people photography

Two-Part On-Line Class: Transform Your Home Into a Pro Studio

Transform Your Home into a Professional Studio Part 2 is live! It's my latest (and 13th) KelbyOne class.

Before you watch Part 2, see Part 1 - Transform Your Home into a Professional Studio. Start with the basics, then move on to some more advanced techniques.

You'll also find some portrait/people photography tips in my latest book, Creative Visualization for Photographers.

Explore the light,

Photo Failed It to Photo Nailed It! #4: Controlling Natural Light with a Reflector

Click images to enlarge.

From time to time here on my blog I run a post: Photo Failed It Photo To Nailed It! The concept is twofold:
1) I'll share a pair of pictures, along with tips, that illustrate how you can nail a shot;
2) You'll see that pros don't always get it right the first time. :-)

This post: Controlling Natural Light with a Reflector

I took these photographs last year in a Maasai village in Kenya. The photo on the left is a failure for a few reasons:
• subject looks bored;
• lens flare (caused by sunlight hitting the front element of the lens) makes the image look flat;
• not the greatest composition.

To nail the shot, I asked our guide, Simon, to hold a reflector so that it bounced the light onto the subject's upper body. The bounced/reflected light added contrast and intensified color.

I shaded my lens with my hat to prevent direct sunlight from falling on the front element of my lens. Yes, I was using a lens hood, but the sun was very low in the sky – and more shade was needed.

I talked with the subject, Alex, and together we created a more interesting and more natural pose.

Finally, I moved in closer to give the portrait a greater sense of intimacy.

Moral of the story: When photographing people, consider the pose and see/control the light. And: don't leave home without a reflector/diffuser kit.

My gear:
Westcott Rick Sammon Light Controller and Tote
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 24-105mm IS lens.

Use the Search feature in the right-hand column to see other (3 to date) Photo Failed It Photo To Nailed It! posts.

Explore the light,

On Safari with the Canon 5D Mark III. Day 3: Serious About Portraiture? Get Series About Controlling The Light

We've been back a week (almost to the hour) from our awesome adventure to Kenya's magical Masai Mara with our good friends Jonathan and Angela Scott - known and respected around the world as "The Big Cat People."

One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to Willima Pere's Village, where I took this portrait of Alex, who, to me, looked like the coolest dude in the village.

Portraiture is all about light and shadows - because light illuminates and shadow define, topics I talk about in my KelbyOne class on lighting.

The light in the portrait on the right is flat, so I think the portrait falls flat.

The portrait on the left has, to me, not only more light, but more life.

susan sammon 1.jpg

I added the light (brightness, color and contrast) by having our guide/driver/new friend, Simon Sitienie, hold the Sunlight side (as opposed to the Gold side) of the reflector in my Rick Sammon's On-location Lighting Kit and Tote so that the sunlight bounced beautifully onto Alex's face. The kit also contains a diffuser and speedlight diffuser.

Readers of my blog know that my favorite lens for on-location portraiture is the Canon 24-105mm IS lens.

I like the flexibility that this lens offers when it comes to composing a portrait, as well as its sharpness.

Stay tuned for more images from our visit to this village, and scroll down for more posts in this series.

Here's a fun shot of Simon checking out Jonathan's Canon 200-400mm IS lens. I used my 200-400 for most of my wildlife photographs on the trip.

Explore the light,

P.S. A special "thank you" goes to Governors' Camp for making our stay on the Mara, well, perfect.