Archive for May, 2008

Pro dance studio dancers

I got a very interesting assignment last monday. Pro dance studio needed promo shots, a kind of portfolio of their dancers to forward it to their clients. So the point was not to show their dancing poses, but it was more or less to “introduce” the girls to the clients. So I went for the portrait/fashion approach to the shoot (of course we did also mix up some dancing poses). I had to shoot 15 girls in 5 hours and that included group shots in various outfits as well. So you can imagine what kind of pace I had to keep. I had roughly 5-10 minutes per girl. After shooting with each girl, we viewed the photos on the laptop. If the series was good we moved on, if not I had to take a few more shots (I also took a few more shots if the series was good, but the make up of the girl that was supposed to be next, wasn’t finished yet). The shoot looked like this: show me what you got girls! Strike your poses! Because of the previously mentioned ultra limited time frame, there was no time for me to guide them through the poses and make all the necessary corrections (regarding poses, mimics etc). I did, of course, make a few suggestions and (tried to) make them show more energy and passion. Most of the girls were pretty relaxed and that was a big plus for me. Usually every girl (that’s not a professional model) needs at least a few minutes to warm up. As always some did better than others, but all in all regarding the circumstances, I was satisfied with the results and most importantly, the client was pleased.

Because of the limited amount of time that we had, I used just one light set up. I did want to try out 3-4 various set ups, but there was no time (I’d need at least an hour or so) and I’m glad Mimi helped me out with the lighting, so I didn’t have to waste too much time setting it up. We chose to go along with the more dramatic, hard light. And I’m glad the client went along with it, since I’m just so tired of studio shoots with boring flat lighting (up to date, that was all that I shot in a studio, unless it was a personal project). I also have to thank Mimi, for letting me use her 70-200 2.8. And make my arms almost fall off after 5 hours of constantly using it 😛 .

Let me just wrap this up in a few sentences. Shooting was a blast. Not only because it was fun to shoot with all those girls, but also because of the pace (you really have to be alert all the time) and the fact that everything was running pretty smoothly, everybody was in a good mood, usually these kind of circumstances would be really hard for the people (meaning the girls) that are not in this “business”.

I’ll post photos in the order they were shot. As always, I recommend viewing them LARGER.

One of the first photos that were taken (I don’t count prep shots as real shots of course). The lighting wasn’t really there yet, it doesn’t have a “meaningful shadow” behind her, nor does it vignette the way it should. But I like the shot as a whole and it was one of the chosen (by me and pro dance staff) ones for this girl (I still haven’t completed the selection).

As you can see, I did manage to get shadows “in order”.

A classic, but photos like this, bring money to the clients…A song, shake that money maker, comes to my mind. I wonder why, hmmm 😀 .

BW or color?

I like the photo above. Let me tell you why. The first series that we’ve made, didn’t really look good. To be honest, the photos were bad. However, I suggested we make another brief series of shots and she was a bit hesitant, since she was also pretty disappointed after viewing the shots on the laptop. It was a tricky situation. It’s not good to push models, especially if something beats them down. But then we did make another try (to be honest I was quite doubtful of the outcome, because of her mood and state of mind). I cheared her up, pushed her a bit to show me more emotions, energy. And I think this photo shines. It shows energy. A real contrast to the first, completely lifeless and dull series. I must say I’m proud of what we achieved in just a few minutes. Because it’s so hard to turn things around so quickly. If you’ve done a lot of model (portrait, fashion etc) photography, I’m sure you know what I mean and probably also how good it feels to turn things around completely.

Wildcat. I love it when girls get wild! Don’t you?

As you can see, every photo has (a slightly) different post production. The client will, of course, get them post processed in the same style, as it’s logical for a series of photos. But I’ve decided to post process every photo differently for this blog post, to make it a bit more interesting and to get a feedback on what works best for the photos in your opinion.

Canon 40D – 950 EUR-150 EUR cashback

I’ve got a really special offer for you all; 40D for unbelievable 800 EUR. Now that’s a real steal. Don’t forget to check out the updated pricelist as well. The further discounted prices are coloured red, to make it easier to spot for you.

You don’t have to rob a bank to get yourself a nice camera 😉 .

And here’s the complete Canon cashback scheme:
EOS 5D body €200 Cashback
EOS 40D body €150 Cashback
EOS 400D body €60 Cashback
EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM €50 Cashback
EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM €50 Cashback
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM €100 Cashback
EF 17-40mm f/4L USM €50 Cashback
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM €70 Cashback
EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM €60 Cashback
EF 50mm f/1.2L USM €70 Cashback
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM €100 Cashback
EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM €60 Cashback
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM €70 Cashback
EF 70-200mm f/4L USM €50 Cashback
EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM €50 Cashback
EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM €50 Cashback
EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM €100 Cashback
Speedlite 580EX II €50 Cashback
Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX €30 Cashback

ONA cover – finally!

Oh my god, I almost forgot about ONA covers, after waiting for so long to be published. So now that it’s finally here I’m almost as overjoyed as the first time that my photo was published on the cover 😀 . The scan still sucks and to make things even worse, I’ve messed up her nose, trying to “iron” the paper wrinkle that was there. I’ll swap it as soon as I get my hands on a wrinkle-free copy. I thought that this photo (added space on the left to fit the cover, since I didn’t want to crop it), would look better on the cover (in my opinion it’s more of a cover material, she looks her best on this one and it’s a bit more positive), but at the end it was, as always with all the newspapers, the editor’s choice. From a photographical point of view, I like it (the one on the cover) better, so it just might be a better promotion for me (although it’s not a photograph made for the masses).

EDIT 21:34: new scan

My 2 cents on Carl Zeiss Planar T* 85 1.4

If you’re one of my frequent readers, then you already know about the Sony alpha 300 kit that I’ve tested last week. The a300 review is already written and is just waiting to be proofreaded, so it’s hopefully going to be posted due tomorrow on slo-foto. In this post I’m going to focus on one of the crown jewels of the Sony lens lineup . I’m not going to draw any concrete conclusions, since that would be very unwise after just five days of mostly bad weather testing, along with two other lenses. I’ll just post some samples and write my thought about various aspects of this lens.

Sharpness is good. Even very good. The lens gets sharp at f1.7 and continues to gain sharpness up to f4. To be honest, I didn’t even try it above f4. It just doesn’t matter to me, wether the lens is sharp at f8. Especially when it comes to a f1.4 lens. And because I’m not a studio photographer. What confused me a bit, is the lack of “microdetails” (skin pores etc) especially when shot at wider apertures. I suspect that might (also) be the result of a rather strong AA filter on a300. I also got the feeling that it’s not as sharp wide open as either of the Canon 85’s. But as I said before, I’m not drawing any conclusion. I’ll let you be the judge of its image quality. So please, leave a comment. CA is also quite noticeable at f2. I know that CA is a common problem with fast lenses. But usually things get a lot better when a lens is stopped down for 1 f stop or more. Bokeh is really smooth and creamy and the colours also seem good, natural, nicely saturated, but not too punchy. I can’t comment on the AF speed, since a300’s AF is pretty slow, but it is accurate, I got the vast majority of wideopen and almost wideopen shots in focus. Built quality is excellent, the housing is made of metal. It gives you a really robust feeling while holding it in your hand. I just don’t understand why it doesn’t have internal focusing, since the lense stretches quite a bit during focusing. The difference in length of the lens between extreme focus distance (min focus distance to infinity) is approximately 2 cm.

Below you can see the samples, so you can judge the lenses image quality for yourself. All shot in RAW and converted to jpg. Downsized samples are slightly sharpened (the first is obviously also desaturated and I’ve added quite a lot of contrast), while 100% crops, of course, aren’t postprocessed. View LARGER, or else you’re just judging the quality of WordPresses downsizing algorithms.

f2, 1/320, ISO 200

f2, 1/250, ISO 200

f1.7, 1/160 ISO 100

I’m not posting the complete shot, because I don’t want him to get his ass whooped by his momma 😀 . The framing is almost identical to the first sample. This one looks best to me, perhaps ISO 200 is already “eating up” microdetails…Both are taken at ISO 100 (both crops are from the same image).

f1.4, 1/160, ISO 100

And below you can see a series of boring sharpness comparisons between different aperture settings. All shot at ISO 200.







High ISO 1Ds mkIII samples

Unfortunately there seems to be impossible to get 1Ds mkIII long enough to make a complete review. So there won’t be any review on slo-foto, as I promised. So I’m posting a few high ISO samples, that JD asked for. All the photos were taken in sRAW mode (approximately 5.2 mpix), since I think that it’s insane to shoot snapshots at 21 mpix. You can see a few downsized samples, all taken at ISO 1600 or pushed 1 stop from ISO 800 (exif is included, so I’m not going to write it down below the photos). Taken at a local Texas Hold ’em tournament. It was for the first time that I was glad I didn’t make it to the finals. I had the time to shoot 😀 . Photos are postprocessed (only contrast and slight sharpness added after downsizing).

EDIT: I forgot to mention that all photos were taken with the nifty fifty (50 1.8). And it performed pretty well, I’d say better than on any of the croppers (sharpness seems pretty good at f2.2). Even bokeh wasn’t bad and the colours were ok too. But what fascinated me the most, is the field of view. It’ s awesome, its’ perfect, you can shoot virtually everything with it. And no, it’s not the same as mounting 30 1.4 on 30D. You get the same FOV, but the feeling is just different. It’s the difference that you really can’t put your finger on.


If you can’t maintain your poker face, then put ya glasses on


Bettin’ (I wish I shoot it with the chip in mid air, but it was a one time opportunity, since players usually don’t throw chips around)

100% crop, totally unprocessed of course. I looks amazing to me (not in the D3 class of course, but with almost the double resolution, that’s impossible)

And for the end, a snapshot from slo-foto’s last workshop. He really wants to be a model 😀 . f2, 85mm. Looks pretty nice, right (DOF!!!, bokeh…)?