These are what I do, and have done for 38 years, now. It’s work I value and think about constantly. How to improve, how to innovate, how to “Wow” clients.
Recent posts here have been about the tools I use. It’s time to focus now on what those tools are used to create. And, since Food, Jewelry, Corporate Headshots and Products are what I’m most often asked to do, that’s what this post, first in a series, is about.
Work in photography has led to travel around the United Staters, Canada and the UK to meet the needs of clients; from more regionally headquartered, like My Chicago Steak Company, Dominion Jewelers, Johns Hopkins, Kaiser-Permanente, Medispec, RoosterBio and iHire, to national and multinational firms like Abicor Binzel, Praxair, Shenango Steel Buildings, Subway, Ellume and more. Wherever the work takes us.
Call 724-730-8513 or email email@example.com to discuss your needs.
Staying on top of developments is key to creative businesses
In June I posted about “The Tools I Use”. Among the tools shown were the Godox battery powered studio-type lights. I have a range of these from an on-camera flash or speed light, the V860 MKII, on up through multiple copies of their AD100, AD200, AD300 and AD600. In addition, there are two Canon speed lights with attachments that link them to the Godox AD equipment universe, for a combined total of 13 lights of various powers. From least to most, the differential is about 8.5X more power. That’s a LOT!
Why is this important to you? Because it means we can bring all the tools necessary to complete your job on location, and we can do it much more efficiently than with lights requiring AC outlets and cables all over the set, as we used to have to do. We are thereby reducing tripping hazards and setup time, which is good for both your business and ours.
The Godox AD lighting universe is remotely controlled from the camera, improving efficiency and saving time in getting exactly the right ratio of light to make you, your business or your product look it’s very best. In our pursuit of the best possible preparedness for our clients, we also test our lighting and camera gear for a multitude of reasons, all having to do with being at our best for you.
A recent article online stated that the newest member of the Godox series, the AD100, had a significant green cast compared to the rest of the series. This caught our attention and led to an extensive series of tests over a couple of days — not only to confirm the accuracy of the article but to seek solutions if it was found to be true. We also wanted to see if we could determine whether it was universal, and if it affected our own units.
It does appear to be universal
It does appear to be universal. Since our involvement in one of the first articles addressing the issue, there have been numerous owners expressing their concern, and yes, it does affect the units we own. Since these small lights were purchased for a purpose we didn’t wish to abandon, the next step was to find solutions to the problem.
What problem you may ask? Well, when lights of significantly different color castes are used in make an image, the results can throw off the viewer’s perception of the subject, unless the colors used are intentional, as we often see with red or blue in an image (see below). The unintended odd colors can attract attention in ways that hurt the impact of the image. Since our primary business is photographs for the advertising of food, jewelry, other products — plus business portraits — the introduction of a sickly yellow green to skin tones, diamonds or meats does not serve you well. If that different light balance also strikes our ColorChecker (that panel of color swatches above), it can skew our post processing, creating unnecessary problems with the final image. Even if we know a particular light is off-color, its impact can still skew the overall balance of the image. Better to deal with the issue in a pre-emptive manner.
After deciding what direction we wanted to move the color balance of the AD100, and the purchase of color correction gels to accomplish those changes, collaborator Sam Levitan and I took the time one recent Sunday afternoon to run a battery of tests using measured and repeatable adjustments and determined the best solution, which has now been somewhat permanently attached to the lights, moving them into much better compatibility with the rest of the line and preserving the overall usefulness of this small light.
And people think we professional photographers just snap the shutter button.
Call 724-730-8513 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Behm Photography — Located in Frederick, MD. — Convenient to Washington DC and Baltimore. Over 3 decades experience. Willing to travel to wherever clients need us.
When I started the journey to becoming a professional photographer, like most of us, I started with the cameras and lenses I owned as a hobbyist. Nearly 38 years into this lovely profession later, the tools I use do the same exact functions now as then…Oh, I might be using digital cameras instead of film the past 20 years, but the creation of an image worthy of my client has always been the goal.
That said, there is no doubt that my tools have evolved; not just to digital cameras, but in terms of the glass I purchase and the accessories employed. Actually, many of the lenses (glass) are compatible with the film bodies I was using in the ’80’s and ’90’s. They’ve just been updated and improved as the astounding sharpness of digital has revealed design characteristics that were not as apparent in film days – for reasons I won’t get into now. With almost no exceptions I’m using lenses today that I would probably not have purchased had I remained a hobbyist. They’re expensive and heavy, but oh so worth it.
The same is true for accessories such as the Passport Colorchecker (accurate color in the final image), the Camranger (viewing to an iPad or computer in real time). This certainly includes the Flashpoint/Godox battery driven, remote controlled strobe lights that rival the AC powered studio strobes of only a decade ago. These are so versatile, that I now have a lighting kit for location work that weighs only 17.6 pounds, including stands, lights and accessories and fits in one shoulder bag. There was a time that same lighting required one case the size of a large suitcase for the lights and cables and another case resembling a large duffle bag for the stands.
So a glimpse of just some of the tools I use.
Specialty items, like a tilt-shift lens for product work, jewelry and food especially.
A soft focus lens (not used as commonly today, but useful for some portraiture.
The origin of this photograph lies in my own concern about the phenomenal cultural increase in the use of deadly force – whether by knife, baseball bat, gun or automobile – to settle differences that could have been far less than lethal, in and of themselves.
It also concerns friend and associate, Rebecca, a young woman who has experienced the loss of friends through violent suicide.
This is such an important concern for me. Partly because I grew up in a rural area as well as in a time when my classmates had rifles and shotguns in their pickup trucks or trunks of cars for hunting after school. Not once did anyone choose to settle teenaged angst by murdering their classmates. There was bullying. We had fistfights after school. But there were no school shootings I ever heard of. The de-evolution of our society to a place where violence is so prevalent is less about the tools and more about us, as a people. The tools have not changed in the years since my school days; we have.
Our culture has certainly changed. Opinions vary, and it’s beyond me to discern where the solution might lie, but I believe it starts with each of us taking responsibility for our choices, as well as seeking to help people we know who are in distress. Maybe we can remove the stigma of asking for help. Perhaps the extraordinary volume of graphic violence in movies and games needs to be reduced. Hollywood great, director Martin Scorsese, has gone on the record as believing this to be true, and acknowledges his contribution through earlier films. His agreement with psychology professionals that impressionable younger minds are being desensitized to real violence through massive exposure to virtual violence via TV and games has weight, because he is intimately familiar with the issue at its source. Once again, the tools haven’t changed, the people have.
Are you feeling like your business is under the gun? Shrinking sales over the past year? Feel unable to aggressively and properly promote your products or service? Are you re-using old ads out of concern over the costs of new photography?
Let’s fix that together! Call Jeff Behm Photography at 724-730-8513. Don’t let that 724 prefix fool you, we’re right here in the Washington DC – Baltimore – Frederick triangle, and ready to serve you wherever that may lead. We’ll discuss your need for updated imagery and find a solution that works for you.
It’s true we specialize in certain things, like food and jewelry. That’s the result of over 3 decades of experience photographing products as large as railroad cars, corporate teams with a uniform look, buildings, installations and color matching design elements.
A photographic problem solver, working for you.
When it’s all said and done, my team and I are specialists in the creation of images that give personality to your business, connect you to your clients, display your product and service at their best and ultimately increase your bottom line.
Jeff Behm Photography. Call today, 724-730-8513 or email email@example.com