ANGRY – Natural light portrait – setup

beauty, people, personal tips & tricks, portrait

luckily this was only roleplay, she was not really angry with me, I would have feared for my life, if not certainly my camera gear. 😉

Ludwig Desmet EC-5

1/20s f2.8 ISO 400 – Canon EF 100mm f2.8 Macro L

setup:
long hallway with big windows on the left side, first part of the hallway, no windows to the right.
Model just behind the last window.
Big styrofoam board to the right side of the model, filling in shadow parts. (120x240cm – about 50×100″)
That’s it, simple as anything, and a styrofoam board costs a couple of euro’s.
I had to darken the background a little at the right side, there was some light spill at the end wall of the hallway.

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after the angry part, we did some more friendly images too.
here I’m off to the left, so the right wall becomes visible and I don’t get completely black in the background.
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below: 1/50 f1.6 ISO400 – Sigma 50 mm f1.4 DG Art
Frontal again, showing very dimly lit ceiling windows, not giving any effect on the subject.

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thank you for watching.

Ludwig

Lisa at The Mansion – Part III – Lingerie

beauty, Personal Pictures, Uncategorized

I have a good relationship with the people behind the Belgian ‘passion shops’ called Tutti Passi.
They provide me with lingerie and accessories, I grant them the use of some of my images. Make sure to visit their website to see what they have available. Have fun 😉

Just one word about natural light photography and why I prefer working this way.
The idea of using natural (also called ‘available light’) light is double for me.
1. It allows me to work quickly and without the fuzz of getting my gear just right for every room I work in, every different position I put my model in, … Getting this light just right, and then another light, and then a reflector, and then I need some more extension cable …
Working quickly allows me to direct my model in all kinds of poses, make her take different positions within a room, if I don’t like the light I can switch to another room, so she tends to forget it’s all about posing, and I get more natural, relaxed poses AND I get to make a lot more variations in a given amount of time. All the images with Lisa from this, the previous and the the post before that one are taken in about three hours of time. I would never be able to get such a rich variety of images if I were to setup lights every time.
It allows me to walk all around, and just analyze the available light in the room, and shoot from whatever angle I want to. I never have a light stand or a cable that is in the way. I don’t need to bother about light intensities or distances from my multiple light sources, … I have just the available light, and depending on where my model stands I will certainly need to adapt my exposure settings, but I only need to do that on my camera, and I’m good to go again.
2. I just don’t like it to drag all those flash lights and stands and cables etc. … I suppose I must have some kind of laziness inside me :p

Lisa in the beautiful lingerie gown I could lend from Tutti Passi, by Felice Art Couture

 

I’ll call the first image ‘Für Elise’, after all, I was named after a certain Ludwig Von Beethoven …

 

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thank you for watching

don’t forget to click for a bigger version of the last image, it’s worth it!

see you soon for next chapter 🙂

Ludwig

Guest speaker at VISO

Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks

Viso is a secondary grade (12-18y.) school in Ghent, with degrees in media, multi-media, graphic design, photography etc. …
I have been asked to give two short demo/workshop sessions in portrait photography, to pupils who have no photography in their portfolio.
First I try to explain the simple principles of shutter speed, aperture and ISO, the advantages of a Reflex camera vs. a cell phone, the importance of making a back-up of your images etc.

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(Thank you to Veerle for the behind the scenes images)

After a short theoretical introduction we have about an hour left for some practical exercises. With a very limited setup, I show these boys and girls the importance of good, soft light, the oh so often forgotten need of interaction with your subject, and some simple tips and tricks on posing, framing and finally how I post-process the images. All this in a two hour session, so a very very condensed package. I work with volunteers (sometimes I point them out to gain some time) at the model side and at the photographer side, and give advice on how to improve the images as they work.

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At the end I take some additional pictures for the models brave enough to pose in front of their classmates (not an easy task in front of a group of 40).
I had asked for some continue lamps (simply big hot bulbs) and two styrofoam boards from the schools studios. (the photography classes in VISO are given in the same studio’s as the studio’s we use at KISP evening classes, so I know fairly well what’s available 😉 ) Same styrofoam boards I use at home as reflecting panels.
One lamp is aiming at a first styrofoam board, away from the model, so we get some nice big bounced light surface. (left in the BTS images) another lamp is used to give a hair light. Pretty rude setup, I know, but a very good and simple setup for a demo. I have the impression most of the students have had a good time, I hope some of them actually will start looking at photography a little differently.

Some results from during the session:

Maya montage

sofie montage

thanks for reading!

Ludwig

Portfolio Studio Setup – Tattoo Girl

beauty, Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks, projects

One of the biggest surprises in my portfolio shoots was this woman who I didn’t know. One of my fellow students pointed her out as being a possible candidate for a nude studio session and we made contact. I had not seen her before but we had several contacts trough facebook. When she showed up and undressed for the studio session, I first saw her huge tattoo, from up on the left shoulder, reaching down to the right side of the bum. Impressive, so no doubt we had to do something with it. We tried several poses, I liked this one the best. The model is kneeling down on a small bench, square to the camera and half stretched up body, supported by the hands on the same bench. This gave a really nice opening between the body and the arms, and a triangular body shape.
Taken with Canon EF85 mm f1.8 at f13, 1/125th of a second.

Ludwig Desmet - studio5-5825

About the setup.
On the left, as far as possible behind the model, a studio flash with gridded reflector. Just next to the model, a softbox 1×1 meter (3×3 feet) just right and above the model’s back. I did this shoot in a somewhat larger studio space than mine. The advantage of having a larger studio is that there’s no problem in keeping the background really black.

Portfolio studio setup5

I hope you’ve learnt something,

see you soon,

Ludwig

Nude Studio Setup – the curtain

people, Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks

Hi there,
another week, and another studio setup to share.
This image was a lot different from all the other images in my portfolio project. I have used it as the center image in my presentation, since it was mainly white, while all other images had a black background base. It also expressed very well the doubts and hesitations of my model about presenting herself nude to the outside world.

LudwigDesmet-studio-3

I had a white cotton cloth with a fine woven structure fixed to the ceiling for this image.
My model positioned behind the cloth, just barely touching it, but really close to the cloth so the combined shadow areas from two soft boxes overlapped and created some small area’s were no backlight could reach. These non lit areas allowed some facial features to become visible. It required some work on the position of the body and the pose to get things right, but I think this image well shows the potential of this setup.
Two soft boxes at equal power output, aimed straight at the model (no crosslight like you would use to lit a background). The light bounced back from the cloth is just strong enough to reveal the facial features in the shaded areas. Really simple.

Portfolio studio setup3

the image was taken with a Canon 5D II and a Canon 50 mm f1.4.
Hope You’ve learnt something, I’ve got some more setups to go.

see you soon,

Ludwig

Nude Studio Setup – 1 light

Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized

Continuation of my series of ‘portfolio shoot images’ Behind the scene’s.

For this setup I used only one studio flash, with reflector.
In order to create a really small light bundle, you need to work with solid elements blocking the light.
For this I use some of those huge styrofoam boards (they can be bought in the build supply shops, they are used for insulation, crappy for this purpose, but very handy in studio) of 120x220x6 cm. I paint them black on one side, and around the edges. I made some simple stands from fibre wood panels to hold them upright.
They weigh virtually nothing and are easily stowed away.

here you can see one white side front, one back side front (I pushed exposure a bit here, because they are really nicely black):

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So a very simple setup here:
one flashlight on the left, with standard reflector, two styrofoam panels, black side towards the flash (you don’t want light bouncing of the white side, don’t you?)
model standing right in the middle, a little further back. Because the reflector is a quite big light source, you’ll need to put your panels really close to eachother (2 cm apart for instance) and you’ll still have the light spreading out further away from the panels.

Portfolio studio setup2

two images with this setup:

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thank you for reading, see you soon for a new post.

Ludwig

Nude Studio Setup – 3 lights

beauty, Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks

Hi there,

I’m planning on a series of posts with some explanation of the studio setups I’ve used for my portfolio shoots.
Here’s te first one. The model has some massage oil on her body, just very slightly. A slightly colored setup.

Portfolio studio setup

A triple light setup for a body shape portrait.
Model is laying down on a black velvet cloth, which literally absorbs all light. It is positioned in a infinite floor to wall shape.
1. On the left, studio flash with reflector, gridded. Gridded to keep the light from spilling all over in the studio. Reflector for those nice highlights on the body.
2. On the right, studio flash with small softbox (60x60cm) partially covered with a red cloth, for a slight color shift. I discovered that the use thin colored cloth works in a similar way as gels, and it is easy to just move the cloth a little bit (a wooden clothespin works just fine) to have a stronger or weaker effect. I currently work with some kind of very thin colored cloth pieces, like a magician would use. This second flash not as strong as the first one and aimed a little more off the model
3. just next to the camera, I’ve put an additional flash (Speedlite 580), again with a colored cloth in front (blue-ish) to slightly fill in the shaded areas.

Camera is just above the floor (me lying down).

Setup:
Studio setup 1 - Ludwig Desmet

85mm – 1/125th – f3.2

I probably would have been better of aiming for a smaller aperture for larger depth of field, but this is the way it is 😉

hope you’ve found some inspiration here.

see you soon,
Ludwig

Nude (In)cognito – portfolio exhibit day

Personal Pictures, projects

Hi there,
today was an important day for my photography career.
I had to present my work Nude (In)cognito to the jury for final evaluation.
I’m still impressed with the arguments they brought, severe, focusing on details, questioning the approach, etc. …
I hope I will finally get the official degree of photographer next thursday – proclamation day.

Tomorrow the exhibit is open for everyone, I would be happy to welcome you all to see my work, and that of my fellow students. There’s really good work to be seen.

Adress: CC Meulestede, Meulesteedsesteenweg 515, Gent.

as an appetizer, one of the images I selected for the book. (not for the exhibit, those images remain secret till after the exhibit)

Ludwig Desmet portfolio-5822

see you soon,

Ludwig

Sharon low key studio test shoot

beauty, Personal Pictures

Hi,
I launched a call for models on my Facebook page last week, for some test shoots in my studio.
I’m not really fond of studio work, but that might probably be because I’m not familiar enough with it, so time to work on my skills.
I’m not really into white studio backgrounds, and brightly lit models, so I went for some kind of low key approach. I feel more like keeping some mystery in my images
Sharon was one of the models that volunteered, she’s from the same town I live in, so we can easily fix a render-vous (a get-together) whenever time allows.
I had worked with her in these shoots: Model Sharon – fall and model Sharon I think we both learned a lot since. I’ll leave that for you to judge.
So Sharon was here last thursday afternoon. We worked some different settings, for about 2 and a half hours. I worked a lot with indirect light on the side facing the camera, and just some backlight directly on my model.

The light setup for the first 2 images looks as follows:
One softbox light left of my subject, as high as my light tripod goes, aimed towards the model and covered all around by a black cloth to prevent light spill on the background. The background is a black roll of paper, not white as indicated in the diagram
One big reflector panel at the right side of my model, simple styrofoam, aimed towards the model thus bouncing back light of the softbox.
Gridded and partially covered (with a cloth) torch to the right, aimed at the background, for the soft spot of light on the background.
Model is sitting on a wooden plank, suspended by two shelve racks I normally use to pile up my studio gear.
I used some additional black panels and black cloth to prevent too much light to bounce around in my small studio.

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The images were all taken with Canon EOS 5D II and 85mm, 135mm and 50mm Canon lenses. Settings vary.
Don’t forget, all images are clickable for a bigger version.

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the other images are with different setups, all based on the same theme.

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I will probably study this subject further, so models can always sign up for a studio session.
Take care, and come again soon,

Ludwig

Photographing the Harley

Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks

As an end of study assignment for my studio/object module (photography courses at kips.be (Ghent Belgium) we had to propose an object to photograph.
amongst the possibilities were ‘perfume’ or ‘jewels’ …
I wanted to do something more ‘tangible’ and proposed a Harley Davidson motorcycle. My mentor could choose if he categorized it as being a perfume or a jewel. I guess both of the categories apply.

The Harley is not mine, its a customized 1981 Electra Glide from a friend of a friend, and hardly recognizable from the original. François is the owner of the bike.

the subject

I had surfed a bit for inspiration too. There’s not so many studio shots of motorbikes on the internet, here are a few:

inspiration

I had made some preliminary studies in 3D rendering (thats still my main job). I had discussed with my teacher that it would be best to lit the subject indirectly, with a large soft box from above. Since we don’t have softboxes that big at school, I had to come up with something else.

the virtual world

and then the ‘thing’ arrived.
I had shown François where in the school we wanted to shoot the bike. (I had three other classmates doing their work in the proper school studio, so I had to move out to another class) And he just drove it trough the hallways of the school. All students were awake at once on this early saturday morning.

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So, what’s next? You see me setting up the tripod and camera.

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Checking on the framing, remote shooting with a portable mac, to be sure not to touch the camera in between shots. (I wanted to be sure I could compose different shots together in photoshop afterwards)

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Me setting up a flash light for indirect flashing on the cloth. The cloth will serve as a huge soft box area.

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The setup, seen from the backside, you can see the tripod in the back:

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A big thank you to Serge (classmate) for these splendid behind the scenes pictures!!!

These are the original shots used for composing the final image. Note the shot with the white paper on the floor, for extra light from underneath.
For those interested, the shots were made with the Canon 85mm f1.8 at f10 shutter speed 1/125, ISO 100. Three 600Ws monoblocks at 3/6 upto 6/6 power, indirect on the cloth above.

originals

then the photoshop layered file for compositing. I named the layers in english, for your convenience (dutch is not really an understandable language)

photoshop compositing

and then at last, the finals, click to see them bigger:

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charlemagne-art-Rechts final

A big thank you to Anita, for bringing me in contact with the owner of the bike,
a big thank you to my assistants of the day – classmates Stef, Serge and Geert,
a big thank you to the owner of the bike, François, for driving about 60 miles to the studio, on a cold morning.

hope you’ve learned something.

take care, and see you soon,

Ludwig