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You Can Do It: Use a Reflector For Dramatic Eyes in Portrait Photography

Published on January 23, 2015 by in News

Making sparks fly in lackluster light

Maja Topčagić, a 25-year-old photographer and photo retoucher from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, has a passion for photographing blue-eyed redheads. “Statistically, only about one percent of humanity has the combination of blue eyes and red hair,” says Topčagić. Her website presents some of the prettiest of that one percent in dozens and dozens of photos. “I started the project almost a year ago, and every month the collection grows,” says Topčagić, herself blue-eyed and occasionally a redhead.

Her go-to lighting for these alluring portraits is the ambient light of an overcast day, early or late when the low-lying sun throws an overall warm cast. For this shot, the light’s yellow/orange hue brought out the warm tones of her model’s hair and freckles, and, because it was diffuse, the lighting didn’t throw shadows across her face. In some ways, it’s perfect portrait light.

But it has a downside. Flat portrait lighting tends deemphasize a person’s eyes. Since one of Topčagić’s main intents was high-lighting the intriguing contrast between cool blue eyes and warm hair, flat light was a problem.

To solve it here, she turned to a circular silver lamé reflector. An assistant aimed it toward her model’s face, where it gave a specular, sparkling quality to the light that helped to accent the blue in what otherwise read as gray eyes. “Even though the model had really big, vibrant blue eyes, the reflector was needed to highlight them in just the right way,” Topčagić says.

Want to make a similar portrait yourself? “Choose wisely the part of the day that you photograph,” says Topčagić. “Go for the most beautiful light. Sunrise or sunset will almost always work. Take a model with you and experiment from a lot of angles.” For location portraits, she often has her subjects lie flat on a hillside and shoots down on them. The strategy allows her to spread out the red hair so it becomes a more important element in the photo. If properly oriented, the hillside can also block direct sunlight, allowing you to shoot on sunny as well as overcast days.

To light her redheaded model, Maja Topčagić relied on the warm-hued sunlight of late afternoon (A). Diffused through a light cloud cover, the sunlight was directional enough that an assistant could bounce it toward the model with a circular, collapsible, silver-lined reflector (B). It popped the subject’s eyes, accenting their blue tones. She shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the 50mm f/1.4 Canon USM lens (C). Of her exposure, she says, “I always choose the aperture first, and then decide on the shutter speed and ISO. Once I have my aperture, with the light of the reflector in place I adjust first the shutter speed and then ISO.” She sets the slowest shutter speed that will assure a sharp subject and the lowest possible ISO. Of her passion for freckles Topčagić says, “They were once considered unsightly, but today freckles are making a comeback. Illustration: Kris Holland/Mafic Studios

blueeyes
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

blueeyes

Topčagić exposed for 1/250 sec at f/4, ISO 100. The three settings are called “the exposure triangle” in her part of the world. Photo: Maja Topčagić

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Adobe details OS support for next version of Lightroom

Published on January 22, 2015 by in News

In a new blog post, Adobe has said Lightroom 6 will require a 64-bit operating system, meaning it will only run in 64-bit versions of Windows 7, or OS X 10.8 or newer. The announcement suggests Lightroom 6 will continue as a stand-alone application, ra…

 
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Light and Motion launches Sidekick companion light for GoPro on Kickstarter

Published on January 22, 2015 by in News

Light & Motion has introduced a new GoPro companion light called the Sidekick, and is seeking funding for its production on Kickstarter. The Sidekick is designed to attach directly to the GoPro’s existing mount, eliminating the need to carry a…

 
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Kredo Is Format’s New iPad Portfolio App

Published on January 22, 2015 by in News

This free iPad app showcases your art portfolio 
Format, a Canadian-made platform founded in 2010, is primarily a sandbox style portfolio site creator. They offer photographers (and other creative professionals) slick templates for creating online…

 
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Kredo Is Format’s New iPad Portfolio App

Published on January 22, 2015 by in News

This free iPad app showcases your art portfolio 
Format, a Canadian-made platform founded in 2010, is primarily a sandbox style portfolio site creator. They offer photographers (and other creative professionals) slick templates for creating online…

 
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What Camera Kit You Get For $1000

Published on January 22, 2015 by in News

If you had $1000 burning a hole in your pocket, what camera kit could get? Kai and Lok pick their choice of camera, lens and other accessories for $1k – what would you go for?

 
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Rode unveils RodeLink wireless audio system

Published on January 21, 2015 by in News

Australian microphone maker RØDE has announced a new digital wireless system called RØDELink. It uses 2.4GHz transmission with 128-bit encryption while transmitting on two channels simultaneously. The system can monitor and change frequen…

 
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“Science” Says Photography is Sexier Than Being a Comedian, Less Sexy Than Being in a Band

Published on January 21, 2015 by in News

We have scientific evidence that photography is hot right now

Creativity, in its various forms, can be an extremely attractive trait in a person. We don’t need science to tell us that, but that doesn’t stop it from trying. Where does photography land on the “sexiness” ranking? Let’s find out.

The new study, led by psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman of the University of Pennsylvania, was published in the Journal of Creative Behavior and explores the idea that some types of creativity are indeed sexier than others.

The study used a checklist system to gather information. 815 participants (mostly young women) were asked to rank 43 creative behaviors according to how sexually attractive they found them.

“For both males and females on average, ornamental/aesthetic forms of creativity were considered more sexually attractive than applied/technological forms of creativity,” says Kaufman, in his summary blog post on Scientific American.

Ok, so people might have already assumed that a lead singer had a little more luck with the ladies than his gardening counterpart, but it turns out that science is actually behind this seemingly shallow phenomenon.

According to the results:

Top 10 sexiest creative behaviors:

1. Playing sports

2. Taking a date on a spontaneous road trip

3. Recording music

4. Making a clever remark

5. Writing music

6. Performing in a band

7. The taking of artistic photographs

8. Performing in comedy

9. Dressing in a unique style

10. Writing poetry

 

Top 10 least sexy creative behaviors:

1. Making ad campaigns

2. Interior decorating

3. Writing an original computer program

4. Making websites

5. Growing and gardening

6. Presenting scientific or mathematical papers

7. Exterior decorating

8. Applying math in an original way to solve a practical problem

9. The development of scientific experimental designs

10. Participating in drama production

The list presents a pretty clear divide with aesthetic skills falling at the top, and more technology-related talents coming in last. Ps. we see you there in the top 10, photography. 

Obviously there are some flaws to the system: the participants were almost all women, and quite young with an average age of 24. A 24-year-old partygoer may be more inclined to search for the sexy bachelor yielding a guitar case than the financially stable computer programmer.

Kaufman reiterates that while there is a definitive rating, you shouldn’t throw your calculator and protractor off the roof just yet. He notes that “assertive mating” is a very real thing, and there is someone out there just waiting to fill out the other half of your Excel sheet.

[From: Fast Company]

Camera hearts
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Camera hearts

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