Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Technique Tuesday - The Light Fantastic!

An easy shoot, a few head shots , a few candids - we should be in and out in no time. But it never goes down quite that way. We've all gone into a shoot with a certain expectation only to quickly become side tracked with unexpected complications. Here is the story - I get a call from one of my favorite clients asking if I could shoot all the actors at her son's high school for their Spring Musical. She would also like some candids of the young artists as they rehearse their parts. Sure, I say. I did the same thing last year and it was a lot of fun. Besides, I enjoy watching and working with the kids.

Well, LaDawn and I show up on site and lo and behold - we've caught them at the very early stages of practice and production - no sets, no backgrounds, no costumes etc. Challenge - how could we get good pics of the actors performing their numbers and get some good head shots in these sparse and cluttered stage surrounds? Hey, as I've said many, many times its always about the light. It's about how to use it for best effect in both of these situations. Watch the video below for the rest of the story and a fun shoot.


  1. GREAT tutorial, David!!

    I've been wanting to set up a similar configuration in my home for family portraits, but I've been unsure about how to do it properly. I don't have the quality gear that you have, but this tutorial has sparked some ideas.

    Thank you!

  2. Hi David.

    You have most likely heard this before, but I have to say it too...

    Thank you for taking your time to share your techniques with the rest of us mortals...its is truly amazing what you can accomplish with limited equipment if you know what you are doing. I will for sure my try my best to duplicate your technique next time I am doing portraits of the kids.

    Again, thanks for sharing

    Jan Winther

  3. Mr. Ziser,
    Thank you so much for posting these tutorials!
    I was wondering what you used to trigger your flashes? I know you showed the 580ex on the
    light stand with a trigger but what do you use on
    the camera? Are you using the other 580?



  4. Hey everybody,
    Thanks for the nice comments. BTW, I used a Quantum Frewwire radio control - receiver on flash and transmitter on camera. Search the blog for Quantum - I use them a lot.

  5. Thank you for this tutorial. I love your Mac Giver Studio.

  6. I was at your seminar in Cleveland last week and you mentioned a little flash, and your wife found it later in the seminar. Can you tell me what the name, model is... I know you said that you purchased it from B&H but I can't seem to locate it.


  7. Hi David
    It's ironic that last night I was trying to reproduce this type of photo (with the blown out background) at home and had all sorts of problems due to the surrounding area. When I saw your tutorial it all clicked that my particular problem was a low ceiling with was bouncing the lightaround the sides and top of the subject. I think that the fact you had a nice open ceiling really is a good tip to this type of photo. I just thought I would throw my observation out there.


  8. great site and very informative..something different everyday