5.23.2011

Performing for a crowd. Shooting tethered and presenting directly.

I gave a series of workshops at three different  colleges last month for the MAC Group, who represent Profoto in the U.S.A.  In each city and at each school I ran thru a portrait set up to show students not "the right way" to light a portrait but "my way" of lighting a portrait.  And those can be two wildly different things.  I shot all of the build up and tests tethered to a MacBook Pro so the students could gather around and see both where to lights were in relation to each other and also what effect the final assemblage created when shot and processed thru to the screen.  Kinda like working without a safety net....

The image above was part of a discussion about depth of field, fill light and shadow as well as the advantages of using continuous light for effects.  To look over the last ten years of photography one would think that portraits can only be captured with flash.  The shot above was done with an older Profoto tungsten fixture in a beauty dish with a Westcott FastFlag as an additional diffuser.  No flashes were triggered in the making of this image.

Since I was only trying to fill a computer screen with each image I chose to use the Canon 1Dmk2N as my shooting camera.  It's eight megabyte files are more easily digested and regurgitated by the tethering software and the firewire connection is faster than the more recent USB2 connections. This image was done with a Zeiss 85mm 1.4 lens nearly wide open.  It's a good example for students of the concept of limited depth of field.

My model is long time friend, Park Street III, who is both a working professional photographer and the professional sales representative at Precision Camera in Austin.  The poor guy sat thru my lecture five times in three days and must have sat in as a test subject for over 1,000 exposures.  My hat is off to Park.  He turned what could have been a few days of "hey look at these products sitting on a table" into a fun series of animated and interactive workshops.  In the end I think he'll sell a few Profoto monolights to faculty and students but, judging on how many questions we got about using modifiers, and Westcott FastFlags in particular, I'm going to bet those are the items that fly off the shelves.

The workshops were a big refresher for me and the students and faculty seemed to really enjoy them.  I just came across the image folder while I was cleaning up my laptop.  I liked this somber image of Park.

Now, I rarely use my blog to sell someone else's services but I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend that you call Park at www.Precision-Camera.com 512-467-7676 and get him to bid on your next lighting or camera purchase, and here's why!!!!!!

You probably noticed prices go up on Canon, Nikon and other top Japanese prices at all your favorite online dealers.  Some by large percentages.  It comes close to profiteering but in most senses new cameras aren't "life and death" purchases like food and heating fuel.  But it's enough to piss people off.  At the same time the staff and owners of Precision decided not to raise prices on their inventory.   As a result they now have prices that are LOWER than nearly every other big time dealer in the country.  And that's something that should be rewarded.

They are great to deal with and they even had some hot Canon products in stock last time I checked.

I am not affiliated with the store but I sometimes teach workshops thru them.  I don't receive any kickbacks or compensation from them.  They are not linked on my site as an affiliate.  I'm just saying that if you've decided to pull the trigger on something fun for the gear inventory you might save yourself some time and money if you give Park a call.  And maybe he'll return the favor by being the test subject for your next workshop.......

7 comments:

Dave Elfering Photography said...

Great stuff. I did something similar for a photo club but used an Eye-Fi card with shots going directly to my iPad. Doing things live is fraught with peril but is magic when it works. It hasn't occurred to me that I might have just used a modeling light or some other constant light source. Great idea!

Anonymous said...

All kidding aside this is actually a wonderful and compelling portrait. If, as according to your description, you just knocked this off as an example of lighting, then I am depressed. An image like this would cost me time and I still wouldn''t have the light I would want. Next time you are depressed think that you can do things that most of us can't with both your camera and your word processor.

Bill Beebe said...

Yes, a sweet portrait.

Glenn Harris said...

A lot of pro photographers have to shoot tethered so the AD or CD or whoever can monitor the results during a shoot. So the photog needs to know their stuff and be confident of getting what the client want in that situation. Sounds like a good idea for all photographers to strive for, even when they know post-processing will be required.

Steve Gray said...

Cool stuff, Kirk, and I like your description of the firewire vs. USB thing. One question from me, though: What software are you using on the MBP for capturing? Lightroom?

Thanks!

kirk tuck said...

Steve,
I'm using the Canon software that comes with the cameras.

Skip Hunt said...

Sweet portrait!