People's Choice in People portraits on a black background Photo Challenge
Peer Award
Rafaphoto Anita Kovács GMacWP stefanschug simonpimhogben vitor dj8065 +16
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dlatrella BrilliantSun StuartSoni Judy_zehentner YvonneJeaK natalianinestrong
All Star
larryhoth 730popper
Superior Skill
bobbytaylor71 jamiesarkett
Absolute Masterpiece
ReinaR paullanderos
Magnificent Capture
Burnettj Christinecf
Superb Composition



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Covers Photo Contest Vol 39Top 30 class
Covers Photo Contest Vol 39Top 30 class week 2
Covers Photo Contest Vol 39Top 10 class week 1
1 Comment | Report
jamiesarkett September 05, 2017
Congrats - great shot :)

Behind The Lens

This shot was taken in the subjects house with my portable studio gear. This is my brother-in-law and he wanted some new headshots for his web page and I knew just the look we should go for.
This shot was taken inside on a black backdrop with off camera strobes so the time of day did not matter.
I used a dark cloth background and two large soft boxes on either side. I had the power turned down pretty low and placed the strobes rather close in order to get a quick falloff of the light and not light the background.
I used my Nikon D750 paired with the amazing 70-200mm 2.8 VRII. This camera and lens combination is simply amazing. I use a Mefoto tripod and YN560 IV speed lights with remote trigger. The soft boxes are StudioPro 24x36 rectangle softboxes and the backdrop was a simple black sheet.
From the picture you can see that my brother-in-law has an amazing look and an equally amazing background. He is a Marine, family man, an entrepreneur, loves big trucks, barbecue and Texas, and just an overall bad ass. He owns a company that makes rugged wheel and axle systems for the Yeti coolers so I thought we should take a gritty, rugged style picture to match the quality of the products. I knew with his bald head and huge beard that and HDR style photo with lots of contrast would look great.
I am kind of a minimalist when it comes to processing images and I feel like today photographers rely too much on processing rather than taking quality images. However, a picture such as this does require some simple processing to achieve the desired look. After basic tweaking in Adobe Lightroom and took the picture into Adobe Photoshop and duplicated some layers, changed some blending modes, and sharpened the imaged quite a bit to give it that dramatic, high-contrast look.
In my camera bag
Deciding which lenses to take is always a bit of a struggle because you just never know what you need. I try to always have a long lens in the bag such as my Nikor 70-200mm and then something at the bottom end like as my Nikor 50mm prime. However if I know I am going to be shooting on tight city streets I will take a wide angle lens. I always have filters in my bag to cut down on glare or to add a few stop of diffusion to get slower shutter speeds. Depending on location and subject sometimes I will have my flashes or a 5-in-1 reflector with me. I almost always cary my tripod and cable release because you just can't get sharp shots shooting hand held. And of course, extra memory cards and batteries is a must.
My best advice is to shoot in RAW format, especially for shots that require lots of processing. The RAW format captures so much more data than JPEG and allows you to do more with it. Next, learn your camera. DSLR's today are such powerful tools and they come with a lot of functions. The more you learn how to use those functions the better your images will be. Get out of Auto Mode and shoot Manual. Break out of your comfort zone and try new things. I spend hours and hours looking through other peoples images online and watching tutorials to find inspiration. Inspiration is all around you. Get out there and snap as many pictures as you can, and who knows, you might get some keepers.

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