Monday, November 15, 2010

How is it lit? Free print to the best guess...

How is it lit?
In a selfish effort to completely whore myself and my blog, I am giving away a free print (up to 12x18) to the person who diagrams most accurately the setup from the photograph above. It is the most intricate lighting setup of all the portraits featured in this layout, and I wanna see who guesses it... and it ain't all that hard. Please include, if you've got the voodoo, the under/over readings for each light as well!

Please submit your conjectures in the comments field... email an actual diagram if you so dare! I'll send a 100% coupon to whomever is closest... you can choose any picture you want off my site.

And since I've been neglecting this blog for so damn long now, I bet that I get very few responses, so your odds are quite good!

You've got all this week... pass it around.

BTW, that photograph is of stage producer, new cafe/bar/performance-house owner, and all-around neat fellow Chall Gray. Go and see him, have a beer or coffee, and enjoy show at The Magnetic Field in the River Arts District of Asheville, NC.

producer diagram

Thank you all for playing!

Hmmmmm.... who is closest...???

Camera setting: ISO 400 1/60 @ f4.

Lamp is ambient as-is (but it is not lighting the room.) What everyone missed is a speedlight @ -2 popped into the ceiling to light the room. If I had used the lamp to light the room it would have blown out and created a very warm-tomed room.

Key is a squished up silver umbrella to direct the light at subjects upper body / to keep it from spilling into the whole scene.

Subject fill is a RING LIGHT @ -2

Outside light is an Alien Bee with reflector and lots of blue gel. @ +-0

And so, EVERYONE WINS! Email me with your image choice (anything from my website) and I will send you a 100% coupon with a link. Sorry, but you will still have to pay shipping... there is no way around that.

We will do this again someday soon... I'll try and find a harder one.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Don't Use Crappy Photographs!!! Generic Photos Ignored Online

I saw this first on the NYTimes Blog, then on A Photo Editor, both referencing this study by web consultant guru Jacob Nielson (considered "the world's leading expert on Web Usability" by U.S. New and World Report)... now I am jumping on the bandwagon and presenting this very important information to you, my prospective clients.

The lesson: Bad photos don't work... Generic stock photos don't work... People ignore them.

We are assaulted by bad photos every day... everywhere you look your eyes are pelted with crappy stock photography and low-quality original trash. So guess what happens...? you begin to ignore them... they become part of the muddled cyber landscape of which you pay no attention.

Look at Jacob Nielson's eye-tracking study below. That is a Yale webpage with a terribly generic and rather poor (sorry shooter) image of students and laptops... now look at the blue dots that represent what the viewer payed attention too. See any blue dots on the photo? Nope!


I wish that Jacob had done the same study of the same page but inserted a high-quality, stylized portrait of a real student on the real Yale campus... I'd bet my supper that you'd see blue dots all over it.

Moral of this story? From Jacob Nielson himself, "Invest in good photo shoots: a great photographer can add a fortune to your website's value."

Solution: Hire me!!! I am a professional commercial, editorial, portrait and documentary photographer; I'm based in Asheville, North Carolina, but I've got a truck and I love to travel!