- Tutorial: How to Use Polyboards for Studio Photography
- Cause-Related Photography Tips, Photographing Your Passion (Video)
- Interesting Photo of the Day: A Fisherman Casts His Net
- Alternative Engagement Photography Idea, Behind the Scenes (Video)
Posted: 04 May 2014 04:19 AM PDT
Polyboards are large sheets of foam that are traditionally used as insulation in building construction. As most studio photographers know, they are also great as light modifiers. Most photographers use white and black polyboards to reflect light and create shadows. They are lightweight, cheap, and have a large surface area. For my studio, I decided I wanted many polyboards of different colours to use as backdrops and reflectors.
To create coloured backgrounds in studios, photographers often use gels on speedlites and strobes to light up a white background. I have found this can work fine, but it can also take a bit of stuffing about getting an even and consistent spread of colour. The advantage of using gels is that you can get a larger spread of colour than a polyboard provides. But a polyboard will have a more consistent, richer colour.
There are several companies around any major city where you can find polyboards. The standard studio photography size of these is 2400mm by 1200mm and a 50mm thickness. I went for 75mm thick, as I wanted something a little more rigid. Keep in mind that the size you choose will determine the size of stands you need to construct.
If you are having the boards delivered, I recommend you make a special note to the provider to deliver them mark and dent free. Since they are usually used in construction, care is not usually taken with them, and I had to have some replaced.
Each side of a polyboard uses between 350 and 500mL of paint—you will generally need two coats, but it depends on the colour. Most paint retailers will mix up a one litre tin of an endless array of colours for about $30. To get the best finish, I found a grey undercoat makes for a much better end result. Adding an undercoat additive to white paint will give you undercoat. A small roller works better than a brush. Not all colours are available in a matte paint, but low sheen works just as good. I used outdoor paint, which is a few dollars cheaper and works fine.
Make sure you reserve a board and paint for black and white reversible colours on the same polyboard (one side black, one side white). This will allow you to quickly reverse them without grabbing another board, as is often needed. Black and white are used most as light modifiers.
It’s best to have your stands specially welded and powder coated. I got mine without a powder coat—but I found the raw steel not only looks ugly but marks the polyboards, so I got a panel beater to powder coat them for me.
Shooting and Practice
I have tried many lenses and lighting setups using our polyboards and I have found a long lens works best—this will give the maximum amount of subject viewable on the polyboard without the frame extending beyond the edges of the board. This means that the more space you have in your studio and the further away from you subject you can get, the better. Having my studio in an open grey concrete slab warehouse, the coloured polyboards also give the studio a lot of life.
Whilst the coloured polyboards give a fabulous rich coloured background, I am finding the black polyboards absolutely indispensable for creating shadow and deadening light. I seem to rarely take a shot without surrounding my subject with these.
I have also found the slightly rough bubbled surface of foam can show up too much in a shot depending on your lighting. It’s generally a quick fix in post to smooth and blur these out. Overall, my polyboards have been a well worthy investment and have given my studio a unique feature.
So the total cost of each polyboard with different coloured paint on each side is about $165.
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Go to full article: Tutorial: How to Use Polyboards for Studio Photography
Posted: 03 May 2014 06:11 PM PDT
One of the most inspiring ways to capture great photos is to photograph what you love. When passion is what drives you as a photographer, you will not only enjoy the craft more, but the inherent dedication you have toward it will show in your work. In the hour-long informational presentation below, you can see how shooting your passion has helped renowned photographer Cristina Mittermeier find success and happiness in a very competitive industry:
10 Keys to Finding And Maintaining Success as a Photographer
Getting A Project Off The Ground
As Christina notes frequently throughout her presentation, being a cultural and conservation photographer isn’t always glamorous. She spends long hours away from her family, and some of the projects she takes on are pure labors of love with little to no financial benefit. This is where being driven by your passion is useful.
Go to full article: Cause-Related Photography Tips, Photographing Your Passion (Video)
Posted: 03 May 2014 04:21 PM PDT
The world is filled with terrific photographers unknown to the world, usually because they don’t speak perfect English or live in parts of the world where only a handful of artists can scrape together a living. Suloara Allokendek from Jakarta, Indonesia, is one such person. You probably haven’t heard of him, but his collection of breathtaking images captures life in rural Indonesia better than most foreign professionals could manage:
Allokendek has a soft spot for fishermen and seems to always be ready at the right moment—when the shape of the net is full and majestic. He snapped this moment with a Canon 5D Mark II with a deep depth-of-field—probably zooming in from quite far away. The photo is called, simply, “jala”—the Indonesian word for “net”.
Go to full article: Interesting Photo of the Day: A Fisherman Casts His Net
Posted: 03 May 2014 10:11 AM PDT
Finding a unique angle for your wedding photography can be tricky, but finding a couple willing to go along with some zany new idea can be even trickier. When British wedding photographer Simeon Quarrie met the soon-to-be-married Nikesh and Lalita, he knew he’d found kindred spirits willing to go along with his plot. They decided that their engagement photos would be eerie, unique, and a little gothic, and the results are pretty awesome:
Storyboards were drawn, locations scouted, costumes designed. The whole concept revolves around the woman being a sort of tied-up doll whom the groom-to-be rescues from this creaky wooden attic.
The style is predicated on almost operatically exaggerated aesthetics: big fake eyelashes, stiff hair, suspenders, and a strongly neutral color palette.
The shoot takes place primarily in this very cool rustic wooden studio space, and the whole crew seems pretty thrilled to be there.
One thing’s for sure: it definitely makes for some of the cooler engagement photos we’ve seen.
Go to full article: Alternative Engagement Photography Idea, Behind the Scenes (Video)
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