Last January when I sat for the written exam portion of my professional certification there were many, many questions pertaining to lighting ratios for portrait photography, all of which referenced strobe light systems. These lights are an important tool used in the craft of capturing portraits within the studio. I use a variety of light boxes, directional grids and umbrellas within my studio set-up, combined with three Alien Bees strobes. The system is trusted and true, delivering quality results.
But the portrait lighting technique that sometimes produces the best results is the simplest – natural, subdued light through windows. I’m fortunate enough to work in a home studio where I have access to a bank of large windows – all facing southward – within a room with a very high ceiling. Not only that but there’s also a skylight directly above that allows for even more use of natural light for indoor portrait photography.
The week following Christmas I had a session scheduled to photograph Stephen Emerick and his daughter, Shawna. Both were in need of portraits and studio shots to use for a book project they are working on to promote the retreats and workshops they present in Hocking Hills, Ohio, titled “The Nature of Life: Inner Voice Inner Light.” This portrait session provided me with the perfect opportunity to finally take advantage of the pleasing light within the central living area of my Centerville home. In the past I have completed portraits and head shots in a downstairs area near my office. What was catching my creative imagination this time was the indirect, soft light of mid-winter. The furniture was moved out of the way and my backgrounds brought upstairs. I also included a strobe or two, but only as a secondary light source. In the video tutorial below I discuss how to implement various tools for “fill light” on the sides of the subject that are facing away from the window light.
The photo shoot was a great success. The only problem is that the window light tends to fade fairly quickly during this time of year, especially if it is a longer photo shoot scheduled in the afternoon. Nonetheless it wasn’t long following that session that I had another portrait client scheduled for head shots, so for now – and probably for the next two months of winter – my backdrops, posing chairs and reflectors will remain upstairs.
Yup, it sure does. I do quite a few photo shoots where I need to get down for smaller subjects and different angles. I’m also hauling a bit of gear over my shoulders or on my back. Just yesterday I did an editorial assignment of holiday decorations at a home in Washington Township. Lots of little details that required flexibility. I don’t like for anything to get in the way of me “getting the shot,” especially when it’s something that I can easily control. There’s no excuse.
I’ve been an overweight photographer and I can safely conclude that it is MUCH easier capturing details, carrying gear and working with creative angles when I’m not carrying 50+ lbs of extra weight. I’ve also found that it also helps with doing portrait work. The subject reacts to the person taking his or her picture. Think about it.
Weight Watchers is the way to do it. It’s not a diet, and that’s why it works so well for so many people. It’s a fundamental shift in how one lives his or her life.
This has been one of my proudest achievements during 2009.
Last night I returned home from a full-day workshop in Cincinnati – PhotoTech by the Ohio Valley Chapter of ASMP – to discover in my mailbox a nice letter and certificate from the Professional Photographic Certification Commission. After taking and subsequently passing a two-hour, comprehensive written examination on technical expertise and successfully submitting 20 images from different commercial photo shoots to a panel of judges for review and approval, I have officially earned the designation of Certified Professional Photographer. Currently there are less than 2,000 professional photographers in the United States who have earned this designation.
April Sadowski is a very talented graphic artist here in the Dayton area. She was a pleasure to work with – professional, thorough and very quick turnaround.
In crafting a new logo identity for my photography business I wanted a design that moved away from the “Ohio” moniker and was more representative of my professional identity as a photographer and visual artist. In my years of being in business for myself, as well as many previous years working in corporate marketing and communications, I’ve learned where my own capabilities stop and where those of an accomplished professional begin. The art of graphic design and logo identity is one area where it’s not smart to attempt on your own. Turn it over to a pro and you will get pro results.
There were over 144,000 hits to CalmPhotos for the month of June alone. I can’t emphasize enough the affordable effectiveness of David Esrati’s Websiteology training program and the power of WordPress for blogging for business.
Never again will I waist one dime on phone directory advertising.
The traffic to OhioPhoto.org – I static site I manage on my own using Rapidweaver and Blue Host – is starting to pick-up in traffic again (17,500 for June versus 23,500 for July), even though it had fallen quite a bit behind CalmPhotos.com. It was interesting to note the top keywords used, via this morning’s Google Analytics report, to access this site:
jim crotty photography
photography workshops in ohio
jim crotty picture ohio
ohio photography workshops
photography workshop ohio
photography workshops ohio
That’s the power of good keywording and cross-linking. I rarely post a web-ready image that I haven’t inserted good meta-data. I do this in both Photoshop CS3 and Apple Aperture, through custom export settings.
It’s well worth the extra effort.
And another advantage to getting up early to check my web stats is the opportunity to step-out on my back porch and capture a scene like this –
Fine Art – Stock – Commercial – Portrait – Workshops