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Summer Faces

31st May 2016

 


 

Just Faces

Here’s a small album of pictures that show you that Summer is here.

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 



 

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WPPI Conference & Expo

22nd February 2016

The Wedding & Portrait Photography International Conference and Expo

As I sit at my computer in crusty Michigan with the clouds building for another forecasted snow storm, I’m looking forward to escaping for a few days.

My destination is the WPPI Conference & Expo which begins March 3rd and runs through March 10th. For professional photographers and hobbyists alike, it’s a chance to learn from experts.

Additionally, you’ll travel to the warm climes of Las Vegas at the MGM Conference Center for extracurricular activities that are sure to add up to a practical education and fun packed week.

WPPI is comprised of hundreds of classes and seminars taught by noted photographers such as Joe McNally, Tamara Lackey, Lindsay Adler, Roberto Valenzuela, Bambi Cantrell, Hanson Fong, Kevin Kabota, Jerry Ghionis and Gary Fong to name a few.

Alongside the conference is the expo portion in which 80,000 square feet of space occupied by 300 exhibitors who will showcase the newest cameras, lenses, equipment, lighting, accessories, supplies, marketing material and services. All of the major camera manufacturers will set up booths to demonstrate their latest wares.

To look at the wide range of classes and seminars please visit WPPI Conference & Expo.

Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

WPPI 2015

20th March 2015

2015 Wedding and Portrait Photographers Conference

Each March I make it a habit of leaving the cold climes of Michigan to enjoy some warmth and sun. My destination is the WPPI Conference in sin city, Las Vegas.

 

From its name you can easily guess that the WPPI Conference is for photographers who are involved with weddings and portraits.

WPPI is mainly a learning experience for the 12,500+ participants. This year they attended more than 200 seminars, classes, demonstrations and photo walks taught by 150 expert speakers. Among many of the photographer-instructors were: Bambi Cantrell, Roberto Valenzuela, Julieanne Kost, Jerry Ghionis, Tamara Lackey, Clay Blackmore, Lindsay Adler, Bob Davis, Bruce Dorn, Gary Fong and Kevin Kubota. Subject matter included practical shooting techniques, posing, lighting, equipment, accessories on the technical end to marketing, advertising, pricing, client retention on the business end.

The WPPI show a staple in the photo industry – this was its 35th anniversary. It’s the premier show of its kind drawing photographers from 60 different countries.

Another side of WPPI is its huge 75,000 square foot Expo where some 275 vendors demonstrate and sell their newest equipment, accessories, supplies, software and services.

As you walk around the exhibit hall you’ll see live demo shoots, discussions and displays.

 



panel discussion at Nikon

entertainment at Plustek lighting


Bambi Cantrell

lining up to speak to Sony reps

 
To join the WPPI or learn more about the 2016 WPPI conference and expo, pleae visit WPPI Online site.

 
Please stay tuned for several upcoming articles about equipment and accessories that I reviewed at this year’s expo.

 

 
Written by Arnie Lee

 

 

 

 


Filling the frame

07th June 2011

Sometimes it pays to move in close

 

For portraits, conventional composition has you surrounding your main subject with a “border” – space around the face

For a more intimate look at your subject, throw away the rulebook!



In this photo, the young girl’s face has an interesting look but the background is slightly distracting.

Here we’ve moved closer to subject, eliminated the background and keyed in on her eyes and her giant smile.

By including the yard in this photo, we’ve caught this young lady in action but lost the emphasis of her face.

Again, by moving in close (or zooming in) we’ve changed the feel from an action shot to a portrait.

 


By simply minimizing or eliminating the border, you’ll key in on the all important eyes and face of your subject. The next time you’re shooting faces, try filling the frame.

 

 

Written by Arnie Lee

 


Beyond the Faces

06th May 2011

Adding Action to Portraits

 

As a grandfather with a camera, I’m very often snapping away when the grandchildren are nearby. So it shouldn’t be surprising that I have hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos of these kids in my collection.

Yesterday, three of them were out playing in our backyard. Here’s a few snapshots that I took. I’m a big fan of trying to incorporate action into these portraits. You be the judge of whether the action helps to make the picture.


My favorites are the candids. These are shots where the subject is totally unaware. When they’re preoccupied with having a fun experience, they may not know that you’re “spying” with your camera.

 


Obviously this is not a candid. Eden
knows that I’m taking her photo

But here she is unaware that
I’m snapping away

When it’s not possible to be totally candid you can use a semi-posed action shot. The action helps to avoid a face that’s preoccupied with the picturetaker.

 


This full length portrait of Logan
shows little motion

Here the angle of the shot
emphasizes his action on the slide

With a little patience, you can turn a static shot into a live action photo. A few minutes after taking the photo on the left below, she was being doing calisthenics – making the photo on the right much more exciting.

 


Here Ezra is clutching the wooden
post that’s supporting the swing set

Here she’s showing me the
agility that I wish I could still muster.

 


While each of the left-hand photos are OK, I’ve learned that adding a little action to the mix can turn my snapshots into real “keepers”.

Do you agree?

 

 

Written by Arnie Lee

 


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Add Soft Lighting to your off-camera flash

The modern day external flash unit is a vital accessory for indoor portraits, still life, food shots and more.

Light that originates from a small source such as an external flash unit is harsher than light that originates from a larger source. To “soften” the lighting especially for portraits, photographers often use “modifiers” to alter the lighting to something more pleasing. Most of the modifiers work by spreading the light out over a larger area.

LumiQuest has been a well-known maker of modifiers for many years. Among their bestsellers is the Softbox III. When I was attending the WPPI Expo, Heidi one of LumiQuest’s principals gave me a quick demonstration of this lightweight device. I was so impressed that I ordered one when I returned home.

The concentrated light from the flash bounces inside the reflector of the Softbox III and passes through the translucent material covering its face. Instead of harsh light originating from the small flash head, a softer light originates from a much larger reflector.

Follow along as I show you how I’ve used the Softbox III to improve the lighting on some of my recent portraits.

When it’s disassembled, the Softbox III folds flat to a 8″ x 9″ size, making it convenient to take anywhere.

As folded, it easily fits in the outer pocket of my camera bag so is always available when I’m carrying my external flash.

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Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Convention – Part 2

Here’s a follow up to yesterday’s report from the WPPI Convention. Below are several more of the exhibitors with whom I stopped to talk about their products.


The Spider Pro Camera Holster is a safe, hands-free way to carry your camera. A study bracket mounts to the bottom of your camera and securely clips to a wide, padded belt. The unit can be locked to prevent the camera from accidentally falling. The price is about $135.

A second lightweight model is designed for smaller point-and-shoot cameras.

For more information, contact Spiderholster

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Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Convention – Part 1

February 21, 2011

The WPPI holds its annual convention here in Las Vegas. My original plan was to fly here from Grand Rapids on Sunday. But the weather man kept telling me that Sunday was going to be a no-no because of the umteenth snow storm that was closing in on the midwest. So I rescheduled my flight and arrived here late Saturday and beat the foot of snow that closed highways, schools and activities.

The convention started on February 17 and runs through February 24th. There are two parts to the convention.

  • the first part are dozens of seminars led by some of the best names in the wedding and portrait photography business. Many of these professionals are versed in the creative styling, equipment selection, lighting techniques, printing selection and workflow while others are experts in the selling, advertising, promotion and business end too. I counted more than 100 different seminars with diverse titles as: “The Art of Light and Motion”, “Lightroom – step by step workflow for beginners”, “Winning Marketing Strategies”, “High Fashion Meets Wedding”, “The Power of Video Marketing” and “Your Wedding Business from Scratch to Success”.
  • The second part of the convention is the trade show with more than 300 exhibitors including the major camera, lighting and photo printer services.

The WPPI management was predicting 13,000 attendees – an impressive number mostly owing to a very full and robust set of seminars. The high attendance suggests that these individuals understand the importance of investing in their profession.

Today I spent some time at the trade show. Here’s a few of the exhibitors with whom I stopped to talk about their products.

Here’s a look at some of the attendees crowding around one of the camera manufacturers booth. The major camera makers were there: Canon, Fuji, Leica, Nikon, Panasonic, Sigma and Sony.

There were also dozens of lighting manufacturers, makers of camera bags and backpacks, tripods, backdrops, wireless flash syncs and printers.

In full force were photo printing services. With so many wedding and portrait photographers attending, they were keen to show them the huge range of photo services offered.

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Making a Mini-Gallery

19th December 2010

Since September I’ve been taking and printing several large portrait photos. The photos are of our grandkids, so I’m particularly proud of them. Being 12″ x 18″ prints, they are relatively expensive to individually frame and require lots of wall space to display separately. Consequently, they’ve been sitting on my desk in a pile and every once in a while I pull them out to show relatives and friends. Of course this isn’t exactly the best way to show off these faces.

Well this weekend I finally decided to do something about this unwieldy stack of photos. My goal is to have a way to display a dozen or so large photos in a small space. I also want an easy way to change the photos often. I am not looking for an elegant display, just a simple way to show the faces attractively.
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Portrait Tip # 3

10th December 2010

Portraits are one the most common type of photographs. We’d like to share some tips for taking better people pictures.

The “Eyes” Have It

When taking pictures of people, most viewers will tell you that it’s the eyes that catch and hold their attention. Here’s a few examples of how the eyes make a difference.

Here we have filled the viewfinder with the infant’s face. However her eyes are focused downward – pointing away from the photo.


Here the young girl is looking directly at the photographer. While she sports a serious visage, her eyes draw me into the photo.


This young lady is also looking directly at the photographer. Her large eyes become the center of attention and help “make the photo work”.


Here we’ve decided to move in and eliminate the forehead and the chin. The result is a photo that totally emphasizes the child’s bright, compelling eyes.

 

I think you’ll be rewarded if you are patient and wait for the subject’s eyes to meet the lens.

A complimentary tip – long ago my mentor taught me that before pressing the shutter button, I should make sure that the lens was carefully focused on the eyes. This has been remained essential words of advice since.

Written by: Arnie Lee

 


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