Bicycle Rider pedaling on a Country Highway (Steve Greer)
As a Sports Commercial Photographer in New Jersey, I had an opportunity to create a Composite Photo of a road racing cyclist.
A full service sports specialist in Philadelphia was interested in showcasing the new racing jerseys for their competitive title-sponsored Masters Team. Together with the clothing designer, the concept was to create a high-energy environmental portrait of a competitive cyclist. It had to look fast, dynamic, and exciting!
In the studio, a fitness resister stand was attached to the back wheel of the bike. This helped the rider balance and stay on his pedals. After the images were made in a certain spot, the bike was carefully removed from the stand, and just the bike was photographed, in the same spot. This made cloning out the stand a lot easier in PhotoShop.
To make the composite believable, the angle, height, and focal length of the camera had to match the created background plate. Full studio lights and modifiers were used to sculpt and color the light to match the background. And the invented flares were then added using a PhotoShop plugin from the Knoll Light Factory.
For more variations on a theme, visit SteveGreerPhotography.com
Cyclist supported by a resister stand in a studio setting
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Active Female Jumping in Mid-Air (Steve Greer)
Being a Commercial Photographer in New Jersey, this assignment led me to a professional athletic trainer looking to expand her clientele.
With a new industrial looking cross fit gym, she wanted to appeal to the workout buffs who like the challenge of jumping, balancing, crawling, climbing, and lifting. The branding concept was developed to match this more aggressive style workout in an alternative edgy setting. Sorry folks, no yoga here.
For a composite, you need a great looking background. Combing through Philadelphia’s back alleys proved to be an adventure in itself. Not wanting to draw a lot of attention, we only carried small speedlights and reflectors. We finally found a great location, that simply needed some bounce light to add contrast.
For the jump shot made in the studio, the camera settings were ISO 200, 55m, f7.1, 1/1600sec. Four Elinchrom strobes were synced using wireless slaves. Two lights were placed in off-camara sidelight strip boxes, one in a large octobox for the main light, and one overhead bare strobe for the rim light.
The images were later brought into PhotoShop to add contrast, desaturation, and add a little HDR to communicate this new gym will appeal to the warrior in all of us.
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Looking for some personal space, a little boy reads a book, using his headlamp, inside his snowy igloo (Steve Greer)
As a Lifestyle Photographer in New Jersey, my clients often ask me to create images that are unique and reveal the personality of their family.
This portrait concept was conceived months before the first snowfall. In the planning stages, special attention to where the igloo was going to be, the proportions of it, the lens selection, and camera angles were all taken into account.
Photographing at dusk offers a distinctive lighting effect. With the right timing, the ambient light of the day fades, and starts to compete with the artificial light being emitted by the street and house lights.
Balancing the light values of the child’s headlamp, including the other lamp inside the igloo – which provided depth, and the lights in the house, with the ambient light in the sky that reflected off the house, required some technical practice. A dry run a day before to select the proper light bulb wattages for the house lights was a good idea.
Once I had a great image, we all went back inside to warm up and photograph the family drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows – yum!
My setting were ISO 100, 35m, f7.1, 2.5sec
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Salomon X-Pro 100 Ski Boot (Steve Greer)
As a product photographer based in New Jersey, my job is to make a clients’ product look its very best.
Photographing the new 2014 Salomon X-Pro 100 Ski Boot presented challenges different from previous years. Usually ski boot manufacturers make their products in all sorts of colors, with a high-gloss finish. The matte black coating on this boot had a tendency to flatten out under studio lights, offering a 2-dimensional look. This year’s brushed aluminum satin finish on the buckles offered a unique task to reveal the 3-dimensional curve and depth on this stylish design.
The solution was to light individual parts of the boot separately and then photograph just that specific feature. Once all the images were created, they were then assembled in Photoshop.
This way, I was able to capture the high dynamic range of the reflective metal all the way to the flat black on the boot. There would be no compromise. All the modeling in the textures and finishes would be represented beautifully.
Ski Boot in Photoshop
Here are a couple of screenshots from the post-production work in Photoshop.
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Ethereal Young Girl with Long Flowing Hair Floating Peacefully Underwater (Steve Greer)
The dreamy surreal look of an Underwater Photoshoot with a Model can be alluring to us creative types. The challenges to make an image with that look and feel require some preparation.
The first step is finding a model who is comfortable in the water. Competition swimmers are usually good at being able to relax their face, so it doesn’t look like they are holding their breath.
And then when your model first goes under the water there are millions of distracting bubbles everywhere. This can cause your autofocus to go into overdrive trying to find the subject. I found that pre-focusing on the model above the water and maintaining the same distance under the water created a higher percentage of in-focus photos.
There were many failed attempts to get the model’s hair to flow properly. When she descended below the water her hair would hang above her head and then with just a little movement towards the surface her hair would flatten against her face. You have to wait for the moment when the model’s hair begins to relax around her ears, wait for the bubbles to dissipate and hope she has enough breath to hold the pose before pressing the shutter.
One thing that helps the model stay in position is to take a deep breath in and then breath OUT before you go under. Breathing out makes you sink to the bottom of the pool. For the photographer, wearing a scuba weight belt helps to keep you from bobbing around like a champagne cork!
My Canon 5D and a 24mm lens was protected with a EWA marine waterproof bag.
I started out making test shots of my assistant using only the natural light. This gave me a baseline to know where to overpower the ambient light with strobes and sculpt the light only where I wanted it to land on the model. The daylight balanced manufactured light also helped to avoid any color casts and keep the model’s hair red.
For the shoot, I used 2 Elinchrom Quadras, one with a gridded softbox directly overhead on a boom, and the other with a cone to concentrate the light on the model’s face. An Elinchrom BX400 was used as a fill light. All the strobes were triggered with Pocket Wizard’s Flex TT5s.
A note to the wise, radio waves do not work underwater. But at approximately 4” below the surface they worked well. Anything deeper than that and you need to use an optical signal to sync your lights, or go big and get some underwater lights.
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