Sunday, November 21, 2010

Studio Portrait for SCFCU

When we’re not shooting weddings and events on weekends, we photograph lots of head shots and executive portraits throughout the week.  South Carolina Federal Credit Union has been sending their employees over to us for a couple years now.  Jessica just joined their team and needed photos for a press release.  This image was shot with a giant 6-foot LiteDome softbox to her left as the main light, a medium softbox behind and on her right as a kicker light, a small softbox on a boom above her for a hair light, and an SB-800 right behind her as a background light.  I like using small wireless strobes as my background light since it’s wireless and I don’t have to worry about cables showing in the photo if I do a full-length shot.  The rest of the light sources were Alien Bees, which are triggered with the RadioPopper Jr (Studio Version) radio triggers.  The image was shot with a Nikon D2x (which I use exclusively in the studio), and the 70-200 f2.8. 

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Anchor Commercial

My “Double Your Pleasure” post about the team photos I did for ESPN got such a big response!  So I thought I’d share this group photo I did last weak using the same technique.  Anchor Commercial has been a client of ours for many years.  One of the things they have me photograph for them each November is a group shot they put in a Christmas Card to send all their clients.  Rather than setting up on the South East side of their building where they’d be squinting in to the morning sun, we decided to set up on the North West side.  This provided a nice rim/back light.  However, their faces were in extreme shadow.  So I set up my double-flash technique with two SB-800s on each of two light stand, firing them through my favorite Westcott 43” Collapsible Umbrellas, and triggering them with my trusty RadioPoppers.  Here’s the scene before everyone arrived, and the final image they selected for their card. 

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Double Your Pleasure

I used to love those Wrigley’s commercials…”Double your pleasure with double-mint gum”.  J 

At my workshops, one of the questions I get a lot is “how do you get enough power out of those little flashes for big groups”?  Well, I double (or even triple) them up.  I have a couple home-modified umbrella brackets that can hold 1, 2, or 3 flashes.  Basically, a flash like an SB-800 puts out around 50 watt-seconds of power.  So if you need more power, putting two together gives you 100ws, putting three together gives you 150.  Another reason for ganging flashes together is so that you can use a lower power setting on each, thus increasing your recycle time AND extending how long you can go before replacing batteries.

This is my 3rd year photographing the ESPN Charleston Classic.  The event is kicked off with a huge Welcome Dinner on the hanger deck of The Yorktown, a decommissioned aircraft carrier.  At the event, I have to photograph a group shot of each team.  The first year, I brought my big AlienBee studio strobes.  Well guess what I didn’t think of…wall outlets are EXTREMELY rare and hard to find on an aircraft carrier!  The last two years, I’ve made life so much easier by using my wireless lighting system; no hunting for outlets…no McGyvering several extension chords together…no taping down cables. 

I simply set up my light stands with two flashes in each, firing into a shoot-through umbrella for soft, even illumination.  Each flash is set to around ¼ power and triggered via a RadioPopper.  I’m using my D3 at iso 640, f5.6 for plenty depth of field, and 1/30 of a second for ambient light in the background.  If you’re still using studio lights on location, I recommend doubling up your flashes.  You’ll love the freedom of going wireless!

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Family Portrait on Sullivan's Island

Last week I shot this fun family portrait session for our good friends, the McKelveys.  They used to live on Sullivan’s Island near Fort Moultrie.  Their kids used to play down there all the time.  Since they had such fond memories from that area, we decided to do their family’s photo shoot there. 

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

ESPN Welcome Reception

This will be my third year photographing the ESPN Charleston Classic.  You can see some of my shots from previous years, including the banner image of the new Arthur Ravanel Bridge, on the website at   It’s such a FANTASTIC event and I’m so honored to be a part of it!  The teams arrived in town yesterday and were treated to a fabulous Welcome Reception on The Yorktown.  Here are a few shots from the event.  Come on out to take in some great b-ball action…and don’t forget to say “Hi” if you see me!

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A Kiss of Light

I am, and always will be, a student of light!  Most days I can find absolutely gorgeous natural light to work with.  But sometimes a shot needs a little extra “something”.  During this fun shoot with James & Ashleigh and their beautiful daughter, I started photographing this story-telling scene with all natural light.  But the exposure value on Larkin was the same as James & Ashleigh’s.  Even though the shallow depth of field made it clear that Larkin was my main subject, James & Ashleigh were competing for my attention.  So to make them recede even more into the background and make Larkin really pop, I used a single SB-800 on my light stand off to my left to give her that extra lift.  I didn’t pump it up too high…just enough to give her a little extra kiss of light and make her the true centerpiece of the shot.  As always, the remote flash was triggered with a RadioPopper Px remote.  Next time you’re out shooting, try adding a kiss of light to add extra depth to your shot!

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Five Year Follow-Up

It’s been about five years since I photographed James & Ashleigh’s wedding.  What a joy it was to bump into them as guests at Ashley & Sherrod’s wedding just a few weeks ago.  And even MORE exciting was the honor of meeting their beautiful daughter and getting to photograph yet another chapter in their lives.  J

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Hilton Family at Folly Beach

Before Cami & I left for Maine last week, I had a really fun shoot with the Hilton Family on Folly Beach.  Dr. Hilton is our dentist and we LOVE the great care they give our smiles!  J  (Check out   

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Owl's Head Lighthouse

Here’s a couple shots from around Owl’s Head Lighthouse near Rockland, ME.  It’s supposed to be the most haunted lighthouse in America!  Many thanks to Mike & Becky of Rock Coast Sports for pointing us in the right direction and treating us to lunch.  J

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