Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Tag Archives: Light

Light Painting Photography, 18 of the Worlds Best Artists Painting With Light

Light Painting Photography has been around since 1914 when Frank Gilbreth first use the form to study the motion of manufacturing and clerical workers. Light painting photography is also known as light painting, light drawing, light writing, light graffiti, light art, light art performance photography, LAPP, camera painting, and kinetic photography. All of these names are, in one form or another, long exposure photography. In Light Painting Photography the artist is leaving the shutter of the camera open for an extended period of time and using various lights to create color and design within the frame. Shutter speeds for light paintings can vary anywhere from 5 seconds up to 5 hours or more. To be a true light painting photograph the image must be created in one single frame without any post production manipulation whatsoever, a.k.a. NO PHOTOSHOP. Proper light painting photographs are known as SOOC or straight out of camera. This is a list of 18 of the worlds best light painting photographers.

Troy Paiva: Troy has been capturing his imagery since 1989 and is best known for his light painting work of abandon building and places that America has lost to time.

Dean Chamberlain: Dean began light painting in the late 70′s and has created stunning portraits of well known individuals such as David Bowie and Paul McCartney.

See the rest of the 18 here on the Tripwire Magazine site

Portrait Photography Course Oxford

We are working on our next schedule of courses and one that is always popular is our Portrait Photography Course. We teach about light, natural light and how to manipulate it to suit your  needs, how to get it to create the atmosphere you want. We also teach about posing, subject empathy and a host of other areas related to portrait photography. If you would like to receive our next course schedule send us an email.

If you can’t wait for our next Portrait Photography Course then this post on the ever useful Digital Photography School blog by Heather Bettison will give you some very good ideas.

“Has buying the right studio lighting setup stopped you from taking your portrait photography seriously? It shouldn’t. You can take great portraits with natural light.

Photography is about light. Learning how to see light is essential to developing your photographic eye. When taking pictures, being able to determine the intensity, color and direction of the light will help you know how to position your subject and which camera settings to use.”….more

How to Photograph the Blue Hours With Amazing Results

Really good tutorial By Christopher O’Donnell at Lightstalking.  “While you’ve most likely heard of the golden hours – that time right after sunrise or before sunset where the outdoors turn into a golden paradise – the blue hours are also a fantastic time to photograph under dramatic lighting.

Chances are you’ve seen examples of blue hour photography but didn’t realize that they were anything more than well-timed night shots. To get that blue/purple quality to your images, there’s a specific window of opportunity during the twilight times (just before sunrise and after sunset) where your image is flooded with a stunning overcast light, illuminating your scene in an otherworldly fashion.”....more

What the Dutch Masters Can Teach Us About Photography: The Center of Interest Click Here: Light Stalking » What the Dutch Masters Can Teach Us About Photography: The Center of Interest

Those clever people at Lighstalking have come up with another great tutorial

The Dutch golden age of painting in the 17th century produced some of the most incredible art the world has ever seen. These masters of light drew on a rich heritage spanning hundreds (and arguably thousands) of years and are still revered for their knowledge and mastery of composition and colour. But what can they really teach us about the modern art of photography? As it turns out, plenty. So much, in fact, that entire books could be written. So in the interests of brevity we’re going to briefly cover a single element of composition that the Dutch masters were brilliant at.

You will notice that in each case your eye is drawn to a specific area of the painting. The woman in the first painting, the peasants on the left of the second painting and the riders and man in the red jacket in the last. In painting this is known as a center of interest and it’s something that can be used to great effect in photography too. But how?....more

50 Images from National Geographic`s 2010 Photo Contest

You may not be able to enter the 2010 contest but there is always 2011 and 2012. Here are some of the entries, the standard is high, the imagery varied and the subject matter vast. Do have a look at these there are some real gems, go here for more

Off Camera Flash – Get Professional Results with Small Flash Units

“Flash photography is one of the most popular topics we cover here in the blog.  Using standard system flash units on-, or off-camera is something everyone seems to be interested in. The reason is that with a little understanding, it’s pretty easy to get professional-level results with the kind of flash units that were designed to slip into the hot shoe on your camera.  As a matter of fact, you can get the look of real studio portraiture with your Canon or Nikon flash units (or any good flash), you just have to know how.” writes Ed Verosky on his blog About Photography….more  Another site worth checking out if you are thinking of using your flash units off camera is Strobist

This article on Strobist was one of the most popular on the blog with the title Brad Trent on the Fake Reality of Portraits not sure if fake reality is not just an oxymoron, anyway the post is worth reading

Tips for Light Painting

Light painting is one of the most searched topics on the blog, so any help I can give should be well received, here is a post with 10 tips to help you do it better plus a video if you prefer……..”Light painting is an incredibly fun technique in which photographers use flashlights, camera flashes, and spotlights to literally paint light into a scene.  It’s one of the most fun night photography techniques.  Many photographers have attempted it, but only a few have mastered it (and I’m admittedly NOT one who has mastered it).  Nevertheless, I want to share a few things that I have learned while trying out light painting.”……...more tips here

Here’s the daddy of all light painting images

How to Make an Impressionist Style Portrait

“The impressionist painters have taught us that it doesn’t take a whole lot of detail to suggest meaning in an image; so it is with photography. Instead of snapping what is literally in front of us, we can capture in a photo the images we have in our minds. With the right content, lighting, and a dash of post work, you can create a dreamy image. Here’s how I made these impressionist style portraits.”


alohal

Editorial fashion photographer and freelance correspondent based in Bangkok, Thailand. My main man is a Canon, but I flirt with Nikon sometimes. You can find me on Twitter as @alohalavina, blogging at http://www.pointofutterance.com, and my portfolio is at http://alohal.com.

4 Rules of Composition for Landscape Photography

Here’s four ‘rules’ for landscape photography that might be helpful……more from those nice people at Digital Photo School

Another great tutorial from Ed Verosky at About Photography

Simple Direct Flash For Effect

Julie-1

There’s no doubt that light modifiers are extremely useful for controlling the look and behavior of flash. Manufacturers are constantly coming up with new ways to snoot, spot, diffuse, bounce, color, and ring-light a basic flash unit. It’s gotten to the point where you rarely see anyone use a speedlite (or speedlight) these days without some extra attachment. But it doesn’t mean your flash is useless without a mini-softbox or piece of plastic on the end of it. Many people choose to use their flash units with no modifier, aimed straight at the subject.

Classic-portrait-1

I like to use the direct approach with my flash units for a certain look people have often referred to as “dirty.” I think of it as kind of a raw or dangerous look. Not that direct flash has to look that way, it’s just the look I like to get from it.

Last week, I did a quick set with actress Julia O’Neill. The plan was to explore darker characters, so I dispensed with my usual shoot-thru umbrellas and got these shots.

The idea for the first shot was simply to have Julia get on the floor and play the part of someone who’s had too much going on that night (use your imagination). I used a Canon 580EX II positioned on a light stand to my right, at a lower power setting, and aimed in her general direction. I used a step-ladder to get some vertical distance.

Classic-portrait-2

As you can see, there are hot spots and uneven lighting which adds to the amateur or “low-budget” effect of the shot. I added some vignetting in post to add to the darkened back-room feel. A spotlight or vignette look might also have been accomplished with a grid or snoot attachment, flags, or a combination of the two, but it’s just so easy to change and control this look in post I prefer to do it that way.

I’ve included a couple of images showing how I normally setup my flash on a stand. The image on the right illustrates the shoot-thru umbrella configuration, however I didn’t use the umbrella for the shots in this article.

Shot above: 17-40mm @ 33mm, ISO 100, f/4.0, 1/250 sec.

Julie-2

In the next shot I used two lights; one positioned hard right and one just above Julia’s head. Both were unmodified Speedlites. Again, the idea was to portray a darker character in an emotionally-charged situation. In the photo below, she moved half her face into the shadow area for an intense, partially hidden look.

B/W Shots: 50mm, ISO 200, f/4.0, 1/250 sec.

Julie-3

Just remember that all photography doesn’t have to be made with soft, pretty, even lighting. Lighting is a tool you can use to tell a story, not just something you need to “get right” according to what you’ve seen other people do. Check out the work of Terry Richardson and Ellen von Unwerth for great examples of harder lighting (NSFW). Experiment with your DSLR or even a point and shoot to see how you can tell a story with direct flash on, or off, the camera.

 

You can see more from Ed on his site, here is the link