Monday, April 25, 2011

Shooting with Alyssa and Alana

Did a joint studio shoot recently with photographer Chaz from After6Media.  Our models were Alyssa Sved and Alana Santos, with makeup work done by Kahulani.

For Alyssa's first look, we experimented with gold makeup.  For lighting I used an AB800 with a beauty dish boomed above the camera and in close to the model, about a couple of feet.  I used another AB800 modifed with the Paul Buff PLM 2.0 Parabolic reflector for fill.  Another 2 AB800s with strip softboxes were used for edge lights.

Canon 5D mkII 85mm f1.2L II iso 100 1/160 @ f9

For the shot below of Alyssa with the Terminator 2-style shotgun, I wanted to have more of the gun barrel in focus so I used a smaller aperture of f16.

Canon 5D mkII 85mm f1.2L II iso 400 1/160 @ f16

For Alyssa's next look, I wanted to experiment with more dramatic lighting so we used a single AB800 with a grid (maybe a 20 or a 10 degree grid) for her main light and used one AB800 for the edge light.

 Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS iso 100 1/160 @ f11

While Chaz was in between setups for his shoot, I grabbed a couple of shots of Alana lying on the black satin sheets.  Her back light is an Octodome and the main light is a large softbox, both with AB800s (I think).
 Canon 5D mkII 85mm f1.2L II iso 100 1/160 @ f2

Alyssa joined in and we shot some 2-girl images from a ladder above. Think we added another SB26 with a small softbox to help fill light into the lower right corner of the frame.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS iso 100 1/160 @ f8

For these shots of Alana, we used the face of the Octodome as the background, tilted slightly upward so that it did not fire directly back into the camera.  Main light was an AB800 with a beauty dish.
Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS iso 100 1/160 @ f8

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS iso 100 1/160 @ f8

Monday, April 18, 2011

Random overexposures? Repair a Canon hotshoe flash mount

Ran into a problem on a recent gig where my Canon 580EX started giving me really weird exposure problems.  I was shooting in Aperture-Priority mode, flash in ETTL mode and every so often the flash would shoot full power, regardless of the flash exposure compensation setting.  This would completely blow out the frame and ruin the shot.

A friend and fellow photographer mentioned that he was having the same problems with his camera and his brand new 580EXII and couldn't figure out why it was doing that.  I finally found the cause and thankfully, the fix is really easy and inexpensive to do.  If you are experiencing the same problem of random full power flash dumps, try this and see if it works for you.

***DISCLAIMER*** I make no guarantees about this repair and have no idea if it will void your warranty.  I only know that this procedure was simple and fixed the problem for me.

All you will need to do this repair is a precision screwdriver set which you can find at Amazon for about 6 dollars.

1. Make sure your camera is off. Mount the flash on your camera's hotshoe and lock it down.

2. Very gently (and I mean VERY GENTLY), try rocking the flash from side to side and look at the camera's hotshoe to see if it flexes.  If it does, then you have found the problem.  Poor connection of the pins on the bottom of the flash to the hotshoe will impair the communication from camera to flash leading to misfires.

3. Take the flash off the camera.

4. Looking at the top of the hotshoe,  take a small flathead screwdriver and gently slide it in and under the inner plate of the hotshoe.  To remove the plate, slightly lift it up with the screwdriver and you should be able to slide it out easily (don't force it). 

Remember which way the plate faces and which ends are bent up and which are bent down. You will need to put it back in the same way.

5. Once the inner plate is removed, you will see four tiny Phillips screws. 

Take your smallest Phillips screwdriver and tighten each one until the hotshoe no longer wiggles around. Be careful not to over tighten and strip the screws.

6. Replace the inner plate.  Be sure to put it back in the correct orientation.

7. Reattach your flash and test it.  You're done!

Hope this was useful to some of you who were having the same problem.