Wednesday, 28 April 2010

L3 Products Finished Images..... Almost

Here are some of my finished images, I haven't quite finished my final selection or editing yet and these could be replaced.....


1. A New Generation

even though this wasn't taken in a studio or even taken as an intended for one of my selected images, though after messing about with it that maybe this could be included.

I like this image mainly because 
a) it has a Coca-Cola bottle in it, and obviously links in with my other Coca-Cola product shot.
b) it has a similar theme to some of the adverts I'd seen on other Coca-Cola adverts, I think it has a summery, fresh  feeling. It was taken against the sun with a fill in flash.
c) It has my daughter in it.
The text is used was to give the idea that the product was to be used by a new generation of consumers, namely a new generation of young people whilst still keeping in with the older generation as it has still the same old taste. 

2. It's the taste!

I obviously had to call it that, it's synonymous with this brand, and the word 'drink' was also a Coca-Cola strap line in the 50's. This was the type of image I was striving for, although originally it was a can of Coca-Cola. I positioned the glass and the bottle so that the opposite curves mirrored each other, and they are positioned on a thirds line within the image, along with the text they are also loosely working with Fibonacci's Spiral.

The lighting used in this image was positioned at the side almost 90 degrees to the glass and bottle, this emphasised the shape and texture of the products by creating highlights and shadows, along with the ice cool droplets creating a depth to the image. I was also intending to create some energy within the image by putting splashes and droplets of Coke on top of the glass, I still may try to achieve this as at the the moment the image lacks something and is very static. I decided to just have a crop on the glass showing the logo?  which I think better emphasises the product.

3. Emirates

As it says on the tin, this is a product shot of some of the Emirates airline handouts (Thanks Pip) a straight simple shot with a reflection to add depth to the image, simple flash through umbrella lighting to the left  of the image, a flash with a softbox underneath, perspex on top of the softbox and a reflector on the right to fill shadows.

4. Dolce & Gabbana

This was another simple lighting setup similar as the Emirates image but instead of a softbox back lighting the product this image needed to create an alluring dark style and by putting a black background under the perspex I think this has been achieved.

5. The Watch

This image is a crop from a head and shoulder shot taken during the practice session before the main studio shoot, it was taken with this end image in mind, this is one of Kelly's own design of watches and may hopefully make it onto her website selling her products.

Again very straightforward lighting one softbox up high at the front and a Tr-flector reflecting the light from underneath, after a bit of work in photoshop to emphasise the watch as the main product it was finished, I feel this image has a high quality classy feel to it

6. Tiara by Kelly

Another product from Kelly this time a tiara, same process as the two above, similar feel and look, I think this would look at home in a wedding accessories brochure.

7. Citizen on black

This was the first subject I had after I had decided to have products as one of my themes, I have a passion for watches anyway so the natural thing for me to do was to take a picture of one. It was taken in my softbox with a card background, natural light with an ajustable halogen table lamp putting a bit of fill in on the lower text of the case. again the shadows and highlights create depth to the image. I think this would fit nicely into one of Citizens catalogues.

8. Citizen

This is a crop from a fashion shoot image. The watch is taken from the above image and pasted in along with some text. as the original image didn't have enough space for the text and watch the extra was cloned in.

9. All on the thirds

 These last two I have chosen to show example of different techniques in lighting other than studio lighting

This one was taken in my little light box and the light use was a halogen desk lamp, I used a shallow depth of field to emphasise the front sweet, each sweet is placed on a line of thirds.

10. The Vase

This image was taken using a speedlite flash ti fill and tungsten room lighting, the vase was set up on a black card and both images were adjusted for white balance and crop in photoshop

Monday, 26 April 2010

L3 Shadows

Another mess about of ideas this one suggested by Bec, does it work? It's a rough piece just for feedback.

Stapenhill Gardens on a Sunny Saturday

Here's a few pics from sunny Stapenhill, Flowers of course but no idea what they are called?

Of course I know this little flower 

And this one...

Here's one for you Joe, just a mess about, shot from the footbridge with this image in mind.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

L3 Workflow of captured images from start to finish

This is a detailed log of image capture techniques, workflow processes, outlining equipment operation and any health and safety considerations  throughout the course.

The equipment I have been using is partly my own and partly the colleges, listed and some descriptions as follows:

My stuff:
Canon 5D MKII - 21mp full frame sensor, I use this camera because as it is full fame and a high resolution of 21 megapixels I am getting the highest quality image capture, married with the L series lens this further optimised the quality.
Canon 450D - 15mp 1.6 crop sensor, my back up camera incase anything goes wrong with the main camera, as it is cropped it can also be used with a 300mm telephoto, further increasing the range to aprox 480mm.
Canon 24-105mm f/4.0 IS USM L series lens, this is my main lens, I use this as it it a medium telephoto to wide angle lens which covers most of the image capture requirements I need, 24mm for location/ landscape through to 105mm which emphasises and slims a portrait.
Canon 50mm f/1.4 prime lens.
Sigma 50mm f/2.8 DG EX macro prime lens.
2 speedlites 1 580 EXII and a 430 EXII.
Sekonic Flashmate L-308S lightmeter.
Small product cube with various flock backgrounds for product shoots. I use this box to diffuse the light from any source thus minimising any reflections etc of small products placed within it.

Interfit 150w flash heads with stands, 1 flashthrough umbrella, 1 small square softbox, a snoot and barndoors both with coloured gels (perfect fro head and shoulder shots) I originally brought it as a starting point to studio flash with the main requirement being head shots and product lighting, and it is perfectly fit for this purpose, although slightly down on outtput for full length shots it does just about manage. there are a few safety issues with these units because they are floor mounted with trailing cables there is an increase risk of tripping over hurting yourself and damaging the equipment, I alway coil the cables around the stands and around the outside of the area to minimise the traffic across them. I have also purchased some radio flash triggers so that I wont have a trailing cable from my camera which was the main concern.

Lastolite Tri-Flector with gold one side and silver, Gold to warm up and silve gives a more contrasty look.
A 2.5m high by 3-5 wide background support with 2 muslin background cloths (black & white) and a white paper one which is aprox 1.7m wide.

College stuff:

Bowens ceiling mounted flash units ranging from 500w up to 1500w with a multitude of fitments ranging from snoot up to wafer softboxes, as the are ceiling mounted there is not many trip hazards, the only things you have to worry about is walking into them and hot bulbs when changing fittings.

various reflectors such as the Lastolite Tri-Flector right up to 6' x 4' aluminium reflective silver insulation panels, painted black on one side to act as a large flag etc.

The college tripod if you can call it that is a floor mounted single pole and a weighted base which has the option of being wheeled about and a cross bar fitted with a ball head to mount the camera, very robust and stable,  as these items are floor mounted I still have be wary of tripping over them.

The college also has a large light table to back light products etc, it is a metal frame fitted with a translucent polypropylene sheet which curves up at the back to give a seamless finish. It is fitted with lockable wheels enabling it to be moved around then locked into position, there is space all around it including underneath to enable a variety of lights etc  to be used.

Risk Assessment:
to enable me to further reduce the hazards and risks within the studio I have produced a risk assessment, as I have alway said the biggest control you can have to control any risks is knowing about them.

Risk assessment for
Company Name
Company Address
James Woodings
Assignment undertaken
Burton College Studio
James Woodings
Area/ process risk assessed
Photographic studio Burton College
Step 1
List significant risks here
Step 2
List groups of people who are at risk from the significant hazards you have identified
Step 3
List existing control or note where the information may be found.
List risks which are not adequately controlled and the action needed
Risk Rating
Slips trips and falls over equipment (tripods & trailing cables) and materials (props and backgrounds) stored and in use
All persons with access to area are inducted with safe methods.

Trailing cables are kept to a minimum as 90% of the flash equipment is ceiling suspended.

When using trailing cable care will be taken to route away from walkways and restrict movement in these areas.

Props and materials not being used are stored away from walkways in a suitable position.

Manual handling injuries
Loads moved only by trained lecturer, Model not moving loads or assuming awkward poses or positions.

Fall of object from height or impact from something  fixed or stationary such as suspended flash units

All ceiling mounted equipment has been installed by competent person, Flash units have wire lanyards to secure units and prevent them from falling.

Unless being used all suspended equipment is raised away from risk of impact.

Only authorised persons working in the area and will be made aware of potential hazards.

Flash unit triggering Photosensitive epilepsy
All persons being exposed to flash units will be asked if they have any medical information relating to photography hazards

Burns from exposed flash units
All flash units are covered by soft boxes etc.

Only authorised person to access lamp units and will be turned off and allowed to cool before access.

Electrical shock from electrical equipment

All portable electrical equipment is tested for electrical safety by competent person on a regular basis.

Visual checks are conducted by operator prior to use.

Equipment only to be used by authorised trained persons

Misuse, incorrect use or damage to equipment
Only authorised trained persons to use equipment.

Emergency  evacuations and fire

The college is a no smoking area and no naked lights are allowed.

Flash units do not get hot enough to ignite any materials

All persons will be instructed in safe methods  and evacuation instructions

All flammable materials to conform to current legislation or is either disposed off or treated with a flame retardant product on suitable recipients


Pre image capture:
All of my image in camera capture I use the finest RAW settings that the camera will allow, as my themes are in a studio setting I also use the lowest ISO setting of 100 thus ensuring the highest quality possible. the camera will alway be used on the manual setting as this will fix the settings and produce consistent results every shot, once you have set  it up for the image requirements.

Dependant on the style or image requirements I would normally set out to achieve an aperture between f/8.0 and f/11.0 as this is the sweet spot for the 24-105mm L series lens, again trying to achieve the best quality. (the so called sweet spot is a setting on the lens where it achieves it's most optimum quality, every lens has a sweet spot). sometimes I would try to achieve a minimal depth of field such as for a product shot where I wanted to draw the viewers attention to the logo, or similar, in this instance I would try the get the largest aperture as possible on the lens I am using this would be f/4.0, reducing the depth of field and removing a potentially distracting background.

As I have produced a plan or method statement of what style of image I am trying to achieve I will have a starting point of where I will want the light to be coming from and what quality of light, this will give me an idea of where to position the flash units and what fitting they will have on them. for my fashion shoot I was looking for a hard light shadow of the model on the background. To achieve this I positioned a single 1000w Bowens up high and aprox 45 degrees to the model, fitted with barn doors to direct the light minimising any lens flare but allowing maximum light onto the background. I then position the model as close as possible to the background which helped to define the shadow, If the model had been further away from the background the shadow would have soft undefined edges. unfortunately the main background at the college has  curved  seamless sides and bottom so this stopped the model actually getting right next to the wall, in hindsight I would have put up another wall with no curves. I did produce some images on a test run as I was using a paper background.

Most of the product shoots I have done at my house in a controlled studio situation either on a table top setup with a softbox, flash trough umbrella and a reflector, or in my cube. To get a reflection underneath    the product I used a sheet of perspex on top of my soft box or a piece or background paper. The college product shots of the coke bottle and glass I used the college's light table.

Post image capture:
Once the images have been captured I then imported onto my iMac. the RAW files are then backed up to an external 1TB hard drive using the Time machine software then finally a further back up on to a dvd disc. When I am sure of the security on the original images I can start selecting the best and eliminating the ones to trash. The software I use for this process is Adobe's Bridge (which is part of the Photoshop program). I look at each image, immediately trashing any obvious unusable images such as misfires of the flash, closed eyes on the model etc, then as I go through each image putting a star rating against any images that I am considering for further work, I also identifly the serious contenders with a green label, further eliminating other by lableing as a reject (see below the ones identified one star ratings)

I further filter my selection of images down to 2-3 similar images by giving the image a lable again in Adobe Bridge

Once I've rated and selected my images that I will be editing I will open the images as a group in the Photoshop RAW program, again selecting all the images and batch editing, starting with the white balance, vibrance or whatever other basic batch adjustment I need for the images.

After the batch editing has been done I import all the slected images into Adobe Photoshop, some imaged may only require a simple crop and some cloneing whilst other require a more time consuming edits. Photoshop and Bridge are perfect for editing photographs as the process they use are non-destructive, the first step that I conduct is to copy the background layer so that I have a unedited layer to fall back on, each time I start a new process or use a new toll I will create a new layer to work on, again so that I only have to go back one layer if I don't like the results or I make a mistake, some time I use the history tab to selectively go back to a point where I have been working.

To Be Continued ........... the end is not nigh!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

No time to mess...

I've no time to mess about.... but still I can't resist! here's a couple of images that I've been working on.

The first is a montage, a series of pics quickly taken randomly of my living room and pasted them onto a blank canvas. I lined them up first by reducing the opacity of each layer then matching up to each other as best that I could,I eraised sections ofthe center overlaps for a beter image. I think the main problem was that I should have kept the plane of the camera level on a horizontal axis that way I wouldn't have diferent converging verticals, or better still got up out of my comfy armchair!

The next is a more selective range of pics specially taken with this image in mind, it's from the Wales in April trip.  I put a graduated layer on all the pics in photoshop RAW then imported all the layersk on to a white canvas and then lined up in the same way as the previous image, I erased  around layla on all but the first layer, brought them back to 100% opacity and cropped to suit.

I think I will have to remove the big rock as it may be a little distracting

Sunday, 18 April 2010

L3 - Studio Fashion shoot

Ok day had arrived, the plans had been made and put into writing and a image crib sheet, The model (Kelly) had arrived and was getting ready, The set up was very basic, but I think effective, a single hard light constrained by barn doors, as below. the power was set to 3 and the modelling lamp turned way down to open up the models iris giving a better look. I wanted to get a strong shadow coming from Kelly and to better define it I positioned her as close to the rear background as possible, the background wall had a curve at the bottom of it and stopped us from getting right up to it and also produced a curved shadow. In hind sight I should have set up a solid background wall without a curve.

Equipment used:
Canon 5D MKII
Canon 24-105mm EF f/4.0 L series lens
Bowens 1000w flash with modeling light
Barn doors attachment
Standard studio seamless solid background.

Safety requirements for this is minimal all lighting is suspended and the tripod is a heavy duty type
There were going to be three basic ideas all based around fashion and fashion products such as clothes or accessories.
We started of with a jeans and denim skirt fashion shots seated on a wooden box and standing.

The usual editing of Patch, Clone, Blur and levels

ISO - 100
Shutter Speed - 160 Sec
Aperture - f/10.0
Focal length - 75.0 mm


I thought this one looked good with more of a crop?

The next were to be more formal dresses and could also be used in a hosiery advertisement.

I got this idea from the Armani advertising shoot with Megan Fox (See right) which is very similar  but without as much shadow on the background.

To better emphasise her legs as well as the usual edit I also lengthened Kelly's legs.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

My Crap Photography

I entered a local photog competition, my scores were 17-18 out of 20. I know that I lack behind the qualities of photog friends Pip Steve and Eric,who are in a different league regularly scoring 20's. I'm also not as physically attractive,but I'm hoping to save up for some plastic surgery

Iv'e got all the gear but no idea!!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

L3 - Kelly home practice fashion shoot

Waning to get a bit of practice for Saturday's main event I booked a day off and went to Kelly's home.

As discussed previously the set up was simple a high hard light with a softbox  fill in at the front, white paper background. The style I was looking for was fashion with a shadow on the background. I also wanted to get some product into the shots such as watches, jewellery as well as fashion clothes.

This one was a continuation of the jeans style with watches on Kelly's arm, I was thinking of something similar to the R.M.Williams catalogue that Pip had given me, I will be adding a large scale image of one of the watches along with some text of some sort.

ISO: 100
Aperture: F/18
Shutter speed: 1/200 sec
Focal length: 67.0mm

as with all the shots I was happy to have a small aperture and having a deeper depth of field because I wanter the shadow on the background to be part of the image

This one is a straight clothes fashion style shot similar to the type of shot you would get in a clothing catalogue, it is very similar to the online clothing advert for Holly Wiloughby's clothing range (see below right)

ISO: 100 
Aperture: F/13 
Shutter speed: 1/200 sec 
Focal length: 70.0mm

The next idea was a sort of jewellery advertising shot with Kelly just out of shot and her arm with a watch in shot, everything out of focus except the watch.

ISO: 100
Aperture: F/14 
Shutter speed: 1/200 sec 
Focal length: 105.0mm

This is the original shot

Very minimal processing on all the shots a slight tweak for white balance, some patch and clone to remove blemishes, a smidge of blur to smooth the skin, and to finish perhaps a crop, but not on all of them.

As you probably know by now the following shot is my favourite, I could take this style of shot all day.

This was the setup I used one high level softbox with a tri-flector fill in underneath creating the classic clam shell lighting

ISO: 100
Aperture: F/14 
Shutter speed: 1/200 sec 
Focal length: 105.0mm

Close crop long focal length to slim the perspective, I think Kelly has the look similar to Mylene Klass  on this one?

Again basic post editing patch, clone, blur and crop.

ISO: 100
Aperture: F/14 
Shutter speed: 1/200 sec 
Focal length: 105.0mm

Exactly the setup as above but this time as a product shot of a Tiara, again minimal post editing as above