Portrait lighting setup

I my previous post I showed you a few portraits that I’m still working on and Moritz from Germany asked in his comment if I could share my lighting setups.

I decided to show a specific setup for every single one with a scheme and short explanation.

darko

This is three lights setup… a combination of two strobes and a neon light. Strobe on the right side had a small DIY grid attached and I used it to light up a face. A neon light from above was really dimmed so I set the exposure to match it and then I was adjusting my strobes. If I remember well, back strobe was on a half power and strobe with the grid was on 1/4 of a power.

 

riva

This one is really simple. One strobe with small grid attached and moved far away from subject so I could light up almost a complete figure but without unwanted spill over the scene.

 

sinisa

As well as the previous one, simple one light setup. It was hard to match a color balance between strobe and light bulbs so I had to correct it in post production. I used silver bounce umbrella as a light modifier. Light stand was some two meters away from subject and that is why light is a bit harder.

 

mirela

Also a one light setup. Strobe is hidden behind the door and my idea was to mimic a day light coming from the other room.

 

dean

Two strobes. Back one is bare bulb (without modifier) and front one had small grid attached. Front strobe was hidden behind supporting beam. This tunnel is a very narrow space so I had to be careful with the strobe power. Front one was on the lowest setting (1/16 of a power) and back one was 1/4 of a power.

 

zeljko

This is two lights setup but with combination of window light. Front one with a grid and back one bare bulb.

 

zorica

One light. I tried to boost a window light with it.

 

zlataThis one is also a one light setup and I think it’s self-explanatory. Cca 45 degrees angle.

 

I’m using two Vivitar285HV strobes. Those are simple manual strobes with decent power. Triggering it with  old but reliable Elinchrom Skyport radio triggers.

Here are some photos of my small grid that I made from a piece of cardboard and few black straws. 

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DIY grid

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mounted on a Vivitar285HV

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hard fall off

On the last image, strobe was set some 1.5 meters from the wall. 

Long live XPro1… welcome XPro2

It is that time of year when I don’t do anything about my blog/portfolio/self-promotion… As I did for past 400 days. But being the best Fuji X photographer in Bosnia (I’ll explain this later) bring some responsibility to all three of my readers to say something about what I did in past few hundred days.

Let’s start with frustration…
imageFeeds on my humble  social networking presence are overwhelmed with new Fuji gear, orgasmic reviews and pixel peeping comparisons. And… I like to read them all. To be honest… some of them for several times. And yes… I’m an XPro1 user… there is a new XPro2… and I need one more camera body… aaaaand it would be great to  get my hands on it… aaaaaaaaand no… my incomes are just no match to it…. Too bad, since I believe we would be a great match.

So… I decided to run one more story about how good my current camera is and to cover last year with some shots since I haven’t put even a word on my blog for more then a year. I wrote some initial thoughts on Fuji XPro1 two years ago here.

Confession…

You can call me whatever you like… hobbyist, enthusiast, amateur… Photography is a part of my life for more then a half of it (and I’m 36) so you do the math. Occasionally, I do get some paid jobs or some paid assignments but it is impossible to make a living out of it (I have other job which pays my mortgage, taxes, food, gas, kindergarten, some cigarettes, shoes and clothes from time to time…). Ok, my wife has a job too… ok,…. we have a decent life here but… still… as I said… incomes are insufficient when it comes to gear renewal. Last time I did it, I sold out all of my gear that I had and with  some additional savings I managed to purchase a new camera. Why? Because of the mileage of my previous one, because I wanted something lighter and because I needed something more technologically advanced. So I ended up with Fuji XPro1 and it was love at first sight and it still is.

XPro1 is ok but not on par with industry leaders? 

I was slicing my brains out to find some downsides and to make myself more criticizing about it… but without success. Yes… there are some stuff that DSLR purists will say that are more then a good reason to run away from it… (slow focusing, slow sync speed, precision-less OVF, etc.) but at the end… you just get used to it and start to love all the things that you made together. XPro1 is a great companion in every situation you can imagine yourself. At the time Fuji decided to upgrade their flagship model, you don’t feel cheated as most people do when some new technology comes out. At Fujis, new is good but the old one is still keeping up. This is not a praise to  Japan company (I do believe that they are no different than any other in terms of profitability and moneymaking business). Just want to point out that they did a great job back in 2012. On the other side I do think that models like XM1 or XA1 were unnecessary but hey… I’m not a business expert. I still think XPro1 is on par with most newer models made by competition. I have experience with most of them (Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic…) so my subjective opinion is based on usage and not on web reviews.

How I became THE BEST…

Very simple. You would think that I will probably tell you a story of how hard I was working on building my portfolio, shooting endless assignments, shooting days and nights until my finger cramp… and it is the common story of many of my fellow best photographers around the world, but not in my case.

I just bought the camera no one did in my country… so immediately I became the best X photographer in Bosnia (I’m pretty sure that I’m still the best around here or there are just a few best of us). So… being the BEST here, it gives me the right to ask some sample equipment to test it out from Fuji. Just point me at nearest camera store to pick it up. O wait… there is no camera stores around here. Ok… I’ll talk to your representatives in my country and try to convince them. O shit… yes… you don’t have it here.

My point is that Bosnia is not a market that is interesting not only to Fuji but to many other camera companies. But it would be great at least to have one specialized camera store here where one could go and test some equipment or maybe to rent it and at the end, to buy it. So… all of you dontknowwheretoinvestmymoney people, come to Bosnia, open a camera store and in some short time… you will loose everything, but hey… you’ll have a chance to become THE BEST camera store here ever. 😉

Ok… I lost it a bit. This post could easily become a sobbing confession of how hard life is around here… and how we have crappy politics… and how system of value is distorted and blah, blah,blah….

Enough…

imageOk… enough with story without any point. Long story short… XPro1 is still a great piece of gear. Since I’m in a process of thinking about additional camera body – it would be great to have a new XPro2 as a main camera but hey… I would be pretty much satisfied with another XPro1 body too. Good ergonomics, decent AF speed (no missing shots in 99%), decent high ISO output (at my standards, even ISO6400 is usable in some situations), good weight-shoulder ratio, 16MP sensor can give a print output of 70x55cm easily… do anyone need more?

Let me show you some images I did recently…

Motion

I love slow shutter speeds and how you can create surreal images in some simple and common situations and I noticed that when ever I shoot, no matter what, assignment or personal work… I always do a few slow shutter images.

Featured

If you went through my blog archives , you would notice that my work is often based around theatre. Also, I do follow some extreme sport clubs in region so you could find some xsports features… extreme climbing and uphill cycling. I do also a wedding photography from time to time but rarely. I’m an official photographer for Tourist organization of city of Prijedor since this year.

 

Portraits

I do consider myself a portrait photographer so here are some of the most recent I’m still working on for Prijedor city theater. They asked me to do some formal portraits of ensemble and I did it. But somehow, wasn’t very satisfied with it so I proposed a bit different approach. Idea is to show a theater that is not visible to majority of people. Old depots, hidden tunnels over the main hall, wardrobes, workshops, etc. And all of thatin form of a portrait. So… this is the result

If somehow you made it to this part of my blog post, I hope it was pretty much clear how XPro1 is more then a capable camera. Sports, weddings, documentary,off camera flash… you name it. Essentially, it is not up to camera… It depends on your imagination and preparation. Any camera would be as good as this one only…. you are makeing a relationship with any camera you are using and… I just think that XPro1 is more then any other generic model (no matter if a lot of them are technically superior) on a market. All the benefits combined with negative issues are creating a unique experience upon no one can be left indifferent.  Long live XPro1… welcome XPro2!!!

City portrait #24 – Nikola Bogdanović

Nikola is a young graphic designer from Prijedor, BiH, who caught my attention few years ago with his set of lamps that he made out of trash and industry remnants. His work is extraordinary and very creative so I decided to by some of it.
Concerning this portrait, I had a big dilemma how to show his inspiration by light. So… we tried several times but I was not satisfied with the result and finally, yesterday it just hit me and we did it in a few minutes.
Here is the result:
lampaman (1 of 4)

lampaman (2 of 4)

lampaman (3 of 4)

lampaman (4 of 4)

And one of our earlier attempts:
nikola bogdanovic (1 of 1)

Friday night in PD

Exhibition opened. It was rainy Friday night. If you have  chance, come and visit it until 25th of August in Prijedor city Gallery 96. Thank you all who came!!!

Special thanks to: Dejan Dejanović, Dino Mrkalj, Radenko Marin and Tiho Ilijašević

All photos below by Dragana Motl.

Exhibition tonight at 8:30pm

Everything is set to go so I’m using this opportunity to call all of you who are somewhere near to come tonight to Prijedor city Gallery 96. Opening is set for 8:30 pm and exhibition will last until 25th of August.

City portraits Exhibition

I’m proud to announce an exhibition of my series of City portraits that will take place on 30th of July in Prijedor city Gallery 96. Opening ceremony is planed for 20:30 h, so I’m inviting all of you (no matter if you are near or far away) to come. I would like to thank DUU”Manifest” (Association of urban artists) who helped me to organize it.

I’ll give you more information about all details in next few days. Day after the opening, I’ll present a simple workshop on basic photographic technique that is free to attend (basic photographing technique, composition, light, etc.)

S ponosom želim da objavim moju narednu izložbu serije “City portraits” koja će biti otvorena od 30. jula u gradu Prijedoru u Gallery 96. Izložba će biti otvorena mjesec dana a dan nakon otvaranja održaću radionicu na temu osnovnih tehnika fotografisanja, kompozicije, svjetla… Ulaz je slobodan i svi zainteresovani su dobrodošli.

DUU”Manifest” je zaslužan za organizaciju ove izložbe i ovim putem im se zahvaljujem.

Više detalja slijedi u narednim danima.

City portrait #17 – Rade Vranješ

rade-vranjes-(1-of-2)

Rade Vranješ – street book salesman. Also, great photographer (retired temporarily), studied in Zagreb (Croatia) – agriculture, but never finished it because of war in ex SFRJ (Yugoslavia). He is selling books on streets of Prijedor for several years. That is his life.

rade-vranjes-(2-of-2)

I can not decide which one is better to me so I’m posting both of them. What do you think?
On first picture I used one Vivitar285HV strobe set to 1/2 power, 1/125 sec., f8. Second one is taken with two Vivitar strobes. First one on 1/2 power and other one that lights books set on 1/16 power, 1/250 sec., f8.

Blues portrait

Dalibor Popović - Mikša

I had a plan today to do a new city portrait with an extraordinary person. Please, meet Dalibor Popović – Mikša. Extremely talented person. He is a painter by profession, but also a great guitar and saxophone player. His installations can be seen across Europe and also, he plays guitar and sax in a local band called Tatoo.
I had a great idea for his portrait (at least, I believe it was a great idea),but many things went wrong so I decided to do just a formal portrait for now and to try with a CityPortrait type some other time. We both tried to organized it well but without success. But, I’ll tell you something more about it after I materialize it.
Considering this portrait, I lit it with a bare Vivitar285HV set on a 1/4 power, f8 and shutter time of 1 sec. Why such a long exposure? It was total darkness and I wanted some details in my background. I shot it without a tripod.
BW version
Dalibor Popović - Mikša

City portrait #14 – Darko Vujasinović

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Darko Vujasinović – airplane and helicopter model maker. Passionate hobbyist. One of two owners of a helicopter powered by a fuel engine. More info to come. Here are pictures for now.

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City portrait #13 – Gojko Rađenović

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Gojko Rađenović – Prijedor’s Music School principal (new name is Music school “Savo Balaban”). Music school in Prijedor exists for over 50 years and since then, its building was never repaired, until this year. It took one year and a half to finish all the reparations and through that period, music school was moved to 7 different locations.

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City portrait #12 – Nešo Nožinić

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Finally, a new portrait. I’m back!!!
Nešo Nožinić – a pilot. Idea to take a portrait of him came to me long ago because as long as I’m aware of myself, I know for him and for his passion for hight. We were discussing yesterday of how the picture would look like and how am I going to do it and as I mentioned one old airplane on a empty field in small village near Prijedor called Međuvođe, I saw a sparkle in his eye. After a small break, he told me that the airplane, that I want to include in the picture, is the same airplane from which he had performed his first free jump while he was at the parachute training.
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Through Nešo, I wanted to indicate on a long tradition of flying in Prijedor. That old devastated airplane of Kurir type is a monument to a partizan pilots from WW II that took 2 German airplanes and escaped to a non occupied territory of Prijedor and formed first partizan squadron. Those two pilots were Franjo Kluz and Rudi Čajevec.

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City portrait #11 – Lazar Marčetić

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Lazar Marčetić – director and manager of Saničani fish pond near Prijedor. I know Lazar for some time, and I tried to transfer my own vision of him in this portrait. I always saw him as an urban intellectual who live a quality and successful life. Active sportsman, involved in a cultural life of a city, successful career.
The idea was to show him as a worker (not a stereotypic manager kind a guy). So, fish net is symbolizing his occupation while basketball equipment (he was active basketball player for a long time and now he is helping in development of Prijedor sport life) symbolize his active way of life.
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