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Behind the scenes: Lighting set-ups

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Have you ever wondered about how the photographs in the magazine were created? Have you ever cried, “Photoshop!” after seeing an unreal looking photograph? Well, to get a better idea of how some of the images are created, here are a couple behind the scenes shots of my most recent shooting set-ups.

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Safety Huey tests his flashes on himself.

So not all shooting requires flashes, but in darker times it helps to have flashes. Sometimes I like to have a two flash set-up: a fill and a rim light. But, when I wanna get really fancy I create it a 3 point lighting set-up. Modifying the light is pretty important, especially in studio shoots.

Recently, I had to shoot box loads of product for a section in the magazine called Fresh Produce. I don’t have access to a photo studio, nor did I want a studio look for this section. Instead, I shot all of it in my own house, with flashes and DIY gobos, snoots, reflectors, and one really nice soft box. I shoot with a Canon 7D and a 16-35mm F2.8 and used one Alien Bee 1600,one Alien Bee 800, and one Canon Speedlite 580EX. I use Pocket Wizard Plus II’s to fire the flashes via radio waves. Camera equipment gets to be pretty expensive, so making the best of what you have until you can get better equipment is important. I hope this gives you a little bit of insight into my shooting technique.

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I feel like I’m really taking my photography to new heights.

In both shots, I used the exposure of 1/250 sec at F10 using ISO 100 and a focal length of 35mm. Shooting at 35mm on the 7D sensor crops to look similar to 50mm, which is close to how the eye sees.

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Here’s my fancy pants set-up in the garage.

Note my ghetto gear set-up. In the shot above, you can see the cardboard blocking extra light from the pink flash. There is a makeshift softener on the speed light, tissue paper duct taped to the flash. On the far right is the fanciest of my equipment, the octobox softbox.

The Fresh Produce section as seen in the latest issue of Skate Slate Longboarding Magazine.

The Fresh Produce section as seen in the latest issue of Skate Slate Longboarding Magazine.

Check out the next issue of the magazine for more fresh gear to be featured in Fresh Produce.

I also wanted to show you a behind the scenes look at a shot that was recently in the 2012 Photo Annual. The pathway is in Happy Valley, OR and I shot it while Patrick Switzer was in town late last year, staying at Alex Tongue’s house. It’s a similar set-up of lights, except this time it’s just one Alien Bee 800 with no light modifier, and two Canon Speedlite 580’s. I shot it at ISO 250 with my Tokina 11-16mm (which I don’t really like). I exposed it at 1/250th of a sec at F6.3 and had the flashes on full power. Even at 1/250th of a sec  and flashes there is a little bit of motion blur, so I usually pan with the subject for the most clear images.

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My three point lighting set-up of Patrick Switzer and Alex Tongue in Happy Valley, OR after the sun had gone behind the clouds.

The resulting photo of Patrick and Alex as seen in the Skate Slate Longboarding Magazine 2012 Photo Annual

The resulting photo of Patrick and Alex as seen in the Skate Slate Longboarding Magazine 2012 Photo Annual

Well, I hope this helps inspire some of you shooters out there. Keep shooting, riding, and having fun.

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  1. Martine Vaugien Gadbois

    Bon… I am impressed Marc, try to concentrate your wonderful skills for somthing you like and dream of. Love to you.


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