General

Just nonspecific topics

iStopMotion – Still images in Motion

I embark now on a new bit of photographic fun. Not only photo’s but video as well. I decided to play with iStopMotion. This was a very fun tool to use. The interface is simple and takes very little time to learn. Like those Claymation holiday movies this program creates a video from still frames. You position your character/object then snap an image. The program imports the file (if you have a web Camera/live view video camera you can see the image preview) then you move your character/object a little and take a picture. Repeat this process and your character comes to life.

The program has several tools to assist you like color correction and tilt shift controls. You can use a grid layout to help track motion. The program can also be use to capture time lapse photography. Additional tools like onion skin lets you overlay the current image over the previous on to insure you movement is fluid and not off. One of the other useful tools is the robo sync. You can for instance record an actor then use the footage to mimic the actors motion with the character/object. The program also comes with some preset foregrounds and backgrounds. Over all I say if you enjoy those old Claymation movies and want to create your own then you need to try iStopMotion.

Below is my first sample movie. I used iStopMotion then imported the project in After Effects to give it that night look and create the ghost. It was fun to make, hope to make another one soon! Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Go Pro…. Go Fun!!

I decided to get a GoPro camera. If you have not heard of these it may be due to the fact the main purpose of this camera is for extreme sports. I myself don’t do crazy sports or stunts but still I though I could have some fun with the camera.

Lets start with the basic stuff. You want to have good light. So far the performance has not been too great in low light. In daylight the color and quality are top notch. I like the widest view as it give a semi-fisheye effect to the video. I also like to use the 60 frames so I can slow down my video and not loose quality. The drawback is only shooting in 720 not 1080. If you don’t plan to use slow-motion effects then I say go all out and use the 1080p mode.

I have the helmet kit so it came with a lot of different mounts and a headband mount. I also purchased the roll-bar mount and the wrist mounts. The camera case has 2 backs. One is open allowing better sound while the solid back is better suited for high-speeds and rated up to 160’ under water. Did I mention this is a sports camera? Other mounts for surf boards, skateboards, suction cup, and different adhesives are available as well.

I have posted a couple quick videos I put together. 1 is using a helmet mount and attaching it to my dog’s collar and the other I used different mounts on my motorcycle.

Halloween Fun

Model - Alison Nunn
Halloween Haunting

Shooting a lot of basic things in studio and lots of models on white it is always fun to get out of the studio. I was given a change to shoot in a Halloween “Haunted House” and think I got some interesting images. After scouting the area we picked 3 rooms to shoot in. The first was a mock up of a house, with a yard, axes, and just lots of junk. Second was a graveyard and cage. Finally we shoot in a butcher’s house with tables, and kitchen area.

Most was shot with just simple costumes but we did add some stage blood for the butcher’s house. I didn’t know if we would have power so this shoot was done completely with speed lights using the Nikon ® CLS. I brought some modifiers like Gels, Umbrella, and Snoot plus light stands. I used the built in commander on my D300. This was nice because I could make adjustments on the fly if I didn’t like the lighting.

Nice Kitty

I chose to use the manual zoom sticking to my 50mm 1.8 and my 35mm 1.8 lenses. For those of you who don’t get the “manual” part… I just walked closer to model for the zoom. I also played a bit with the lens baby® to get some wild creepy effects. All the lenses I chose were fast primes because of the poor lighting. I did find this limiting in some areas but it was just something I had to work around. All in all this was a great shoot, now what to shoot next….

Glamour Photography Workshop Review

I had the pleasure of attending another workshop by Danny Griffin on glamor photography. We started with the basics. First setting the camera for our location. The location was a nice studio in downtown Kansas City on the top floor of an older building. Lots of large windows, bright color walls and old hardwood floors. It was a really nice location. Next we setup the lights to create highlights on the model. The back lights were more of a harsh lighting. These were set about 1 stop above the main light. The main light was a large soft box set slightly off center. We also used a kicker to ensure our model had even lighting.

We then had the pleasure of working with model Jessica Vaugn. We shot several different outfits. In addition we changed up the lighting to several different styles ranging from a single center to color gels for our back lights. Our photoshoot with Jessica was about an hour and a half.

Following the photoshoot we had a photo editing session. I always learn a lot from these. Even if it is a simple tip it really helps.

The other great part about the editing session is the fact you get feedback on how your images look. You get to see how others shoot the same model in the same setting. This is a great tool to learn what to change or not change.

Now as I always say I don’t give ratings. I think like any training you get out of it what you put into it. Each person learns differently. So, here is what you will get out of the workshop. First a chance to work with an experienced model. Second lots of lighting tips, ideas and the ability to put them to use with practice. Finally, a chance to learn new editing techniques. If this sounds good then the workshop is well worth your time. I know I enjoyed it and learned a lot. I would recommend this workshop.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Models

Over the years I have had the chance to work with many different models. Some turn out to fall into the diva category. Some turn out to be flakes but to spite all that most, I’d say 90% do a great job. That 90% are also the ones that realize it is a job.

When it comes to trade it seems to be simple but then as a photographer I have the impression that the model is either new or is trying something new. That is not a big deal because they have not been convinced that every shot has to look like a glamour shot. Far from that in commercial photography I want more natural looks, honest expressions and most of all I want the image to look real.

My issue lately has been finding paid models. Most likely because of the market I live in. Small market, limited choice and most are asking more than a large market rate. Because of the market size I have little choice here. My current dilemma is the need to complete a project but finding the model that fits the look. I found 10 in the area and sent requests to shoot on a specific day. From the 10 requests I sent out I got 3 responses. 2 of the 3 were to say they were currently booked. These 2 models are now on the list of models I would contact again just for the fact they took the time to respond to my request.

The 3rd model said she could do the project. Great news, looks like I may have this in the bag! We went over the rate, the looks needed, she had a location that fit the style. So far everything is good. Sent a copy of the release to complete with a photo ID required this was all good. At this point I am thinking I have this in the bag. Last thing to do is nail down the schedule. I sent her the time start time and let her know we could actually start any time after that, just let me know what works. I get back a response for a different day all together. I sent back an email to explain that the shoot was for the day listed on the casting call. Model response “I have plans that day so we need to change the date.”

I had to expand my search, look in other markets and now looks like I will have to travel about 3 hours if I want to do the project. But the good new here is the area I am traveling to has a workshop going on, so those who attend workshops… New review coming soon! I think this blog was more of me bitching that being constructive…. LOL

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Creative Photo Editing

Sometimes you just have to get a bit creative to give your image that little extra spark. Maybe add a motion blur or zoom blur. Change the color a bit or in this case I did all of the above. First I desaturated the color making it almost black and white. Next I made a second layer and masked out my model. Then on the base layer I darkened it to give it a night look. Next on my mask layer I added a zoom blur and a motion blur centered on the area where the model would have been. Next I used a plugin to add a night vision effect. I then added a film grain to the top layer before setting the opacity to 90% and flatting the image. This is the result. Have fun with photo editing, there is a lot you can do it just takes a bit of trial and error!!
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad, Thanks – Allen

The iPad is a great tool not just a fun new toy!

So I recently bought an IPad.  I thought it would be fun and I haven’t bought “new” technology when it was first released in a LONG time.  I usually wait a while until everyone else has one.  For example IPhone came out and everyone rushed out to get one what did I get… a blackberry.  For some reason this was different.  I saw the ad read the hype and just decided I think I’d use that!

As a photographer I already found it useful.  I uploaded samples of my images, my calendar, email and of course music.  I was at a workshop that I will be reviewing in a couple weeks (when I have time to finish a few more images) and a photographer took out his IPhone to show some samples.  So I took out my IPad to do the same.  The Model said and I quote “No way! You didn’t just whip out an IPad”.  It was a hit, everyone stopped to look at the thing.  I have since used it for another client to see samples.

You don’t have to have big files, smaller 600X800 72dpi files look great.  The only issue I have with the picture manager is that you can’t arrange your folders the way you want them.   I really see this as more than just an organization tool.  I can see this as being a stepping stone to a new breed of electronic portfolio.  Sleek look, lots of great apps and easy to use the IPad gets a gold star!!