Yesterday’s Portraits

Yesterday, I shot a portrait session in my Brantford studio with a recent graduate from McMaster University (Congratulations). Here’s a little description of how I do such a shoot.

We did various shots (LinkedIn, Informal, Low Key, and the “Graduate Photo”. The latter because the one the university itself took wasn’t great. Here is a proof of mine:

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A few notes about this picture:

  • The border is McMaster University’s official colour. The university describes exact CYMK and RGB colours on its web site).
  • The blue-green colour, made using two speedlights with Honl Photo gobos and blue-green gels aimed at a black background, was my suggestion; namely, a colour that contrasts nicely (on a colour wheel) with the university’s colour. It took a little use of the “HSL” tool in Lightroom to get the exact hue, saturation and luminance. This is important.
  • I made some adjustments to the background in Lightroom. Adjustments such as a slight sharpness and clarity reduction using the brush with auto-mask set to ON, and using the post-crop vignetting effect.
  • I made the frame in Lightroom also, with the extra help of an add-in called “LR/Mogrify”.
  • When a graduate does not have a robe, I rent the robe and scroll. And the “mortar board with tassel” hat, but of course this graduate has a turban instead.
  • The main and key lights were strobes with softboxes; the edge light was a strobe with a snoot.

As you see, shooting something as simple as a graduation picture does take a little more than just smiling, positioning the subject right, and clicking. All that is essential, but the rest is, too. It all has to come together in a successful shoot.

And these milestones are of course very important. Not just for parents and grandparents, but also for the person him- or herself. You need to have a visual record celebrating your life events, and one that is better than a bunch of cell-phone shots. Don’t get me wrong, those are great also, but an event as important as this deserves more.

If you want me to do yours, contact me. 416-875-8770, or better, michael@willems.ca

 

A Lightroom gotcha

As you’ve heard me say many times: turn on the xml file option in Adobe Lightroom “catalog settings”.

Look it up: “save settings to xmp”. That allows Lightroom to save all edits you do into a separate XML file. That gives you some redundancy, in case your catalog file somehow gets corrupted. And that is important, because the catalog IS Lightroom. And if you are a serious photographer, that means that the catalog is your life.

So I just noticed something that I never noticed before: this does not work for jpg pictures. It only works for raw pictures. So if your catalog gets corrupted and you shoot jog: you’re out of luck. Unless yin make daily backups. Which I hope you do.

But the main take-away from this? Shoot raw. Now you have yet anoth reason to do so.

 

 

Night time.

It’s early night, here in Brantford, Ontario.

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The full moon pretty much guarantees that the local police will have a busy night. And I am taking a snapshot on my way from the convenience store to my home. The moon needs “Sunny Sixteen” (search for it here). Meaning it is as bright as earth at noon on a sunny day.

So getting them together is impossible. And when you want to get a photo like the one above, your best bet is to slightly over-expose the moon, so that you can get at least some light into the dark part of the picture.

Why don’t you go outside right now to take a few snaps?

Lowlife miscreants.

…have hacked this blog. Apologies to all. There’s always going to be criminals, I guess.

I may now need to simply take the blog down: many files appear corrupted and fixing that needs an expert WordPress programmer. This would be a shame: after 8 years of posts, taking down the blog would be horrible. If you see no blog here, apologies.

Also, getting the content back on a new blog may be impossible. Stay tuned and we will see.

If www.speedlighter is unreachable, please check out www.michaelwillems.ca for more news.

Michael