The Classic Beauty Shot

25 03 2009

Classic Beauty ShotHigh key backgrounds such as this one used with Raven is pretty simple to achieve, but the main thing to notice is the white background doesn’t compete with the subject.  Used pretty often, especially in catalogs, the desired effect was to show her complexion, makeup, and to set the tone of the shot with her expression without the background interfering with the subject.  The paper would be white (in most cases) of a catalog, and the white background doesn’t require extra ink to print.  Plus, the model will “pop” off the page.

Hair and Makeup by Jerry Rogers



25 03 2009

As mentioned in an earlier post,  I had attended a shoot in Galveston, Texas, that was a load of fun.  With many models and the square rigged ship, Elissa, to work with, I got many shots that any pirate would be proud of. There was a cold front moving in that morning and the models were freezing, but they pressed on!

The light was perfect as there was a cloud cover that morning. I used my trusty “nifty fifty” 50mm f/1.8 lens to capture these shots. It shows that you don’t have to have the longest or most expensive lens to get great images.

Bestest Friends!

25 03 2009

Bestest Friends!

Angie and Angel are really close friends and it shows here. The two of them posed here for one of those keepsake pictures they will treasure a lifetime.  On white seamless paper,  I used 2 flash to light the background and 2 flash for lighting them (all Vivitar 285H).  The were easily coaxed to get close in the frame to help show how close they  really are in friendship. They are sometimes mistaken as twins when they are out and about town. They were very much fun to work with, and I am sure their friendship lasts as long as these images will.

How I Did It!

23 03 2009

EmmaThis is the same guitar that is in my previous post.  “Emma” as she is named,  is one one of my son’s favorite guitars to play.  One night my wife and I decided to goof around with lighting and see what we could get.

We wound up using 3 flash heads, (Vivatar 285H), two of them had snoots which tightens the light almost like a spotlight and can be directed to a certain spot.  Soin this final picture you see, you are seeing a flash behind the guitar that is directed at the backdrop which is red seamless paper.  There is a flash unit camera left that is lighting the guitar body.  And finally, there is another snooted flash camera right that is lighting the headstock. The coolest part is the shadow of the headstock. It took quite a few tries to get this final image, (60 shots) but we were happy with the results when we got it “perfect”.

Lifestyle Senior Pictures

23 03 2009


My youngest son Alex is a senior this year, and when I wanted to do some pictures,  it was a given that we would do something with guitars/music since that is a really big part of his life.  That is the whole purpose for senior pictures in my opinion- to capture that young person in a point in their life that is pivotal.  They are close to being on their own or college bound,  and in any case all grown up.

Years ago, senior pics were mostly a cookie cutter style picture that was posted in a year book.  Everyone wore about the same outfits, the poses were the same. Now days,  individuality is the key word. In Alex’s case, music is his life…it is what he loves, and will make his living with in his future. So I wanted to capture his passion, and at the same time , show everyone what I see everyday when I see him-a dedicated young man that is passionate about music.  I think this portrait evokes just that. Alex is a pretty reserved and calm guy, so the lighting and mood of the image reflects that. He is pretty laid back-not too formal-so sitting atop his amp while playing was really pretty natural.  It is exactly how he plays his gigs at the local Magnolia Cafe downtown.  He is kind of shy, so this picture with his head down and his attention directed to his music, was also very natural.

So all together, this portrait is as close to the real Alex as it gets. I think that is why I  like it so much.  We included this picture in his school’s yearbook, so others will remember him years from now the same way.

The word portrait these days seems synonymos with reality, so when I shoot a portrait,  I try to capture  the person for who they are.

Rule of Thirds

23 03 2009

Original Image Image 1

Take a look at the first picture above…honestly, what was first thing  you noticed? Probably the church steeples. But there is way more to the picture than that if you look.  Press on…
The rule of thirds is a great compositional tool photographers use to make a photo more interesting to the viewer. It is a tried and proven method that, although simple to understand, sometimes is difficult to execute.
The rule is simply to envision a tic tac toe board, then try to put your subject approximately where there is an intersection of the lines.  There are many better  explanations from other people, but, in a nutshell, that’s it!  The rule of thirds gives a little more drama to the picture and makes it not so static. In the picture, there is water, sky and a church.  Also there is a barge in the water. I took this photo while southbound on the Mississippi River in Reserve, Louisiana.
There are several ways to fix this picture where it makes the viewer’s eye wander a bit and take in the whole picture, instead of just seeing the steeples of the church instantly and not noticing the rest of the beauty of this sunrise. Also, the barge is not really recognizable by those who have not seen barges, or might even think to look for one. My close friends would know to expect barges, boats etc. in my photos because they know I travel the Miss. River very frequently. But I don’t want to make my pictures noteworthy just to those  who know me, I want the entire world to enjoy it.
Since I have a long horizontal plane in this picture that is land, I need to figure out which is more important, land or water for the viewer to enjoy. As it is in this first image, the land is in the center and I have equal distance above and below it. So I choose to show more sky as the clouds are more interesting than a lot of water.
The church is on the land fairly close so this will make the crop easier. And since the barge is not something I want to include, it works out to cut it out in the crop also.

Image 2 Image 2

See how the lines really don’t intersect in with anything in image 2?  The beauty of the rule of thirds is coming!

Keep in mind that I am cropping this picture after the fact. It works, but I would have had a more usable picture if I had composed it correctly that bitter cold morning when I stepped outside of the boat. But as it was, I didn’t have but a second and I didn’t think about composition before hand. That part I was still learning .

Image 3 Image 3

Now that the crop is completed (image 3), look where the lines are. The horizontal land mass is on a bottom third of the frame. The key subject which is the Church is really close to being centered on the intersection of the lines. Looking at the last  and finished frame, notice how the image has more interest to it.  There are several things to look at now, and it all ties in together to make a pretty picture. Now that you know this rule of thirds, look at any image you see and decide how the photographer composed the shot. You will start looking at pictures with this rule in mind and automatically place you Imaginary lines across the image. . When taking your own pictures apply this technique when looking through the viewfinder. Try several different options before you release the shutter or,  take several shots of the image and decide later which was the best composition. Example-more water or more sky, barge or no barge.  Where do I place the subject in the frame to maximize the aesthetic qualities? That is up to you and does take practice.

Image 4 Image 4

Last note. There are times when the rule of third s just doesn’t work. Until I get that lesson written out , think about when that might apply. And remember the rule of thirds is only one tool for the photographer and not necessarily an always thing. But it does work wonders to make your shots look more professional

Unintentional Fashion!

22 03 2009

Portrait or Fashion?Although this has a certain fashion photo look to it, it wasn’t really intended that way. One January morning, in Galveston, Texas, the clouds were building as a cold front was heading down on the Texas coast. Some 20 photographers and half as many models assembled at the tall ship “Elissa” for a portfolio shoot themed- “Pirates!” This shot was taken in the hatchway of the old square rigger, but what could have been an ordinary portrait type shot, turned out to be somewhat a fashion image. This model could have easily been “selling” a $100.00 scarf that might be found in a boutique somewhere. It is about composition, the look, and the styling that makes a good fashion image. I thought this one was pretty close to right on.