Barnet Workshops » Sharing Experience, Information, Inspiration

Behind the Image… Our First Workshop of 2010

It rained all morning and afternoon on Monday but all the rain in the world couldn’t dampen our spirits as we held our first workshop of 2010.  We not only had a blast, we got to meet wonderful people in the process.  Everyone came with a positive, upbeat attitude and we shared what has worked for us in our business.  Our students not only got lots of information, we made sure they got lots of great food too!  We had coffee, pastries, bagels, gourmet sandwiches, salads and, of course, lots of sugar!  We’ve been chatting with our students on facebook, so before more time goes by, here are some of the images we did in our shooting demonstration.  I shot these images while Mirta held a video light and one of our students held a reflector.  We got nice stuff considering the low light conditions indoors on that day.  The original plan was to shoot outside, but like photographing a wedding, anything can happen and you just have to go with the flow.  So instead of working with large self contained strobes and going over subtractive lighting techniques, we showed how we shoot in small spaces with low light.  It’s all about making lemonade when life gives you lemons!

Our fabulous assistant Evelynn and her boyfriend Kevin were our most excellent models.  Thank you so much for doing such a great job!!


The image above is the finished version of the one below.  On a very cloudy, rainy day and with the wood shutters, not too much light comes in, and it falls off very fast.  The amount of light one foot from the window is significantly less than right next to the window.  So we used a silver/gold reflector  to give Kevin a little more light.  a movie light (tungsten) was used to “open up” the background and “feather” Kevin a little, to give him some warm highlights on the side of his face and to get some detail on the hair.  We could have opened the window shutters in the background more, but I just wanted a little detail there with some lines and I wanted them darker.  All the images were shot with a Nikon F3 and an 85 mm 1.4 lens in RAW mode.  I used the 85 to keep the focus shallow, since we were working with the subject fairly close to the background, and to be able to use a decent shutter speed.  With a shallow area of focus it’s important to keep all the eyes in the same plain to avoid one subject sharper than the other.  This is especially important with a close up like this where the eyes are important.  The ISO in all the images was 1600.  Aperture preferred matrix exposure.  No exposure compensation on this image. f. 1.6 @ 1/200.  The RAW file may seem overexposed, but as you can see, the upper left corner was brought back, and it’s nice to have detail on the dark clothing, hair, and shadow areas…

Mirta here;  Using Lightroom, I imported the image with our custom preset “Barnet Wedding Look”.  Then I adjusted the brightness and exposure to bring back the detail in the highlights.  In Photoshop I started with general retouching, ran Kevin Kubota’s Creamsickle, then went back and enhanced the shadows with Kubota’s Digifill.


As I shot this next image of Evelynn alone, I knew Mirta was going to give it that old Hollywood feel.   The exposure was f. 1.6 @ 1/160 with -2/3 exposure comp.  For this one, we closed all the shutters, and used the movie light held high as the only light source.  It only works well when the subject looks up.  I shoot mainly on aperture preferred, but almost all my exposures including flash have some exposure compensation.  I like to have the D3’s great matrix metering do it’s job with lots of “back seat driving” (exposure comp) from me. The tungsten light often needs more exposure comp than day light, and as you can see in the before it’s a warm, even in auto white balance.  I knew this would end up B&W, so it didn’t matter.

Mirta back again; The cool black and white effect is Kubota’s Black and White Secret Formula.  This is one of my favorite Black and White actions.  It gives the image a warm velvety effect.



The rain was really coming down hard on these next two, but the light coming in the glass door was still gorgeous!  Again. the tight quarter’s challenge, we had everyone around us looking at what we were doing so it was very cozy.  These next two were inside a patio door.  The room lights were on, and we used a large round silver/gold reflector for a little fill.  A little camera tilt, and there you have it.  f. 1.6 @ 1/125.  No exposure comp.  It was really cloudy  and gloomy outside…After retouching, we used Boutwell’s Totally Rad Pool Party and added sharpening to the eyes and raindrops.



Pretty much the same as the previous image.  Same exposure, with -1/3 exposure comp.  It just looked right.  A little more fill on Kevin.  The effect used here is a simple sepia tone using a gradient map then lots of dodging and burning using Kubota’s digi fill and digi dark.



Unfortunately we were not able to shoot outside on this day, but there have been many weddings where the same thing happened.  Except that you have a disappointed bride, a house or room full of bridesmaids, parents and a videographer or two along with the hair person, the make up person and a few other assorted family members… But as you can see, you can always find one or two little areas you can work with.  Just look for good light and clean backgrounds… The secret is to try to stay creative and really see the area so you can identify possible spots.  If you stay positive  and excited about the images so will your subjects…

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