Illuminating the Face, by Peter Hurley: A Review

Illuminating the Face, by Peter Hurley: A Review

Back in 2011, photographer Peter Hurley teamed up with our friends over at FStoppers to create a tutorial video called The Art Behind The Headshot. That 4+ hour video more or less became required watching here at BL for anyone shooting any kind of portraiture, not just headshots. In fact, I still refer to it from time to time to prep for a new client; it was equal parts motivational video and coaching tutorial. Now, three years later, Peter Hurley returns with another tutorial called Illuminating The Face. This is the next logical release after The Art Behind The Headshot, and Peter sent us a copy for review. Here’s the one-sentence review: This is yet another home run for Peter Hurley, and if you happen to photograph the human face, regardless of your genre, this needs to be on your “must watch” list of tutorials. What came before… Let’s talk for a moment how Illuminating The Face differs from The Art Behind The Headshot. The Art… was very much a non-technical tutorial. It was a lot like having Peter Hurley coach you on how to interact with your subject, how to direct them, what to look for when pressing that shutter button. That’s not to say that there was nothing technical in that video; Peter did cover his trademark square box lighting technique that had turned heads on the internet and spawned a slew of  copycats and admirers — including, I’m not ashamed to admit, yours truly right here on this blog. Yet The Art… wasn’t a technical tutorial. It was very much a “human” tutorial, and was gloriously welcome at a time when...
Capture Motion in Car Photography with these Shot List Tips

Capture Motion in Car Photography with these Shot List Tips

Interested in car photography? Jim Frenak, lead photographer at FPI Studios, recently shot the new 2014 Chevy Impala for Chevy’s West Coast PR blog. Read about how FPI Studios got the shot by pre-planning with a shot list and employing a couple of popular techniques for capturing a sense of motion. From the original blog post by  Jim Frenak (and edited by Sara Leeper), reprinted with permission: Shooting for GM As we have done many times in the past with GM vehicles, the crew at FPI Studios and I were recently asked to photograph the new 2014 Chevy Impala. The main purpose of these photos is for distribution to all of the media outlets to support any news or editorial stories that are written about the vehicle. Typical of other vehicle shoots, GM was looking for a combination of beauty shots as well as photos of the car in action. They wanted to present the car in an urban setting and a more natural location. It’s very important that the images define the cut-lines and body sculpting that make the new Impala so distinguishable. Then GM threw in one more caveat… Since the Impala that we were shooting was a pre-production car, there were a couple of rules that we had to follow. First, the car could only travel on private or closed roads. If it drove on public roads, we needed to close them down and hire police officers to block traffic. This severely limited the number of possible locations to shoot the car. Second, the car couldn’t be driven from one location to another. For each location change,...
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...
Understanding Softboxes

Understanding Softboxes

Off-camera strobes and other forms of lighting have become remarkably approachable over the past few years. The knowledge and information that were once the sole province of pros working with tens of thousands of dollars of equipment in studios or on location is now all over the internet for the taking. We carry a fair amount of lighting gear, and given that we cater to the novice as well as the pros, we also answer a number of questions about one particular piece of lighting gear: the softbox. Over the phone, via email, and through our social networking outlets, we respond to queries ranging from the number of stops a box’s diffusion fabric will eat, to “What’s a speedring?” This article is designed to help you understand the various pieces of a softbox and how it is used with a studio light like the Einstein E640 or the Profoto D4 heads we rent. Let’s start with what a softbox is. Basically, it’s a light modifier. Its purpose is to diffuse the lighting coming out of a studio head (or a small flash, but we’ll cover that in a later article) so that you can achieve the soft shadows and gentler light quality you see in so many professionally-taken photographs. Now let’s break down a complete light setup, with softbox. In the image above, you can see the three basic components of a studio light with a softbox. We have the softbox itself, a speedring (which is only barely visible right now), and a studio light. You’ll probably have noticed that the softbox is made by Profoto, while the studio...

On the Profoto Blog

Our recent Tip of the Week was picked up by the wonderful folks at Profoto and mentioned on their blog. If you haven’t been by there, you’re missing out – they post a ton of great stuff that’s worth looking at even if you never use a single piece of Profoto gear. We warn you though – watching some of their videos will induce a pretty severe case of Profoto lust. Don’t say we didn’t warn you… Visit Profoto’s blog at profoto.com/blog, and check out their mention of our piece...