Environmental Portraits

Life This Week: Summer Camp, Pool Time, Night Out

Even though it's only officially been summer for a few days, it's in full swing for the Jester family. We just finished working two of four weekends at a family summer camp at Whispering Winds in the Cuyamaca Mountains east of San Diego. My son Jack is out of school for the summer and already embracing a summer schedule, meanwhile my wife and I are enjoying not having to schlep across town to and from the school. Life is good. 

Musicians Angel and Matthew relax on the patio and play some music

A little bit of double exposure sillyness with the built in double exposure mode on the Fuji x100s

Hannah hangs out by the pool

Hannah hangs out after dinner

Family photo at the pool. Photo courtesy of Ed Bonadiman

My gorgeous wife at dinner for our 7th Anniversary. Super low light portrait manual focused with the Fuji x100s.

BTS Tuesday - The Dancer

I recently reposted an old image of mine on Instagram and got a few questions about how I set up the lighting. Going through my old images, I don't have any good BTS shots of the lighting set up, so I thought I'd do it the old fashioned way and draw out a diagram and do this little write up. I figure this might be pretty fun to do regularly with images old and new, so BTS Tuesday is now a thing on my blog. Yay!

The Set Up

The lighting set up for my photograph "The Dancer"

My family is very blessed to have an incredibly talented group of family and friends whom have often become the subjects of photo projects, one such person is the truly gifted Victoria Souder. She is a dancer and studio owner in Moreno Valley, CA and this was our first attempt at collaborating together. I was doing a mini portrait project where I was photographing people I knew doing what they loved. 

We were to shoot together at her studio after class, which I knew would be challenging because, as some dance studios are laid out, the entire west wall was a mirror that ran the length of the room. Judicious use of flags would be the key here. 

I knew I wanted my final product to be low-key with dramatic rim light and heavy shadow, and that Victoria would be mid-motion. I set up my only two studio lights at the time (two Calumet Genesis 200's) directly to the left and the right of Victoria, with only the standard reflector, we were going with hard, focused light. I set up my flags to keep stray light off my lens and had to double them up to also block reflections in that mirror wall. We snapped a few shots and they were ok, but missing something. 

An outtake from my first shoot with Victoria Souder

Victoria did some amazing things, but I wanted to add a little flare (Zing!) to the shots. I wanted them to feel less heavy and more like a presentation of immense talent, but with that low-key look. It was time to break out my trusty LumoPro flashes. 

I added both of my LumoPro LP160 manual flashes to the rear of Victoria, to be shown in frame light stage lights. These lights would also even out the rim lighting I was getting from the Genesis mono lights. The result: "The Dancer"

"The Dancer" Model: Victoria Souder 

This image was also featured in the book Strobox Vol. 2, the yearly highlight of the best images on strobox.com. You can purchase a copy here: http://strobox.com/book/vol2. This is a really cool book with a lot of great images, all of which include lighting diagrams and information on how they were shot. Check it out and support the site!

Dirt Biker - Desert Portrait

My baby sister has become quite a dirt biker. The last time I visited my family at their cafe and gas station in the desert, I set some time aside to take a sunset portrait of her on her dirt bike. 

Tech Details

Set: Backlot of the Blu In Cafe and Gas Station

Lights: Canon 580exII, 2x LumoPro LP160