Lighting and Photographing White Seamless Background Headshots

Lighting and Photographing White Seamless Background Headshots

I photographed the staff headshots for both BorrowLenses.com and Zenfolio.com using just a white wall as my background. Lighting basic higher-key headshots is an essential skill for most photographers. Here is a step-by-step guide for how I lighted the scene to create that seamless “white room” effect. Lighting Gear I Use For a large space, I use the following items: Elinchrom BX-RI Kit x 2 Elinchrom 39″ Rotalux Deep Octabox Elinchrom Octa Light Bank – 74″ Sekonic 358 Lightmeter The Elinchrom BX-RI Kit comes with two small umbrella softboxes which are perfect for using on your background strobes because their black backing prevents unwanted light from spilling onto your model. For a small space, I use the following items: Flashes, any brand that allows off-camera shooting, x 4 Black-backed umbrellas x 2 Small-to-medium sized beauty dish or softbox, such as the Photoflex OctoDome nxt Extra Small Kit. 3′ or larger softbox or octabox, such as the Westcott 28″ Apollo Kit. These can be varied for budged and taste. Just remember the essentials: 1 large light modifier as your key source. The larger the source, the softer the results–especially with a diffuser. 1 smaller light modifier as your fill. A reflector may also be used but may not produce as even and soft results. 2-4 umbrellas or softboxes for your wall or white paper backdrop. Placement of the Lighting Gear I place my key above my subject by several feet, pointed downward at them and facing them at a right or left-leaning angle. I place my fill on the opposite side at a similar angle and below the subject by...
Kodak’s First Canon-based DSLR: A 1.3 Megapixel Slice of Photographic History

Kodak’s First Canon-based DSLR: A 1.3 Megapixel Slice of Photographic History

The San Francisco Chronicle ran this photo on the front page of the paper the day after the 49ers won the Super Bowl in 1995. The picture shows Jerry Rice, whose 10 catches for 149 yards and 3 touchdowns tied his own record for most touchdown receptions in a Super Bowl and the 49ers became the 1st team to win 5 Super Bowls. However, that wasn’t the only remarkable event of Super Bowl XXIX. The above picture was shot on Kodak’s very first Canon-based digital SLR–a 1.3 megapixel, no-LCD, nearly 4-pound behemoth that cost around $16,000. The image above was the first taken on this camera and published in an American newspaper. This photo of a legacy marks the beginning of a revolution for digital imaging. When this photo was taken (you can see more from the set here), the Canon EOS-DSC 3 hadn’t even been released to the public yet (it would be released later in 1995). The camera was, in essence, a modified Canon EOS-1N film camera and modified Kodak NC2000e digital camera back put together. Kodak produced all of the major electronic components while maintaining the Canon EF lens mount. Approximately 189 images could be stored on a 260MB hard disk PC card and, with only 5 focus points and a maximum continuous shooting speed of 2.7 fps in 12-frame bursts, Chronicle photographer Fred Larsen did a tremendous job capturing these sports shots. Larsen, purportedly, had only had the camera for a couple of hours before having to go out on assignment with it. He nailed this shot with the help of a Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L USM, which would have had an effective focal length of around 510mms on the...
Easy Holiday Photo Booth

Easy Holiday Photo Booth

Holiday events have a way of filling a room. Being tasked with running a party photo booth for friends and family can be daunting, especially if your budget isn’t big and your space isn’t, either. We put together a simple, fun photo booth using portable items that you can rent from BorrowLenses.com. There are various ways to make a booth–some even more simple than this, many more complex. This is just how we did it and you can improve/build upon it. If you do create a booth, feel free to share links to your fun party pictures in the comments below and tell us how you made it! Our Backdrop: We purchased a lightweight wood dowel and stapled garland to it. It is light enough to still be able to hang with gaffer’s tape and not ruin your hosts’ walls. Of course, we have backdrops and backdrop stands for rent. But they take up quite a bit of space. Equipment Used: 3 Nikon SB-910s: 1 main, 1 fill, 1 back light. 3 SD-9 Compact Battery Packs for Nikon: extra battery power for the flashes. D800, using the popup flash as a commander (info box below for other flash-triggering options) Photoflex OctoDome Extra Small Kit: comes with a speedring, flash mount, and multiclamp. Manfrotto lightstand for the Photoflex OctoDome. AlienBees LS1100 backlight stand and multiclamp for the back light. Justin Clamp for the fill light (bouncing off a reflector). Pocket Wizard Plus II and TT5 (info box below for other shutter-triggering options). Pocket Wizard motor cord for Nikon. Tripod and ballhead for camera. 35mm lens or something with a range like 24-120mm, allowing...
5 Things I Learned at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference

5 Things I Learned at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference

Last week we had a great time at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference. As an event partner and sponsor we had a chance to meet a lot of great photographers in attendance. The conference had a great energy to it. With photographers being so active and social on Google+ it was rather effortless to pick up conversations in person with photographers of all stripes and experience levels. It was for this reason alone that attending was an amazing experience. Beyond meeting with great photographers there was a lot of great information shared amongst attendees and speakers alike. The 5 takeaways that I came back with that all photographers on Google+ could stand to benefit from included: 1. Focus on Community The community on Google+ feels like the Flickr photography community of old. There is a constant flow of photos with many photographers you’ll find familiar and many more that will likely be new to you. It’s a great time to explore and network with photographers of all backgrounds, experience levels and expertises. In fact there are numerous sub-communities on Google+ focusing on various photography niches. Google+ makes it super easy and fast to find information in alignment with your photographic and non-photographic interests. What made the Google+ Photographer’s Conference so special is the fact that this virtual community became tangible. If you follow someone on Google+ it was all the reason you needed to introduce yourself. It was great to be able to pick up conversations previously confined to posts and comments. Getting out to talk and photograph with your compatriots from abroad made for an extremely special time. 2....
Tip of the Week: Use a Tilt-Shift Lens for Panoramic Photos

Tip of the Week: Use a Tilt-Shift Lens for Panoramic Photos

Every week, we post a photography-related tip on our blog. These tips are typically inspired by questions we get from our customers. Sometimes we might feature a technique tip, and sometimes a gear recommendation. If there’s something specific you’d like to see in this section, let us know. Email us at blog@borrowlenses.com. There are many ways to create panoramic images. You can start with a really wide-angle lens, then simply crop down to a long, narrow band to create a “faux” panorama. You can also use the built-in panoramic functions of cameras like Sony’s NEX and Alpha series, as well as Fuji’s X100 and X-Pro1. You can also simply take a series of pictures and stitch them together in Photoshop, or, if you’re really into panoramic photography, you could rent a pano-head from us, like the ones from Nodal Ninja. Today, we’re going to talk about one of my favorite ways to create panoramas. All of the methods above have some shortcomings that make it a bit harder to create good panos. Using a wide-angle lens and cropping, for example, leaves me with a lower-resolution file than I’d like. The built-in pano features in some cameras is neat, and I do use them (as shown in Figure 1), but they’re also relatively low-res JPEGs. Pano heads are great for this sort of work, but you have to find the “nodal point” of each lens you want to use, and that takes quite a bit of work. Tilt-shift lenses are a great alternative for creating panoramic images. Traditionally, these are used by architectural and landscape photographers to avoid distortion or...