portraiture

Using simple #Lighting for a #Baseball #Portrait

On Sunday I had an assignment to shoot 3 team members of the Ferndale U11 Cal Ripkin All-Stars.

As part of the assignment for The Bellingham Herald, I was to meet three standouts and photograph them at practice. To be safe, I met the three early for a quick portrait session.

Always thinking on a larger scale, I kept picturing 3 major leaguers and wanted to light them as if I was working at Sports Illustrated. Hey why not think big. They may be 11, but why let that limit how you shoot it.

Using my set Nikon SB-910 speedlights and Phottix Odin TTL flash trigger and remotes, I set up a simple “studio” at home plate.

Three All-Stars:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Evan Rehrberger, Ethan Brooks, and Greg Roberts of the Ferndale 11-U Cal Ripkin All-Star team.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Evan Rehrberger, Ethan Brooks, and Greg Roberts of the Ferndale 11-U Cal Ripkin All-Star team.

As a safety, I asked one of the dads to be a test subject so I can get the light placed correctly and power output set properly. I like my strobes at a 1:2 ratio.

The main light I place on the right at about 90 degrees from the camera-subject line. The secondary fill light, at a 45 degree angle on the left. I switched the main from left to right while keeping the 1:2 ratio. This gave me lighting choices to keep me from second guessing myself during the editing process.

With the sky dark from clouds, I tried to set my exposure to underexpose the ambient light by one stop.  But in retrospect, I should have underexposed the ambient by 2 stops. Live and learn I guess.

For the three youths in one shot, I kept the lights simple: placed each strobe at a 45° angle and evenly lit.

One Shot:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -(l to r) Evan Rehrberger, Greg Roberts, and Ethan Brooks,  of the Ferndale 11U All-Star baseball team during practice at Pioneer Park on Sunday afternoon July 6, 2014,  in Ferndale, Wash.. Catcher Greg Roberts, first baseman Ethan Brooks, and second baseman Evan Rehberger featured.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -(l to r) Second baseman Evan Rehrberger, catcher Greg Roberts, and first baseman Ethan Brooks, of the Ferndale 11U All-Star baseball team during practice at Pioneer Park on Sunday afternoon July 6, 2014, in Ferndale, Wash.

  • 2 SB-910 Speedlights placed about 5 feet from subject(s). IMPORTANT!!! Set the mode for the strobes to manual.
  • Phottix Odin TTL triggers used to control light output. They give you the ability to control the light output from the camera.
  • Have subject turn to their left towards the main light to give dimension to the face.
  • Adjust lighting as needed using transmitter.
  • Swap the lights between subjects for variety. Place the left at 90° and the right at 45° for variety.
  • I did not use a tripod to be more fluidlic. But my camera position was in a general area about 5 to 7 feet from the subject.
  • For the 3 Subject photo, I placed each light at 45 degrees and set to full.

Here’s a couple of tips, which I went over in a previous blog Intro To Creative Flash: Balancing Your Flash with Ambient Light

  • Because the flash duration is so short (1/100th of a second or shorter), the aperture controls the amount of light when your flash is set on manual. Keep in mind this only works on manual. If you have your flash on auto , TTL, program, or whatever, this won’t work and you’ll get more confused. It must be on manual mode.
  • The shutter control the ambient light for the most part. Use the FP mode on your strobe if you need to go higher than the camera’s highest flash synch speed.

Simply: aperture for your flash, shutter speed for the ambient. It takes some practice, but it’s well worth it and gives you more tools for your photographic toolbox.

Simple lighting Set-up:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Using just two strobes with diffusers place about 5 feet from subjects. Radio remotes to trigger. Simple and easy.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Using just two strobes with diffusers place about 5 feet from subjects. Radio remotes to trigger. Simple and easy.

Practice! Practice! Practice!!!

Photography is NOT a Spectator Sport!!

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.

Also, feel free to share and reblog, link to, and add your site in the comment section.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

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Reflections of 2013 – My Best Images From the Past Year

This post is a bit late as I’ve dealt with the passing of my beloved father-in-law Todd. He was a great man, a retired Army 10th Special Forces member who  spent time in Korea during the Vietnam War, in Iraq, Nigeria, and Afghanistan and other places that if he told me “(he) would have to kill me.  He became a great friend who I admired and respected. His laugh was infectious. He was a great soul and loved by everyone. His loss weighs heavy on my heart as well as my wife Heidi’s.

As the year comes to a close, I submit what I would consider my best images from 2013. These range from landscapes to city scenes to portraits to events. It’s been a fun and eventful year as I’ve worked with Getty Images, the Mount Baker Experience magazine, Total Confidence Martial Arts, won photography awards with the City of Bellingham and the Whatcom Tourism Board, Victoria’s Secret, and a few others.

During the past year, I also became more serious about pursuing portraiture and weddings. Although I love journalism and see not only its importance but its value, I must move my career towards more local work. And what’s more important that capturing the love between two friends?

I would like to give a big Thank You to all my followers and friends for reading and commenting on my blog. Without you, this blog would not exist.

Watching The Ships Roll In: – A man watches a sailboat during Sunset on the Boardwalk at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash. –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - A man watches a sailboat traverse the setting Sun while ejoying a front row seat of a gorgeous sunset at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday Aug. 25, 2013.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – A man watches a sailboat traverse the setting Sun while ejoying a front row seat of a gorgeous sunset at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday Aug. 25, 2013. (© Paul Conrad/ Paul Conrad Photography)

Foggy Morning Walk:A pedestrian on Cordata Parkway during a foggy autumn walk in Bellingham, Wash. –

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - A woman walks her dog into the morning fog at the Boardwalk in Bellngham, Wash.

A woman walks her dog into the morning fog at the Boardwalk in Bellngham, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/ Paul Conrad Photography)

Sunset Jog: A jogger on the Boardwalk against the setting Sun in Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash. –

A runner jogs along the Boardwalk at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash., during a blazing Sunset on Sunday evening April 14, 2013. (© Paul Conrad/ Paul Conrad Photography) bellingham photographer, bellingham wedding photographer

A runner jogs along the Boardwalk at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash., during a blazing Sunset on Sunday evening April 14, 2013. (© Paul Conrad/ Paul Conrad Photography)

Full Moon Rising: The super perigee Moon rises between the turrets of the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash. –

The full super perigee Moon rises over the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., on Monday evening July 22, 2012.  (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)  bellingham photographer, bellingham wedding photography,

The full super perigee Moon rises over the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., on Monday evening July 22, 2012. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

String of Pearls: Dew drops on a spider web –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Morning fog dapples a spider web with dew on West Bakerview in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday morning Oct. 4, 2013.  (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography), bellingham wedding photography, bellingham photographer

Morning fog dapples a spider web with dew on West Bakerview in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday morning Oct. 4, 2013. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

Mount Baker Alpenglow: The setting sun bathes Mount Baker in its rays –

The setting Sun alights Mount Baker in alpenglow on Monday evening July 22, 2013.  (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography), bellingham wedding photographer, bellingham photography

The setting Sun alights Mount Baker in alpenglow on Monday evening July 22, 2013. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

Lone Wolf: A red rose among a sea of yellow during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in April –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.

Mt. Shuksan: Melting ice on Picture Lake –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Mount Shuksan is reflected in a thawing Picture Lake as it is lit by the setting Sun on Saturday June, 22, 2013, while the super perigee Moon begins its ascent into the sky.

Footprints: My foot prints in the snow atop a frozen Picture Lake while capturing Mt. Shuksan in alpenglow –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Alpenglow on Mt. Shuksan in the Mount Baker/Snoqualmie Wilderness in northwest Washington east of Bellingham.

Little DJs: Kids playing DJ at the wedding reception of Chelsea and Ryan –

Junior DJs- Kids play DJ at the wedding of Chelsea and Ryan

Soaring: An American Bald Eagle on Whidbey Island

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - A Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) takes flight along West Beach Road on Whidbey Island east of Oak Harbor, Wash.

Strength: Anna Haskin as she prepares for an upcoming bout –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Muay Thai black belt Anna Haskin trains at Total Confidence Martial Arts in Bellingham, Wash., for an upcoming bout. Haskin has recently began competing in the amateur circuit.

Concentration: Anna as she prepares for an upcoming bout –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Muay Thai black belt Anna Haskin trains at Total Confidence Martial Arts in Bellingham, Wash., for an upcoming bout. Haskin has recently began competing in the amateur circuit.

Bedazzled Bellingham: The setting sun ignites the Twin Sisters and Bellingham –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad PhotographyThe setting Sun glints off windows and street signs in Bellingham, Wash., as it bathes the snow capped peaks of The Twin Sisters of the Cascade Mountain range in its last rays.

Celebrating Freedom: 4th of July fireworks of Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash. –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Boats moored at Squalicum Harbor as fireworks explode overhead during Fourth of July celebrations at Zuanich Point Park in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday July 4, 2013.

What A Show: Kayaking at sunset in Bellingham Bay –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - A kayaker paddles on Bellingham Bay under a brilliant sky near the Boardwalk in Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash., on Tuesday evening June 25, 2013.

Diving Over: Mt. Baker senior quarterback Andrew Zender (11) flips over a Meridian defender on Thursday evening Oct. 31, 2013, in Bellingham, Wash. Mt. Baker defeated Meridian 24-17.

Mt. Baker senior quarterback Andrew Zender (11) flips over a Meridian defender on Thursday evening Oct. 31, 2013, in Bellingham, Wash. Mt. Baker defeated Meridian 24-17. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography) bellingham wedding photographer, bellingham photography

Mt. Baker senior quarterback Andrew Zender (11) flips over a Meridian defender on Thursday evening Oct. 31, 2013, in Bellingham, Wash. Mt. Baker defeated Meridian 24-17. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

Artemis the Archer: Ann Benem of Benem’s Body Work portrays the archer Artemis for an upcoming calender

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Ashley Benem of Benem's Body Works portrays the Greek goddess Artemis during a photoshoot for a calendar.

Queen Amidala: Crystal von Oy portrays Queen Amidala during the 2013 Emerald City Comicon –

© Paul Conrad/SyFy/Getty ImagesCrystal Von Oy of Mill Creek, Wash., portrays Queen Amidala from Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace during the 2nd day of the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday Mar. 2, 2013.

Perfect Form:

Shannon blocks a round kick from Alyssa during Muay Thai Camp at Total Confidence Martial Arts in Bellingham –
© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Arjhan David Neal Brown teaches during the first day the PNW Muay Thai camps at Total Confidence Martial Arts in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday evening Aug. 23, 2013

These may not be “THE BEST,” but they’re my favorite of the year.

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.

Also, feel free to share and reblog, link to, and add your site in the comment section.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

Follow me on these various Social Networks:

  1. Instagram: @PaulConradPhotography
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Paul Conrad is an award-winning photographer living in Bellingham north of Seattle, WA, in the Pacific Northwest. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and in Europe. He is available for assignments anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Although his specialty is photojournalism covering news, sports, and editorial portraits, he also is skilled in family portraiture, high school senior portraits, and weddings.

Calendar Photography: Illuminating Goddesses

***Updated***

For the past week or so I’ve shot portraits of Goddesses for my local client Ashley Benem of Benem’s Body Works.

Ashley contacted me through a friend of a friend. Upon first discussion, her ideas intrigued me and wanted to work with Ashley on her project. She needed various models dressed as certain goddesses for her calendar.

These consisted mostly of studio sessions with a few outdoor shoots. For the studio, I used Einstein monolights made by Paul C. Buff.  These lights are phenomenal.

I borrowed them from my good friend Earnie Glazener of Seattle, Wash. I’ve used studio lights multiple times before, but these were fantastic. With a quick tutoring session, I realized I need to get me a set of them.

For the main light, I used one with the parabolic light umbrella (The PLM system), which is basically a huge beauty dish and gives off some wonderful light. My fill was a basic soft box by Paul C. Buff. On some shots for more dramatic light, I used a Photflex reflector to fill in the shadows for more dramatic light.

For the outside shots, I just used the reflector to fill in the shadow areas.

After setting up the lights, I took a few test shots each day using my Color Checker Passport by X-Rite Photo. Just a few shots at the metered exposure and then a few more bracketed. The good thing with the Einstein lights is that they are extremely consistent with their color temperature.

These are some of my favorites and how I lit them:

Artemis the Hunter:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Ashley Benem of Benem's Body Works portrays the Greek goddess Artemis the Archer, Goddess of the Hunt, Forests, the Hill, and the Moon, during a photoshoot for her upcoming calendar.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Ashley Benem of Benem’s Body Works portrays the Greek goddess Artemis the Archer, Goddess of the Hunt, Forests, the Hill, and the Moon, during a photoshoot for her upcoming calendar.

Lighting: What was important in this photo was the angle of her drawing the bow (it is a real bow and arrow) and the ability to see her eyes. Yes, the inspiration for the angle was the movie poster for The Hunger Games.

A basic lighting set-up was used for this image. Ashley was simply lit with the large PLM umbrella on the left and a powered down soft box (2 stops under) on the right. Exposure was 1/250th at f/11 using my D300s with 80-200 zoomed halfway for a slightly compressed feel.

Post Processing:  Simply brought into Adobe Camera Raw to get correct color balance and add a little fill light. Brought into Photoshop and used separate layers for curves (slight increase in mid-tones) and Black & White layer for the sepia.

Persephone Daughter of Zeus:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Greek goddess Persephone daughter of Zeus being tempted by Hades. Queen of the Underworld and vegetation goddess.

Lighting:  What was important in the photo was all the white with emphasis on the reds of the pomegranate and her lipstick, yet, still maintain some color for her skintones.

The model was simply lit with the large PLM umbrella on the right and the soft box on the left as fill. I wanted less depth of field so I powered down all the strobes to their minimum. Exposure was 1/250th at f/4 using my D300s with 50mm f/1.4  focused on the pomegranate.

Post Processing:  I brought the image into Adobe Camera Raw twice: once for correct exposure and color balance, the second time to get the overall overexposed look. Those were then layered in Photoshop with the bright layer converted as a smart object and placed on top of the “correct” layer. I then used the eraser tool with the opacity and flow settings set to the mid-range on that layer to bring out the red in the lips and pomegranate of the underlying layer. I then added a curves adjustment layer to flatten the highlights and add just a touch of contrast.

Athena Goddess of War:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Athena the daughter of Zeus, Greek Goddess of wisdom, warfare, architecture, divine intelligence, and crafts.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Athena the daughter of Zeus, Greek Goddess of wisdom, warfare, architecture, divine intelligence, and crafts.

Lighting: What was important in this photo is to make her look the part. Ashley did a great job coaching her to bring out the character as she did with all the models.

While shooting, I had to pay attention to the sword because when it was turned the “correct” way, the glare was overwhelming. The model was simply lit with the large PLM umbrella on the right and using a Photoflex MulitDisc 5-in-1 reflector on the right using the gold fabric surface. I wanted less depth of field so I used my 80-200 to compress it a touch. Exposure was 1/250th at f/11 using my D300s with 80-200 f/ 2.8 focused on her eyes.

Post Processing: I brought the image into Adobe Camera Raw for correct exposure and color balance. Then using Photoshop, I layered a curves layer to bring in the mid-tones and add some contrast by anchoring the upper shadow area. Then I added a Black & White layer to add the sepia toning.

Brighid- Celtic Goddess of Childbirth & Poetry:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Brighid the Celtic Goddess of Childbirth and Poetry.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Brighid the Celtic Goddess of Childbirth and Poetry.

Lighting: What was important in this photo is to ensure the herbs on her left were properly lit as well as lighting the globe with a spot light so it has a glowing feel to it.

While shooting, I had to pay attention to the globe to make sure the model held it in the spot where my snooted SB-800 strobe was firing. The rest of the model was simply lit with the large PLM umbrella on the left as the main light to keep the herbs well-lit.  The right side was lit using a soft box set about 2 stops under the main. Exposure was 1/250th at f/11 using my D300s with 17-35 f/ 2.8 at about 20mm focal length.

Post Processing: I brought the image into Adobe Camera Raw for correct exposure and color balance. I also made the shadows a little deeper to drop out the black background. Then after importing it into Photoshop, I layered a curves layer to bring in the mid-tones and add some contrast by anchoring the upper shadow area. Then I added a Black & White layer to add the sepia toning. With the B&W layer, I added a mask and using the eraser tool, deleted that part over the herbs to bring out the green. The opacity and flow settings on the eraser tool were set to the mid-ranges to keep the edges from being to stark.

There are a total of 13 models for this shoot. Each one has their own special characteristics. Each one with their own special circumstances. These are just my 4 favorites.

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.
Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.

Also, feel free to share and reblog, link to, and add your site in the comment section.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

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