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"Yank em off the Street"

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  • #16
    Couple of new additions. First guy old time rancher. Love the hands. Wouldn't let me pose him different. This is the position he struck. Genuinely nice guy. The second guy is visiting contractor from Alabama. Very refined 'cept for the Alabama accent.

    Click image for larger version

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    • #17
      These are all amazing and I love the back story of some of them. What a great experience for you and them!

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      • #18
        BOB, Tell us about your lighting for these images...

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Keith Hardin View Post
          BOB, Tell us about your lighting for these images...

          No problem Keith. Went ahead and threw in some images of my main shooting area with the lights set up approximately as I used them for most of these images. The pedestal is where I would have the subject either sit or stand. Usually a five light set-up but it varies depending on the effect I want. There is a 4X6 soft box at camera left positioned with the back edge slightly in front of the subjects face. This is the main light. This allows the light striking the front inside of the softbox to "wrap around" the subject's face to the shadow side with a nice falloff. Hate to use that word because light does not "wrap around" but that is the effect I'm looking for. Immediately at camera right (and not shown) is a 3X4 softbox for fill. I use it sometimes and sometimes not. When used for these type of dramatic portraits they are on very low power and only to slightly bring up shadow detail.

          To camera right and slightly behind the subject approx. 2' is a narrow, 8x36" strip box with grid. Power level is very low on this glancing "kicker" to fill in some detail to the left side of the subject's face. There is of course, a background light with a 20 degree grid positioned directly behind the subject to produce the light circle behind him. Size of the circle is controlled by moving the light closer or farther away from the background for effect.

          Probably the most interesting effect producing light is the 12X48" hair light and the way it is positioned was very hard for me to accept. I learned this trick from a couple classes I took with Hanson Fong (not Gary Fong). The light is positioned above the background and is parallel to the ceiling and aimed basically back at the camera. I was aghast when I first saw this. What about the flair into the camera lens????? Fact is it doesn't happen at least not with a longer portrait lens. What does happen is light reflects from the top lining of the softbox down onto your subject's head and shoulders. You get soft, smooth light bathing down and wide. It doesn't matter if your subject, subjects are sitting on the floor, on a chair or standing and for several feet in front of the subject, you get a great hair/separation light that is easily manageable. Now, if you're looking at the first "pull-back", shot with a wider lens, you can see obvious flaring. If you can see the light in the lens, its going to flare. However, with a 70-200mm with a lens hood, there is virtually no effect.

          After I first adopted the idea, I thunk on it a bit and modified it to be better and stronger. I placed a 10X48" piece of mylar covered foam core on the top front edge of the softbox extending out in front of the box. The effect is quite dramatic. The light is now bouncing off the bottom face of the box reflecting off the mylar above and the effect is multiplied. If you'll look at the portrait of the old cowboy, you can see the rimming effect on outline of his black hat and shoulders. It doesn't matter how dark the background is and how dark the clothing or hair is, I can still achieve separation of the two.

          There two images posted that show the relative positions of the hairlight and mylar reflector.

          Some of the images, in fact, most of these are created using the 8X36" strip boxes feathered for dramatic effects as a main and fill. Love strip boxes if you want to have control. Just depends on the goal.

          Hope that is at least as clear as mud.
          Attached Files

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          • #20
            Bob, I have most of my problems getting a good look on my background from the background light. I'm using a White Lightning 600 with a 20 degree grid. What fstop are you using on that light in comparison to your combined main and fill? [EX: Combined main & fill = f8, background is set at what?] And also, how far is the light from the background?

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            • #21
              Bob,

              The answer is, it depends. I generally set the background, on average, to about 1 stop under the main but, that is subject to change based on the overall key of the image and which background I am using. Using the scenario you are describing, my starting point would be F5.6 but again, it gets adjusted to taste depending on the background and overall key of the image. I have a complete set of grids (I too am a White Lightning guy) and I will change grids and distance from the background dependent on number of people in the photograph and what I need to do to accomplish an appropriate "vignette". On some of my business head shots, the background light may be only 6 inches from the background which creates a soft spill from the light radiating out from the hot center. On some of these, the background would be about 1 1/2 to 2 feet from the background and 2-3 feet behind the subject. The last image of the studio shows a pretty common set-up for me.

              No hard and fast rule, just a starting point and adjust to taste after I see what the first frame looks like. I can generally see whats going on from the modeling lamps. It seldom takes more than one adjustment after the first frame to zero in the effect I need.

              Hope that helps.

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              • #22
                I am currently doing a project much like this, but focusing on people from my hometown that have made a difference in the town. Love your work!
                Aiming higher

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                • #23
                  Amazing...simply AMAZING!!!!!!
                  Redheaded Johnson

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                  • #24
                    Love these - what a great idea!!!!

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                    • #25
                      These images remind me of the time I asked an elderly man that lived in a small town if I could photograph him. Finally after two years I was able to photograph him because several people in the small town always harrassed him about getting this done. The final image was black and white and gaave him several small prints that he gave his his family. Shortly thereafter he died. After that, all the town's people missed him dearly....

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                      • #26
                        Len,
                        There are several people who, by virtue of their history and prominence in the community, I have wanted to photograph. I have missed a couple due to procrastination. As I'm getting older and more appreciative, can't explain why but,I now see it almost as a duty or an obligation to record an image of them. I know I always get annoyed when I see an obit with a picture that is barely a snapshot, sometimes an obvious cutout from a group photo but, obviously the only picture the family had of their loved one. Its hard to believe that some people never have real portraiture created. I'm trying to do better. Maybe its just cause I'm getting old.

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                        • #27
                          Haven't done this in a while. Let's see if I still remember how. Couple of new additions to my collection. The old Hispanic fellow is know as "Alley Oop" around town. Don't know why. He has a custom 1964 Chevy Impala low rider he cruises around in for the last 30+ years. The second guy is a retired Baptist preacher who brought his "first wife" in to be photographed for her birthday. I convinced him to come back especially for this image. Very conservative folks living on a retired preacher's pension. I believe they bought 4 8X10s and had to go home a pray about whether to purchase the 4th print or not. Needless to say, the prints of this were free. About a year later, I finally got around to displaying a 16X20 print in the window of the studio. About 3 weeks later, I saw his picture in the obits. Made me sad. Never doubt the importance of what we do, even if our clients don't get it at the time. Planning on gifting the framed window print to his widow.

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                          • #28
                            You still got it buddy!!! Amazing images!!! I just love the concept.

                            kirk
                            Redheaded Johnson

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Bob Morgan View Post
                              Haven't done this in a while. Let's see if I still remember how. Couple of new additions to my collection. The old Hispanic fellow is know as "Alley Oop" around town. Don't know why. He has a custom 1964 Chevy Impala low rider he cruises around in for the last 30+ years. The second guy is a retired Baptist preacher who brought his "first wife" in to be photographed for her birthday. I convinced him to come back especially for this image. Very conservative folks living on a retired preacher's pension. I believe they bought 4 8X10s and had to go home a pray about whether to purchase the 4th print or not. Needless to say, the prints of this were free. About a year later, I finally got around to displaying a 16X20 print in the window of the studio. About 3 weeks later, I saw his picture in the obits. Made me sad. Never doubt the importance of what we do, even if our clients don't get it at the time. Planning on gifting the framed window print to his widow.


                              Just an update. Both of the fellows in the last two portraits have passed away. The preacher about 4 months ago. "Alley Oop" just last week. Glad I got a chance to create these images.

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