indoor « Jurgen Doom

A cover photograph, aka the Christmas cover

7 December 2010 om 13:02 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie advertising,Flashlight,Photography,Portrait

As a photographer, freelancing for magazines and art-directors, you have to be both very adaptable and flexible.  Take this cover photograph for OKRA as an example.  The art-director wanted a photograph for the december issue, which had to have a connection with Christmas, but the image shouldn’t be an obvious christmas photograph either (tree, lights & presents). Fine with me.

In addition to that, they suggested a photograph of a mother with baby (you see the Christmas link here) in a Christmas atmosphere.  So, they said, the photograph should have some connection with the time of the year, yet don’t go all the way ….

OK, fine, I’m up for a challenge.  Photography in itself is a challenge, so why not make it more challenging.  Anyway, I set out with my gear, but I had additionally taken some christmas lights as well, hoping to incorporate it somehow in the photograph to have a visual link with Christmas.

The location where we set up the photograph was a simple home living.  I asked to close a dark brown curtain (wouldn’t you want more light, sir? No, thanks), which I would use as my background.  With the help of a few clams I attached the christmas lights to the curtain and switched them on.

Then I had to position the mother and baby in such a way that they were nicely framed by the curtain and Christmas lights, in order to have a balanced photograph.

Next thing I did was to set up 2 Nikon SB900 speedlights, main light coming from camera left and softened by an umbrella, and one coming from behind mother and baby, directly aimed at them (for separation).

The most difficult part of this whole exercise however was to balance the flash light with the Christmas lights.  Too much flaslight would kill all ambiant light, including the Christmas lights at the back.  Too little light would have meant that the ambiant light would overpower the strobes, whereby the dark background would have become light.

So after this execirse, I could freely photography my subject, with this as a result.  The image looks like it was lit through a big window (which it was not).

Thanks to the people at OKRA for such a wonderful response to this image!

OKRA Christmas cover photograph

OKRA Christmas cover photograph.

Architectural photography, the strobist way.

18 November 2010 om 11:34 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie advertising,Architecture,Flashlight,Gear,Photography

As a photographer, you want to explore every possible solution to a problem.  While I was doing architectural photography – photographing the interior of a dormitory – I was confronted with rather drab lighting inside.  Also, the sun was shining outside (it was a hot summer day) but was at the “wrong” side of the building, so it didn’t shine into the room that I had to photograph.

A room with a view - using the strobist technique of off-camera flashes to light the inside of a room.

The solution that came to my mind was to light the room with small strobes (Nikon SB900 flash light) in order to create a type of lighting that was more appealing than the available light (or the light that comes from the artificial light in the room, eg light bulbs, fluorescent light, etc ….).

Firstly, I used pocket wizards to trigger my flashes, as the Nikon Creative Lightings System (CLS) wouldn’t have worked well in this particular case.  You need a direct line of sight in order the flashes to trigger.

Secondly, I had my camera set at an exposure whereby I had a rather dark image (ISO 200, F/9 at 1/250 gives a grossly underexposed image) at the inside of the building, but it did match the ambiant light outside pretty well.

Thirdly, I positioned a flash (Nikon SB900) outside with a full cut CTO gell over it, in order to simulate the warm rays of a rising sun.  You can still see a bit of the flash at the far corner of the window, which adds to the feeling of a rising sun.  That flash casts the long shadow of the chair and table and is the key light to the image.

Lastly, I had to bring in extra light in order to lift the general feel to the image.  So I positioned an extra flash to get some light in the ceiling and some general fill to the entire frame.

The result is a double spread in the Sporta magazine , showing the viewers a room the invites to be staying over at their accomodation.

A room with a view - using the strobist technique of off-camera flashes to light the inside of a room.

A room with a view - using the strobist technique of off-camera flashes to light the inside of a room.

What do photographers earn?

29 April 2010 om 14:46 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Commercial,Flashlight,Portrait

What do you earn as a photographer?

Well, that depends upon the angle you look at it.

As a freelancer, earning a living out of making photographs, I would welcome Euros, Dollars, Pounds and even Yenn or Ruble would do, thank you.

As an amateur, you’re probably very happy with any kind of publication in virtually any type of magazine in return of credits (which is, believe me, nothing to impress your bank manager when it comes to paying your mortgage)

Or for the aspiring photographer, you may well be happy with any kind of encouragement, friendly words or pat-on-the-back type thing.

Well, let me tell you, I was recently comissioned to photograph the person in charge of a company that imports grape fruit.  After it had taken me quite some effort to convince the person that I was there to photograph him – and not the stacks of grape fruit in the depot – he finally started to co-operate.  I set up two stands with a Nikon SB900 speedlight, triggered with Nikon CLS system (on-camera speedlight on a D3s).   I underexposed the atmosphere in the depot, because it had the horrible neon -fluorescent lights which turns everything – and everyone – green.  Not something to brag about.   I had one light – standing at the far end of the lane of crates – lighting the creates in the background, and one light through an umbrella on the person to photograph.  Easy setup that works well – and fast!

But then it happened, when after the shoot was finished, he presented me with the very same piece of grape fruit he was holding during the photo shoot.

Portrait photography - what do photographers earn?

Portrait photography - what do photographers earn?

So, when you pose that question about houw much photographers do earn, remember that it can be anything from cold cash, through respect, credits and sometimes …. grapefruit.


18 May 2009 om 15:41 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Commercial,Flashlight,Portrait,Uncategorized

For Linea Recta Media, a Dutch media agency specialised in corporate magazines (amongst other things) commissioned me to do a shoot of a girl who does salsa dancing.

The editor wanted a full length photograph of the girl dancing alone and dancing with a partner, with her face visible (or at least recognisable to the readers of the corporate magazine, in this case One! for Unilever Benelux).

In order to do so we met on a Sunday evening in “La Tentation“, a Brussels centre for dancecourses where we set up for the shoot. During the shoot, the salsa dance was in full swing, with litteraly thens of people dancing the night away.

As it was impossible to obtain the desired images with dancing people around my dancer, we had to move to a corner in the room.  Another problem is the fact that you cannot just photograph people and publisch them in a corporate magazine.  Should you want to do this, you would need a model release from everybody present in the room, which is practically impossible.

For the shoot I used two Nikon SB900 speedlights with a full CTO color filter, in order to balance for the avaible (warm) light in the room.  I also used a long lens (2.8 70-200mm VR ) and shot at high ISO levels in order to capture the ambient light.  My settings were ISO 3200, f/5.6 at 1/50sec.

Using the speedlights I was able to sculpture the lights on my model without altering the light on the background.  I used two stands to put on my flashlights and angled the at about 30° towards the dancer.  The lefthandside speedlight was about 1 stop brighter than the righthandside speedlight (in order to keep depth and dimension in the face).









Anyone for a dance?