First workshop Small Flash

As you might have figured out by now I love to work with light, but I’m also a photographer that strongly believes that a setup should be measured and stable, meaning that you can deliver a system that works over and over again regardless of your own position, composition etc. I mainly work with studio/location strobes separate from the camera which I always call “big strobes” even thought the Elinchrom Quadras are in fact rather small still they have to be operated separate from the camera and measured with the light meter. Setting the “big strobes” up takes some time (although when you know what you’re doing it can be very fast) and in some situations there are simply put limitations to what you can do on location. Also take into account that when you travel, travel with the “big strobes” can be very limiting, not to say expensive.

But luckily there is an alternative the so called “system strobes” or what I call them (and many others) “small flash).
When I was demoing on Photokina last year I met up with Joe McNally (one of my absolute heroes) and somehow he triggered me to start looking into the “small flash” area again for the workshops, and to be honest he was 100% right. I teach the workshops a lot but mostly aimed at the “big flash” and there are of course a lot of people out there who are shooting with the “small flash” system, and since the theory behind light is exactly the same it should be a small change to include a workshop about the “small flash” into the program, this bugged me for some time and in my head I was thinking about the options and what I wanted to teach, because to put it mildly, to just put some strobes there and let people work with E-TTL would not cut if for me as an instructor, I really want my students to leave the workshop with some knowledges and tricks they did not think off before. Also because there are so many books out there and sites aimed at “strobist” style shooting I wanted something that would trigger people to think about the “small flash” differently than they are now.

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Why getting the shot is not everything

We all read a lot of stuff about lighting and coaching the models, and although this still is the main thing of course there is also a part that is often forgotten or is even regarded as being old fashioned or limiting creativity.

Don’t even start about how many times I hear that using a lightmeter is old fashioned, it’s really weird because almost everyone who I teach how to use a lightmeter never wants to shoot without any more.
Some myths about the lightmeter is that it’s never 100% accurate and that with the histogram you can easily see what you’re doing, well sorry to burst that bubble, the histogram is not correct.

First of all the histogram doesn’t show you the RAW data, it shows you the JPEG thumbnail, for example change the settings in your camera from neutral to for example full contrast and full brightness and you can see that the histogram changes while the RAW file is still correct, so the histogram is not accurate when you want to check your RAW. You can get it very close by setting the contrast to -2 which will mimic the RAW a bit better than the neutral setting, although I have to add that this can change in the future and per camera, which in fact strengthens my point that you can’t trust the histogram…. But there is more.

Lets look at your own skintone and now look at the skintone of your friend, partner or anyone, are they all the same ? No they are not…. So where should your skintone be in the histogram, and were that of your friend or partner ? I guess you already figured out that also here the histogram is useless.

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New shots Stephanie

Today a simple blog post with some new images.
I’m writing a technical blogpost at the moment that will be released somewhere tomorrow or the weekend about calibration workflow so keep looking for that one 😀

Yesterday Stephanie was our model for a 1:1 workshop, in this blog posts some of my favorite images from that workshop. During the 1:1 workshops the student can of course make their own workshop, so they are always fun to teach because in fact there is no real standard workshop, whatever the student wants to know we work to in the workshop.

In this case the questions were ranging from high contrast fashion setups to movement, and for jumps Stephanie must be one of my favorite models, her personality is already jumping all over the place and give her the chance to jump for a photo and you have to do your best to keep her on the ground 😀

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Nadine in different settings

I’ve been incredibly busy the last few months so there was little to no time for free work, meaning as mentioned many times on the blog that most of the images I showed were shot during the workshops and although we can of course use themes, different clothing etc. during the workshops, which I always do to keep the workshops fresh and challenging, it’s not the same as a free work session. During the workshops I will always make a few images to show the results and after that the students are up for the shoot. When I work for myself I take a bit more time to check if I really nailed the shot I wanted.

Yesterday it was time for such a shoot and with Nadine as my model it was assured we would also have some very nice styling, one day when she stops modelling I’m 100% sure she will return many times to the studio as stylist.

The team for today was :
Model : Nadine Stephan
Assistants : Dilani Butink and Wendy Appelman
Photographer : Frank Doorhof

We also shot some video during the day which will be edited later this week and hopefully uploaded starting next week.

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