Saturday, March 09, 2013

Yet Another Studio Portrait Encounter

Side Note: Olympus Malaysia is organizing a Macro Workshop on 16th March 2013. The speakers are Amir Ridhwan and Sanjitpaal Singh, both great photographers whom I admire and respect. If you want to learn macro photography, learn from the best!! I will be there, so I sure hope to see some of you there too.
More info on my previous blog here (click) and Olympus Facebook Page here (click). 

I signed up for another Sony Studio Portrait Experience workshop, this time conducted by another Sony trainer, TJ. I think I am getting deeper and deeper into this kind of arranged portrait shooting. I don't quite know how to explain it, but my interest in pursuing this further has just increased. There is certain satisfaction shooting beauty. 

TJ the workshop conductor did a great job setting up the lights and explaining to us how each source of light affect the overall outcome: the distance between the light and subject, the intensity of the light, positioning to create different outcomes and also how to watch out for where the highlight and shadow fall on the subject. I gained better understanding on the studio lighting control, perhaps not to the point where I can independently set things up myself but I am getting a better grasp of the whole thing. It does not seem to be too complicated at all, and more importantly, it involves plenty of trial and error to optimize the lighting controls, and we know engineers love this sort of play. But then again, studio lights do not come cheap. Perhaps I should really look into Kirk Tuck's LED lighting for portraits instead. 

All images were taken with Sony Alpha A350 and DT 50mm F1.8 lens. Stopping down the aperture to F8-11, that 50mm lens is mighty sharp. Used on the A350's 14MP CCD sensor, shooting at ISO100, the amount of detail captured in such controlled test environment, was nothing short of breathtaking. Quite an amazing performance for the nifty fifty.














12 comments:

  1. Definitely cool photos you've got here Robin, you seem to have talent for this.

    Oh and of course I can recommend Kirk's books (I have all of them). And if you're looking for budget studio lights, there are plenty to consider like Simock from China (which I have), or Aurora from Korea, or maybe those Paul C. Buff Einstein and AlienBees from the US. These latter ones have their own proprietary mount AFAIK, but they can give out flash with really short times if dialed down a bit, which is good to freeze water etc. All of those are lots cheaper than any Profoto, Broncolor, Elinchrom, Hensel, or other more "pro" stuff. But light is light, like a camera is a camera - there's more in the knowledge of how to use them than in any brand names.

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    1. Thanks for the tips Wolfgang ! Will check them out.

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  2. Hello Robin
    This model is burning any camera sensor :-)

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    1. Hey Wolfgang,
      LOL !! Appropriately put.

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  3. Beautiful photos of a lovely model. I find the bright "sunset" lighting of the background is really effective and wonderful.

    I'm also very happy to see that you didn't Photoshop her to death. Far too often studio photos have every little freckle, stray hair, and "flaw" cloned out to the point the model looks more like a mannequin than a real person. I've even seen natural skin folds where the arm meets the torso or the inside of the bent elbow cloned smooth. It's almost creepy. I applaud your style and the choice to retain reality in your work.

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    1. Hey Patrick,
      I am still in the learning process, so I am showing the images almost straight out of camera (except for exposure and contrast adjustment and a bit of white balance for consistency). You were right, some studio shots where the images came out looking like barbie dolls, those were indeed scary !

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  4. Hello Robin,
    Very very nice shots, now I'm jealous now!... I've been also looking into this kind of photography setup (with strobes, light modifiers etc...) this is very interesting. When you shoot with flash, the final exposure will also depend on flash power if you are shooting with manual flash and the distance of the light source to the model (inverse square law) as well as the conventional iso, shutter speed and aperture. Well, I'm still learning! One last thing... the Sony is indeed very capable!

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    1. Hey Johan,
      We are all learning ! And yes, that Sony is no slouch. The lens is indeed soft wide open, but stopping down further it is crazy sharp.

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  5. Ah, the portrait bug is biting! Yes, it *is* very nice work and satisfying, especially with lovely models like this. Studio lights are expensive, but maybe try out some of those nifty LED's. Tuck is very happy with them and his results don't lie. Very nice shots - in the third shot she looks very, very cute indeed.

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    1. Thanks Andre for the compliments. Yes, I must try out some cheap LEDs for starters !! If Kirk can do it, it sure is doable, he knows his stuff well.

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  6. Hi robin..long time no see..wow..ur studio photo now look so nice..u really2 can take a photo in whatever condition..good job robin..i cant attend d workshop in this month as my wife now going to disburse(no 3 now)..maybe after this we can see n take a pic together..
    *hadi nik*

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Hadi Nik. But that is not true la, in whatever condition, I do need to learn and explore to improve. we are all the same !!
      Do let me know when you are free. Yes, we go shoot !

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