Friday, October 31, 2014

Throwback Thursdays

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Throwback Thursdays on FaceBook are kind of fun because I sometimes use them as reminders to look at images I shot 5, 10, or more years ago and see how my style has changed, if it's changed much at all.

I snapped the image on the left of Charmaine in early 2006. Wow! Almost a decade ago!

First thing I noticed is it's warmer than most of what I shoot these days. That's because, back then, I often used gels on my lights, mostly my key or main light, to warm the models.  I generally used a small piece of Roscoe Bastard Amber to slightly warm the light. Occasionally, I used Straw. Some glamour photographers routinely warmed their images with CTO (Color Temperature Orange) but I always thought CTO was too, well, too orange for my tastes whereas Bastard Amber and Straw yielded a more golden hue, rather than orangey.

My general lighting setup style hasn't changed all that much. If anything, the biggest changes have occurred with the modifiers I mostly use. Back then, I was more apt to be using my Mola 33.5" "Euro" beauty dish with a couple of Chimera medium strip boxes for kickers on either side and from slightly behind the models. These days, my main light modifier of choice, for the most part, is a 5' Photek Softlighter. I also tend to use a pair of small-ish brolly boxes replacing the strips. The brolly boxes I use are knock-offs of Photek's Softlighters.   Going from a Mola dish and strips to Softlighters (knock-off or otherwise) has mostly been the result of me getting lazier becoming more efficient in terms of using gear that's easier to transport, set-up, and strike.

For a while, I had replaced my Mola dish (for many shoots) with a Photoflex 5' Octo but, while it's a good modifier producing pleasing portrait lighting, it's a pain in the you-know-what to set-up and strike. I've shot with the Photoflex 7' Octo and that's an even bigger pain to set-up and take-down. Besides, the Softlighter produces almost the identical quality of light as a Photoflex Octo but is way easier to set-up and take-apart. The Mola dish, btw, fell out of favor with me simply because it's cumbersome to transport and most of my work was taking place at practical locations rather than in a studio. I still love the light the Mola dishes produce. But laziness efficiency has mostly prevailed. One thing hasn't changed: I still carry a full apple box for almost everything I shoot and my ass is plopped on it... nearly always. Course, I only sit on it when I'm shooting models because I like the slightly upward angle it has me shooting from... wink, wink -- bullshit -- wink, wink.

I've also gotten better (I think) at Photoshop over the years, albeit I'm anything but an accomplished PS user. Still, I get by with my limited PS skills... just.  For the most part, my images are processed by others, i.e., art departments, re-touchers, and graphic artists. But for the images I post here on the blog, as well those I use in my eBooks, I'm the art department/re-toucher/graphic artist and, trust me when I tell you, those who do that sort of thing for a living have nothing to worry about from me in terms of competing with them in the marketplace. I used to do everything in PS but, more recently, I've added a couple of other processing tools to my post-production workflow. Leastwise, when I choose to use them. They are OnOne Software's "Perfect Effects," which I use rather sparingly, and Zoner's Studio 15, which I use a bit more. Both were freebies made available by those companies otherwise I doubt I would have purchased them.

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