The following is a guest post by Phottix Pro Teamer Bobbi Lane. 

Recently I had a great opportunity to photograph the Bellevue Ballet in Seattle for the PIX 2015 conference. Lee Varis and I set up a full length background, completely equipped with Phottix Indra lights, both the Indra 500 and the Indra 360, and shot 1000 images over 2 full days. My camera is the Fuji XT-1 and the 16-55mm 2.8 lens. We were on the convention hall floor with lots of people watching, and we let them shoot, too, and then Lee made prints for them!, The medium zoom was the perfect lens, allowing us to frame easily without having to go way out on the floor with a fixed telephoto. It’s necessary to have a medium telephoto to avoid shooting off the edge of the background. In a more controlled situation, I would have shot with the fixed 85mm f1.4, or the 50-140 f 2.8 zoom.

© Bobbi Lane

© Bobbi Lane

Full-length portraits in the studio depend upon two crucial elements: lighting that will define the shape and form of the body, and understanding that the body position IS the composition of the image. Although we did variations, my basic lighting set up was a 42” Luna Folding Octa Soft Box as my main light, and two Phottix Luna Folding Softboxes-12” x 60”. The 42” Octo has a medium wide coverage without too much spread, and the quality of light is very creamy. The strips are perfect for a soft directional light, in this case used to outline and highlight the shape, so they were placed on each side, slightly behind the dancers. The size of the light source should be somewhat proportional to the size of the subject. So the 60” strip lights are the correct size for full length images. Here’s the lighting set up. You can see the large soft box on camera left and the two strips behind.

I made many individual shots in various costumes, some with the ballerinas in flight. The main light wraps around the body from about 45 degrees, giving form and dimension from the shadows on the camera left side. The two strips add the rim light, which is an outline that emphasizes the shape. The strobe light freezes the motion because the flash duration is so short, so all movement is frozen. I did not use a fill light because I wanted the drama of the darker shadows.

I’m always totally blown away by the strength of these dancers and their ability to fly.

© Bobbi Lane

© Bobbi Lane

The same lighting set up works for two because that gorgeous Octa box covers well. It is important to make sure that one person does not block off the light of the other, so placement of the subject is crucial.

© Bobbi Lane

© Bobbi Lane

You can see in this photo that the ballerina on camera left has her face away from the main light, so only the strip from camera right is on her face. Nothing to do about that, as long as she is not in the dark!

They are so adorable! Ballerinas are amazing athletes and they support and care about each other.

Placing three ballerinas in the same shot is going to result in some light blockage. But just opening up the shadows a bit and dodging the face farthest from the light will balance it out.

The same Octa still give great coverage and the strips provide the rim light.

To create more drama, I sometimes chose to use only one or two lights. I love the elegance of this image and her pose, since she is anonymous because we don’t see her face.

Turning off the main light and just using the two strip lights gives us the rim light. I love the light that rakes across her back showing off the muscles, and the outline of the legs. A nice touch is that the tiara is lit up and so it her hair bun.

It’s such a beautiful and graceful pose. The beauty of the bodies and the elegance of the dance form are emphasized by the two strips. The light is coming from slightly behind, so the gray background gets darker, adding to the drama and making a great separation in tone from the rim light.

© Bobbi Lane

© Bobbi Lane

On the second day of shooting the ballerinas brought in costumes instead of the standard tutus. This particular costume was intriguing as it was designed to be like flower petals. During her dance, all the petals are up and enclose the dancer. As she dances, they are lowered revealing the beauty inside. Here I moved the main light to camera right and used just one strip box from camera left for the edge light. Her face is beautifully lit, the form of the body is defined and edge or rim light adds the drama.

© Bobbi Lane

© Bobbi Lane

This costume was fascinating and I had an idea for something different. Our set up was right next to a stairway, so I climbed up and shot down on her, using only the one strip light from camera left.

© Bobbi Lane

© Bobbi Lane

The material is like a mesh, so it was interesting how it took the light. And the shadows on the seamless are sharper because the strip is a harder light source.

This last costume was Puck from Midsummer’s Night Dream, so it called for more drama. Just the one main light from camera right and no fill so the shadows would go dark, adding to the theatricality. The pose helps, too!

© Bobbi Lane

© Bobbi Lane

She had a variation on the mask, so I did a tighter portrait with just the one light, making sure that her eyes were lit. She is an imp! Check out the eyelashes!

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To wrap it up, the Phottix Indras, which we used on battery only, had a fast recycle time and produced a consistent quality of light throughout the entire shoot. After shooting all day, the battery power was still at half, which is mind boggling. I can’t recall a situation that would have put the lights through as much work and they performed beautifully. Choosing the right tools allows more creative choices. And this was such a creative and fun shoot!

 

All copy and images © Bobbi Lane.

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Phottix 2 in 1 Series Octa

Phottix 2 in 1 Series Octa

It’s your chance to win a Phottix softbox. Help us rename two of our venerable softbox series as we upgrade and improve them!

The Phottix Easy-Folder Softboxes come in 40x40cm, 60x60cm and 80x80cm sizes.

Features

  • Quick to assemble
  • Converts flash into soft diffused light
  • Comes with Bowens-compatible Speed Ring for use with studio light

The Phottix Easy-Folder Softbox Kit is collapsible. This saves time over traditional softboxes which require rods and speed rings for assembly. It’s easy to transport and take on location.

Perfect to use with hot shoe flashes or studio lights Phottix Easy-Folder Softbox Kits creates a soft even light which reduces any photo-spoiling hot spots. It was designed to convert harsh light into soft, diffused light. The Phottix Easy-Folder can be collapsed and stored in seconds.

The Phottix 2-in-1 Series softboxes come in the following flavors:

Phottix 2 in 1 Octagon Softbox with Grid (122cm/48″)
Phottix 2 in 1 Strip Softbox with Grid 35x140cm (14″x55″)
Phottix 2 in 1 Strip Softbox with Grid 40x180cm (16″x71″)
Phottix 2 in 1 Softbox with Grid 91x122cm (36″x48″)

Give us your best new names for your chance to win a softbox – fill in the form below for your chance to win.  [click to continue…]

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Society 6 by Richard P J Lambert

Society 6 by Richard P J Lambert

Whether you are selling apparel on Amazon or your own E-commerce website, to selling apparel online, high quality product photography can make or break your sales, as consumers rely heavily upon what they see when determining whether or not they will purchase an item. If you want to step up your game in apparel photography and make the move from amateur to professional, follow these 5 steps from the Team Phottix!

Use Soft Light

Leave the dramatic harsh shadows to fashion and beauty photographers. Lighting your product properly will ensure that you don’t lose detail or end up with an overly grainy image.

Finding the right amount of light for apparel can be tricky, as you’ll likely be working with several different types of fabric. Some fabric will reflect light, like silk, while velvet or fleece will absorb it. You will also work with varying types of textures that may create unwanted shadows depending on where you place your light source. Your goal is to highlight as much detail in the apparel as possible, and to do that, you should use a soft, diffused light source. [click to continue…]

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“Balancing light is one of the trickiest things, because you’ve got to find just that right time, but you also have to have an understanding about the look and the mood you are wanting to establish.” Bobbi Lane.

When shooting on location, the best of plans don’t always work out – particularly if animals are involved. Join award-winning photographer Bobbi Lane, as she takes you through using the Phottix system to get the right shot with proper lighting and amazing results. [click to continue…]

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It’s coming

March 2, 2016

Odin II for Sony

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