After our outdoor forest shoot, we had some time left for a quick session ‘at The Mansion’.

The Mansion is still my favorite location for indoor shooting, since it has so many possibilities. Whatever moment of the day, there’s always a room that has nice light, the building is free-standing, which means that there are windows all around, and some rooms have windows on three sides. So besides choosing my main light source, all I have to check is my own position, the position of my model, in respect to the multiple windows I have around me. I can shoot with a window in my back, and still shoot against the light with the window just in front of me.

On the attic, I have rooms with only a small light, on cloud covered days that becomes very similar to what a softbox would do. On sunny days, I have a light spot on the floor, which reacts as an indirect light, and I still get the ‘softbox’ windowlight. On sunny days I rather not shoot in straight sunlight, because of the huge contrast ratios between sun-lit area’s and shadow areas.

Some images to illustrate my explanations:

1. One of the attic rooms, a single window at the right of my model, cloudy day, no direct sunlight, a door opening just left of the image, you actually see the door at the left side. Gives me enough light to create that small rim light on the hair and body, and it adds just that little extra light on the floor, to make the rest of the body shape stand out.

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2. The office: A row of windows left as well as right from the model. Moderate light amount. There is an additional window light just behind the model, above the door. I added the extra bit of artificial light, available in the room. (some small bulbs) The artificial light creates a warm color cast, that can be annoying because the natural light is color neutral or blueish, depending on the weather conditions.

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Same location, but I changed position.

Now I’m shooting against the light, but also with the light coming from behind me.  The windows are big enough to provide a soft overall light, slightly coming from above, the windows in the back produce a very beautiful contour light all over my model. Note that I position myself in a way that my model is in front of a darker background, otherwise the rim light would get lost. (this was the first picture actually, Fien still has the hairdo from the exterior shoot.)

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3. The angels room. Named after a beautiful decoration above the wooden side panels, with angels and flower, …

I have my main window light just behind me, aimed west, this picture was one of the last, so not long before sunset. There’s two more windows on the right, one just behind the model, one a little further away. The window just behind the model was covered with curtains, so only the far right window remains. Again this window helps creating a nice hairlight and ‘sheds a little light’ to the back end of the sofa.
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4. The main entrance. Here my model actually stands outside, under the porch covering the entrance to the front door. This is perfect soft light for nice portraits. It is evenly distributed from above and from below, and it prevents hard shadows under the eyebrows. I have no backlight, but the glass in the front door provides a little definition of the hair contours.


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5. The stairway. The main light source here is artificial light, coming from above (slightly warm tinted) The rim light is coming from a window behind the model, higher up the wall, spanning from left to right. This gives the nice light on the hair, the side of the head, the cleavage and breast, as well as the wooden pillars. Again mixed light white balance, but to me it is ok.

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6. Also taken in the angels room, this time the model is standing where I took picture 3, back to the window, The window is big and high, providing enough light for an overall well lit image. Now we opened the curtains of the opposing window, giving a beautiful fill in light from the left.

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To all aspiring model photographers out there, I hope you learnt something from these short explanations.

To all the others, I hope you enjoyed the images.

A big thank you to Fien for her confidence and cooperation. She never posed before, I think she did really well. Above that she’s a charm to work with. A big thank you also to the owners of The Mansion, for giving me continued access to this magnificent building.

see you again soon,

ludwig

Hi there,

Another model post. For a change I went outdoors with my model. Fall had turned the so called ‘Muziekbos’ (Music Forest) into this wonderful palette of fall colors the last few weeks, and I found it a pity not to use this amazing environment for my next shoot.
I met Fien at Bioplanet Ghent (that’s what shopping organic stuff is good for ;-) ) and after checking my blog she agreed for a model shoot. We met at my place, and Nathalie couldn’t resist of making a quick hairdo. I think it suited well for this romantic backdrop.
Off for shooting, rather cold outside temperatures, but Fien didn’t complain at all. Still we didn’t make this a long session, about 40 minutes. The gray covered sky provided very soft natural light, good for outside portraits.

I mixed black and white and color images in this set. I get to like BW images more and more, but couldn’t have converted them all and loose those great fall colors.
I hope you like the images, taken with my trusty Canon 5D II and 24-50-100 mm lenses.

Oh, and during the shoot, we stumbled upon Bart Heirweg, a very good landscape photographer from Belgium. He was shooting fall colors too, but with a slightly different approach. ;-)  You should check out his website, he makes the most amazing landscape images, and offers his knowledge in different workshops. Website

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See you again soon for part II of this shoot meeting: Fien at The Mansion. Those images will follow later this week.

best,

Ludwig

Roselien has long legs, no even longer, …
She contacted me recently because she had seen my work, and she loved the ‘full of character and emotion’ part of my photography. I think I need to write that down, for future speeches.
She volunteered to be a model if I needed one. I think Roselien proved to be a model able of expressing emotion and character herself. On top of that she has very intriguing eyes, very pale almost like those snow dogs (husky). Oh and those legs, endle(g)ss they seem. We had fun working together on a dull and gray afternoon end october.

All images shot on Canon 5D mark II and with Sigma 50 mm f1.4 Art and Canon 100 mm f2.8 L IS Macro.

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Thank you for watching, see you soon!

Ludwig

It has been a while since I first started thinking about how to define ‘fine erotica’ and what can be described as being erotic, and I still am not really sure how to describe it. I think it must be a mix of State of mind, sexual attraction, visual appeal and a lot of fantasy about the promise of an intimate relationships. For me erotica is not directly linked to nude, and nude is not per definition erotic. I think there’s a lot of nudity available on the internet that has little or no erotic effect, rather the contrary. And there are some (harder to find) very erotic, non nude pictures out there as well.
As a photographer it is not easy to find and keep that very thin border between ‘just another picture of a beautiful woman’ – fine erotica – ‘just plain vulgar’. And that is just what I’m trying to achieve in some of my photo shoots.
I think I have the necessary technical knowledge now, but there’s a lot more needed.
One of those things needed is a willing model, understanding your ideas and showing enough confidence to let you execute them. Not easily done these days, where all things including nudity, erotica and sexual arousal are hidden far away behind closed bedroom doors.
It will be a long search, and I feel I only have just started out.

This shoot was done with help of Audrey from Hotel Remington in Ronse, thank you Audrey, for keeping a room for us that day. Clicking on the name-link will take you to the website of this nice, charming hotel.

Emilie was ready. She understood the things I wanted her to evoke, and she did it. Thank you so much Emilie, for your confidence, your trust and the beautiful results we made together.

Emilie is not really sure about revealing herself to the world as being a nude model, so we agreed to show only ‘non recognizable images on this blog’. I hope you understand, and I hope you can enjoy these pictures.

 

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Hi there,
another small tutorial on how to make a HDR image, without the (in my opinion) ugly HDR look.
I will be using Adobe lightroom and Adobe Photoshop in this tutorial, but you might do the same entirely within Photoshop, or with Lightroom and another application that will let you merge bracketed images into one single 32 bit (high dynamic range) file.

Here’s the procedure:
Make sure to have a series of images, that will span the entire dynamic range of the scene. This means from detail in the brightest of highlights (the darkest image) to detail in the darkest shadows (the brightest image). Of course you will need a tripod to have exactly the same composition in each and every image. In this case, I have images taken over 5 stops exposure difference, going from 2,5 sec at f22 (brightest), up to 1/6th sec at f22 (darkest) making full stop intervals 2,5 – 1,3 – 0,6 – 0,3 – 1/6. Remember: never ever use aperture to make a bracketing series, since that will have a severe impact on the depth of field in your image. Shutter speed only changes the exposure, nothing else. (unless there’s moving objects in the scene, but that’s a different thing)
Original exposures: Click for bigger image.

bracketing series TenT

Import the images in Lightroom (or any other RAW editor) and change nothing but: Lens corrections (deformations and color aberrations) and eventually your image crop (make sure to synchronize your edits on all images).

In Lightroom, with all your images selected, right click -> Edit in -> Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop
(That is accessible from within photoshop under: File -> Automate -> Merge to HDR Pro … in case you do not start from Lightroom)
At that moment, Photoshop will mangle the image data from all images together, into one file with 32 bit information. All exposure data from the original 12 or 14 bit images is contained in this single
file. You will see that happen in a separate plug-in window in Photoshop.

HDRPRO

When Photoshop is done with this, you’ll have different options available on the right hand side. We’ll choose to work in 32 bit mode. (when you have moving elements in your scene, you might try to tick the ‘remove ghosts’ box.)
The position of the slider below the histogram has no impact on further development in Lightroom. (Complete toning in ACR is to be used when you do not have Lightroom, and you want to further edit this image in Adobe Camera Raw.)
Below on the left hand side, you can see the original exposures, and their respective exposure values.

Click ok, Photoshop will now quit this HDR Pro window, and show you the image in the standard editor.
Do nothing but save the image in its current state. It should save a tiff file in the same spot as where the original raw images were on your hard drive. When you get back to lightroom, you should have a new image available, this might show up at the end of your filmstrip.

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You can now further develop this image in Lightroom the way you are used to, but there’s one important difference: in stead of having an exposure slider of -5 to +5 stops, you’ll now have a slider that has a range from -10 to +10 stops. You’ll probably not use it that far, but that indicates that you are working on a 32 bit image now.
You’ll probably reduce the highlights a lot, to get back your detail in the highlight area, and consecutively you will probably up the shadows quite a bit, to get detail in your darker areas. Beware that to keep your results realistic, you should take care to keep some contrast in your image. In that understanding, it might be a good idea to locally paint in highlight and shadow detail, and not use the standard tab to its full extend. Look at how the circus tent get’s a lot more attention in the final image. This is done with the local adjustment brush, and delicately brushing more or less exposure/contrast/clarity in certain areas.

Final image: Click for bigger version.
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About the image. This picture was taken during a school trip with my architectural photography students at Kisp. The image shows one of the main halls of the Tour and Taxis site in Brussels. In this hall, the Brussels school for circus artists is giving training sessions. The Tour and Taxis site was a former customs and warehouse building, for imported goods for the Brussels area.

The orphanage, it’s been a long time since I photographed there. I had no access to the Mansion that day, and the orphanage proved a welcome alternative.

It might not be as fancy or beautiful as The Mansion, it has character and atmosphere by millions, …

I met Sofie at a good friends wedding party early september, and asked her if she would like to be a model in one of my shoots. Mostly this question comes with some hesitation and fear. I might be the dirty old man, looking for some secret fantasies to come true. :p

After a week or so I got an email message that confirmed her interest, and that in fact it had been her husband that pushed her into this. He had been looking trough my images (on this blog-site) and found them to be beautiful and respectful. We met some weeks later. Sofie is not a model in the strict sense of the word, she never posed before, and was somewhat intimidated by the event. But she did very well, she managed to look straight into the camera with an expression of confidence and self awareness, and she had no problems following my posing instructions. I would call her a natural beauty.

Thank you Sofie, for your patience and thrust!

I hope you’ll enjoy the pictures.

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Come again soon,

 

Ludwig

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