Do you light differently when shooting for B/W images?

Dear friends, I’ve been lazy… 

Well, not really. I’ve been crazy busy which is the reason I haven’t gotten around to update my blog in quite some time. I thought I’d do a post about lighting today, and how I light my images if I’m shooting for BW’s.

I know most photographers don’t think too much about if their shooting for an color image or a black and white image, which in my opinion is quite sad, since I believe that the lighting has a huge impact on how your black and white images turn out! I tend to increase the natural contrast of my images when shooting for BW. I do this by choosing a small but soft light source putting it fairly close to my subjects. In this shoot I used a Profoto 1×1,3′ softbox set above the model,  at approx 1m in front of the extremely athletic model, named Alex. The images included in this post have not yet visited Photoshop, and are all a pure result of the light only.

I know a lot of fitness and BB images are shot with harder light sources(spot etc), but I like my shadows to be a bit softer, and as long as the contrast is high, muscle definition is well preserved as you clearly see in the shoots below. Another thing I sometimes do, is to make tiny holes in the velcro of the outer diffuser. This lets some light pass out and hit my subject as harder light beams/spots. With some practice you can get a quite interesting light this way. In the picture below you should be able to see maybe four of these “spots”… do you??

In this first shot you see the main light from above.

Alex ©Jon Rune Trengereid

In the three next ones I’ve added a rim light from the models right side, set to about 1/3 of a stop less than the main light.

Alex ©Jon Rune Trengereid

Alex ©Jon Rune Trengereid

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Alex ©Jon Rune Trengereid

For these shots I had my 1Dx with my EF 50mm f/1.2L set to f/6,3 @ 1/200.

My main light was a Profoto Pro-8a with a Profoto 1×1,3′ Softbox. The rimligt was a Profoto D1 500ws with a Profoto 1×4′ striplight.

I hope you enjoyed this post and that you put some extra thought into the lighting the next time your aiming for an black and white image with impact. As always feel free to ask any questions you must have!

-jr-

 

 

 

 

BTS Undorn Atelier Shoot

Some time back we did a concept shoot for the Norwegian Designer Karina K. Titze of Undorn and Jeweler David-Andersen.  We had this uber cool location for a day,  just an hour outside of Oslo, Norway. I think it’s and old mill house, or something in that line. Anyways, we arrived to a freezing cold location and set up in this awesome room as you can see in the pictures. I we found a couple of electric heaters, which were able to raise the temperature to about 4 degrees celsius… After filling the whole area up with smoke and making sure the fire alarm went off 4-5 times, we finally started shooting our models, wearing beautiful dresses and jewelry worth more than $150 000.

Jon Rune Trengereid

Lets smoke this place!!!

Jon Rune Trengereid

Doesn’t look like it, but this place was freezing!!

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The Hero himself… ME!

Jon Rune Trengereid

“Backstage”

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The team after an 12 hour workday.

Jon Rune Trengereid

 

 

-jr-

Test shoot with Undis from EB Models

A few weeks back I did a test shoot with the lovely Undis from EB Models. I wanted these fashion images to easily be considered as a set of portraits, and decided to go with a large light source to get smooth and soft shadows. The lighting was real simple and done with a Profoto 5′ Octa mounted with a softgrid as the main light; powered by a Profoto Pro-8a.  Here’s the final result and some info on how we sat up the light to get this look.

Undis by Jon Rune Trengereid

Undis by Jon Rune Trengereid

Undis by Jon Rune Trengereid

 

I used a Canon 1Dx and a EF 85mm f1.2L II set to 1/200 sec at f/2,8, ISO 100. As always I overexposed the image with 1/3 of a stop to make sure I get all the information the sensor can hold. More about that in another blogpost.

I sat up the Profoto head with the 5′ Octa and the softgrid on the right side of the model who was placed about 3 feet from the backdrop. As you probably know the larger the light source the softer the light. There is one other thing that also defines the light quality, contrast. The closer you set the light to your model, the higher the contrast. So if you want soft shadows(where light gradually turns to shadows) use a large(relative) light source, and if you want high contrast(how deep the shadow go compared to the lights parts of your image) put the light source close to your subject. 

The main light was set high with the help of a Avenger A4050CS stand, about 20″ above the models head and approx 3′ in front of her. The direction of the light was set so that the center of the octa points just below her chest. This means that her head is lit by a really feathered light to create soft shadows but with a fairly high contrast, as you can see in her dark eyes. Also there is hardly any spill over to the background due to the direction of the light and the soft grid attached. 

When I sat up the light I initially wanted a rim light on the models left side, but I soon realized that this was not in coherence with the look I was after and dialed the rimlight down 2 stops opening up the deep shadows but without leaving any “visible trace” of a second light source.  Dialing down 2 stops from 2.8 is not something all strobes can do, but it was not a problem for my Profoto D1 250w. I sat up a large black portable wall to flag the light from the camera.Undis lighting setup by Jon Rune Trengereid

 

Thanks for reading and feel free to ask me any questions you may have.

 

-jr-

 

 


BTS at the L’Oreal Academy

Behind the scenes from my latest job with L’Oreal.
It was a fun day as always, even though I was dead tired after a 14 hour workday.
A couple of times each year L’Oreal hosts a “training camp” for hair professionals who want to get certified within the L’Oreal color system. The week ends with a large shoot that puts the students and their newly acquired knowledge to the test.

Final results in a later post with a tutorial on how the shoot was done 🙂

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-jr-

Canson Infinity, she’s French and fooled me into love again…

Whenever you hear talk about print quality, its almost always related to the printer and the image itself. Well, high quality printing absolutely has a lot to do with the printer in use, and whether the image file is of good quality, but what is at least as important is the media your printing to. The characteristics of the paper can help you set the right feeling you want for your image. The paper also has a color gamut to relate to, and in most cases the bigger the better(more on this later).

Through out my photographic carrier, I’ve used several different kinds of printers and I’ve been in close contact with the three major brands, HP, Epson and Canon (My current line of printers are the Pixma Pro-1 and the iPF 8400, both from Canon, I also have access to the iPF 6450 and 9400). In the beginning I mostly used paper made by the printer manufacturer of the current printer I was using + a lot of Ilford paper. Most of the prints I made was on coated plastic “paper” and it really didn’t matter too much if I used Ilford or any other media. In the end it all looked the same, and that’s not too far from the truth! Since then Ilford introduced their Gold Fibre Slik, and we started to see a great improvement in our prints. I was happy with this paper for quite some time, but moved on to Harman by Hahnemuehle’s Baryta paper, a paper I liked quite a lot.

But then, almost a year ago, I was introduced to Canson by Christian Moen, Canson’s Norwegian representative. He gave me a pack of 25 cut sheets of their Baryta paper which I tested and was quite happy with. Then what happened was that I was about to sell 10 BW prints in the size 40x50cm (15,7″x19,6″), and since I was all out of the paper I was used to and trusted I decided to give Canson a chance and went with this new(to me anyways) baryta paper of theirs. My client was really happy and of course so was I. This was the first time I got my eyes up for Canson, and pretty much the beginning of a new and great collaboration between Canson, Christian Moen and myself.

A few weeks ago Christian came to my studio bearing gifts. (Read that post here)

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This has given me the opportunity to do more than just print a couple of images and make a comment based on my personal opinion. The paper I was given has been tested extensively both visually and measured by a high-end device, a i1Publish Pro 2 by X-Rite. So far I have only had the time to test a few of the papers and I started with the following papers:

They are all great papers but the two who has surprised and impressed me the most are the Baryta and the Rag Photographique.

Let me start by talking briefly about the Rag Photographique. A paper available in both 210 gsm and 310 gsm. I’ve only tested the 210 gsm paper, and the only negative note I have is that I wish I’ve had the time to test the 310 gsm one too. Canson describe this paper like this:

Rag Photographique is a 100% cotton museum grade white Fine Art and photo paper. The exceptional smooth white tone is achieved during manufacturing by introducing natural minerals to the process. It has been developed to address the need for continued longevity requirements in the Digital Fine Art market. Rag Photographique offers a unique extra smooth surface with a sensual feel. It also provides one of the highest achievable Dmax currently available on the market, making it ideal for fine art photography as well as fine art printmaking.

Product Features & Benefits

• 100% Rag
• Compatible with pigmented and dye inks
• Dries instantly
• Water resistant
• No Optical Brightening Agents to ensure consistency of shades for generations
• Designed to meet galleries and museum longevity requirement sand respect the ISO 9706 standard:
– Internally buffered to resist gas fading and maximise the conservation of your prints
– Acid Free certified to avoid paper degradation

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This paper is probably one of the best matte papers I’ver printed on. Its smooth and holds the ink in an amazing way.

Ok, ok, over to what Ive been dying to tell you all about; Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique 310 gsm. Holy smokes what a paper!!! Please let me start by saying; this is THE paper on the market! This is the most awesome paper I’ve ever printet on… Did I say ever???

The tonality is remarkable, a Dmax of almost 2,7(on a Canon printer!) is nothing short of incredible. The texture of the paper is, well its there but not too much. Its not as glossy as Harman’s Baryta, and not as white (NO OBA!!). Compared to Hahnemuhle’s Baryta it’s more neutral, not as bright and not as glossy. The texture is smoother then the one on Hahnemuhles. Hahnemuhles also looks to have a little magenta cast in its paper, this again makes Canson look a bit greenish when compared side by side. Well, its not. No green cast what so ever says my spectrophotometer! This is really not a technical paper on paper (!) so all I can say is try it, you’ll love it!

Canson describe this awesome paper like this:

Baryta Photographique is a true Baryta paper developed for inkjet technology. It consists of an alpha-cellulose, acid-free pure white paper with the same barium sulphate coating as for traditional silver halide and a premium inkjet colour receiver layer. Baryta Photographique offers the look and aesthetic of the original darkroom baryta print and complies with the ISO 9706 standard for maximum longevity.
This museum grade photo paper shows excellent black density and great image sharpness, making it ideal for black and white photography.

Product Features and Benefits
• Optimised for pigmented inks
• Dries instantly
• Water-resistant
• Respects the ISO 9706 standard to guarantee maximum conservation of your prints:
– Internally buffered to resist gas fading and maximise the conservation of your prints
– Acid-free paper to avoid paper degradation.

Baryta 2296

Just in case you didn’t get it the first time; this is the most superb media ever!

After switching to Canon printers I’ve grown more fond of printing on matt media as well. The hassle of having to switch to matt black and throwing money out the window is gone, this and the fact that I’ve found a matt paper I really really like is like having found love all over again. This as you now understand was not a technical paper, but an article straight from the heart! (A technical paper will follow, where I also will include info on a third paper that have caught my eye, but which I haven’t had time to test thoroughly enough yet; Canson Platine Fibre Rag!)

Canson History:

Canson Infinity papers are manufactured by the world’s leading Fine Art Paper Mills, Canson and Arches, located in France. Canson was founded in 1557 and its illustrious history includes the prestigious appointment to Manufacture Royale in 1784 by Louis XVI and the invention of the Hot Air Balloon, made with Canson paper in 1782.
Canson is at the origin of many other inventions such as tracing paper, pulp dyes paper, fine textured vellum paper, nanking paper, and paper making techniques such as the continuous paper machine, paper sizing directly in the tank…
In 1865, Canson was granted a patent for a system that simplified the photo printing process and improved the quality of black tones whilst making it less expensive. This invention was rewarded at the International Photography Exhibition of 1892.

97 years later, back in 1989, began on an Arches watercolour paper at Nash Editions in Los Angeles. These pioneers of digital print reproduction selected this quality, as the world’s most celebrated artists had done for five hundred years before them.

The Arches Mill was founded in 1492 and through the years, the history of Arches has been closely linked to the history of France. Many literary milestones and works of art have been entrusted to Arches’ exquisite papers, such as Beaumarchais’ “The Complete Works of Voltaire” and Napoleon’s “The Description of Egypt”.

The unique qualities of these two premier paper mills and their products have been embraced by artists such as Picasso, Chagal, Warhol, Ingres, Miro and Alechinsky.They remain the standard for today’s artists.

Yeah, its not like they started last year…!

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-jr-