Photography Equipment I use for a photoshoot
In fact, the choice of photography equipment when I visit a client is important to me.
As a result, portability’s a requirement of the Photography Equipment. Accordingly packed in manageable loads and easy to put together for setup also helps.
With this in mind here are the important items
Camera Canon 5dmk2
In this case, I have had this camera for a number of years. In addition, it produces high-quality full-frame images and has proved very reliable. Accordingly, I always mount the camera on a tripod.
In like manner, the choice of lens is very important. As a result, I use Canon prime lenses 24mm – 70mm and 70mm – 200mm both f2.8.
Equally important is the choice of lighting. Moreover, each shoot is unique and may require a different way to light the subject. Therefore, in most cases, I choose flashlights and pocket wizards to wirelessly fire them.
Photography Equipment Backgrounds
In this case, there may be a choice of options. For indoors I use either a portable collapsible backdrop (with stand) or a suitable wall. Consequently, if I am shooting outside I choose an area that has a bit of shade.
As a result of the above equipment, transportation is easy. Thus the setup time is minimal. Consequently, this gives the client, minimal downtime for themselves and their staff.
In like manner, at times it is necessary to take along a laptop to post-process the images. In fact, the screen at the back of the camera is small and only gives a representation of the image taken. Therefore to see the true image you require a laptop to see this on.
Therefore, as you can see the equipment required is not vast. Equally, it does allow for easy transportation and setup.
For your time-saving and minimal disruption, headshots contact Martin here.
Natural Light Portraits
In the first place, Natural Light Portraits, what is it?
In this case, Natural light portraits are about using the available ambient reflected light to light a subject. As a result, this produces a soft light that complements the subject.
In this case first, you need your camera. In fact, I use a Canon 5d mk2. Accordingly, this is a full-frame and has the capability of photographing in very low light.
In addition to the camera, I use either a 24mm-70mm 2.8f lens or 70mm-200mm f2.8 lens. Accordingly, both lenses have the capability of operating in low light.
I also prefer to use a lightmeter. Accordingly, the one I use is the Sekonic L-478DR. Consequently, this enables me to measure the light and set the camera accordingly.
In addition, the next item is a reflector. Furthermore, in my case, it is a 40-inch round 5-in-1 reflector. In this case, the reflectors used freehand or on a stand. In addition, should you use a stand you will require a means to hold the reflector and sandbags.
Background for Natural Light Portraits
In this case, the choice of background for this type of photography is outdoor. In this case, the choice of background for this type of photography is outdoor. Consequently, the rule of this is the subject being the focus of the viewer’s attention. For this reason, the background is out of focus.
Lighting for Natural Light Portraits
Likewise, the advantage of using natural lights the reduction in the amount of equipment needed for the shoot. As a result, you have no requirement for heavy bulky lights or flashguns. For this reason, the reflector’s used to reflect light onto the subject.
Consequently, reflectors have the following uses.
- To light the subject as the main light
- As a fill-in light where the light is coming from behind and the subject is in shadow.
- Diffuse the light onto a subject
Accordingly, the diffusers surfaces used to place in front of a light to diffuse the light. This will soften the light source so that the shadows on the subject’s face are less harsh.
In this case, the white side of the reflectors used to reflect your main light source to create soft fill light.
When using the reflector to bounce light, you can experiment by moving the reflector around. Closer will boost the light, further away will reduce the light.
Equally, the silver reflector works the same way as the white one except it’s more reflective. The light coming from the silver reflector is stronger so it might be useful in situations where there is very low light.
Likewise, the gold reflector surface works the same way as the white and silver reflectors except it creates a warm, golden light.
Consequently, the black surface does the opposite of the above surfaces, absorbing or blocking light.
When you have too much light coming from every direction, the black surfaces used as a kind of “anti-fill” light. In this case, the black surface removes the light from one side of the face to add more shadow.
With the information that is contained here, the next thing is for practice. So if you haven’t got a reflector, go and purchase one. Then find a subject to practice with.
As a result of this information, if you still want advice, feel free to contact me.
Editing in photoshop
Coupled with processing your images in Bridge/ACR, the next step is editing using photoshop. When you have finished processing in bridge click the open image button.
When the image opens in photoshop it does so on a background locked layer. Before doing any editing you must make a duplicate of the background layer. Once you have done this delete the original background layer. As a result, this helps preserve the original image.
Level Adjustment Layer
In the first place, my first task in editing using photoshop is to add a levels adjustment layer.
In this case, the adjustments made by moving the left and right triangles under the histogram. For this reason, move both of the triangles only to where the histogram starts to climb on the graph. By the same token, for accurate measurement hold the option/alt key and move the triangle. In addition, as you start to see something in the image you have gone far enough. Then move the middle triangle to a setting of 1.2, you will notice that the image lightens.
Curves Adjustment Layer
In addition, the curves layer is a graph that defines the image through contrast.
In this case, the histogram shows the brightness of every pixel in the image. Consequently, it’s an indication of the image’s tonal range.
In this case, those pixels on the left are the dark and on the right the light.
In the first place, looking at the chart you have a straight line running from bottom left to top right. For this reason, adjustments made by moving the straight line.
This image demonstrates how the image’s lightened when moving the points like this image.
My preferred way to adjust is by moving the line either up or down. As a matter of fact, normally two places on the line require moving in order to form an S curve. Consequently, moving the curve adjusts contrast in the mid-tones.
Equally important, when dragging the line take care, you want to create a shallow S-curve.
Further Editing using photoshop
Once you have the image adjusted through levels and curves you can then merge the visible layers into one. Now you can perform further editing of the image as required.
Furthermore, if this blog’s raised questions about the process, please feel free to contact Martin.
Processing RAW Images
In the first place, processing Raw images for me is about doing this in a set way. As a result, after uploading my images to the computer I open up Photoshop bridge. In bridge, I open the file and then pick the first image for processing.
Therefore, the first task is to correct any lens distortion. In this case, to do this I pick on the lens corrections icon (5 from the right). By the same token, next, tick the remove chromatic aberrations and enable profile correction boxes.
In the same fashion, the next icon selected is the detail icon (eight from the right). In this case, I look at the three sharpening sliders. Accordingly, move the amount to 50, the detail to 18, and the masking as desired. In this case, by holding down the alt key and moving the slider. As a result, you are looking for a sharp outline.
In addition, if you are using a high ISO (800 over) you may want to move the noise reduction sliders. Therefore, I find that putting them all in the middle is normally good enough. By the same token, this turns the graining (noise) down in the image.
Processing Raw Images Select all images
Specifically, at this stage, I select all the images. I then highlight them all, right-click and sync them all. You can then work on each image or a batch of images as you go.
In contrast, now the meaty work begins.
In the first place for processing Raw images, click on the basic icon (first on the left).
In this case look at the histogram at the top of the page are the triangles black? When the triangle show as black this indicates the image as perfectly exposed.
Accordingly, if they are red, green or yellow you will need to do some adjustments.
To make adjustments my preference is to start at the top and work down in the following process.
If you have created a colour profile then find this from the choice available. If not then use one of the options available.
White Balance (Temperature)
You can either click on a white article in the picture or if you used one a grey card. In general, this will set your white balance.
Move the tint slider only if you think you need to. In other words, moving the slider to the right adds red into the image. In like manner, but to the left adds green into the image. For this reason, hopefully, you won’t have to move it.
Slide this to either brighten or darken the image.
As a matter of fact, by moving this to the right you weaken the image, push left and you strengthen.
Processing Raw images Highlight and Whites
Consequently, the next four are related to the triangles in the histogram at the top. As mentioned before if they are red, yellow or green you need to move the sliders.
These sliders affect the triangle on the right when a colour shows (not black) move this to the left. In this case, by moving this slider you will see that the image loses some of its brightness. You only need to use the slider until the triangle changes to black. You might also find that this works together with the whites button. As a result, between the two you will get an image that looks better and right.
By the same token, if you move this slider to the right the shadows will brighten.
For one thing, this slider works with the left triangle in the histogram. As a result, if a colour shows (not black) you move the slider to the right to blacken the image. Consequently, as you move the slider the triangle will change colour. You need this black also.
In particular, moving the slider to the right does not resolve the triangle change to black, move contrast/saturation left. For this reason, a word of warning DON’T OVERDO IT.
This slider either softens (left) or makes the image harsh (right). In general, beware if your subject is female, too much to the right will not do justice.
In general, the best advice with this slider is that you use it on landscapes.
Likewise, this slider controls the vibrancy of the colours similar in operation to the tint slider. In particular, this weakens or strengthens the colour vibrancy.
Saturation for processing Raw images
In this case, the slider controls the saturation in the picture of the colours. In this case, move to the left the colours completely disappear to Black and White. Consequently, moving to the right you will add more saturated colour.
Advice for Processing Raw Images
Equally important, for processing Raw images with all of the sliders be careful. Don’t overuse it, the eye will tell you when the amount of movement is right. If you are a novice or not sure then try it. In general, note your starting points by writing the settings down and then play with the sliders. Once you’re happy with the result you can save the image (done) or open it in photoshop. This leads on to another blog for the future.
Want to know more? Contact Martin
How to Prepare for a Headshot Photo Session
Accordingly, headshots from a headshot photo session are a powerful way to market yourself. As a result, you could be a business person, model, lawyer.
Therefore, in this post, I explain how you should prepare for a headshot photo session with a professional photographer.
Choosing a Photographer
In the first place, photographers are all different, no two are alike. As a result, each one has its own individuality of shooting style and editing style and bedside manner. Therefore, one photographer may be very laid back with their clients and like to keep the shoot casual. While another likes to keep a more business-like setting to their sessions. To put it differently, does either style make one less professional? Absolutely not, it’s all a matter of preference.
By the same token, Photographers have different levels of expertise and experience. Thus some have been shooting for 20+ years and their work can be lacking. Equally, others have been shooting for a few short months and have some amazing work under their belt. When choosing a Photographer don’t be fooled by the length of time they have been shooting. Therefore judge them by the quality of their work, most photographers have an online portfolio
Different Types of Headshots
Henceforth, all photographers have a different style of shooting for a headshot photo session. Therefore, you should think about the style that you want. Most importantly tell your photographer which style you want when booking.
Another thing to consider is the background. In fact, I personally prefer white it’s clean and where LinkedIn is concerned, makes you stand out.
1. Vertical Studio Headshot
A common style that is vertical (portrait) in orientation. Consequently, this gives you the opportunity to show what you are wearing. Hence, this lets people get a better sense of who you are and what your style is.
2. Peter Hurley Style
Horizontal instead of the traditional vertical usually with a nice and crisp white background.
For this reason, I personally like to shoot this style. The white background works well for all aspects of the internet whether it’s your website or social media.
3. Environmental Headshot
In this case, for professional headshots, environmental headshots are taken outside of a studio. For this reason, this is shot using natural or artificial light.
Consequently, they are a more casual style of image. Hence, a good outdoors headshot is one that has separated from the background. Therefore, the background is blurry and is known as Bokeh.
Getting Ready for your Headshot Photo Session
Accordingly, you’ve chosen your photographer and have had your first discussion over the phone. As a result, you’ve thought about the style you want and the location/background. In addition, the date is looming for the photoshoot. Therefore, being prepared for the shoot makes you relax and easier to photograph.
Moreover, simple is best. Therefore, what you wear is an expression of you and reflects your personality.
- Accordingly, choose solid colours as these look good in headshots.
- Do not wear something that is patterned.
- In particular, bring a few changes of clothes to the shoot.
- Equally, it’s not likely that the photographer is going to have an iron. Please make sure ALL clothes are ironed and pressed before the shoot. Because the wrinkles in clothes are difficult to Photoshop out.
- Likewise, for headshots, you don’t need to worry about your shoes, be comfortable.
- In this case, please do not visit your hairdresser on the day of the shoot.
- Accordingly, please bring with you a brush and some hair product (gel/hairspray), this helps to calm any stray flyaway hair.
- Furthermore, if you can afford it and would like, hire a hairstylist for the morning of the shoot.
3. Makeup and Face
- In general, start with just enough to cover up any blemishes.
- Moreover, try not to use matte styles of makeup this is likely to dry out your skin. It will also show in the finished photo.
- Please bring your makeup and moisturizer with you just in case your skin does get dry or you need touchups.
- Likewise, bring lip balm or lip gloss with you to help keep lips looking soft.
- The night before brush your lips with your toothbrush to help get rid of any dead skin.
- Don’t do visiting a tanning studio, or have a beauty treatment right before the shoot. It’s important to have a skin that is natural and not irritated.
- Remove stray eyebrows the night prior to the shoot.
- Also, if you wear glasses please bring them with you. Also, some lens wipes to clean them before the shoot. Similarly, only wear clear contact lenses if you have coloured ones please don’t wear them for the shoot. To explain, these will look fake in the photos.
- Shave right before you leave for a shoot. Hence, a 5 o clock shadow can’t be Photoshopped easily. Accordingly, use cooling gel or aftershave to help with skin irritation.
- Bring some oil absorbing sheets to soak up any oil or sweat that might build up during the shoot. As a result, the studio lights can get pretty hot. As a matter of fact, some great sheets are the Clean and Clear: Oil Absorbing Sheets.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Consequently, as an added extra, if you can afford it. Why not hire a Makeup artist to do your makeup and stay with you during the shoot for touchups.
Before the shoot
- Furthermore, do you know if you have a good side? Therefore, look at yourself in the mirror, do you have a side that you like better.
- If you are aware of one eye that is visibly smaller than the other. In this case, turn the side of your face with the smaller eye towards the camera. As a result, it will help reduce the difference between the two.
- Practice your smile before the shoot. It’s amazing how many will comment and warm to you. A good photographer will get different expressions from you during the shoot.
- Moreover, if you are have discoloured teeth, let the photographer know, they can correct this in photoshop.
- Accordingly, if you have a favourite set of music, ask the photographer if you can bring it along.
During the Shoot
- In this case, music helps take the tension out of your photo session.
- Equally important, follow the photographer’s direction, even if it sounds a little silly. Accordingly, we know the best posing on headshots and the best way to shape your face. You may feel a little funny posing differently, but trust me the photos will look great.
- Henceforth, the session should be fun to relax, be yourself.
- In addition smile, a difficult one to do naturally. In this case, don’t force your smile it will look more genuine.
- Squint, Squint, Squint!!! Squinting your eyes just a little will also help the shots look more confident and natural. To put it another way, having your eyes wide open looks like a rabbit in the headlights.
- In addition, take time to relax, drink some water and move away from the lights and take a break.
After the Shoot
Accordingly, each photographer has a different editing style for photos from a headshot photo session. Equally important, let them know if you want the photos edited. In general, here is a list of some of the items you might want to consider.
- Imperfections. Do you want imperfections cleaned up (Freckles, moles, scars etc…)?
- Double chin reduction.
- Eyes Whiter
- Teeth whitened/corrected
- Remove bags under the eyes
Equally, don’t feel awkward about asking or the photographer asking you about editing. If they’re truly a professional then they’ll expect this. If you do want any major editing done, please keep in mind that it may cost extra.
Depending on the amount of shoot post-processing that needs undertaking will depend on when the photos are available. Accordingly, please be realistic in your expectation.
Hopefully, this guide will help you prepare for your big day in front of the camera for your headshot photo session. It will also help make your experience a little more stress-free. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or email me
Use this form to give me some information about what you’re looking for.
Fundraising Event Photography
Generally speaking, Fundraising Event Photography is a passion that I thoroughly enjoy. For me, its all about seeing the joy on guests face when they view the photos.
The first thing to remember, Fundraising Event Photography is not Studio Portrait Photography. That is to say that the photography reflects a moment in time. As a result, the aim is to record the enjoyment of being at the event. For this reason, guests can take home a memento of that enjoyment.
How we prepare
When your guests arrive we have already set the portable studio up. Indeed your guests can approach us and we will happily photograph them.
Before we get to this stage though we have had a lot of work to do.
For this reason, first, we check all of the equipment to ensure that it is in good condition. In addition, as we do this its checked off against a list and loaded into the car. Therefore this helps us not to forget the important items.
We aim to arrive at the venue an hour and a half before the first guests arrive. Generally speaking, yes, it does take that amount of time to set up.
With all the items carried into the venue, we can then start to set the studio up. In the first place, we start with the Backdrop and stands. We have various backdrops, although the most popular has been a blue background with stars all over it. The backdrop drapes over a pole on stands and then extends out to a length of 3metres.
As soon as the backdrops set up, next we position the lights and electricity run out.
Means of viewing the images
Taking the images is fine but guests need to see them before purchasing. For this reason, we use laptop computers. Consequently one’s for guests to view. Accordingly the other contains Photoshop and has the printer connected to it.
In this case, we use a special printer called a Sub Dye printer. It doesn’t print with ink cartridges, instead, it uses celluloid film of three colours. As a result, the print does not fade.
We only print images when the guest is happy with there choice. For this reason, we have a no obligation clause for your guests.
Last minute readiness.
Once all the preparations are complete just a few checks remain.
In the first place, the camera’s set to the correct colour balance and colour chart for the lighting conditions. For this reason, we then take a photo and print the result. The printer might need some minor tweaks in photoshop but then all prints will be the same colours when printed.
Accordingly, we are now ready for the guests to arrive and have their photos taken.
Style of photos
Correspondingly the evening gives the ladies the opportunity to put on there finest with the men looking smart in Tuxedos.
As a result Event photography gives the opportunity to record the guests in there dresses and tuxedos.
Generally, we take 3 types of photos:-
- Full length
- Landscape from the waist up
- Close up of the guests.
In the first place the backdrop is only 3metres wide. As a result, group shots are limilting, the more people you have the more restricted you become on space.
In the first place for a fundraising charity event we attend Free of Charge. For this reason we sell the prints for £15 each or 3 for £30. In addition each print comes in a black photo-strut and a clear plastic bag to protect them. Consequently at the end of the evening we give 10% of our takings to the charity.
Area of cover
In general the areas of coverage for Fundraising Event Photography are Hampshire and surrounding counties.
Likewise, for more information contact Martin on 07824 331 730 to discuss your event photography needs
Lens Depth of Field
To begin with, depth of field (DOF), what it is and how to understand how to use it.
DOF can be viewed as the amount of a picture that is in focus. As a matter of fact, this could be a short/narrow DOF to a long and wide DOF. Generally speaking, three factors determine the DOF.
The focal length of the lens
In the first place, the focal length of the lens is the ability of a lens to magnify the image of a distant subject. As a result, it is the distance in mm from the optical centre of a lens to a point where a subject at infinity appears in sharp focus. This is usually the cameras digital sensor. In this case, think of this as the physical length of a lens in very simple terms.
In the first place, each lens has a maximum aperture and a minimum aperture. As an illustration, the range could be from f2.8 to f22. In other words, this means the amount of light that can enter through the lens. At the same time, the small f-number (f2.8) allows loads of light to enter the aperture which is wide open. On the contrary, the large f-number (f22) allows the smallest amount of light in. As a result, this means the aperture hole is small.
Different distances decide what the DOF is likely to be. If you are photographing something at distance you are going to get an image where most things are in focus. This may mean that anything close to the camera is out of focus. On the other hand, if you photograph something close then the subject close to the camera will be in focus. You will also notice that the background is blurred or out of focus.
What DOF can do for you?
A shallow depth of field is great if you want to make your subject stand out. That’s a portrait subject with a nice out of focus background. This means the subject stands out no distracting background.
For a landscape photograph, the camera’s lens can only focus on a single point. This means that areas before and after this point will appear out of focus. Although in reality, the area in focus will be a lot of the image. The out of focus will be near and far away from the lens.
The Depth of Field is notoriously difficult to work out when you first start to understand it. The good thing is that apps for mobile phones are available that take the guesswork out of it. For apple phones here is a link.
To find out more contact Martin
STUDIO LIGHTING (part 2)
In this case, this blog is about Studio Lighting Setup.
To begin with, in the last blog I wrote about the choice of studio lights available. As can be seen, in this blog, I am going into a bit more detail about setting the lights up.
Furthermore, as mentioned in the previous blog, for this type of backdrop four lights give you a good photo. In this case, my studio lighting setup for four lights is:-
- Main/key light.
- Fill light
- Hair light
- Backdrop light
Studio Lighting Setup
In this case, the lights placed to one side of the camera to highlight the subject. Therefore this lights one side of the subject. In general, the light level for this would be around f8-f11.
Generally speaking, you would place this light on the opposite side of the camera that the main light is on. In contrast, the role of this light is to put light into any shadow created by the main light. To clarify, it lifts the shadows and is not a strong light. In general, the light level for this would be f5.6-f8.
In addition, the hair lights placed at a high level over the top or at the side of the backdrop. In this case, this light lights the hair of the subject. The typical value for light level is f5.6
Coloured/Dark Backdrop Lighting
Accordingly, this lights placed low level behind the subject light the backdrop. In like manner, the light level is similar to the hair light.
In this case, the main light and fill stay in place. At the same time, the hair and backdrop lights become redundant. With this in mind, place these lights to the side to illuminate the white backdrop. In this case, the lighting levels for the two side light is around f11. Equally important the lights must light the backdrop evenly.
As an illustration, the diagrams above should help with you setting up your lighting for profile headshots. However, feel free to contact me if you require help.
Studio Lighting (part 1)
Accordingly, studio lighting takes many forms. As a matter of fact, there are flashlights, continuous lighting and strobe lighting.
As a result, you have to consider which benefits you best.
In this case, Flashguns used off camera.
Likewise, as the name suggests the lighting does not change although it can be dimmed or brightened.
Accordingly, this normally has a modelling light that allows you to judge the final lighting setup. In addition, it has a strobe light that supplies the actual lighting for the subject when fired.
When I started the business I choose Stobe Lighting. For this reason. that it was a portable unit. In this case, the units are mains electricity or battery powered. You can also use a variety of light modifiers over the strobe to soften the light.
Moreover, all forms of studio lighting require setting up for light level and colour balance. That is to say, to do this accurately you need a light meter and a using a grey card. If you don’t do this then you will get inferior results. Must be remembered, each light requires setting up individually to produce the effect the photographer is looking for.
You can use 1 or multiples of, in most cases, you would use more than 1. In this case, the ideal studio lights for portraits is four.
1. would be the main/key light.
2. would be your fill light
3. would be your hair light
4. would be your backdrop light
For this reason, these lighting setups are normally used for coloured backdrops.
Generally speaking, if you’re using a white background, you remove the hair and backdrop lights. These then get placed pointing at the white backdrop.
In addition, with the lights in position and set to the levels required, the cameras set to the settings. In this case, the cameras set to the main/key light setting.
Watch out for part two. Want to know more then drop me a line.
GDPR AND HOW IT APPLIES TO PHOTOGRAPHY.
Generally speaking, the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) marks a change. In the first place, clients now have to give formal consent to the use of their images. Up to the present time consent was maybe verbal or written into the T&C’s it now has to be formalised and recorded.
Given these points, this means that GDPR consent is transparent. Equally important it is all about the right to privacy of the individual. For this reason by recording an individuals permission, those that really appreciate their image will be happy to promote your business. There will be some who will not want to help you with the promotion. Dealing respectfully with your client’s wishes will enhance your business’s reputation. It’s what is best for your client. Failure to act could cause you bigger issues in the future, possibly a fine.
How can we best avoid this?
For the most part, this process is all about transparency. The most important part of this GDPR process is to get genuine consent. Above all to achieve this you must have a recordable form that the client signs. As a result, this gives consent to there images use. In addition it is helpful for them to have the option to say no. As a result that no, is only to you displaying their image(s) in your marketing. For this reason by using the consent form the client feels that it’s important they are being listened too.
It is important to realise that this is a tricky one. Is it reasonable to ask in excess of 20 people to sign consent forms? Do you have to change your approach? Is it reasonable to inform attendees that photography is taking place and for them to let the photographer/organisers know that they do not want their photo taken?
What do you do when you have a smallish group? Do you feel it is reasonable for them to be asked to sign individual consents?
Getting it right
Clients will cooperate and you get to use their image for your marketing, social media etc.
Let me know what you think, contact me here.