Archive for November, 2009

Run & Gun

Run & Gun isn’t especially evocative of professional shooting. For some reason, it brings snapshots to mind and casually pointing your camera at something that you happened to pass by. I can assure you —  it takes a fair amount of skill to get this kind of shooting to turn out.

This type of shooting is ideal for multiple speedlights. It’s on location and you will get a variety of shots. More than a static set up with studio strobes. There isn’t enough space in tight areas to drag in studio strobes. Plus, you get 10 minutes to do the shot. In tight areas, there may only be one angle to take the shot and shadow casts are on walls. Angling a shoot through umbrella downward will help get those shadow casts to fall to the ground out of the frame.

I took photos of some prominent position people, everyday people, headshots, working candids, working posed shots in all contexts and settings. Here’s a few.

For this one above, I used a shallow depth of field to blur out the distracting brochures in the background. Three Nikon speedlights were used to shoot everything. Sometimes I used modifiers like a Lightsphere or two, sometimes bounced lighting off walls and ceilings. If the walls were green (some were), I’d use a modifier or ceiling to bounce. Green would find its way into your scene as reflected light and add an unwanted color cast if you bounced it off a green wall.

I had lots of help. I enlisted people to hold my speedlights, but I also found it convenient to use a collapsible light stand and Westcott 43″ folding umbrella as one of the modifiers. It diffused the light better than just bouncing it.

Can’t say enough good things about the Westcott collapsible umbrella. It fits right into my backpack and is a shoot through umbrella.The stand I use is only 22″ I can carry in one hand. It extends to 8′ in height when opened.

Three speedlights were ideal to handle almost any condition within the locations.

If you’re putting together a speedlight kit, consider the weight and size of your load. Compact and simple to set up items are the mainstay of this type of shooting.


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I don’t know any serious photographer shooting digital who does not post process their images. Software applications have replaced the traditional Lab component for film. So, it takes an hour or several to shoot the image, but there are often hours of post processing behind the scenes. This not only takes time to do but also time for the photographer to learn how to use the software application.

However, with the crushing volume of handheld devices that can capture not only stills but video getting to output end is breeding more of a FedX mentality. Here and now. On demand. We’re living in a more flexible mobile society at a breakneck pace.

Adobe has released Photoshop Mobile for not just iPhones but also for Android phones. It won’t replace the heavy duty reigning champ version of post processing, but if you’re looking to push things to your facebook, blog or other online areas to tempt the curious audience, have a look. I’m not sure of the code interface, but images are hosted at a Photoshop.com account. Lite manipulation with b/w, exposure, tint, cropping and some effects are included.

The iPhone version link is to the iTunes store so you need to have an iTunes account.


You can read a blurb about the iPhone release on John Nack on Adobe here.

The Android version just came out this week so put your iPhone jealously aside. It looks like fun and a fine way to amuse. I’m sure the learning curve isn’t steep on this one.

Best of all, it’s free. Over a million downloads shortly after its release in early Oct. ’09.

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Free apps for Mac

There’s a lot of graphic designers who started on a Macintosh. The GUI was simple and easy for us to use. We wanted to do our work but didn’t want to spend hours morphing ourselves into programming geeks. Greater parity has been achieved today since Windows pushed DOS out the window.

For those of you who are on a Mac today, I thought I’d post a link to a freebie suite of apps in case you wanted to give any of them a whirl.

MacHeist is spinning their nanobundle. Here.

I haven’t loaded or used them but will be taking a look. ShoveBox and Mariner Write are of interest to me. I don’t want to upgrade my Office Suite of products for Word or PowerPoint. I do need a word processor so I don’t have to open Word. TextEdit (freebie bundled with Macs) has been improved through the years, but it isn’t to my liking.

MacHeist’s offer is time limited. It only stands until they reach a certain number of downloads. Thanks for giving something back, MacHeist!

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