Lighting and Posing Class at Dury’s Classroom

May 31, 2012

We just finished up another great class at Dury’s!  We tried a totally new class idea, posing AND lighting with a 20 student limit.  Not sure what would happen, we opened it up and it was totally booked in less than 24 hours.  For the morning session, we worked on a basic gray paper backdrop.  All of these images were lit with some “new to me” Hensel lighting gear from Germany.  I’ve got to tell you that I was super impressed with everything about these lights and the testing will continue.  They are super well built and very affordable.  I have a specific application that I am testing them for, but I’m sure there will be many other uses too.

Something so simple about paper that just keeps you on task.  It doesn’t distract you or the viewer, keeping your subject the main thing.  I like to add just a touch hint of background light for separation and contrast.  Here it was achieved by directing a small 20 degree grid on the paper.  Placed on a stand pointed directly behind Miss. Savannah, it worked out just right.

When you have enough room in your shooting area, it’s no problem to use it for 3/4 length portraits too!

Savannah’s mom Kristie was kind enough to come in and help us out.  I love photographing family members together.  There is typically a chemistry and sincerity in their interaction.  This resulted in a pretty nice mother daughter portrait.

If you just remove the grid and use the reflector, add about another stop of light and you can have a white background!

Everything you see here was done live while tethered to a computer.  The one thing about that is, there is no where to hide!  All the class is watching as you shoot to the screen.  It’s either there or it isn’t, and if it isn’t you better have a good explanation.  I trust my Gossen meter, and there were no explanations necessary.  It’s really fun, the class watches the process and can see all of my Nikon D700′s controls as I shoot into Lightroom.  I used my Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VRII lens for all of these portraits and Imagenomic for a quick retouch.

After a little Panera lunch, we moved our attention to a family portrait.  Because my intention was to teach posing along with lighting, a family was the easiest way to teach foundational basics.  I also wanted to go for a totally different look.  So, I created a low key set for my beautiful family.  On this set we switched to Elinchrom BXRi lights.  The Elinchrom brand has been my light of choice for over 10 years, and I LOVE the light they provide, their reliability and ease of use.  The Skyport system is the best I’ve ever used and for teaching purposes makes everything flow easier.  I can control 4 individual lights output right from my hot shoe trigger so I never miss a beat while I’m teaching or more important, working with my clients!  That is the ability to control each light in 1/10 stop increments, amazing and bullet proof in performance.

Don’t you just love the youngest daughter’s hand placement?  I wish I could take credit for it, but she did it all by herself!

What a great portrait of this couple!  Rhea and Kelvin were so much fun to work with, what great smiles too.

Kalia and Kayla Owens, too cute!

My main light on this entire series was the relatively new 53″ Rotalux soft box.  The Elinchrom Rotalux design is just like the mother of all lights the Octabank, with one exception, it is smaller and much more portable.  As a bonus, it is super affordable at only $599.00. 

Just look at the beautiful light on these faces, does anything else really even matter?  No!  I love the innocence and feeling of connection here.  As a parent we know there won’t be a lot of these moments, but as photographers it is our duty to either catch them or help create them while they are in front of our camera.


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