Tag Archive for: christmas

What you can do with some simple lights

I think one of the problems that a lot of photographers encounter is being creative and most of all being creative with light. So the coming days some tips about what you can do with fairly simple lights.


Let’s for today look at the light snake (I hope that’s the correct term).
We all know these lights, especially around christmas they are used a lot, so actually now is a great way to get them cheap. Do make sure you get the ones that are pretty bright because if you are gonna mix them with strobes you want to have the most brightness possible.


In this shot with Poeka we used the snake to light the model which is actually lying on the floor on a plastic mirror. The main advantage of the plastic mirrors is that they not only unbreakable but they als don’t have that nasty double reflection a lot of thicker mirrors can have.


Poeka Januari 9 2016 31098


Doing a shot like this is not easy, but it’s also not that hard.
You have to make sure you use the lowest possible output from your strobes, this is where the Elinchrom ELCs really come in handy because they can go really low. The reason for this is that the output from the light snake is not incredibly bright so you will need a slower shutter speed anyway, but also the widest possible aperture to make sure the lights from the snake do appear.


One simple rule to remember is :
Aperture controls the flash appearance in the shot
Shutter speed controls the ambient light in the shot
Normally we would of course make sure that the aperture is metered and is fixed, otherwise the model would be under or overexposed, the light snake however (or any other ambient light source) we can let appear brighter, or dimmer in the shot by adjust the shutter speed, which has no effect on the strobe because the strobe is a pulse and not a constant light source.


So in a shot like this it would make sense to try to get the aperture to f2.8 and use the shutter speed to “taste”.
And this is the big advantage of digital photography, we have a huge “free” digital polaroid on the back of the camera, or in my case on a big screen tv in the studio, so we can really fine tune this, imaging how the “old” photographers had to do this using polaroids and meters to get the perfect results, and they did 😀
As soon as we had the result we liked we added an extra strobe in the back with a red gel, but this looked very basic, so a little bit of smoke was added for atmosphere. Now remember that smoke acts like a diffuser and reflector at the same time, so be very careful to where you point your lights, especially when you use light pointing towards the smoke, make the beam as narrow as possible, that’s why I actually used a small snoot with grid to light the models face.


If you balance everything nicely you don’t need any photoshop after the shot, if you later decide you DO want the light snake a bit more bright there is however a very easy solution, just use the dodge tool in Photoshop and slightly move it over the light snake and you will see that the lights actually become brighter, don’t over do this however. (Dodge tool settings are of course on HighLights).


Next week we are going to up the ante a little bit and include some more smoke and styling…..


So next time you think about what to do…. shop for some christmas lights and shoot your idea and show it to me via our facebook group called masteringthemodelshoot. If you like these kind of tips check out my book “Mastering the model shoot” or our instructional videos.

Wibi Soerjadi live at the “Concert gebouw”

I’ve been shooting most of the material for Wibi for quite some years now, but one of the highlights is always the Christmas concerts in Amsterdam.
The “Concert gebouw” is not only an awesome ambience but it also has some amazing challenges due to the lighting which is very very dim, so it’s always a good time to test your camera to the limits.


I shot these images with the Sony A99 and all images went through DxO Optics 10 for Prime noise killing, and I have to say…. wow this combination rocks.
Normally I don’t shoot at the top ISO of the A99 so I only tested DxO Optics 10 in settings up to 6400, but it can handle the higher ISOs very well I can now confirm.


Now one of the things when taking photos is location and angle, and with most live concerts it’s not allowed to shoot the whole concert or even change your location. One of the privileges I have during Wibi’s concerts is that I can walk around and pretty much shoot from every location or angle I want, although I don’t want to disturb the audience and Wibi of course. This means that (as you can see) I also sometimes end up right on the stage next to Wibi, which is a very cool experience so close to the performing artist, but also terrifying because I’m in the spotlights with him, now you know why I always wear black 😀


Today some of the images I shot during the concert.
If you’re ever in the opportunity to visit one of his concerts make sure you do.
More information on Wibi see http://www.soerjadi.com

Wibi Soerjadi Concert Gebouw  390 - December 26 2014_DxO_DxOFP

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Presents to get or give

Every year we do a small blog post about what to get or give for the holidays.
Because we are based in the Netherlands we have two holidays to give presents, first Sinterklaas and later Christmas, so I’m always a bit earlier that the other sites with this blog post, although I saw that Scott Kelby also had his list ready, well many products are double (must be good products I guess :-)).


So here is my must have list for this December.

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