How To Light a Bottle – On Location

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When I was hired to photograph 125 different wine and liquor bottles (at a wine shop) in a 4-hour period, I knew I had to keep my lighting setup simple and unobtrusive. I’m going to explain my lighting setup as well as camera settings on how I was able to achieve this look quickly and easily

Lighting a wine bottle, or any glass object for that matter, can be a bit tricky due to the fact that the bottle will reflect everything that is in front and adjacent to it, at about 180 degrees. The most noticeable reflection will be your light source, so how do you make your lights visually appealing? Use a large light source! Unfortunately I was confined to a small, high traffic area and using large light modifiers was out of the question. I needed a device that is capable of not only making a small light source BIG, but also softens the light too. That’s when I reached for my 1- stop diffusion panel. Using a diffusion panel as a gobo (go between), would achieve the effect I required.

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As you can see in the photo above, a speed light was mounted on a light stand, and placed to the left of the bottle. I then positioned the diffusion panel between the flash and wine bottle, making sure to keep the diffusion panel as close to the bottle as possible in order to create a larger and softer light source. Rounding out my setup, I placed a strobe/softbox combo behind the bottle, to create a completely white background. In addition to providing a white background, the light also illuminated the bottles beautifully. White seamless paper was used beneath the bottle to complete the set.

Before shooting, a spike mark was drawn on the paper, so I would know where to place every bottle. Using spike marks sped up my workflow dramatically. Without the marks I would have had to position and reposition every bottle in order to match shots.

Camera settings are as follows:

Shutter Speed – 1/60th

Aperture – F/7.1

ISO: 200

Gear Used:

Yonguno 560-III Flash

Impact Collapsible Oval Reflector Disc

Elinchrom D-Lite 400W/s

Impact Softbox

Nikon D810

Sigma 70-200 2.8

TetherPro USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Micro-B Cable

The TetherBoost™ USB 3.0 Core Controller

JerkStopper Tethering Kit

Capture One

www.andrewfoordphotography.com

Apple Watch

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I’ve been rocking the Apple Watch for about a week now and i’ve never felt more trendy. This is the must have item in wearable technology, however, i’m giving it up. The Apple Watch can send and receive calls, respond to text messages and even works as an iPod (with bluetooth headphones). The battery life is excellent for my use, but for those who want to wear the watch while they sleep, you’ll need to find an hour or 2 to charge everyday. The Apple Watch is very easy to use and after a few minutes you’ll be customising your watch in no time.

Now to the big question you’re all asking, “Why are you getting rid of it?”

I’m getting rid of it because it does TOO much! If Apple made a watch that in addition to displaying the time and date, simply made and received calls i’d be happy, but Apple added features like text messaging, fitness tracking and siri. And I want MORE!!! I’ve become conditioned to want and need MORE!!! I want the watch to be independent of the iPhone, I want Apple to include a bluetooth headset. I want Safari and Youtube and Facebook, oh my! Wifi and Google and Laser Beams… As you can see I want more.

Apple Watch is awesome! But I want more… It’s the way of the world now a days. Instead of focusing on what it does, i’m constantly thinking of what it doesn’t do. I wish the iWatch simply displayed time and could send and receive calls. But knowing that it can do SO MUCH MORE… I want that… I want it to do more.

http://www.andrewfoordphotography.com

How Watching Soap Operas Made Me A Better Stylist!

We can all agree that styling a model can be a pretty daunting task, especially if you’re fashionably disabled like me. Hiring a wardrobe stylist is always an option, but sometimes that’s not feasible. One trick that has helped me to “keep up with the times,” has been watching soap opera’s.

 

When I first started watching soap opera’s I was immediately drawn to the lighting and styling, not to mention the awesome dialogue. Actors on the show are always dressed to the nine’s, from perfectly quaffed hair down to triangular shape tipped shoes (which I just learned are “in”). I also noticed that soap opera’s seem to be ahead of the current fashion trend and in many cases set the trend.

 

When watching the show be sure to write down what you see, like the main actress is wearing a tribal sweater or that the male lead has on a bowtie. Also take note of hairstyles and make up that you like, then apply to your next photo shoot.

 

Obtaining the wardrobe needed for your shoot can be costly, but here are a few tips that I use to significantly cut costs. First, check out consignment and thrift stores, often these establishments have what you are looking for at a 50% discount.

 

Second, ask to borrow clothes from large department stores. Certain department stores will lend a photographer clothing for a shoot for a small fee. You will also have to leave a credit card number incase the garment gets damaged. You will need to do a little research and call ahead, but that’s a way I’ve obtained clothing for a shoot in the past.

 

My third tip is to rent clothing from websites like www.renttherunway.com/ or www.etsy.com. At times sellers on Etsy will allow photographers to use clothing and jewelry as long as you provide them with final images that they can then use.

Once your photo shoot is complete and your ready to share your photo’s, be sure to tag the designer of the clothes you used. Social media is HUGE and that designer might just see your photo and want to hire you for a future shoot.

 

http://www.andrewfoordphotography.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are NO lighting tests in my studio

You heard right, there are NO lighting tests when I shoot. The second my subject steps in front of my camera I immediately start shooting, no light testing necessary. I will however meter the light using my Sekonic L-758DR, but as far as telling my model to “relax i’m just testing the light and checking exposure” just doesn’t happen anymore. I’ve taken many AWESOME photos right out of the gate that its far better to have your subject pose rather than have them just stand or sit there, you might catch something awesome! It’s far easier to check that your lights are positioned correctly and re-adjust than it is for the model to make that once in a lifetime face and pose.

My advice… Set-up your lights, take a meter reading, position your model and start shooting… if something looks a little off, don’t let your model know! Just take a few more shots and say something like “good” or “beautiful” after each shutter press. After you take maybe 5-6 photos, tell your model they’re doing great, but you want to try to add a bit more “spice” (use your own words here) and then re-adjust your lights if needed.

In the photo below I asked my model to stand on his mark and adjust his glasses. While he was doing so I released the shutter. Initially I thought the rim lights were too blown out, but the pose was AWESOME. I was able to pull down the highlights in Lightroom and recover details. I then retouched the image in Photoshop and toned it using Alien Skin Exposure. Out of all the photo I took, this was by far the most interesting! Had I asked the model to stand there while I adjusted lights, then kept asking him to adjust his glasses, I would have lost this genuine look.

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http://www.andrewfoordphotography.com

Nikon D810 Review – Concert Photography

If you follow me on social media then you are aware of my switch to Nikon. My experience with the Nikon D810 has been nothing but amazing. I have yet to fully test in my studio, but here are my thoughts about using the D810 at a concert.

Gear: Nikon D810, Sigma 70-200 F/2.8, Sigma 24-105 F/4 Art Lens, Battery Grip

  • If you shoot concerts then you know it can be difficult to meter properly. I cheated and used a Sekonic DR-758 on spot meter mode gave me a reading of 1/250th, 2.8 at ISO: 800. The D810 in spot metering mode gave me a reading of 1/125th, 2.8 at ISO:1250, obviously different from the Sekonic’s reading, but I will give a little leeway because the lighting was changing drastically.
  • I used Nikon’s new Active D-Lighting mode which essentially changes your EV. In my case Active D-Lighting was set to -07 EV. This mode is AWESOME to use for concerts or theater.
  • I shot in Small RAW and Full JPEG mode. I had my setting set to STANDARD and the files from the JPEG looked awesome! As expected the RAW files looked flat, but that’s exactly what you want when shooting RAW.
  • I shot in Auto White Balance and the D810 handled the lighting conditions perfectly.
  • I also shot on CONTINUOUS focus mode. I come from a Canon background and I’m still getting used to moving the focus point around, but focus is quick and followed action wonderfully.
  • The Nikon D810 has the option to switch from FX mode to DX mode (1.5 crop) I did not use that feature, but it is a nice feature to have if you shoot sports and need some more throw on your lens.

Final Thoughts: Extremely impressed! The D810 is fast, feels great in the hands and a very sexy machine.

All photos below are jpegs shot directly in camera… no retouching has been done to them, they are straight from the camera.

http://www.andrewfoordphotography.com