14 Dec 2011

My Santa Set-up

Since the 5th of December I have been taking the typical Santa in the mall pics that we see every year! It's actually quite fun, but a lot of work as it has been crazy busy. While I have been there a lot of "pros" and amateurs alike have expressed an interest in my lighting set-up, how I do it, and why! It seems that the "strobist" concept hasn't caught on in South Africa the same way it has elsewhere in the world. So here is a short explanation and a few sample pics.

My basic setup is a couple of Nikon sb flashes, one sb700 and one sb600. I bounce both of these into umbrellas in order to diffuse the light and get a nice even lighting over the entire set. I use a shoot through umbrella and a black backed bounce umbrella, and the reason these two? Because it's what I have of course! If I used studio lights it would become much more complicated and require cables running electricity around for people to fall over, it wouldn't be as easy to unpack and pack, etc. Here is a pull back pic of the entire set-up:

There is a very large skylight directly above the area where we are located and the light coming in is constantly changing because of the sun moving, clouds, rain, etc. so in order to keep the light and colour consistant I totaly underexpose the scene by setting my camera to manual at 1/200s and f11. Without flash it looks like this:

My flashes are set to TTL and they automatically bring the exposure back up to normal. I fire them wirelessly via Nikons very cool CLS system. The final result looks like this:

Perfectly exposed, sharp, and with very consistant colour! I don't have time to download these to a computer, tweak them and then print them, so I shoot jpg and make sure that all my settings are correct in camera to achieve the fastest workflow and print them directly from my SD cards at the lab in the mall. The resultant prints are just great!

So if you want to put that nice shiny new dslr to good use and actually make some money to justify the expense then you now know how to do Santa pics for Christmas 2012! Whoohoo!

13 Dec 2011

Todays Coffee!

At the end of a long hot day shooting kids with Santa in Mall@Reds, it just makes the day a little better, one of lifes pleasures! A "Serious Cappucino" from Mugg and Bean.

Nikon D90, Aperture Priority, Nikon 40mm f2.8 Micro, 1/250s, f3.0, ISO200, hand held.

5 Dec 2011

It's Christmas Season Again!

Which means it's time for Christmas photos at the mall again!

This year my very talented wife painted some backdrops for me and I am taking photos at the Mall@Reds in Pretoria from the 5th until the 24th of December. She also sewed all the costumes for the kiddies to dress in that you can see on the table in the photo below.

Here is a basic setup shot:

And what the final result looks like:

There is also a "Fantasy Forest" backdrop and a typical Christmas Manger scene.

Merry Christmas everybody!