D3x « Jurgen Doom

on how to take a group photograph …

9 March 2011 om 18:03 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Flashlight,Group photograph,Photography,Portrait,Studio

Remember my previous post? I talked about portrait photography for MBS but also mentioned we photographed a the whole team as a group inside the house in which we photographed the individual portraits.  Well, I didn’t include the making of the group photographt in the previous post as I wanted to keep it for a seperate post.

The group photograph we took of the staff at MBS was done in a living room.  They had seen a group photograph of a father and his 4 sons I did a while ago and they wanted something along those lines for their formal group photograph.  Therefore, we set up a mobile studio containing a background system with white background paper and 3 Elinchrome strobes (RX600).  I used 1 large Chimera softbox on the strobe facing the group and two gridded strobes aimed at the background in order to illuminate the white background (as to render it as white as possible without blowing it out too much).  The grids I used in order to reduce the spill on to the people in the group, coming strait out of the strobes.  This is something I wouldn’t need to do in studio, but on location, where space comes at a premium, this was necessary.

You can see part of the setup in this image, which I took as part of my test images to judge the lighting and position of the people in the group.

group photograph

group photograph

Notice also the white curtain I had to use in order to get the group positioned against a white backdrop.  As the group photograph was to be cleaned-up afterwards in post production, it didn’t bother me too much.

So this is what it finally looked like.  I positioned myself a bit higher up in order to create more depth in the image, which was liked very much by the group (and myself …).  Image photographer on a Nikon D3x.  Flashes triggered with Elinchrome Skyport.

group photograph

group photograph

Group photographs are sometimes a nightmare for photographers, as there are so many things that can go wrong …. but on this one, it was almost plain sailing!

Corporate portrait photography for MBS

7 March 2011 om 14:52 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie advertising,Commercial,Flashlight,Gear,Photography,Portrait

As a corporate photographer, operating in Belgium and in particular in the Brussels area, I’m often confronted with different types of locations and surrounding in which I have to come up with images.  For the Manpower Business Solutions shoot, this was also the case.  We had agreed to meet up with the “models” – the staff at MBS – in a house near Overijse in order to create corporate portraits of them that were to be used on their brochures, flyers and advertising material.  I would bring all the necessary elements such as backdrops, studio lighting and gear to create the photographs and had asked my make-up artist Ans Brugmans to do the make-up on the models.

But what I hadn’t “budgeted” for was my health. The night before the shoot I became ill, even in such a way that in the morning – the photo shoot was planned in the afternoon – I phoned my colleague Evi and asked her if she could assist me and perhaps take on the shoot herself (with me directing a bit).

Luckily, during the course of the day I recovered somewhat so that I eventually managed to do all the photography myself, but I was more than happy to having Evi, my last-minute assistant, to lug around with gear and stuff …. Hey, that’s called “emancipation” ….

So what we did was basically a few corporate portraits, a group photograph and an outdoor group photograph of the whole team.  For the image I took inside, I set up a white studio background and used my studio lighting (Elinchrome RX600) with 2 softboxes and a gridded backlight. For the image outside I only used my Nikon SB900 strobes, triggered by Pocket Wizards.  The portraits were photographed on a Nikon D3s, the group shot on a Nikon D3x.

Despite me not being 100% – although I gave it all – we came up with some interesting photographs and I have just been sent the pdf’s of the publication in which the photographs are being used.

Portrait photography for MBS

Portrait photography for MBS

Portrait photography for MBS

Portrait photography for MBS

Portrait photography for MBS

Portrait photography for MBS

The outside group shot looked like this.  Because of in-house decisions, the images had to be delivered in black and white (as with the above images).

Portrait photography for MBS

Portrait photography for MBS

Portrait photography for MBS

Portrait photography for MBS

Using Nikon SB900 speedlights for creative photographic lighting

12 November 2010 om 13:16 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie advertising,Camera,Commercial,Flashlight,Gear,Photography,Sports,Uncategorized,workshop fotografie

As an advertising photographer, creating images for clients that will make their products look good, I try to be creative with my photography and my gear.  Let’s look at an example.

Image of a gymnast.

Image of a gymnast.

Imagine a huge indoor sports hall.  Imagine the yellow/green illumination these sports halls typically have and that cast an “ugly” type of light on the subjects (which you don’t want, you want your subject to look good).  Imagine the cluttered background one usually gets in such sport halls, which will destroy the impact of the image ……

Situation - available light.

Situation - available light.

As a photographer I try to overcome problems – let’ call them challenges – instead of creating them.

When I had to photograph a young sportster, doing all sorts of neck-braking, leg-twisting, arm-bending exercices on a gym device, I had to be creative to get a shot of it that could be used as a double spread in the brochure.

Firstly, I figured I wanted to eliminate the natural lighting of the sports hall.  Using a shutter speed of 1/250th at ISO 100 on a Nikon D3x (24Mpix) was good enough at f 4 to eliminate the ambiant light.  That means, if you would not use flash, you would end up with a dark (black) image at these settings.

Next step was to bring in the Nikon SB900 speedlights.  I used 3 of them.  The main flash comes from directly above me (on-axis with the lens) but shot through a softbox in order to soften the light.  It provides the main light for the subject, but because we are working very close to the subject and far away from the background, that light doesn’t reach the background, so it remains black (or under exposed).

The last step was to position two SB900 speedlights behind the subject, at either side of the girl, and aimed towards her.  Those light provide the rim lighting, which make her stand out from the background even more.

The image was ultimately used as a double spread in the SPORTA brochure as shown above.

All shots were taken on the Nikon D3x, using a 85mm f1.4 lens and using the Nikon CLS lighting system.

Alternative image of the gymnast.

Alternative image of the gymnast.

Nikon CLS system is a fantastic system to work on-location.  It’s versatile, works well, easy to handle and learn and enables a photographer to be very flexible in his work and quickly adapt to different situations and lighting conditions.  I use it all the time in my photography.

If you want to learn it as well, I run workshops on photography and flash photograph (also for users of other brands).

More to come,

Jürgen

Advertising photography – location shoot for Sporta

10 November 2010 om 12:45 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie advertising,Commercial,Flashlight,Photography,Sports

In a previous post (see here) I wrote about the assignment for Sporta, for which I had to photograph the new brochure showing the different types of sport- and accommodation facilitie.

Now that the brochure has been released, it is time to show some images in their context. I’d like to show the image that I used in a previous blogpost as it has been used in the brochure.

More to come!

Image as used in the brochure.

Image as used in the brochure.

Cover photograph for Sporta Brochure: which one would you choose? Cover A or cover B?

15 September 2010 om 10:46 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Commercial,Photography,Portrait

As a photographer, trying to satisfy the needs of your clients, it is sometimes a difficult exercise to meet your clients view with your own.  However, as a professional photographer, creating images that have a high impact, you want to deliver photographs that your clients can use and not only what you think your client should use.

During the assignment for Sporta – a centre that provides training facilities for all sorts of athletes in varying disciplines – I photographed many setups and situations, one of which we thought would be useful for the cover of the brochure.  But when it eventually came down to choosing the cover photograph, it proved to be more difficult than expected.

My opinion was fairly clear from the start on how I saw the cover photograph (but my opinion doesn’t count), but even the art-director’s opinion wasn’t 100% on par with the opinion of the board of directors.

Eventually, the art director came up with 2 versions of the cover, which are listed below.

Which one would you choose and why?  Cover A or Cover B?

Please leave your comments in the comment section …

Photo A

Suggestion A for the cover of the Sporta Centrum Brochure.

Suggestion A for the cover of the Sporta Centrum Brochure.

Cover B

Suggestion B for the cover of the Sporta Centrum Brochure.

Suggestion B for the cover of the Sporta Centrum Brochure.

Photography for “Sporta centrumbrochure”

13 September 2010 om 14:37 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Commercial,Flashlight

As a photographer, specialising in high-end corporate photography, I was commissioned by Sporta to photograph their new brochure.  The assignement was very broad, because I had to photograph sporters, but also their accommodation and training facilities at their sports centre in Tongerlo, Belgium.

One of the images we did was of an athlete who was busy training on the athletic track.  We wanted a high-impact image that could run as a double spread in the brochure.

The final result is the image below.  It was shot during a sunny day, but by adjusting the lighting, using 2 Nikon SB 900′s flashes and little post-production in lightroom, we created this image (shot on Nikon D3x).  The hardest part of the image was to direct the athlete to be at the right place in the right position.

Double spread for Sporta Centrumbrochure

Double spread for Sporta Centrumbrochure

Brico Cover – Pirate meets Princess meets Photographer

2 August 2010 om 14:49 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Camera,Commercial,Photography,Uncategorized

Photography is an expensive occupation.  Children are expensive too.  A combination of being a “photographer with children” is hugely expensive ….

But sometimes the two come together and work well for each other.  Like that one time when I had to photograph the cover of Brico magazine, a 3-monthly that DIY-hardware store Brico publishes.

The ad-agency asked me if I could help finding children between 5 and 8 for an article about a grandfather who had build a “hut” up in a tree for his grand childrren.  Ideally they would be dressed like a pirate, a princess, a “what-have-you” “you-name-it” ….

Myrte, my daughter of 7, just loves getting dressed as a princess and for Johannes, my 5 year old boy, being a pirate comes second nature to him.

And so it happened that they finally figured on the cover of a magazine. Mind you, for Johannes it was already his second appearance on the cover of a magazine.  The first time was when he was about 3 months old.  But the money I made with that cover has long been blown on nappies, etc …. So it was time to top up on some “money credits” ….

Cover of Brico magazine, featuring my two kids.

Cover of Brico magazine, featuring my two kids.

This image was photographed on a Nikon D3x and a 24-70mm 2.8, ISO200, F5.6 at 1/100.  We used one SB900 speedlight (which we litteraly had to hang in a tree in order to get the right angle), gelled with a full cut CTO gel and complemented the lighting with a golden reflector.  The flash was triggered through Nikon’s CLS system.

This image is half of a double spread that ran in the inner pages of the magazine.

This image is half of a double spread that ran in the inner pages of the magazine.

So finally I’ve been able to use them to make me some money, instead of costing me money.  But hey, that money has already been spent …. on a new princess and pirate outfit!

Nikon D3x – a closer look

29 March 2010 om 11:38 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Camera,Flashlight,kids,Portrait

In my previous post I published 2 photographs of my kids, to celebrate the arrival of my Nikon D3x.  But it is indeed impossible to assess the quality of a camera and/or lens on a tiny image in a blog post.  Therefore, I’m herewith posting a 100% zoom of a detail of Myrte’s head.

The image is photographed with a 85mm Tilt/Shift lens, so it’s manual focus.  Although I probably would have wanted the eyes to be a little sharper, I think it’s still pretty acceptable considering we’re looking at an image at 100% magnification (which comes down to roughly the size of an A2 for the intire image).

Nonetheless, look at the sharpness and crispness of the image, especially Myrte’s hair and eyebrows.  I also don’t notice any color fringing at the edges (also thanks to the great lens used).

100% crop of Myrte's headshot, by Nikon D3x

100% crop of Myrte's headshot, by Nikon D3x

Needless to say I’m happy with the results and I’m looking forward to the journey with my D3x.

Nikon D3x

25 March 2010 om 15:38 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Camera,Commercial,Portrait

This post is to celebrate the arrival of my newest digital camera, the Nikon D3x.

After having photographed the last 2 years with a Nikon D3 camera – much to my satisfaction – I purchased its successor – the Nikon D3s – in December 2009.  The Nikon D3s has the same amount of pixels – 12 Mpix – as the D3, but performs even better in low-light situations than the Nikon D3.  Since I’m a versatile photographer, encountering many lighting conditions and having to shoot under extreme circumstances, the upgrade from D3 to D3s makes perfect sence.  In addition to these features, the Nikon D3s also has a sensor cleaning mechanism, which keeps your sensor fairly dust-free and it also boosts an HD video mode.

As a professional freelance photographer, based in Belgium (near Brussels), 12Mpix sometimes isn’t enough for the clients’ needs.  Although fantastically big prints have been made with files created by my Nikon D3 and Nikon D3s sometimes you just want some extra “air to breathe” ….

With the arrival of the Nikon D3x, I have complemented my lineup with a fantastic camera that is specifically designed for the demanding and versatile photographer who wants some extra “umpf” out of his digital files.  The Nikon D3x offers 24.5 Mpix, creating 27Mbyte RAW files (uncompressed, 14 bit) with an amazing range and tonality of colours and with a sharpness that is unheard of for DSLR’s.

In order to take the Nikon D3x for a test-drive, I dedicated my first shoot with my newly acquiered camera to my kids, Myrte and Johannes.  I took them outside for a quick portret shoot.  They were lit by 3 Nikon SB900 speedlights, one of which was softened through an eazy light softbox.  The two other flashes were aimed straight at them without any diffusion.  The images were post-processed in Lightroom2.  The shots were photographed in daylight, ISO100, 1/250, f/12 with a 85mm perspective control lens (Tilt/Shift lens).

Johannes during the Nikon D3x portrait session

Johannes during the Nikon D3x portrait session

Myrte during the D3x portret session

Myrte during the D3x portret session