Archive for category Visions and technique

Many different looks from one setup

Often I’m asked what kind of setups I use and what kind of modifiers.
What people often don’t realize is that with only one modifier you can chance a lot just by playing with the angles and controlling the contrast/lightfall off. In fact placing a light closer or further away also makes a huge impact on the image look, add to this the option to feather a light source (using the sides of the light) and you know that there is a lot possible with one modifier and light.


It gets even more interesting when you are combining two strobes and for example add a gel to one of them.
During the workshop this weekend I made a setup like this with our model Lennaa and decided it would be a cool thing to share on the blog.


I started out with one strobe with a red gel.

Lenaa Juli 25 20142025

To get a bit more “punch” in the image I added another strobe without gel under the same angle to mix the two.

Lenaa Juli 25 20142035 Read the rest of this entry »

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Tips on styling

Styling is one of the most important parts in a successful photoshoot.
If you shoot a model in jeans and tanktop, you’d better be a lighting wizard because there is not much else going on…..
This is one of the quotes from my book “Mastering the modelshoot” (which recently got the label bestseller :D).


Now for some people the term styling already gives them a panic attack… styling is difficult, impossible to do yourself etc.
Well…. let’s be realistic, for a good styling project you will need a professional stylist, they really have “the eye” and know what goes together and will work in a photo, but don’t worry if you can’t afford one, there are some simple things you can do yourself.

Anna Juli 9 2014 452-Edit

1. Don’t overthink, but DO overthink
Sounds weird right?
Well it is.
What I mean is that sometimes people already think “I can never do it, so I won’t even start” and that’s the first overthink. The second one is much more important… when you start doing the styling for a shoot do it with care, make sure that everything goes together, match colors and match the styling to the model and the look of the set you’re gonna use, you really have to think about this over and over again, a styling idea can fall flat on it’s face by small mistakes.


2. It’s always personal
You can create the most amazing outfit and look, but always remember that as soon as you steer away from “standard” people will either like it or hate it, and the more extreme you go the more extreme the reactions will be, be prepared for some intense flaming online, especially from people who don’t do it themselves :-)

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Light can be very simple

As photographers we have to realize that light is our language, it’s the paint we work with to tell the story.
Now for most photographers light is something they can control as long as it’s something familiar and something that…. well has a label which states what it does.


Light however can be so many things, in my opinion (and I really mean this) there is no light source that can’t be used to create a nice image. So during a workshop I got some questions about different light sources and we did a part of the workshop with just one (well actually 3) light source, an old chandelier. The only thing we modified from this chandelier is that we use 100W light bulbs instead of the much lower in power bulbs you would normally use. This helps to keep the ISO a bit lower.
Oh and don’t worry if your camera shoots on ISO1600 or ISO2000, when you zoom in you indeed see some noise, but trust me… when you print or publish for the net you won’t see the noise anymore, or at least it won’t bother you.


Now the fun thing about shooting with these kind of light sources is that you really learn to control your light and see what light does, for example placing it closer to the model will give you totally different look than when you place it further away. Today I show you two sets we did with the chandelier. On the first one we had the lights really close to the model while on the last set my assistent actually swung the lights above the model (Manon). As you can see… the same light source but two totally different looks.

Manon Juli 5 2014 (82 of 153)_DxO

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Working with portrait or landscape mode

Composition is one of the things that is always very important in a shoot, but what is the perfect composition?
Well to be honest… there is no perfect composition.
Of course there are those “rules” like the rule of thirds but let’s be honest they just give you a “this will work” general rule of tumb, but it’s often not the most interesting shot possible. In my opinion it’s incredibly important to play with the way you shoot.


Take for example these two shots.
One is shot in the so called portrait mode.
It draws all the attention to the model and to be honest it looks pretty nice.

Lenaa Juni 20 2014 64 1

However as soon as you change to landscape mode for me the whole image gets way more interesting.

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Shooting through materials….

One of the things I absolutely love to do is using materials to control my lights in ways that are not “standard”.
You can of course use a metal sheet with holes to create some nice patterns, however if you make the holes “small” enough you can use it to place the model behind it and the reflection of the material will actually bounce back to the model.


In this case I used one strobe with a red gel and one standard strobe just for fill in.
Model : Lenaa.

Lenaa Juni 20 2014 20

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Mixing strobes with tungsten

There will be that moment where you have to mix two different light sources in a scene.
Now normally it’s common to gel the strobes to match the color temperature of the other light source, but sometimes it can be very interesting to keep the color temperature different.


In this shot (shot during a glamour workshop) I shot our model Lenaa on the chair and lit her with the 70cm deep octa and a custom grid from Honeycombgrids the tungsten lights on the back are in fact 100W bulbs. I made sure that the light sources didn’t really “overlap” but that the tungsten had free play on the background, this way the tungsten lights look really nice and warm and it gives a nice glow to the background. The suitcases gives the shot some extra dimension.


When shooting something like this, do make sure that you put the strobes on the LOWEST possible power setting, this way you can actually see the tungsten lights. If you meter everything on 1/125 you can still open up more to let in more of the tungsten bulbs (1/60 or even 1/30). Always remember that the aperture in these cases control the strobe and the shutter speed the tungsten lights.

Lenaa Juni 20 2014 38 1

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Using an old window as a prop

I know a lot of photographers are looking for interesting things to “spice” up a shoot.
This can be a chair, a guitar etc….. but also think even more simple, what about an old window ?


We got this window from the local junkyard for little and it has proved to be an amazing prop that can be used in many different ways, this time we put our model Lenaa behind it, sprayed some water on the window and used a strobe from the back to get the final image you see here (shot during a glamour workshop).

Lenaa Juni 20 2014 95

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