Tips for HDR Pictures !

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range.

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Normally, the cameras have a sensibility of 7 or 8  f-stops from totally black to totally white (DSLR).

Now, the human eye sees much more dynamic. When you have a face placed between you and the sun, you still can see the mouth, the eyes,… a cam doesn’t. A cam would show a black silhouette.

There is a way to avoid this, it’s too shoot HDR. HDR must not be Highly Destructive Retouching.

1) Compose and set the shutterspeed and the f-stop.

then…

2) set you cam on M-Mode

3) Over expose + 1 Stop and +2

4) Now go down to the reference setting and underexpose -1, -2, -3,… -6

5) Load the 8 pictures in HDR-Application like NIK HDR Pro and see the result.

6) Chose the preset you want, apply and to go to Photoshop to fix all it might need to.

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HDR have to be shot with the cam on a tripod, so you avoid the ghosting effect. And I use a remote system to take the shots.

 

More to come…

(The 2 shots were taken in San Francisco in the end of 2013)

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10 tips for best pictures with smoke !

Applying for VOGUE Italia

Hi Everybody !

I am a fan of Frank Doorhof’s online videos (Kelbyone.com or at http://www.frankdoorhof.com). And Frank does amazing things with smoke. He means that it brings the little piece of magic, the tiny thing that brings your shot to the next level. Go and visit his homepage, it’s every minute worth !

So?

What did I do ?

I got one and I started different shootings. Trust me, it is way not as easy as it looks like. And this why I want to share my tips :

1) Have assistant with you : He will be the one who will hold the machine
2) The remote system has most of the time a short wire. So you can’t be behind the cam and activate the smoke machine at the same time
3) Let the smoke come from behind the model or at least from the sides otherwise your model will disappear in the fog.
5) Put gels on the strobes or add colors in CC
6) Use Tonal Contrast or Details Extractor on the smoke. They are filters you can use in Color Efex Pro 4 by Google/NIK.
7) Be patient and make a lot of shots.
8) After a while, a little fog stays in the air, so you will have to open the windows to let fresh air come in.
9) Or go for this look !!!!
10) You don’t have to buy an expensive fog machine. Mine was a new one and I got it for 29.90 €uros.

More to come !

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NIK-Softwares from CS5 or CS6 to CC

Hi everybody!

I have just downloaded CC and LR5 and have noticed that all my plugins had disappeared.

I went to NIK’s site and it is mentioned : from cs4 to cs6…

:-(

But now, if you take your files from the repertory ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS5 > PLUG-INS and copy them in to ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CC > PLUG-INS : they are back !!!

:D

Bildschirmfoto 2014-04-03 um 22.23.35

How could I live without Efex Silver Pro 2 ???

more to come…

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French Post Of The Week – Le post du dimanche

Batman

il y a des photos faciles à faire où tout semble aller droit dés les premiers clicks sur le déclencheur. Et puis il y les jours où rien ne fonctionne. Et les jours où tout semble fonctionner mais le model annule la séance, des jours où tout est super sauf que l’angle de vue parfait se trouve derrière un mur en béton que le propriétaire semble peu enclin à abattre malgré le résultat photographique extraordinaire attendu! Bref, il y a des photos où l’on est à deux doigts de faire un truc sympa mais où les circonstances semblent jouer avec où plutôt contre nous.

Cette photo prise à Hollywood aux studios de la “Warner Bro” est un bon exemple de “Comment trouver une solution à mon problème?”.

Le contexte
Je suis dans la pièce d’un musée réservées aux voitures ayant servies dans différentes séries ou films. J’y ai vu General Lee de Cherif fait moi peur, la belle voiture jaune de Gatsby, et aussi, et c’est l’objet de la photo ci-dessus : la voiture de Batman avec en prime son proprio qui, accoudé au mur la surveille sans relâche.

L’inconvénient d’un musée ou d’une scene de rue est que l’on ne contrôle pas grand chose. D’une part les autres voitures se trouvent à un mètre à peine les unes des autres. Ensuite, la lumière est imposée. Ici, la source de lumière est une grande fenêtre, celle que vous apercevez sur la photo + une seconde du même type assez loin à angle droit sur la gauche. Et puis les autres visiteurs… comment les virer ?

La méthode
Faire le tour de son sujet et évaluer ce que l’on voit dans le viseur. Puis faire quelques tests.

Voici donc mon premier test, out of cam comme on dit vu que je ne l’ai pas retenue:

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Sur cette photo, beaucoup de choses ne fonctionnent pas. D’abord l’angle choisi fait que l’on voit la voiture volante d’Harry (Potter). Mais je remarque que le rendu de la lumière sur la carrosserie est flatteur. Je me dit que je devrais me concentrer – cadrer plus serré – sur les voitures.

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Oui, humm…. je ne suis convaincu par l’intérêt de la photo. C’est à ce moment que je me dit que je dois me concentrer sur Batman et que la voiture, même si signifiée, est assez forte graphiquement pour apporter un coté mystérieux. Je fais je tourne autant que possible autour de la voiture et je cherche le bon point de vue. Bien sur, des barrière empêchent d’aller librement autour de la voiture, alors je fais avec les moyens du bord.

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Finallement la photo retenue est la suivante pour son cadrage. Sur mon Nikon je la passe en NB pour voir et je pense alors que le passage en noir et blanc avec NIK SILVER EFEX PRO pourra rendre la scène plus intéressante, que le coté musée sera atténué.

Voilà tout!

Bon dimanche.

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Summer, summer, summer…

.

Typically I mostly shoot in studio in the winter since it’s cold outside. Spring is there and offers new perspectives. But spring is not sustainable : it rains, it may be cold and windy… I love summer.
I can’t wait to shoot models outside with my quadra or simply with my reflectors. And shoot things that tell a story like this one above!

What to say about this picture :

I was thirsty and I ordered a beer. I loved the color and I thought it is a good color combination : blue, yellow / thirst, bier, beach… The line of the sea is on 1/3. So is the glass (the first 1/3 from the left). the line of the sea cuts the glass on a 2/3 of the beer (not the glass), the lines of the “umbrellas” lead to the glass. The yellow flag is the third corner of the bottom-of-the-glass/top-of-the-glass/flag and this provides dynamic. It is also ont the 1/3 line (vertical one).

Post pro is done in CS5 using DxO filters and Nik Sharpener.

Enjoy!

More to come…

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Playing with DOF

Playing with Depth Of Field is one of the things a beginner should learn quick. Still it makes otherwise no reason to leave the P-Mode for the M-Mode.

Miss U

Playing with DOF when you shoot portraits is a good option, you can make the – sometimes disturbing – background disappear. The pic above is an extreme use of the DOF. I shot with a 50mm and used a f1,8 aperture which is a very large one. And you see: I focused on the eye and the rest get blurred. You have to experiment and play with these effects until you almost can predict the results.

More to come…

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Robert Harrington

It’s no secret I love women. And the more confident of their beauty they are, the more I feel my fingers getting nervous trying to tell me : “Hold the cam, hold the cam buddy!”

I have done several shoots using the paramount lighting and I am a great fan of it. This why I was more than happy to find this vid at B&H about this topic. The seminar was hold by Mister Robert Harrington. I have to be honest, I did not know him before. Ok, I watch the video and I have become curious. I have found his site and I have to say, I am blown away !

Look at this!

More to come…

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How to?… The 40′s glamour portrait

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The 10 things you should now about editing

Do you really like doing this ?

When the shooting is over, when the strobes are back in their boxes where they will sleep waiting for the next model, when the memo card is full, that’s when the fun stops and the real work begins.

Now, Don’t get me wrong, shooting needs a lot of attention, especially when you shoot unexperienced models. But this is also the time you are creative. So what happens next? You get home, load the pic in your PC/iMac and you have to start to make decisions. Depending on the type of shooter you are you have 300 pics (=2 hours shoot) or much more. I am the kind of guy who prepares more and shoot less. 50 pics pro set, sometimes more, sometimes less, but most of the time if I fail to nail it, I just move on.

The way I go is :

a) Get rid of your blurred + eyes closed + bad composed shots

b) Many of shots are alike. Just keep 10% of the pictures which are ok of each setup

c) Now the difficulty really begins. Just follow your instinct and pick up 3 pics / setup

After this go to photoshop and start the retouching.

d) This is actually my message tonight : retouch and go.

e) Come back the day after and see what you’ve done with new eyes. And ask your friends /wife /husband to have a look at your babies.

f) Be ready to reconsider you mind.

g) When having doubts, just make a second version

h) apply d) and jump back to i)

i) once you are done with the best 3 pics / setup, then choose the best ones.

j) Forget the rest. Who wants the second best? We want the best. Always. Because this is how we want to be seen as an artist and photographer. We do not want to be the second best. We want to be the one. So your pics have to be the ones.

FIRST ATTEMPT
Miss J

AND FINALLY I WENT FOR “Less is more!”
MISS J

At the end of the day, it’s all a question of personal taste!

more to come…

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Are some people easier to shoot?

Miss J

This question may sound hard somehow. But along the way, I have to say the answer is yes. Well MY answer is definitely a YES : some people look nicer in front of the camera than others (like me). I don’t want to be rude but that’s simply the way it is. Miss J (above) looks nice, she is full of joy, always ready to laugh and it provides this tiny little thing which is magic and you feel in a picture. Her face catches the light in a pleasant way and… although this was her first shooting, she just felt alright and had fun. And this makes the all difference. She’s 19 and her skin is not perfect. Age is not everything. Her body shape is nice, and she has a lovely smile.

Would you trust me if I were saying it does not help to get a nice picture ?

Now, all this brings nothing if the model looks good but looks tired (well, if it is for a commercial for Valium, maybe then it’s OK) or bored or not self-confident.

So yes it helps, but this is no guaranty for a WOW shot!

More to come…

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