Posts Tagged ‘studio rental’

There are a number of reasons why you might be reading this post, however assuming you have at least a minimal interest in studio photography its probably because the thought of a ‘professional’ shoot excites you. I am however betting that a lot of people reading this have never made the leap into a full blown studio session, and that probably the majority of readers who have did so through a workshop or paid lesson rather than under their own steam.

Photographers found the thought of shooting in a studio exciting but have until recently never been brave enough to actually try. Fear of failure is a common paralysis experienced by photographers and primarily results from expectation and self pressure.

I am sure that most of you have found yourself in situations where friends or family have asked if you could take a few ‘snaps’ at that all-important family occasion. No matter how much they reassure you that all they really want are a few nice pictures, its not too long before tension and (a lot of Photoshop) set in.

So its easy to see why, no matter how much we want to do it, the thought of putting ourselves in a high expectation situation such as a studio shoot is enough to ensure we never actually do it. Having brooded over this for years, I’m here to tell you that no matter how formidable it seems, organizing and executing your own studio session is affordable, very achievable and probably one of the best opportunities you have for taking your photographic skills to the next level.

Benefits – Why You Should Rent a Studio

The main advantage of shooting in a studio is of course the ability to control and shape the quality of light. Shooting under studio lighting also has the pleasant side effect of making pretty much any camera capable of rendering sharp, well detailed images. All of this control and quality comes at a price, usually a fairly hefty price, so renting a studio space is a great way to gain experience without the financial pain of buying your own equipment. Studio rentals can be incredibly good value with a half day session costing as little as $75 per hour…not bad for one of the best photography investments you can make.

Hints for Renting a Studio Space

Whilst finding a studio should be relatively easy (usually it only requires a simple Internet search), there are a few things to be aware of before making a booking:
•Rates – Rates can vary greatly from studio to studio however so can the amount of time included, so it’s worth double checking especially when charges are listed by fractions of a day.
•Size – Studios come in a range of sizes and again this can have a bearing on hire charges, as a rule bigger spaces are better as they offer a greater array of creative options.
•Hidden Charges – Beware of hidden fees, examples include the use of consumables such as backdrop paper and parking which can make a big difference in terms of total rental cost.
•Overtime – Most studios will charge a premium for overtime and its important to be aware of these before booking. Plan your shoot carefully to avoid any overruns and nasty surprises.
•Equipment Hire – Whilst most studios include equipment hire within the total rate, some can apply additional charges so double check to see what is and isn’t included.
•Assistant/Tutoring – Some studios offer the use of an assistant in addition to hire of the studio space, this can be a great way to learn how to use available equipment and make the most of the session time. Sometimes the presence of a stranger can add pressure to the situation so don’t be afraid to go it alone
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As an aspiring photographer, there are aspects of the job that can be overlooked when trying to teach the basics. Here’s an article I found on white balance and how it affects your photographs.
http://www.howtophotography.org/understanding-white-balance/

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Understanding White Balance

Perhaps one of the most important camera settings that beginning digital photographers don’t understand is white balance. In this article, we’ll introduce the basic concept of white balance as well as a few photography tips for managing the white balance within your images.

What is white balance?

Put simply, white balance is the color of the lighting in your images. It might seem like a strange concept at first to think that light has color, but various types of light produce different hues which are reflected in your photograph. For example, indoor fluorescent lighting commonly produces a bluish hue, filtered or indirect natural sunlight produces a cool blue tone, and other natural forms of light like a fire produce a very warm tone within the image.

While these variations may not be visible to the human eye since our eyes adapt to compensate for them, in a digital images they can be very noticeable and can produce vastly different temperatures within your photograph. Therefore controlling for and adjusting the white balance in your images can change the feel of a photo completely.

How to manage white balance

Most digital SLR cameras come pre-programmed with a range of white balance settings. These commonly include:

Auto: This setting will work well for many settings as the camera will automatically adjust for the appropriate lighting.

Fluorescent: Useful when shooting indoors under fluorescent lights to compensate for high levels of blue.

Shade: Again, this setting will warm up cool, dark hues in shaded areas by adjusting accordingly.

Cloudy: This is a very useful setting for warming up an image on cloudy days where the dark skies might produce elevated levels of blue.

Sunny: This setting may go by different names according to the camera manufacturer, but in essence it makes very minor adjustments on most models to adjust for direct outdoor sunlight.

Tungsten: Programmed for shooting indoors under incandescent lighting, this will adjust for the high levels of yellow produce by most indoor light bulbs.

Flash: This setting will adjust the white balance to mitigate against the harsh lighting of a flash.

Most DSLR cameras will also have manual white balance setting which we will discuss in more detail in a follow-up article. This process involves “teaching” your camera what you want the lighting to look like in an image, so we’ll discuss this setting alone. However, most of the settings listed above will allow you to capture great images making only one setting adjustment.

With these white balance photography tips, you’ll be able to capture the lighting you want for your photograph regardless of where you’re shooting.

Some might remember when a photographer had to load there non-digital cameras with stuff called “film” and then after the shoot, that film would be taken into a “dark room” and processed into photographs. Now that technology has made that process obsolete, the current day photographer has different tasks they need to follow, one that includes data management and social networks. Creating an effective workflow from the beginning of the shoot to the delivery of the goods, is essential to putting out a great photograph or design.

A basic and thorough workflow can consist of the following steps:

  1. Shooting images
  2. Downloading images to the computer
  3. Backing up raw (untouched/unedited) images
  4. Importing photos into image-management software
  5. Organizing images into an image library, with keywords and virtual photo albums
  6. Processing/retouching images to get a desired look
  7. Outputting images for clients, printing, or Web sites
  8. Backing up processed images and the image library
  9. Archiving images for permanent (offline or online) storage

Breaking it down into a series of steps helps to simplify workflow and keep it consistent, which increases the likelihood that you’ll get through all the steps efficiently and quickly. (http://blog.photoshelter.com/2009/09/an-effective-workflow-for-phot/)

 

Bryan Peterson has written a book titled Understanding Exposure which is a highly recommended read if you’re wanting to venture out of the Auto mode on your digital camera and experiment with it’s manual settings.

In it Bryan illustrates the three main elements that need to be considered when playing around with exposure by calling them ‘the exposure triangle’.

 

Each of the three aspects of the triangle relate to light and how it enters and interacts with the camera.

The three elements are:

  1. ISO – the measure of a digital camera sensor’s sensitivity to light
  2. Aperture – the size of the opening in the lens when a picture is taken
  3. Shutter Speed – the amount of time that the shutter is open

It is at the intersection of these three elements that an image’s exposure is worked out.

Most importantly – a change in one of the elements will impact the others. This means that you can never really isolate just one of the elements alone but always need to have the others in the back of your mind.

Many people describe the relationship between ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed using different metaphors to help us get our heads around it. Let me share three. A quick word of warning first though – like most metaphors – these are far from perfect and are just for illustrative purposes:

 

The Window

Imagine your camera is like a window with shutters that open and close.

Aperture is the size of the window. If it’s bigger more light gets through and the room is brighter.

Shutter Speed is the amount of time that the shutters of the window are open. The longer you leave them open the more that comes in.

Now imagine that you’re inside the room and are wearing sunglasses (hopefully this isn’t too much of a stretch). Your eyes become desensitized to the light that comes in (it’s like a low ISO).

There are a number of ways of increasing the amount of light in the room (or at least how much it seems that there is. You could increase the time that the shutters are open (decrease shutter speed), you could increase the size of the window (increase aperture) or you could take off your sunglasses (make the ISO larger).

When a boy comes of age at 13-years-old he has become a “bar mitzvah” and is recognized by Jewish tradition as having the same rights as a full grown man. A boy who has become a Bar Mitzvah is now morally and ethically responsible for his decisions and actions. The term “bar mitzvah” also refers to the religious ceremony that accompanies a boy becoming a Bar Mitzvah. Often a celebratory party will follow the ceremony and that party is also called a bar mitzvah.

The Viewfinders had the pleasure of covering Louis Shulman’s Bar Mitzvah. After the ceremony, fun and games and celebrity appearances… and adulthood, awaited. The link here is to the highlight video of his coming of age party.

Photoshop is an amazing tool and we use it here at the studio all the time to clean up photographs that might have been a little less than perfect.  But what is with the wave of poorly doctored photos by less than skilled professionals.  It is one thing to blend a blemish on a model or fix a shadow or two, when serving our clients needs, but it is yet another to poorly doctor photos of actual or fictional events to corroborate news stories disseminated to the masses.  At least so far these transgressions have occurred only in minor stories, the missing Clinton, then the fake Chinese road inspection and now the swearing in of a new Governor in Syria.  But that does raise an important question.  Is the reason we have not seen doctored photos in any major news events because it is not happening or because there are highly skilled professionals at work?

 

OK, yes we saw our chance to express our opinion about the candy bar, and we took it.  But our inspiration was from the images of the Milky Way that yahoo posted yesterday.  Lately, running the Las Vegas studio has turned into a full time job for us, which makes us long for the days when we could venture out and take shoots like these more often.  These photographs are great, but there were a few more beautiful ones we thought were worth a look…

This one taken is Eastern Utah by Wally Pacholka

This one taken by Richard Payne in Arizona

This one taken by Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn in Ontario, Canada

And these we don’t know for sure so we will leave them un-credited.

We were here at the studio this morning and came across some pictures from this years Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.  While we noticed that most of the photographs are clearly taken from a safe distance, there were a few, like the last two below, that looked like they really put the photographer and more importantly their equipment is harms way.  This is certainly not like shooting a sporting event from the sideline with a long lens.  With those angles and that crowd, the photographer is right there in the middle of the action.  That spurred the debate, at what point is it no longer with the risk to yourself and your equipment to get the shot?

This post was inspired by a question that was recently posed to my business partner and me.  We were asked about any new gear and/or techniques we employ for our video production while using our DSLR’s.  This prompted a furious search of the web for what is out there and coming soon.  Honestly, I didn’t find very much.  We would love to hear from our fellow Tech Monsters what gear they have been reading about and testing…off brands are ok too!

Alter Ego Studio – Las Vegas – Commercial Photography, Video Production and Photo Studio Rental