try and differenciate between hair and background using rim lighting.
Submitted by the Shenandoah Valley SMUG Scribe: Shauna Rudolph
Shauna is a part time portrait photographer that has just gotten more serious about her photography. She is based out of Winchester, VA. She loves to play with sport photography for fun, because it is great to be able to capture her kids in action.
The Austin SMUG group held its monthly meeting with over 40 photographers in attendance at the Parish Hall of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Austin. Alex Suarez, our group leader, has been doing a great job booking speakers for our meetings so we can grow and learn as photographers. This time around, our group welcomed Michael Sidoric to talk about digital asset management.
Michael started his presentation by sharing some inspirational images from National Geographic. As we looked at some wonderful shots, he asked the group to imagine if these were somehow lost or the files were deleted. According to Michael, a lot of great photographs come from being at the right place at the right time. You may get your shot of a lifetime and never again have that opportunity, which is why you need careful management of your digital assets. He takes a 3 step approach to digital asset management: Create, Catalog, and Conserve.
Creating is the first step you should take in order to protect your images. Michael emphasized the need to capture the best quality image files that you can. This means shooting in your camera’s raw format so that you capture and preserve everything that the camera saw when you clicked the shutter. He advocated buying the best memory cards for your camera that you can afford.
This is one area where some photographers might be tempted to save money and buy cheap cards, but this approach can lead to disaster if an inferior card fails. He said to stop and ask yourself what your images are worth when you buy your memory cards. Something else to bear in mind is that memory cards do not last forever. They do wear out with time and should be replaced periodically. Michael also encouraged us to be sure and label memory cards to help prevent accidental erasure.
Cataloging is the next step in the process. Michael advocated “ingesting everything” when you get back to your computer from a shoot and worry later about deleting what you don’t want to keep. The process of maintaining a catalog is about recording and preserving the data concerning your original images. A good application can help a great deal with this, such as Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture. His preference is Adobe Bridge, because it’s simple and robust interface with the added bonus of being included with Photoshop.
It is important to preserve detailed data about your images. All camera (EXIF) data should be kept and you should attach as much descriptive information to the image file as you can. Record the “who, what, when, and where” details when adding images to your catalog. In order to simplify the process of retrieving this information later, it was recommended that you adopt your own “controlled vocabulary”, i.e. a standard way that you use to describe your images.
Conserving is the final step in digital asset management. This is where data redundancy comes into play. Michael recommended a minimum of 3 copies of your images in at least 2 places. The original format (raw files) should always be persevered. Even if you save your raw files as DNG, he believes you should still preserve the raw file by embedding it in the DNG.
“No one cares about your stuff like you do,” Michael stated. There are a lot of hardware options out there, and you should find something that works for you. He advised staying with reputable brands and avoiding cheap hardware. Whatever you choose, you should keep in mind that all hardware will eventually fail. Routine monitoring of your disks is a prudent measure, and Michael recommended the application, Disk Radar, for keeping tabs on hard drive health.
Michael enjoys photography in his spare time. Urban landscapes, night photography, and environmental portraits are his favorite photographic pursuits. He shoots with a Canon 5D and a Fujifilm X100.
Our topic this month was studio lighting. Jeffrey discussed all the different studio lighting and demonstrated everything with the help of his adorable model, Sara Adams. He was tethered to Lightroom, so we were able to see what he was shooting and how different lighting techniques affected the portraits as he shot them.
What we learned:
The different types of studio lighting: When it comes to studio lights, what you see is what you get. The light output is not as great as strobes, but you can see what the light is doing before shooting.
The other type of lighting is strobes. They are controlled by transmitters that go on the lights and the camera. The lights go off as flashes when the camera is triggered. The camera settings are best set using a light meter.
Light Modifiers: Jeffrey explained that the lights are usually not without modifiers in order to soften and direct the lights. These include umbrellas, which can be used as reflectors or as shoot-throughs, where the light is directed at the subject through a fairly translucent umbrella material.
Soft boxes are another way of modifying light. These can be quite big and provide a large, soft light. Soft boxes can also have grids on the front of them to control the direction of light and light spill.
The Studio Set-Up: Three lights were set up at the meeting, and the function of each one was discussed.
The Key Light is the main light. The normal set up for this light is 45 degrees from the subject and 45 degrees up. The fill light is 45 degrees to the other side of the subject. And the Hair Light or Kicker is 45 degrees to the back.
One of the best ways he described how to remember the quality of light was to think of the sun. The sun at its highest peak makes the lighting harsh. The closer a light is to the subject, the softer the light will be.
Wilson was very knowledgeable about lighting, and explained and demonstrated it so well. It seemed that all of us really enjoyed the night, and we peppered Jeffrey with questions at the end. We all left energized and so much more confident to go out and use lighting.
Michele has been coming to the SmugMug group at the Ridgedale Library for over a year and has gained so much knowledge from this group. She uses a Canon 5D Mark ii and shoot mostly with natural light. However, she is now anxious to add off-camera lighting to her repertoire. You can also find her on Facebook.
The OKC SMUG meeting was held at Baker’s Learning Center. We had a great turnout with nearly 30 people attending the meeting. This month’s meeting consisted of a tour at the Baker Learning Center with the help of Patricia Isbell and Hank Baker.
Patricia is the owner of Shades of Gray Studio and also works with the Baker’s Learning Center. Patricia discussed her longtime work as a portrait, wildlife, and commercial photographer. Patricia shared with us her love of wildlife photography and some of her adventures while pursuing her passion. The images she presented were nothing short of spectacular. Patricia taught us that nature photography can be extreme at times. From hiking in the freezing snow for hours, to the heat of the tropical areas- it get be intense, but it can be an amazing experience when you capture that award winning image. Patricia shared one of her experiences with us that illustrated how making mistakes will only make you better. When you screw up and all your photos are a bust, you will figure out what you did wrong and correct the problem. This type of learning will not be forgotten, and your mistake is not going to happen again.
Hank Baker, Baker’s “Lightroom and Photoshop guru” and the owner of Baker Photo & Video, is a weather photograper. He taught us about the Photographer’s Market 2012 that is published annually. He explained how it lists what images companies are buying and how much it costs them. This information could be very helpful when trying to tap into the market.
Hank and Patricia showed us around the newly opened Baker Learning Center. The center includes a fully-stocked photography studio, available for hourly rental (including gear) to any OK photographer. They were also kind enough to give us all a demo of the studio. You can find Baker’s Learning Center here or on their Facebook.
Submitted by the OKC Scribe: Sherri Smith Sherri loves to photograph families, high school seniors, and weddings. Sherri enjoys the OKC-SMUG meetings, because they have been a learning experience, and the people who attend are great to network with. Stop by and check out our next meeting- you will not be disappointed!
Over 75 people attended our meeting, which was run by our co-organizer, Marabeth Gromer, at Basic’s in Roseville, CA. Once we got settled, we split up into groups of 4 or 5 to start our lesson. It’s nice to break up into small groups so that we all can get that one-on-one feel.
There were quite a few classic cars and enough models to go around so that everyone had a great opportunity to get some fantastic shots without having to fight for a position. A local car club volunteered their vehicles and were very nice to even let our models pose in and on the cars.
The teams of photographers were paired in groups by camera brand which proved helpful for newer shooters who had many questions on settings & composition, and those more experienced were more than happy to help. There were several strobists in attendance and shared their knowledge and ways to move the flash off camera. It’s nice to not always have a speaker at our meetings, because it gives us an opportunity to learn from each other. Plus, we get to know each other better that way.