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Band Portraits in the Black Key’s Rehearsal Space

How to Take Portraits in a new, untested environment.

I had a really amazing opportunity to take some band photos in a space that, surpise, turned out to be the Black Keys’ rehearsal space! How cool!

I wanted to quickly run down how this photo is taken since it’s really illustrates a few basic, but important aspects of location scouting a planning.

Scouting

When you’re in a new location, you’ve got to make time to just look around. This being the Black Keys’ space, you know it’s going to be filled with character, but you still have to find the spot that’s going to work with your needs. Our needs were we needed a location that would work for both group and individual photos. We were moving fast since some of the band members had limited time — a specific factor like that is going to influence your choice heavily, so be ready!

Lighting

Once I settled on a location (a cool hallway filled with touring gear) I send the band off to their rehearsal and started to set up my lights. I knew I was going to to use 3 lights and my plan was to gel two of those lights with complimentary colors. 

Main Light

The mainlight was a 51 inch reverse-bounce umbrella known as a soft-lighter. I set that up at the beginning of the hallway, facing down towards the band. I am using this light to both fill in shadows (so it’s acting as a fill, to some degree) but also make sure the main features of our subjects aren’t overly washed with color from our other two lights.

Fill Light

Our fill light is an orange gelled Alinebees 800 with a reflector dish pointed at the wall. I am using the wall as a bounce so I can effectively turn it into a massive softbox. The light is just about 1 full stop of power less than our main light. 

Ambient Light

There’s a technique I don’t see used EVER in photography, or at least it’s never mentioned, and that is the use of a strobe as an ambient light source. Just to define what I mean by Ambient — it is a source of light that lives everywhere through the photo. That may not initially make much sense, but in a practical sense your ambient light is the light that you control using your shutter speed. We all know that even when you’re using a lot of strobes to light your photo, you can turn your shutter speed down far enough so that more light bleeds in from the environment – that light is the ambient light. 

The cool thing is, you can actually use strobes to control that as well. The only two rules to creating ambient light is:

  1. That your ambient light strobe washes evenly throughout the photo
  2. That your ambient light strobe’s power is higher than the natural light but weaker than your main flashes.

To tackle rule #1, making sure the light reaches everywhere, I had the flash pointed at the ceiling. This meant the light bounced up and then cascaded down throughout the photo evenly. 

Rule #2 is easy, you just dial it up or down until you only see it’s influence in the shadows of your subjects. In our photo you can see the ambient light (gelled as a deep teal) on the walls and on the shadow side of our subject — Perfect!

Taking Photos

The next step is the easy part! And working with a group a guys like the Yankee Bravo crew just makes the process of taking photos easy and fun! Over the course of about 30 minutes we worked through several different set ups and then we were outta there! I’ve attached the lighting diagram so you can get a rough idea of where I had everything placed and the final photos are here to show you what we were able to create!

It was an amazing experience, and the band (Yankee Bravo – go check em out!) were just the best group of guys you could ask to work with. The space was amazing to work with as well. Just everything about this shoot was so amazing!

Benjamin Lehman is a Commercial, Advertising and Portrait Photographer in the Cleveland, Akron, and North East Area of Ohio. 

Behind the Scenes: Three Light Portrait at the Massillon Woman’s Club

Three Flash Portrait Lighting at the Massillon Woman's Club

I am a huge fan of single light portraits, and I don’t always think, “more is better.” Sometimes, however, you can help craft a particular mood by adding a few extra lights into your scene to help convey story and emotion. In this simple behind the scenes look, I am going to share with you a diagram and final photo. 

The idea comes first, of course, and in this case we wanted to capture a grand mood set by some reference materials the subject and I had agreed upon. After that we had to scout for a location, and after nearly a month of looking around we stumbled into an amazing mansion that was practically in our own back yard! This place, known as the Massillon Woman’s Club, located in Massillon, Ohio, turned out to be an amazing backdrop and the perfect setting for our portraits. 

The 3 point lighting set-up I used for this photo is something I devised in my head while scouting the location a few days prior to shooting. I wanted a dramatic balance between detail and shadows, keeping much of the area around the subject subdued so she would pop out of the darker areas. To do this I used one main light (Paul C. Buff Einstein) outfitted with a grided softbox, a second, fill light (Paul C. Buff Alienbees) with a blue gelled reflector, and a background light (another Paul C. Buff Alienbees) fitted with a reflector and orange gel. 

The main light is pointed at our subject, from camera-left, at a fairly standard 45/45 degree position (45 degrees pointed down, and 45 degrees to the side of the subject). The fill is pointed at our subject from camera-right at a nearly 90 degree angle, at head height. Lastly, the background light is camera-right, pointed towards the background structure of the room. Once everything is set up, all we need to do is press that shutter button and viola!

Our final image is one that is filled with mood, evocative, and highlights our beautiful subject.

 

Benjamin Lehman is a Commercial, Portrait, Advertising and Wedding Photographer in the Canton, Akron, Cleveland, and North East Ohio Areas. 

Learn Flash Photography In Under One Minute!

Intimidated by flash photography? You won't be after this quick video!

In this new video, Ben is going to teach you how to use Flash in your photography in under one minute! It’s really that easy!

Photographing Summer Carnivals and Festivals Using Long Exposure

USE LONG SHUTTER SPEEDS TO MOTION TO SUMMER FESTIVALS, CARNIVALS, AND EVENTS.

Festivals, carnivals and other outdoor events can offer a huge opportunity for interesting photographs. For me, I try to a local event that’s going to have rides (rides have lights – this is important) and, if I am extra lucky, maybe some fireworks too. The next step is to plan my arrival which I usually try to get somewhere around sunset. The only thing left to do is find your composition, set up your camera and tripod and then slow that shutter speed down as much as possible. That usually means an aperture of f/22, ISO of 100 and a shutter speed between 2 and 30 seconds, depending on what time of the evening it is.

Benjamin Lehman is a commercial, advertising, portrait and landscape photographer in the Canton, Akron, Cleveland and north east Ohio area. 

Gear Review: CADeN Camera Bag Sling Backpack

A SLING BAG THAT DELIVERS

There are a lot of reviews out there where the writer is giving you their opinion after 24 hours of use. Very rarely have I fell in or out of love with a piece of equipment within a day. I like to put a few cycles on my fear before I give it the thumbs up or down. That’s what I did with this new camera toting thing – the CADeN Camera Bag Sling Backpack. First off, don’t ask me why the “e” in CADeN is lowercase, I’ve got no idea. Also, don’t ask me who CADeN even is, cause as far as camera accessory brand names go, this is a new one to me. What I can tell you is that I love a deal, especially when that deal also fills a need.

True story: Recently I was looking for my old sling bag. I searched every nook and cranny of my house and studio. After a few days would pass, I would find myself searching again. Sadly, I never did find that bag. That is until I went on a photo-walk with a friend of mine, saw him using said bag, and then suddenly remembering that I had given it to him. Long story short, I was now officially in the market for a new sling bag! So I headed to my local camera store which goes by the name of AMAZON.COM and did some asking about. What I found was a camera sling bag with 4.5ish stars that came in around $32 dollars. That’s cheap, I think I’ll take it! Oh, hey, bonus, I also have some rewards on my credit card so now this thing is basically free!

What could go wrong with a free camera bag? Well, if you’ve ever bought a camera that comes with one of those free-added-bonus-everything-you’ll-ever-need-as-a-new-photographer deals, then you’ve probably ended up with at least one free bag (and some memory cards, and lens wipes, tripod, filters, etc…) And, to be honest, those free bags are kinda meh…

Sure, they are often made by big names like Case Logic, but they are the some of the least exciting, unusable, camera bags anyone could ever ask for. I have 4 of them, all of them free, all part of promotions, and to this day they’ve never been used to carry a camera. Instead, they are relegated to holding cords, filters, lights. They are useful in some regards, just not as a bag that holds a camera.

This sling bag from CADeN however is, well, surprisingly good. Shockingly good, actually. I mean, I actually kinda love this bag. I think I enjoy it so much cause it does one thing and it does it really well; it holds my camera. Well, yeah, duh, but trust me, as I mentioned before, not all bags are created equal. The CADeN lets me tuck my EOS R with a 24-70mm and another lens into it’s triagular-ish shape. My camera lives under one zippered hatch, and your lens, or a flash or whatever else, lives on the side under another zipped hatch. The zippers have pull loops so you can open them easily with a tug, but you can also use the snap-clip on the top of the case to lock those loops in place, ensuring nothing opens and falls out while you’re hiking. I know this because I’ve spent the last two weeks in a lot of wildery places – hiking and climbing up rocks, cliffs and ledges and this bag has kept everything in place.

The bag also stays in place while you walk. If you’ve ever had a sling bag before then you’ll know that they tend to creep around your hips as you move. The CADeN will wander around your side a little, but no where near as much as similar bags that I’ve owned. Oh, and there are even straps on the bottom so you can lash a medium-light weight travel tripod to the bottom! Seriously, this is kind of a big deal as some large backpack camera bags don’t even have places to store your tripod!

What I want to stress again, though, is that I’ve used this thing almost every day for two weeks and it’s been a piece of gear that has made my work easier and thus better. I have huge bags and backpacks that I use when I have to take everything with me, but most of the time I don’t need the entire photo-closet on location. This little bag from CADeN has proven itself to me. If you’re in the market for a cheap bag, then maybe it’ll prove itself to you as well!

 

Benjamin Lehman is a professional Commercial, Advertising and Portrait Photographer located in North Eastern Ohio.

landscape Photography – July 2019

Get out and smell the roses

Of, if sniffing the flora isn’t your thing, you can always take pictures instead. I’ve opted for the former, myself. Summer offers a great chance to capture the world in all of it’s warm (and sometimes humid) glory. Here are some landscapes we grabbed over the past two weeks as we explored both DunDee Falls near Beach Town, Oh, and Virginia Kendall Ledges inside of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. 

Rescue Adoption Fair Photos!

If you were at this weekend’s Rescue Adoption Fair, you can find your photos here!

Pet Photos June 22

Benjamin Lehman Photography is now available for booking for Photos!

Book your next photo with Benjamin Lehman Photography!

We’re happy to announce we’re open for booking – 2019 and 2020 dates are available!

Commercial, Portrait, Senior, Wedding, Family and Advertising photos are all available – feel free to call us at: 650.644.8114 or use our Contact Page Form for requests and information.

 

Charity: Second Chance Pets Easter Portraits

We were asked by a wonderful charity organization, Second Chance For Animals, to come and take pictures for their Easter event. We had an amazing time with both pets and parents; nothing makes us smile more than seeing pets being loved by their forever families!

 

The 30 Minute Challenge – Photography Exploration

With only a few exceptions, I never like to take the same picture twice. When people come to my portfolio I want them to feel like they are always seeing something for the first time – Indeed, perhaps my personal style is more about being different than it is about any one repeatable technique. Whatever the case, it can feel frustrating at times when you look out of your studio windows and you can’t see any unique photo opportunities waiting for you. In those cases, there’s one obvious solution – exploration. 

Here’s what approx. 30 minutes of travel time looks for me. There’s a lot to explore here!

Keeping it simple, I suggest the following. Go to Mapdevelopers.com and fiddle-around with their map tool that let’s you draw a radius around your starting point. I am setting the radius to be somewhere around 20 or so miles, because that roughly correlates to 30 minutes of driving time in most cases, depending on which roads I plan on traveling. Once your radius is set, zoom in and around the map and just try to find spots where you’ve never been. 30 minutes of travel is no big thing, and I think we can agree that amount of time can usually fit into even the busiest person’s schedule – so no excuses!

Exactly what you are looking to explore is a matter of taste, but this gives you the ability to focus on an idea without getting overwhelmed. Whether looking for water, old cities, country roads, busy streets – just scan your radius for whatever fits the bill. Last week when I did this, I was looking for old-world farms and vistas, and we found em! But I also found some other interesting things that I hadn’t known about previously. Scanning the outer edge of my radius I found a new set of waterfalls I had no idea existed. I’m already planning another 30 minute excursion for that once the seasons change a bit more. 

Sometimes it’s a good thing to plan a large trip, especially if you are a landscape photographer, to go out and experience some of the world’s most amazing scenery. However, you shouldn’t feel locked-in and isolated, even in an area that you may feel you’ve previously exploited. Approaching the problem in a new way may help you discover places and things that would have fallen under the radar otherwise! 

 

Below are some of the photos I took on my last 30 minute adventure. 

Benjamin Lehman is a professional commercial, advertising, portrait, landscape and wedding photographer in the Akron, Canton, Cleveland and Northeast Areas of Ohio.