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

Eline at the Warehouse prt II

beauty, Personal Pictures

The shoot with Eline resulted in so many beautiful images that I decided to make two posts for this one.
The warehouse where we worked is one of my favorite locations in Ronse. It offers plenty in lighting situations, large rooms, corridors, staircases and a mix of contemporary and classic designed furniture (for sale 😉 ). It’s certainly worth the visit. I would like to thank the owners big time for letting me use it for my beauty shoots from time to time.
A word about the processing. I’ve been developing in both color and sepia tinted images. I tend to go more towards the black-and-white images for the more intimate shots, where my subject shows more tenderness and a gentle look. The fashion style images ask more for a color rendition. I don’t know if you agree with this. Just my feeling.

for the technical part, all images have been done with available light. Only the first image with the blue pull-over has an added flash light (highlights from left).
Anyway, I hope you like the images. Thank you Eline, for coming to Ronse and bringing half your wardrobe with you.

Thank you for visiting my blog. Come again soon!

ludwig

All images clickable for bigger size!

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Eline at the warehouse prt I

beauty, people, Personal Pictures

ok,
I love shooting pictures, and I love feminine beauty. In the last year I managed to bring those two things somehow together, and I love this combination even more.
I have had a shoot with Eline before, remember Eline at the mansion
Although not a professional model, Eline is was very motivated during our first shoot together, and that made me want to shoot with her again. This time I asked her to think about ideas.
We worked in a different location this time. A very beautiful warehouse in my neighborhood, situated in a historical building of the beginning of the previous century.

I will not write too much words about the shoot. The cooperation was great, I think Eline is a beautiful woman, and she expresses confidence, strength and sensuality all by herself.
The space we used for these images is big (about 10 m wide and well over 15 m deep) On the short north side there’s a huge glass wall, floor to ceiling, which is a great soft light source. I used a bare flash from the other side to create some hair light in some of the images, or to create some fill light for the backlit images.
Overall I was very pleased with the results, I hope you like them too. Thank you again Eline, for being my model on this cold morning.

Thank you for watching. I’ll post the second part soon.

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A different kind of Pauline.

people, Personal Pictures

You probably remember my posts with Pauline as a model, The Mansion shoot part I, part II and part III.

last Sunday I had another Pauline as a model. A little younger, but evenly charming to work with. In fact she had been also my subject for a free shoot somewhere in April last year. This time her parents asked me for the shoot. We met at the dance-school where Pauline has taken some dance classes.

I had told the mam before, that I’m not that much into children’s photography but she said she preferred it that way. She wanted a natural looking shoot, with no special extra’s.

For the technicians, not so much light in the dancing school, so an off-camera manual flash was used, to bounce some light from the ceiling. I use Cactus 5 trigger sets. All interior images with my trusted Canon 85 mm f1.8, the outside images (with the jacket) with 135 mm f2.0. On some interior images I used the Trigrip reflector in stead of bounced flash.

I’d like to share you these images. They each show a set of different facial expressions made during short communications between me and my model:

 

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(you can click them to see them a bit bigger)

 

 

hope you like them, see you soon!

ludwig desmet alias charlemagne

 

Helga Rock’n Roll

beauty, people, Personal Pictures

Helga asked me if we could do a quick shoot together. She said it could be a little rock’n roll. She brought her electric guitar and I brought a single flash and a cactus trigger.
I am lucky enough to have some locations in my immediate neighborhood. Not that they are always available, but I have at least one available most of the time.
This time an old textile factory where some rooms are empty and ready to shoot in.

first two images with Canon 24 mm f1.4 II L and the others with Canon 85 mm f1.8.
Only the first two images are made with flashlight, rest is natural light only.

Black and white conversion with LR4, as well as some minor retouching.

thank you for looking.








Emotions

people, Personal Pictures

Hi,

My wife Nathalie is currently studying to be a psychotherapist. She’s finished her first year now yahoooo!
One of the final presentations had to be a creative interpretation of a theme in the psychotherapist world. She choose disidentification. A difficult word, for explaining how anybody had different personalities in life. Sometimes we are parents, sometimes we are colleagues, sometimes we are student, … but even so with emotions: sometimes we are happy, mad, sad, or any other type of emotion you experience trough daily life.

Nathalie’s idea was to depict a series of emotions, from herself as a subject. Not an easy task, some emotional states are really deeply touching, but we tried, and she was very pleased with the results, as were her teachers!

Sadness – In thoughts

Balanced – pleased – happy

Strong – angry – feminine

all shots were done with a very simple setup: black cloth in the background, a softbox at the right side of the model, and a large reflector on the left side.
All taken with Canon 85mm f1.8

Cheers, see you soon,

ludwig

Simple setup for kids shoot

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

I did some kids shoots in the previous weeks and I wanted to share this simple setup for nice pictures.

I was asked to do some portraits for a cousin and then with the same setup I took some pictures with our two boys together. Setup is the same and is like this:

I have a simple black cloth as a backdrop, a flashgun EX 580 II with a small softbox on a stand as a main light, a large styrofoam board (220×120 cm) as a reflector panel and a second flashgun (snooted with a self made insulator foam snoot in the back) to provide some rim light.
The results look like this (not the outdoor shot, nothing to do with this setup):

After the ‘brothers’ shoot, we had some fun with a balloon. They threw it up before their heads, and I shot it when it just passed their face. (I admit, we had to repeat this several times) I had some fun in photoshop afterwards.

Hope you liked this post!
Ludwig

Hallerbos part 1

landscapes, people, Personal Pictures

I did a shoot last Sunday in Hallerbos, with models Jessika and Sari. I’ll show you some of the images of the shoot with Jessika.
We had a great time, and we got some great pictures as a result. My first goal was making some composed panoramic images. I shot a lot of poses of Jessika, and then some images left and right of her. I picked out some nice poses to compose a wider final image. The largest pano’s are about 100 Mpix in size, large enough for a very wide print 😉
It was quite a challenge to picture her in the middle of the flowers, because you are actually not allowed entering the flower beds. We worked at some path crossings to achieve these results.
I am currently making a BTS video that shows a little more of the day. Make sure to come and check this page again soon!

After the wedding dress shoot, Jessika tried to get warm again (12°C outside), and then she changed for a nice ‘roman style’ blue dress, almost matching the colors of the Hyacinths -bluebells-. She also brought a kind of an antique bird cage. We shot for another 45 minutes, and at the very end of the shoot, we experimented a little with off camera flash. One single Canon flash, triggered with Cactus V5 transmitter. I had an assistant with me, and she handheld the flash. This allowed for quick changes in position and distance, and very much liked the results. I’m especially fond of the last image, I think it got a sense of drama in it.

Don’t forget to click them to view a larger version.
thank you for reading, come again soon!
Ludwig.

Workshop Bert Stephani

Internet tips and tricks, Tips and Tricks

Hi,

Last week I had the chance to follow the workshop ‘advanced speedlight techniques’ with Bert Stephani, contemporary portrait and fashion photographer from Steenokkerzeel, near Brussels.
There were three participants, of the four spots available. We had some coffee to start with, typically Bert I guess. 😉
Bert is easy going, cool, relax and above all, willing to share his experience. We had an interesting day, full of practical tricks and tips.

Some of the lessons learnt:

• When setting up a light situation, use your hand as a stand in for your model. It’s freely available, and never bored with your tweaking lights over and over again. In the meantime, your model can freshen up or relax a while.
• When setting up a combined available/flash light setting, first expose for the available light, then the flash, and last but not least, take pictures.
• When taking pictures with a model, encourage your model, talk it trough the shoot, give clear posing instructions, … introduce mini-breaks from time to time to make your model relax, and to offer yourself some time to think about new ideas. Don’t break the posing flow or the contact between yourself and your model by looking at the results. When your light setup has been setup well, all images should be fine afterwards.
• Be relaxed and confident as a photographer. Whatever your mental status is, it reflects on your subject and in your images.
• Work your light situation in function of the story you want to tell.
• Don’t give workshop instructions and bake sandwiches at the same time. (first bakery products got carbonized)

Some of the strong points of the workshop:
• Bert has a large studio space – the barn – , offering plenty of possibilities, different light situations, props, …
• We could freely ask for personal advice on challenging projects and thus influence on the content of the workshop.
• The atmosphere is cool and informal

Some of the weak points of the workshop: Sorry Bert if this bothers you, I feel like I need to be complete for my readers.
• The workshop seemed not prepared and rather un-structured and slow-paced. I don’t know if this is typical for Bert’s workshops, or just on this particular occasion.
• Workshop was marketed ‘including teaching, model fee and bread lunch’, the teaching was there, the bread lunch too, but there was no model, so participants had to stand in as a model for the other participants. I have no problem with modeling as such, but it limits your ‘photography time’ during the day, and on our last ‘assignment’ only one person could be the photographer, so neither me nor the third participant had images from this setup. As a participant I felt I had not the same level of ‘hands on experience’ during the teaching, when I was acting as a subject.

some images taken during the workshop:

Lynn Studio shoot

people, Personal Pictures, photo gear

I wanted to share some pictures with you from my latest school work. Yes, I still follow classes in Photography. I’m currently in the people/portrait class, and the first studio shoot was to be done with one flashlight. We could use whatever modifiers we wanted, and we had to work towards a chosen sample image.

I had chosen this image as my goal for this assignment: I don’t know the photographer of this image, if someone knows, pls. let me know so I can credit the image.

I knew that it was going to be a fairly hard thing to get, this soft light coming from everywhere. I was pretty sure that I needed indirect light, so I chose for two huge reflector panels (Polystyrene boards, 1.20m wide at 2m heigh). I already had left the idea of lighting the background as in my sample image.
I had a perfect model for this picture, Lynn. She is a hairdresser, and specializing for make-up-artist, and she prepared herself the best she could, based on this example picture.
This is my setup:

I have been working with my 85 mm 1.8 in order to be able to just hide behind the reflector. Otherwise I had too much flare from the lightsource.

these are some results with this setup:


After that we tried a second alternative, the softbox, and one reflector to the left of my model. I experimented a bit with different positions for shooting, and different poses.

Result was quite satisfactory, so we decided to do a completely different setup, just for fun.
I wanted a very localized light, and I had no snoot available, so a gridded flash with barndoors did the trick.
I turned these images into BW because they made me think of these movie stars, longing for the hero to come back home.

Second half of the evening, we didn’t have the studio available anymore, so we did some freestyling in the hallway after that, with a reportage flash off-camera, combined with my Tri-Grip silver/white reflector. These are taken with the 135mm f2.

Hope you liked reading, feel free to comment!