Wedding: Johanna & Sebastian – 16/04/2016

Manchmal trifft man sich im Leben unter ganz besonderen Umständen wieder. So geschehen bei meinem ehemaligen Schulkameraden Sebastian, der mich als Fotograf für seine Hochzeit auf Schloss Romrod engagierte. Für mich herrscht auf einer Hochzeit von Bekannten immer eine sehr spezielle gute Atmosphäre. Einerseits kennt man sich von früher, andererseits ist eine Hochzeit nochmal etwas so Privates, dass man eine bekannte Person zumeist noch mal neu kennenlernt. Die Location, die Angehörigen, die Gäste, die Art zu Feiern und die Emotionen tragen allesamt dazu bei, einen neuen und erweiternden Eindruck zu erhalten. Für mich unbeschreiblich und motivierend, für einen guten Bekannten dieses erinnerungsträchtige Ereignis bestmöglich zu dokumentieren.

Danke Johanna und Sebastian für diese unvergessliche Hochzeit!
Es hat mir sehr viel Spaß gemacht! Euch beiden alles Gute!

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Engagement Shooting – Johanna & Sebastian in Altenburg

Engagement: Johanna & Sebastian

Hi everyone! Hopefully you had a great 2016 so far.
Wedding season is coming soon. Therefore I started with Engagement Shootings and
this Engagement featuring Johanna and Sebastian was a special one.
Because Sebastian is an old school mate and when he and his girlfriend decided to get married this year, he gave me a call. That was the moment we got in touch again after 10 years or so.
How awesome is that? Someone remembers you – that photo guy from old school days more than 10 years ago. Haha. Pretty cool!

So here we go with a few impressions of Johanna’s and Sebastian’s Engagement Shooting in March. They chose a nice location in Altenburg. While it was a cold day and icy evening, we had a lot of fun and a lovely spirit was in the air.
Hardly can wait for their upcoming wedding next month.

Engagement Shooting – Johanna & Sebastian in Altenburg Engagement Shooting – Johanna & Sebastian in Altenburg Engagement Shooting – Johanna & Sebastian in Altenburg

 

Wow, suddenly they are using flash!

Hi and welcome to this short blog post about the current sports photography circumstances in Alsfeld.

When I opened the local newspaper’s sports section yesterday (and today) I was pretty surprised. A local sports photographer used flash for an indoor football game coverage! It’s interesting that after the publication of my strobed indoor sports photos other local sports photographers suddenly use flash, too.


This shot is a nice try in terms of using flash, but it’s still a simple straight on camera flash that – in all probability – disturbs the players, causes cast shadows, red eyes (see the goalkeeper), a flat 2D impression and no kind of dramatic. Of cause, this flash reveals the players and enables a faster shutter speed, but it’s just an unfavorable type of flash – it’s a straight flash. However, this photographer still made a good start to get better images in dark gyms. It’s really necessary to rise the level of the picture quality in our local newspaper – especially in the sports section.

Nevertheless let’s have a look at a shot that was made by using a professional off camera flash technique.


As you can see, this shot doesn’t show any cast shadows of the players. It’s kind of 3D because I was using two strobes that also helped to create a dramatic light. The visitors in the background are primarily lit by the available light and the players by the flash light. Because the flash light comes from the ceiling and is mixed with the ambient light, it doesn’t disturb the players.

Seems like my sports images and my way of lighting causes a new understanding of quality in local sports photography.  Would be nice to see more sports images of good quality in our local newspaper. 🙂

Bye!
Chris

Engagement Shooting

Engagement: Jessi & Timo 27/11/2011

Hi and welcome to another blog post!

Because I have a lot to do at the moment and there will be lots of work in the upcoming months, I am going to post job and project reviews on a monthly basis from now on. But there will also be several other “news posts” from time to time.

However, last Sunday I had an Engagement Shoot and I was pretty excited about this job. Timo an ex-classmate at the university and his soon-to-be-wife Jessica facebooked me a few days ago and asked me to take some images for their invitation card. I agreed and that was my first step into this.

Although I love to interact and communicate with people it is also always a challenge to establish a great shooting atmosphere and a comfortable feeling for the client and anyone who is involved in the shoot.

Therefore it needs some preparation in terms of finding out the clients interests, searching for great locations and suggesting them to the client, offering a perfect service, being kind and having an open mind for the clients suggestions/ideas etc. These are just a few ingredients that slip into the whole process of planning a shoot.

On the other hand there is the technically and artistically aspect like: Which lens to use? Which style fits the best? How will the light quality be? Is a flash necessary or a reflector? Do I need an assistant? How should the light setup be?

If you decide to do the whole job without an assistant and to take available light shots only that means you will save a lot of time and effort. But will the quality be that good like when you press every button? I don’t think so. That’s the reason why I am always trying to do everything possible.

During the week I thought about the shoot and what to prepare for it. They wanted the pictures to be taken in the nature. So, I made a walk through the field and wood behind our house, on Friday. I looked for nice places and found some like a meadow with an old construction trailer in front of the wood, a colorful forest path with leaves on it, another meadow on the forest edge with a deerstand and a moss-grown place in the pinewood. I took several shots of these places and send them to Timo and Jessica. Finally, on Sunday we took the pictures at the places they liked most.

For this shoot I decided to used super telephoto lenses (300mm and 600mm) and flash. I pursued the goal not to disturb the couple as much as it would be necessary to get an authentic shot plus I wanted to shoot from an observer angle. The long focal length and wide aperture should help to soften the background and turn it into a pleasant background from which the subject sharply dispatches.

My assistant Freda assisted me with the flash and helped to establish a relaxed atmosphere. Although it was cold and windy on that day everyone had fun. Timo, Jessica and Freda were cold and I sweat under the pressure to create the best images possible. 🙂

Lighting the cosy scene

The bright and clean style makes the image alive

Shooting from far away with a long focal length letting them act as natural as if they were absolutely on their own – no disturbing shutter click and instructions from the photographer

A long focal length and a wide aperture softens and reveals the subject from the background and helps to concentrate on the essentials

Reflecting memorable moments of a wonderful relationship

Well, this was a fantastic day with Timo and Jessica for Freda and me. We learned a lot and this was just the beginning of taking Engagement Shoots! 🙂

Thanks a lot and have a great time!

Bye!
Chris

Shooting Indoor Sports

Hi and welcome to this blog post!

Today’s topic is about how to shoot indoor sports to get high-quality photos.

Sometimes gyms do not offer the light quality that you need to create high-quality photos. So, you need to bring your own light.
It’s no secret that professional sports photographers use strobes to light gyms or arenas. Thanks to Dave Black I learned a lot about that and this weekend I did it the same way.

This weekend’s venue was the GSH Alsfeld, which is one of that dark venues with horrible light. It’s one of the darkest gyms that were ever built.  Here one has to shoot with ISO 10000 and f2.8 to get a shutter speed of 1/320s!
Every photographer gets nightmares when have to cover games that are hold in this gym. The results are mostly not that good – technically – because of the very lame light. And every Monday one can see the grainy, dull and blurry results in the sports section of the local newspapers. Not only bad for the reader but also not that good for the image of a newspaper.

Because I’m not satisfied with such lame photos, I did it the professional way.

While some photographers already brought their own light to dark gyms, they made a mistake by using on-camera flash. There is no worst idea like shooting indoor sports with an on-camera flash because on one hand it disturbs the athletes and on the other hand it offers no good light in terms of a natural look – as direct flash does mostly. That leads me to point #1: Don’t use on-camera flash but off-camera flash.

Professionals are using off-camera flash in terms of sport strobes that are mounted high above the court under the ceiling to illuminate it like lamps do to create a natural light look. Okay, that’s #2: Mount your flashguns/strobes under the ceiling.

It’s a pity that we don’t have such nice catwalks under the ceiling like they have in the USA. That makes it way more difficult to get the lights up there. If there are no catwalks and no ladders that would it make possible to reach the ceiling you have to find another way. Maybe you rent a long ladder from a hardware store or you rent a manlift etc.
But the very first step you should do is: Ask for permission! Ask the teams, ask the housekeeper and everyone else who is involved in decision making. Also make a contract to play it safe.
Apropos “safe”: Safety comes first! Secure your installations and make sure that if something brakes no one gets hit.

As you can see you have to arrange a lot in the first place before you are able to mount your lights. Maybe that’s the thing why in Germany there are just a few photographers using sport strobes. Effort is a big obstacle in an age where time is more money than ever.

Anyway, I made all that arrangements before and on Saturday I was ready to install the lights under the ceiling. I made all the installations early that day and went there at 10 o’clock in the morning. The first game was at 4.30 p. m.


As always I made a plan. Finally, I installed one flash in the upper left corner and another one in the lower middle. During the game I positioned myself in the lower left corner. That’s the typical light setup that causes a fill flash and a backlight.

I put the flash on the left (see the image above) to the left corner and used it as a backlight:

As strobes I used only two NIKON SB-800 Speedlights. The benefits are that they are light and portable and don’t need an external power supply. As Dave Black says in his workshop videos, the Speedlights have plenty of power and due to FP sync very short shutter speeds are possible. That means I can freeze all the action and can blend the available light with the flash light so that no ghosting appears like it would be with the typical sport strobes.

Because the SB-800 just sends the infrared signal up to 20 meters and a line of sight is needed, I used the RadioPopper wireless triggers. They allow me to trigger the Speedlights without a line of sight and from a distance of 400+ meters.

Finally, the difference between available light shots and flash light shots are amazing! Thank’s to the very clean high ISO of the D3, I can use ISO 5000 to realize a shutter speed of 1/640s which is okay for Basketball. The flash light cleans the high ISO and the result is a clean photo with a good contrast, saturation, more detail and frozen action.

Using available light:

Using flash:

As you can see, it’s worth the effort to make all these arrangements and installations. As for my part I use flash whenever it is possible.

Bye!
Chris

Ein Sommer-Shoot

Nach unzähligen Klausuren und einer Menge Lernstress habe ich mich heute nach der drittletzten Klausur endlich mal wieder der Fotografie widmen können. In den letzten Wochen kamen mir viele Ideen, die ich nach den Klausuren auch Stück für Stück umsetzen will.
Heute habe ich begonnen, eine der ersten Ideen zu realisieren: Ein Portrait in einem Getreidefeld während die Sonne untergeht. Dabei sollte es so realistisch wie möglich wirken, allerdings gingen mir die CTOs für die Blitze aus, so dass der beleuchtete Hintergrund von der Farbtemperatur her stark abweicht (5000 Kelvin). Dahingegen habe ich die Blitze für das Model per CTO auf ca. 10.000 Kelvin modifiziert, um das warme Licht des Sonnenuntergangs zu imitieren. Naja,  es war mehr eine spontane Aktion, da der Himmel gerade so passend schien – das soll jetzt aber keine Entschuldigung sein. 😉
Nachdem das Equipment zusammengerafft war, haben wir uns ins Auto geschwungen und sind ins Feld gefahren. Dann musste alles ganz schnell gehen, bevor die Sonne hinter dem Wald verschwand und mit ihr das warme Licht. Der Aufbau war wie folgt:

Ich habe bei jedem Blitz die Leistung manuell geregelt, weil ich die volle Kontrolle wollte. Die zwei SB-800 fürs Model habe ich Gruppe A und den SB-800 für den Hintergrund Gruppe B zugeordnet, um das Licht variabel steuern zu können. Die SB-800 fürs Model habe ich außerdem mit den Bouncern bestückt – für ein weicheres Licht. Habe hier auf Softboxen oder Schirme verzichtet, weil schneller. Der SB-800 für den Hintergrund war auf 35mm gezoomt, um das Licht etwas zu streuen.
Kameraeinstellungen waren auch alle manuell. Als Objektiv habe ich ein Sigma 24-70/2.8 verwendet. Alles in Allem kein kompliziertes Setup, aber: weniger ist eben oftmals mehr – wie das Ergebnis beweist:

Bis demnächst.

Chris