A small collage of Behind the Scenes images from photographic assignments.

I'm as guilty as anyone else when it comes to wanting to see "behind the curtain." How do other photographers set up their lights? What do their studios look like? How far away from the subject is the main light? How do they do their "jumping" shots? All the stuff that can be confusing when you are just looking at illustrations in books or hearing descriptions. 

When I started working on the LED book I really started to understand just how much detail people wanted to see when they sat down with a book in order to learn a new way to do something and at that point I started trying to make behind the scenes images of everything we set up. What I found out is that I am very much a creature of habit and love to "key" most images from the left (we read left to right--correct?), love to use soft lights and I could probably always use just one more C-stand or at least one more non-rickety light stand. 

note: I'm pretty tired today. I just transcoded the video I worked on for the past three weeks and I'm uploading the final to the client as I write this. Unlike still photography these video jobs have so many moving parts, the least of which seems to be actually shooting the footage. Motion graphics in particular can be daunting and are the components that are most detailed and engender most back and forth with clients. Finding the right typefaces to match client style books is always imperative and may mean buying and uploading different fonts than you currently have. Some changes in timing are also critical. We ended up experimenting with dissolves, etc. in tiny tenth of second increments.

So finally being finished means more than the fact that you've just delivered a good product. It means you worked with a team, built some consensus and collaborated well with your client. It can be a much more involved undertaking than turning in a well made photograph. But boy oh boy! is it ever a lot of time with your butt planted in a chair.

Makes the stuff in these behind the scenes shots seem like child's play...

Note the two lights on the floor to provide fill from the bottom...

Getting out from behind the camera to direct.

Sometimes all you need is a little "puff" of light to highlight your subject in a  bright environment.

 Black panels to the right provide "subtractive fill" for those times when you wish the shadows were more dramatic.
Small studio+long lenses= back against the wall (or filing cabinet). 
Note black reflector blocking sunlight from the windowns behind.

Ladders. Ladders everywhere.

Fill cards and diffusers abound.

Yes trampoline. Yes flash. No LED.