Archive | February 2013

Narrow Depth of Field Portrait


I love big catchlights and narrow depth of field.   The lighting set up is illustrated below

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 9.54.52 PM

It was a five light set up with two strip boxes in front, a shoot-through umbrella off to the right and two bare head monolights illuminating the backdrop.

I shoot in my home and it has relatively low clearance, less than 10 feet with white paint, thankfully non-gloss.  When the strobes go off, particularly off a blown out white background, the light ricochets around the room and spills over into the image.  It’s imperative to control this.  So recently, I’ve added two more backdrops to the studio.  I put black muslin and use these to keep the light from bouncing off the walls.  I also drape a third black muslin sheet over the top of the three backdrops to black out the ceiling.  I’m still working on making the backdrops stable, but the results work pretty well.

This was shot with an 85mm f/1.4 Zeiss lens on an APS-C sensor.  The subject was 1.2m from the camera meaning that this shot had 10mm depth of field. It took quite a few shots to get the eyes in sharp focus.   With a few more tries, I could have gotten a bit sharper, but this was pretty good for a test shot.


Felix in the home studio

Felix in the home studio

a quick shoot with a neighbor’s son

Slanted Lens One Light Tutorial

Slanted Lens One Light Tutorial

A succinct how-to on lighting with a single light.

Here is the basic idea.  They are using a light box shining down and a fill card.  Nice and easy.

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First Tilt-Shift Lens is coming

I’ve been fascinated by tilt-shift lenses since I got acquainted with their unique style.  It took my husband a long time to figure out how the tilting and shifting works to produce those fascinating images.

Sony doesn’t have any high quality tilt-shift lenses yet, so we grabbed a third party manufacturer, Arsat.  They’re based out of Ukraine, and though I was initially skeptical, the reviews were good enough to decide to give the 80mm lens a try.   Here is what it looks like


The cool thing about tilt shift, is that they can lens can tilt and shift as shown below

Tilting and Shifting

The tilting allows the focal plane to be tilted forward or backward.  This can create for very narrow depth of field, or in the case when the image is tilting away, allows for an image with a narrow depth of field to keep a tilted subject in focus for a longer distance.

The shifting is a bit more subtle. The field of view of usually symmetric above and below the image.  So that, for instance, an 80mm focal length lens on a 35mm camera, will capture 9 degrees above and 9 degrees below center to fall into the field of view.  Shifting allows this to be offset, so that 17 degrees above center and 1 degree below center fall into the field of view.  It essentially allows the camera to behave as if it is a medium format camera, where you’ve selectively cropped down to a full frame (35mm) image.

So we’re getting our tilt-shift tomorrow and we’ll see if we can get the unique images that only a tilt-shift can capture.

Massive Equipment Sale

Massive Equipment Sale

1000 to 2000 cameras for sale on EBay for $35k to $50k.  Pretty awesome

Ali on the Embarcadero

This was a night time shoot on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Ali had rented a few dresses from Rent-the-Runway and wanted to get some new shots for her blog.  We used two speed lights to light her.  Overall it was a pretty quick and successful shoot.

Ali on the Embarcadero