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MoneyWise Executive Portraits

MoneyWise Executive Portraits – two improvements in my location executive portraits

MoneyWise executive portrait

MoneyWise executive portrait

This post falls under “olde dog learns new trick(s)”.

Improvement 1:  Lighting equipment

For many years I have been photographing executives on location with Balcar lights but have always been frustrated that they are just too powerful. I prefer than an executive portrait subject’s eyes are sharply focused but that the tip of the nose and ears are soft (out of focus). This requires shooting around f4.0 or so. Even when I would power down the strobes, their color temperature would also warm (slightly yellower). (Of course, I could correct this in Lightroom, but why should I have to?) Then there are the small shooting locations, where it is difficult to reduce the strobe power enough, so I have to stop the lens aperture down more; losing my desired “look”, including the soft background bokeh.

So, I have been very interested in the Paul Buff Einstein strobes. Consistent color temperature, adjustable to very low power level, already uses all my Balcar accessories, and can be controlled remotely from the camera with the Cyber Commander!!! I bought a couple and used them on this job. More on the Einsteins in a future post.

Improvement 2:  Camera equipment

For the last 5 years much of my photography has been at corporate events. It requires shooting hundreds or thousands of image a day, standing on my feet all day, and really having my photography under-appreciated in this era of camera phones and selfies. Photography has become just a commodity, and good photography seems not to be as valued as it once was.

I am now making a conscious effort to move away from run-and-gun shooting (no pun intended) to a more deliberate style of photography. That involves simplifying equipment and lightning my load. My Nikons have served me well but will soon be up for sale (after a corporate shoot next weekend in Richmond). I have decided to move to the Sony mirror less E-mount Alpha system, specifically the Alpha/a 7r 36MB image sized camera.The “r” stands for resolution, and it lives up to it’s name. I am seeing things in these portraits I did not see in my Nikon D3s. Incredible detail! You should see the pores and eyelashes in these RAW images…stunning!

These are my first portraits, shot with only 2 Einstein strobes and the Sony a7r and Nikon 70-200 lens tethered wirelessly to a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014. The images were processed in Lightroom 5.6, Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, and PortraitPro Studio 12.

The camera system is not perfect, but when I get it figured out I think it will work really well.

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Church Location Portraits

Church Location Portraits

Church location portraits

Church location portraits

It has been about 11 months since I last updated this site. I hope to catch everyone up soon as to what’s been going on. For now, my church asked me to add some more officers and staff location portraits to our site at Grace Community Church (PCA). No problem, except it has been about a year since I last shot there, and I still wanted the images to look as though they all belonged together.

I normally shoot location portraits with 5 lights (key, fill, background, hair, and rim). I shot these images with only a 46″ Photek Softlighter II as a key, and a 60″ Photek Softlighter II as a fill and spill onto the background, both with nylon diffusers.

I think I came pretty close to matching the previous images here.

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Church Web Images

Church Web Images

Church Web Images

Church Web Images

My wife and I are new members of Grace Community Church (http://www.cvillegrace.org/) in Charlottesville, VA. GCC is a PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) church, located 4 miles north of the Charlottesville airport and just off of 29 North. Coming from Charlottesville, just look for the Psychic on the right (not kidding!), then make the next left onto Dickerson and follow the signs.

We were drawn to the sound, winsome, honest, and transparent teaching of Don Ward and Tag Tuck. I am honored to be part of a team that has been working on Grace Community Church‘s new website. These are some images for the site, which rolled out today.

I want the images to honor God, be interesting, and communicate who we are. More images are certainly needed, but I am pleased with the first batch.

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