World War II Veteran, Miner, and Collector

Outside of a small Montana town is a complex of old cars, mining equipment, and every antique and vintage item imaginable.  The place belongs to this man, Lloyd, a World War II veteran.  He has been on the TV show American Pickers talking about his collection.  I spoke with Lloyd for a while and talked about his days in the service, his years in the Montana copper mines and his life experiences.  His little black and white dog Star never left his side.  Here is a portrait of Lloyd on his property.

Galveston, Texas Travel Workshop

The August 7th Nature, Travel, and Storytelling workshop is filling up.  This is a limited number workshop.  Please go to the products page to register.  If you are attending Dallas PPA's Little Red Schoolhouse, sponsored by Sigma, this is the day before in the same location.  Sigma will be the sponsor of the workshop and they will be sending us cases of 500mm loaner lenses for our birding and wildlife portion of the day!  We will be exploring the island including the natural features, birds, landscapes, and the local fishing and seafood markets!  We will be led by Ryan Brown as well as a local biologist on the island!

Peter in Michigan

So I just finished a day in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Michigan is a great place (probably better in summer when its warmer) but the natural marsh areas are pretty great.  I spent today at Norman Camera, a really nice camera store that is in both Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.  I taught two basic/intermediate portrait classes here.  This class consists of the basic elements and techniques of a great portrait.  You don't have to have expensive lights to create an effective portrait.  These images were created with a simple tungsten constant light and a parabolic, a very inexpensive setup.  The model here is a man named Peter.  He is the coolest, non-techy old man you will every find.  He thinks usb flash drives are called "chip computers"!  I was able to photograph him during the class.  We only had about 15 minutes to photograph Peter.  This was a hands-on way of demonstrating lighting patterns and some posing.  He was a really great model.  I hope you enjoy the result!

Peter LaBarre    ©2014  Ryan Brown

Abby in St. Louis

This past weekend I had the chance to photograph Abby while instructing an intermediate portrait photography program at Creve Coeur Camera in St. Louis, Missouri.  Creve Coeur is a great network of camera stores that spans from Columbia, Missouri to Springfield, Illinois.  One of the really nice benefits the store gives it customers is to have an expo in the fall and spring where amateur photographers along with enthusiasts, and prosumers can take a range of classes at their flagship store in Creve Coeur.  Abby is a really great model and may be working with us again this summer!

Nevada Desert and Wild Horses

I am in Las Vegas for a series of workshops at the College of Southern Nevada and B&C Camera.  Early this morning we went out into the desert to photograph the sunrise as well as photograph the wild horses.  Here are some of the images.

Galveston, Texas Workshop!

August 7-8th, 2014 Ryan will be in Galveston, Texas to lead a travel photography workshop along with the Dallas Professional Photographers Association's Little Red Schoolhouse Seminar. The day before their seminar, Ryan will lead a workshop that focuses on travel photography and storytelling.  During this all day seminar we will focus on the commercial fishing and shrimping scene, landscapes, boats,  and birding.  At the end of the day we will go over post production and editing.  This is a great area to photograph and we look forward to seeing you there!  The workshop fee is $250 and you can sign up on our products page.  


The Black & White Actions Have Been Released!

If you head over to the product page you will notice that we have released the black and white action set for sale.  This set comes with a variety of the actions that I use.  These are what I call "Gritty Black and White" which enhances skin texture while giving you a slightly contrasty look.  We also have Neutral, Browntone, Gritty Browntone, Leica Look which is higher contrast and vignetted, and high speed which is higher contrast with film grain.  Let me know if there is anything that you are interested in!  The best part about all of these actions are that they are user editable.  The color tone of the black and white, and the levels are all built into adjustments layers and finish as a .psd!  

One of my favorites and a lesson in high-key

The Image here is of my daughter Claire.  This image I titled "Naked Booty Time". I love the image not just because she is my daughter but because it shows her personality.  I know it is crazy to think that at this age they have a personality but it is true!


How it was done:  High key is a very common style of lighting.  Not only is the lighting style used, but it is also probably one of the most mis-used styles.  Many photographers tend to put as much light on the background as they can just to make sure it is white.  This is not needed.  I highly suggest an external, hand-held light meter.  In this case you will need a flash meter.  A flash meter will read the power output of the studio flash and tell you what the f/stop needs to be to make an accurate exposure.  With this meter you will set your ISO, and shutter speed.  Based on these, the meter will calculate the f/stop.  My style of high key lighting requires multiple umbrellas.  I use two umbrellas on the background generally set to f/11.  I will use my flash meter and measure multiple points across the background and will adjust the power and umbrella position until I achieve an even exposure across the entire background.  This is important so the look is even and does not appear lighter or darker in spots in the final image.  Next, I will place a 60inch octobox on the upper right side of the camera.  The light will be feathered across the subject to only light them with the back edge of the box.  This light will be metered on the highlight side of the face to the same power and exposure as the background.  This makes the exposure very even.  I then add a large reflector to the shadow side to soften them and lighten the shadows.  The reason that I use an octobox instead of a rectangular soft box is that the specular highlight in the eye matches the shape of the eye.  I keep the box to upper right side is to get the directionality of the light while getting detail in the eyes and keeping the specular highlight out of the subjects pupil.  This is a great style of high key lighting!

Happy Shooting!

The First Post

This post is the first of some great ones to come!  You can expect a photographic tip everyday along with educational articles, inspiration, and some of our travels.  We look forward to having you follow!  

Columbia River Gorge   I  Portland, Oregon                                                                   

Columbia River Gorge   I  Portland, Oregon