Finally went with the wordpress.org blog instead of .com It’s nested in the blog page of my website http://www.nakean.com/blog. Let me know what you think. My latest has some pretty darn cute photos of 6th and 7 month olds showing their tummy time abilities!

Rene Smoothed BackgroundI recently read an awesome blog post done with a beauty dish, a giant soft box for fill, and a ring light. This was some edgy lighting used to light corporate men and women no less! To me that’s just awe-inspiring! I pretty much stick to the classic Rembrandt lighting technique when shooting such people. Maybe add an “edgy” hair light or rim. None the less, this got the juices flowing for me and encouraged me to try something different. Here is my first attempt at butterfly lighting. Not bad if I do say so myself. Now the next step is to get a boom stand so that I can get the pesky light stand out of the way and back up a bit. I was about 1 foot from Rene with the lens nudged up against the light stand to keep the stand from view.

 

Rene Bibaud ButterflyUnfortunately I have just 4 speedlites and I wasn’t willing to waste any on lighting my background, hence the wrinkled background in the photo to the left. Now that I think about it I probably could have backed her up and feathered a good amount on her and let the rest light the background for that nice high key shot. Maybe next time! Instead I used a little Photoshop post work to get the nice smooth background that you see in the first image.  Even added a little circular gradient behind her head for a little extra depth.  Next time I’m feathering and using a boom stand! If only I had a boom!

Red Cup Espresso Owner Tricia I’ve gotten ahead of my photos and it’s time to start back up where I left off. This is Tricia; Mother, Wicked Awesome Barista, and owner of Red Cup Espresso.

….The coffee is AWESOME!!! I’ve recently slowed down my Java intake but when I want a good espresso, this is where I go for sure! Their coffee is organically-grown coffee roasted by Roast House. It’s located on California Ave in West Seattle just north of SW Oregon st. Another Cool note is it runs on solar power!!!! from panels on the roof. These guys are like Broccoli green(without the attitude)! Their cups are from recycled material and for while(they still may be) if you brought in your own to-go mug they knock 25 cents off an already sweet deal!

For this shot I brought my brand new nxt photoflex octodome. Took me few minutes to get the lights up and ready. Always amazes people the amount of time it takes to set up vs the amount of time to shoot. The actual taking pictures doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes but the setup still can take me a little while. I read a blog once encouraging strobists to setup and break down 100 times. Much the same way a marine tearsdown and rebuilds his weapon. Once set up I had the Octodome mostly centered and above for fill. I used the ambient light shooting at 1/50 iso 200 and f4.5 for my key(the shop has large windows running along the northern wall). I used a gridded Speedlite to light her hair from the right. Later in post I posterized the photo on a separate layer and painted the background(non processed) layer back in.

Cutest baby ever (my son) I wanted to wait until I had a proper post ready but my partner, Rene, leaked this photo to the “press” already. Stay tuned for quite a few more cute photos and exactly how I lit these adorable babies with just speedlites, tile board from home depot and a white muslin backdrop. For now, here’s my son struttin his stuff!

Still squeezing every ounce of mileage from my speedlites and was looking to purchase a beauty dish.  For those of you who don’t know a beauty dish is used a ton in high fashion photography and has also been picked up by strobists everywhere.  It gives a softer than barebulb light but harder than soft box light.  They are generally about 22″ or so and therefore are a small source of light depending on how close you are to your subject.  They are really made for models with perfect skin and even then it seems quite a bit of touch up work as to be done to the skin afterwards because it is quite a bit harder light transitioning into the shadows.

Low and behold my partner Rene, the love of my life has just brought home the dish I’ve been drooling over just about since I started this whole strobist thing.  Oh wait, she didn’t get a beauty dish at all.  It seems she spoke to some of the photographers at the store and decided to make an executive decision.  She doesn’t know all that much about the differences in light modifiers and the different quality of light they produce, therefore, she was much more open to suggestions than I would have been had I strolled down to Glazers myself.  Instead she came back with a 18″ Extra small Octodome specifically made for speedlites!!  It took me some time to wrap my brain around this slight change in plan.

Amazing Octodome mini Octobox2

You see, when I think of a soft box or octobox I think BIG!  Which is great but when you go big you need BIG Lights!  I had to rethink what I have come to understand a softbox is for.  This modifier is about the same size as a beauty dish, albeit quit a bit deeper.  It has silver lining to bounce the light, an internal baffle and a white translucent cover for yet another layer of diffusion.  This is basically a super soft version of a beauty dish and when I think about it this way, this thing is AWESOME!!!!!  Let’s face it, I’m not shooting super models with perfect skin.  With this box I can have the nice fast transition from light to shadow because of the apparent size of the octobox but keep the nice soft light for skin.  Nice job, hun!

Mom and Son with Octodome

Here’s two photos I retouched for fun using masks and posterize tools in photoshop.  Which edit do you like best?
More detailed of Amazing Artist Soft Poster of Amazing Arists Here’s the lighting diagram lighting-diagram

Nicholas1 I received a phone call, totally last minute, from Tila Real Estate company the a few days ago informing me they needed a local artist to display their work for the monthly ART WALK that takes place every second Thursday of the month in West Seattle.  I was immediately excited as it would be my second chance at this and I wanted things to work a little more smoothly this time.   I talked an employee named Anne pronounced as it’s spelled not (AN).  Awesome lady who helped both my setup as well as the tear down.  Since they are a Real Estate office they participate by covering the computers and placing table cloths on the tables to jazz up the place a little.  It’s a one day event which meant I couldn’t setup until the evening of the Art Walk.  Wine and chocolate were served and the atmosphere was over all great.

Along with myself there was another artist by the name of Nicholas Austin who showed his work as well.  His was of a musical kind and as he is a singer songwriter who plays acoustic guitar.  He brought out his beautiful Taylor guitar and started strumming away.  He was GOOD! Really good!  A sort of Jason Mraz meets Incubus.  The latter is one of my favorite bands of all times!  I noticed the Taylor guitar had knobs which means it was an acoustic/electric and could be plugged in.  I immediately asked if we would like an amp which excitedly agreed would help the overall sound.  I ran home and returned with amp and studio microphone.  Unfortunately the Tube pre for the mic wasn’t working properly but we had the guitar plugged in jammin in no time!

30 minutes before Art Walk ended I decided to take some shots of him as I had my gear(I almost always do).  It’s easy to get excited about multiple lights and setups.  My brains starts to wander with all the possibilities.  I start to setup my lights sometime to find I’m not getting the overall photo I had envisioned in my head.  Most importantly I forget how sexy a one light setup can be!  The top photograph is exactly this!  One of my favorites from the quick 10 minute photo shoot.

Nicholas Next comes the fill light to his left to give me just a little more detail….Here is that image

NIcholas3Now here’s an added rim light behind the subject camera left in the image below.

Nicholas5

And Finally another rim light added subject right with a boost in the fill light to add more detail to the shadow areas.