Slow Days = Light Tests

I work in a photo studio for a major retailer, and much like retail sales patterns, there are busy times and not so busy times. July third was one of those not so busy times. With a little bit of time to kill and lots of photo equipment on hand, having an impromptu fun photo shoot seemed like the thing to do. 

Our studio is not interesting. It's not attractive, and frankly it's downright ugly. I wanted to take an ugly generic hallway and turn it into something interesting. 

An ugly, generic hallway

I had originally wanted to shoot a specific person in the studio using this set up and location, but they weren't around when I finished setting up. Instead, a few of my coworkers decided to get in on the fun. 

Bonnie stands in to check my light, and then all hell broke loose

I think this probably qualifies as more interesting than the hallway. I could have incorporated more of the actual hallway in the photo, this really could have been shot in any open space. Or could it? The cool thing here is that this was shot with minimal equipment. The hallway wall itself is filling my key light and keeping those shadows in check. Two lights and thats it. Key light, rim light shown in frame and that's it. 

After Bonnie stood in for my subject so I could check my light, the rest of the studio staff wanted to get in on the action. 

Amanda - Copy Writer

Sophia - Copy Writer

Stylist Group Shot - Vanessa, Ashley, Vivian, Dani

There are more people, but you get the idea. Maybe in the future I will have a little more time to explore this space and see what else can be done. 

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 You can purchase a copy here: 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!