Interview with Portrait Photographer Ashly Deskins

Next in our series spotlighting LumoPro Ambassadors and their work, is Ashly Deskins, a portrait and lifestyle photographer from Northern California.

Ashly began taking photos in 2009, as a shared hobby with her husband (then boyfriend). Ashly started off on the opposite side of the camera – standing in as a model while her husband learned about off camera flash.

Woman in green dress

Photo by Ashly Deskins

After her initial exposure (see what we did there?) to photography, Ashly decided to add some photography classes to her college courseload as she pursued a Bachelor’s degree at the The Ohio State University. Ashly says “That’s when I fell in love with photography and really felt like it was something I wanted to pursue long term.”

Family portrait on a beach

Photo by Ashly Deskins

Ashly has now shot everything from families and weddings to burlesque and boudoir, and even some wildlife. She refuses to settle on one area of photography, saying “I was once told that I should pick one genre and focus on that, but I could never stick to that rule. I shoot what I love, and I love what I shoot.”

Ashly thrives on the challenge of always shooting something new and different. She feels that constantly adjusting to new subjects and shooting scenarios is the only way for her to continue to grow as a photographer.

Senior portrait in the woods

Photo by Ashly Deskins

Ashly’s work centers mostly on portraiture. “I love shooting portraits that make you feel something when you look at it. It’s not just about the lighting or composition, but about the emotion the image gives.”

She says that the opportunity to meet new people is both one of her favorite aspect and the most challenging part of shooting portraits. “I meet many of my clients for the first time on the day of their session. Without meeting face-to-face before their shoot, I don’t know how our different personalities will work together. Luckily so far, I’ve had nothing, but amazing experiences.”

Couple standing by curtain outside

Photo by Ashly Deskins

Though human portraits make up the bulk of Ashly’s work, she has also had the opportunity to create images of some furrier subjects. In 2014, Ashly began documenting the wildlife around her apartment complex – specifically the squirrels. This simple photo exercise, turned into a much more involved project with full-blown sets that Ashly designs herself.

Squirrels interacting with photo studio scene

Photo by Ashly Deskins

Ashly’s workflow is very different when working with her fuzzy friends, versus a regular portrait session. “With wildlife, I don’t use flash, as I don’t want to scare the animals. Using off camera flash also requires a subject that can take direction, and I only have so much control over where the squirrels move and how they ‘pose’.” Ashly points out that that the squirrels are in control of how the shoot will go.

Squirrel playing with camera

Photo by Ashly Deskins

Because of the wide variety of subjects Ashly shoots, it’s important for her to have equipment that is flexible and holds up well. For her lighting, Ashly uses the LP180R flash and the Phottix Odin trigger. Of the LP180R, Ashly says “It was the first piece of equipment I used from LumoPro, and I know that it’s just going to perform. It’s a workhorse. My camera can miss focus, my memory cards can corrupt (and have), but my LP180R? None of that – It. Just. Works.”

For photographers just getting started, Ashly recommends getting out every day and shooting and not to worry so much about social media. “It doesn’t have to be shared. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Take the pressure out of getting that flawless shot and remind yourself that not everything has to be posted for the world to see.” She says that shooting every day allows you to familiarize yourself with your camera and work on the basics, like composition and exposure, while adjusting to different environments, different lighting conditions, different subject matter.

Woman in dress in front of bridge

Photo by Ashly Deskins

When asked about her favorite image that she has taken, Ashly says she prefers to focus on her next shot. “I truly feel like my favorite image is always my next image. I’m always trying to challenge and push myself every time I pick up my camera.”

Ashly credits her love for travel and adventure with influencing her work. “I am always seeking new places to photograph and experimenting with new ways to add fun to the shoot.” She hopes to take her photography show on the road and photograph a wedding or couple in Iceland or even Ireland.

Pregnant woman in red dress

Photo by Ashly Deskins

She adds that her obsession for home makeover shows and decorating translates into her passion for creating styled shoots with props. “I really love doing styled shoots and planning a shoot down to the last detail. Renting furniture, getting flowers, getting the subject’s attire just right – really creating a whole other world and scene within a beautiful setting. It’s like creating my own fairytale.”

Ashly Deskins Dancer

Photo by Ashly Deskins

Lightning Round: Getting to Know You with Ashly Deskins!

LumoPro: If you could spend one day with any photographer (living or dead), who would it be and why?

Ashly Deskins: This is really difficult, because there are so many that I would love to pick. However, if I had to choose, it would be Gregory Crewdson. I have admired his work since college. I love the lighting and storytelling of his work. The detail in each image is incredible. I feel like I pull some of my inspiration from his process of planning, even if it’s for a single image.

LP: If you had a career other than photography, what would it be?

AD: It would be working with animals in some capacity. I would love to have a sanctuary or animal rescue.

LP: If you had to choose one piece of lighting gear to have during a zombie apocalypse, what would it be and why?

AD: Either a flash or a light stand. I feel like the flash may temporarily startle them, slowing them down. However, a light stand could probably come in handy as a weapon.

LP: If given the chance, would you rather photograph the Olympics (Winter or Summer), the X-Games, a polo match with the entire royal family or a professional beer pong tournament?

AD: A polo match with the entire royal family, for sure! They are already so well photographed, I feel like it would be a fun challenge to photograph them in my own style. They all seem to have such unique personalities, so it could definitely be a challenge to show their personalities through my eyes. Plus, Prince Harry is a very talented photographer himself! I feel like we’d be BFFs.

AD Couple Arcade Portrait

Photo by Ashly Deskins

A big thanks to Ashly for her time. You can find more of Ashly’s work on her website – http://www.thegreenelephantlifestyle.com. You can also follow her on Instagram – @greenelephantphoto

All images by Ashly Deskins and used with permission.

Interview with Lifestyle Photographer Kim Hildebrand

Today, we continue our new series of LumoPro ambassador interviews with Kim Hildebrand, a lifestyle newborn and family photographer in Seattle, Washington. Kim shoots her images on film, often using a LumoPro speedlight. Stay tuned at the end of the post, for information Kim’s new Lighting for Lifestyle online course!

How long have you been taking photos and how did you get started?

I’ve been taking photos for about 20 years now – wow. That just aged me a bit. My dad was the visual storyteller in our family, so he took photos of our family vacations and kept up yearly albums. I have lots of memories of looking over the photos and reliving moments together. I took snapshots all the time with a point and shoot camera in high school and college, but I really got into photography well after graduation, when my spouse and I lived in Atlanta.

Family portrait

Photo by Kim Hildebrand

You have a unique workflow in that most of your work is done on film. Did you start out shooting film?

I had a Canon EOS-3 (still do) and took a black-and-white film developing class at an art center on a recurring basis for a couple years in Atlanta. I got so into it that I made one of our spare rooms into a darkroom. I loved the entire process – developing the film, reviewing the images on a light table, projecting and exposing the negative onto Ilford photo paper with my Beseler enlarger, and then watching the images appear out of nowhere when bathed in the chemicals. I could spend hours in the darkroom! From learning what a good negative looked like, I learned a lot about how to make a good negative using the Zone System. Our teacher always said, “Expose for the shadows; develop for the highlights.” I still think about that when shooting.

 What made you decide to switch back to film from digital?

I switched to digital when everyone else did, but ended up switching back to film about four years ago. I realized that I really hated editing because I could never get the color, skin tones, and contrast the way I wanted it to look. I also dreaded spending late hours in front of the computer, and I loathed culling down images. I tried outsourcing the editing, but still wasn’t happy with the results. It just wasn’t a workflow and process I was happy with. So I picked up my film camera again and haven’t set it down.

What genres of photography do you shoot most?

Now being in business for 8 years, I have established myself as an in-home lifestyle newborn and family photographer. I shoot client sessions on film because I just love the look and feel of it. Film also forces me to slow down and be more intentional, and it saves me loads of time on the computer.

Family photo in kitchen

Photo by Kim Hildebrand

What do you enjoy most about taking photos of families? What is the most challenging part?

I love the unpredictability of working with families, and I love capturing that! Parents can have the best intentions, but something always goes sideways, and that is life raising kids, right? I love showing that in my work. We’re all doing the best we can. We aren’t perfect, and neither are our kids – and that’s okay! It’s interesting!

I’d say the most challenging part is managing the expectation with parents that it’s totally fine (and honestly, a little expected) if Timmy cries and Emma won’t smile. I’ll show a gallery of genuine emotions and expressions any day over one forced, fake smile. Those crazy unpredictable things that happen are just as precious as when the family is smiling and laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Because that is life.

I’ve learned that reassuring Mom throughout the shoot that what I’m capturing is amazing really helps keep both parents (and kids) at ease to get the genuine shots I’m looking for.

 

Newborn family portrait

Photo by Kim Hildebrand

Do you feel like using film cameras limits you in your work or serves as a differentiator?

Thatʼs a great question. Film definitely has a different look to it, and I first thought it would differentiate my product and services from others, but I now don’t think that’s the case. First, there are more and more photographers switching back to film, and I know of quite a few where I live in Seattle. Second, most customers don’t know that I shoot with film until I show up for the session. I don’t think most people recognize the subtle differences in sharpness (or lack thereof), skin tones, grain and contrast. They just know that they like something – whether it is my style or the characteristics of using film, that they just can’t pinpoint. I have been hired more and more because I’m a film shooter, but that is with a specific target client who can see the difference.

Using film greatly limited me in my in-home work at first, without using flash, because it requires much more light than digital. Compare shooting Fuji 400h, a 400 speed film that actually needs a ton of light, with cranking up the ISO on a digital camera to 3200 or even 12800! But, problems are there to be solved, and I figured out a way to make it work.

Picture of family feet

Photo by Kim Hildebrand

How does lighting fit into your workflow?

I’ve used artificial lighting for years. I learned flash with film while in Atlanta, but didn’t really have a good grasp of it. I bought an entry-level strobe kit – Interfit – upon starting my business and really learned artificial light with that. I had a studio space for a while, which consisted of a very dark space with no windows, so I used strobe exclusively for years and really learned the light. But something was missing, and for me it was the thrill of shooting in-home lifestyle vs. studio work. Photographing in-home sessions was just really fun and challenging, and made me more creative. But shooting in-home sessions on film, in Seattle of all places, was next to impossible. I remember taking a meter reading one winter at noon, and the meter literally read 1s @ f2.0!

So I knew I wanted to shoot film inside. I had a lot of experience shooting with one strobe, so I started taking a strobe kit with me to in-home sessions. And it worked great. Until I wanted to move around to different rooms and take photographs in tight spaces. So I had been reading up on small flash again and decided to take it with me to the next session. I realized a speedlight in Manual mode is exactly the same as a strobe, just without the modeling light! So I set up the flash in each room as we moved around the house for the session and pretended it was like a strobe. It was a game changer!

I basically use one LP180 speedlight on the little stand it comes with, bouncing the light off ceilings or windows, and just move the unit around with me, based on which room Iʼm working with my families in. Easy peasy.

Brothers sharing stuffed animal in cribs

Photo by Kim Hildebrand

What is your favorite piece of LumoPro gear and why?

Hands down, the Lumopro LP180 flash. It’s durable and well-made; the controls are really intuitive; it’s relatively inexpensive compared to many flashes that are on the market today; and it’s dependable. The flash paired with my triggers work with all my film cameras – Contax, Pentax, and Canon – and I love that I donʼt have to switch systems! I was also shocked that this little flash unit could give me enough light to shoot a family inside on film. It is much more compact and portable than a strobe too, and I can use it in the smallest of spaces, as long as I have a surface to bounce off of.

Black and white children portrait

Photo by Kim Hildebrand

What is your favorite image you have shot and why?

That is a tough question! I feel like my work is continually evolving, but my current fave is a recent one of my kids. They sat for me when I was playing with my flash to use it as backlight. It’s a simple photograph. They are laying together opposite ways, relaxed looking right at me. Their expressions are simple, open and honest, and I love that.

What influences your work, outside of other photographers?

Art, cinematography, influential writers like Brené Brown and Simon Sinek, anything on TED Talks and CreativeLive, interesting light, color. And the things I see in every client’s home, like artwork, architecture, interior design, pretty windows and drapes, the color of the walls and texture, like blankets and quilts, etc.

What advice would you give to photographers who are just getting started?

Besides learning your craft, learn what it is that you are passionate about and really love to do. What do you get a thrill taking a photo of, no matter how many times you have done it? Because being in business is hard, and it’s going to have its ups and downs. Learn what you love to do and become an expert in every aspect of it. And pay yourself.

Mother and child portrait

Photo by Kim Hildebrand

If time and budget constraints were no object, what personal project would you want to complete this year?

I’ve had an idea in the back of my head for a long time about how wonderful it would be to show how the bond between a mother and child is universal regardless of where you live, what you believe in, what color your skin is, how much money you have and what language you speak.

Family portrait by window

Photo by Kim Hildebrand

Lightining Round: Getting to Know You with Kim Hildebrand!

LumoPro: If you could spend one day with any photographer (living or dead), who would it be and why?

Kim Hildebrand: I’ve always been fascinated with Vivian Maier. She’d haul those kids out and traipse all over the city with her Rolleiflex and take street photos…..then store the film away in a locker for a complete stranger to find years later. Did she not have money to develop the film, or did she not care about the result, only the journey? She was the ultimate observer who loved capturing moments that interested her without a care in the world about money, recognition, honors, or any of the other messy things that come with photography.

LP: If given the chance, would you rather photograph the Olympics (Winter or Summer?), the X-Games, a polo match with the entire royal family or a professional beer pong tournament?

KH: My initial response is a beer pong tournament because it would be funny as hell and takes me back to college.

LP: If you had to choose one piece of lighting gear to have during a zombie apocalypse, what would it be and why?

KH: Light stand. It’s a multi-purpose item that is more durable than an umbrella. 😉

LP: If you had a career other than photography, what would it be?

KH: I’ve had many careers before photography, but would I go back to them? Hmmmm. I’ve been dreaming that one day I’ll be a world traveler/blogger, and people would pay me.

Father and infant portrait

Photo by Kim Hildebrand

Kim is launching an online course teaching Lighting for Lifestyle, which covers all things flash and lighting for lifestyle and portrait (film or digital!) shooters. If you are interested in learning about how to use your flash indoors, get more information here.

A huge thank you to Kim for her time. You can find more of Kim’s work on her website – https://www.kimhildebrand.com/. You can also follow her on Instagram – @kimhildebrandphoto

All images by Kim Hildebrand and used with permission.

Interview with Portrait Photographer Josh King

We’re going to be starting a new feature on the LumoPro blog that features our ambassadors and gives some insight into their photographic lives. First up, is Josh King! (Warning: one image may be slightly NSFW.)

Josh got started in photography when he was 5 or 6 with a 110 film camera. He remembers going through a roll in about an hour shooting photos around his neighborhood. Josh says, “This was when I first fell in love with photography. I still have a lot of those prints laying around somewhere.” Josh’s passion for photography grew when he started working for his high school newspaper and yearbook, covering sports with a Nikon D70 that he borrowed from the school.

In high school, one of Josh’s biggest struggles was the thing that often faces aspiring photographers:  the limitations of the equipment available to him. Josh remembers, “The D70 was a good camera, but anything above 400 ISO had major noise, which made for a hard time getting clear football photos after the sun went down.”

After high school, Josh began shooting adventure sports, primarily rock climbing, which was when Josh says he realized he was not as good of a photographer as he thought he was. “Most of my photos were mediocre at best. I had to relearn everything, more or less.”

Climber at night photo by Josh King

Photo by Josh King

Josh says the challenges of shooting climbers helped him to hone his craft. “The thing I really love about climbing photography is the challenge of being in the right place to get a decent photo. It’s a lot of work once you’re up on a rope – you can’t easily move if you’re on the wrong side of the climber for the shot you want.”

Rock climber photo by Josh King

Photo by Josh King

Despite his love for photographing rock climbing, a major training injury left Josh unable to climb for over a year. This accident is one of the reasons Josh switched to shooting portraits.

Today, Josh shoots mostly portraits with some action sports thrown in. Now that Josh is focusing on portraiture, his gear choices have changed. “Probably the most obvious change is the introduction of flash. I tried to use flash a couple of times when doing climbing work, but it just never really worked out. Now I do most of my shots indoors, and the majority of the time all of my lighting comes from flash.”

Josh says the LumoPro LP180R has become an important part of adding flash to his workflow. He favors the LP180R for its sturdy build quality and the convenience of manual and TTL control from his camera with the Phottix Odin transmitter. “I don’t have to walk over to my light, pull the softbox down and dig inside just to change the power output. I also like how the LP180R works seamlessly with my studio setup.”

Josh’s favorite photo he has shot comes from his very first shoot using off camera flash (the venerable LumoPro LP180!). “It’s probably not my best photo, but I am still just blown away at how good it is for my first attempt at flash photography.”

JKing Fav Pic

Josh’s Favorite Photo | Photo by Josh King

As Josh made the transition to shooting portraits, his passion for making connections became a large influence is his work. “Through a powerful photograph, I can bring together two people from opposite sides of the world. The viewer can share in the subject’s pain or happiness and sympathize with the situation. Or I can draw the viewer in with a simple portrait with no environment and use the subject’s face to encourage some sort of emotional connection and form a story of who the subject is.”

Black and white headshot photo

Photo by Josh King

Now that Josh has some experience under his belt, I asked him what advice he would give to photographers who are just getting started. Josh’s advice is pretty simple: just get out and shoot and shoot and shoot. “If you’re not shooting, you’re not growing. You can watch online videos to learn all kinds of things. However, you are never going to learn by sitting at your desk all day. Get out, practice, master in-the-moment troubleshooting and learn from your mistakes.” Josh cites climber/adventurer Mike Libecki: “Death and/or old age is coming. The time is now. Why ration passion?”

Josh also advises new photographers not to undervalue their work. He points out that if you don’t put value in yourself first, no one else will value what you are doing.

Black and white fitness portrait

Photo by Josh King

Josh is currently translating his own passion into a new personal project. He is working on a portrait book of professional climbers to hopefully be completed later this year. When I asked Josh what project he would attempt if time and budget were no object, he said “That’s easy. It’s the photo book project I just started. I would do it on a much bigger scale. Travel around the world to work with more people.”

Black and white male portrait

Photo by Josh King

Lightning Round: Getting to Know You with Josh King!

LumoPro: If you could spend one day with any photographer (living or dead), who would it be and why?

Josh King: I think a good choice for any photographer would be Ansel Adams – just to be able to watch his process from beginning to end. I would have to choose Cory Richards though. His work as an adventure photographer is amazing. As I would love to step into that realm myself, I would welcome anything I could learn from him.

LP: If you had a career other than photography, what would it be?

JK: I’ve been constantly trying and failing to turn outdoor guide work into a career. It just doesn’t pay well enough.

LP: If you had to choose one piece of lighting gear to have during a zombie apocalypse, what would it be and why?

JK: Probably a good, sturdy light stand. It could make a good blunt weapon or extend out to keep zombies at a safe distance while you grab your primary weapon.

LP: If given the chance, would you rather photograph the Olympics (specify Winter or Summer), the X-Games, a polo match with the entire royal family or a professional beer pong tournament?

JK: Given that my sport of choice is rock climbing, and climbing will be included in the Olympics starting with the 2020 Summer Games, I would have to choose the Summer Olympics. Shooting the X-Games would be an amazing experience as well though.

Backlit portrait of man with chalk

Photo by Josh King

A big thanks to Josh for his time. You can find more of Josh’s work on his website – www.jtking.photos. You can also follow him on Instagram – @jtkingphotography

All images by Josh King and used with permission.

Garrett Martin Shoots High-Flying Ballerinas

This is a guest blog by Garrett Martin. All images and media used with permission.

I remember a day… One when we had to carry a million pounds of lights and batteries to beat the sun on location. You’d get stuck shooting 1/200 at f16 with your 70-200mm just to keep that “narrow” DOF look, but still control the light no matter where you go. Oh, those were the… what am I saying?! I don’t miss that at all. I’m sure my assistants don’t miss lugging around all that gear either!

Early on I had made the switch to LumoPro when they introduced the LP180 flash. Let’s face it, sometimes I’m a little rough with my equipment [ed. note: sometimes, Garrett? Two words for you: ceiling fan… 🙂 ]. After a few repair bills from my old *BIG-BRAND* speedlights, it was an easy choice to invest in flashes that were a fraction of the cost and that packed in all the same functionality – even more in some cases. I rationalized it to be cheaper to just buy a new speedlight when I smash them to smithereens!

When LumoPro dropped the LP180R flash with the high speed sync, this was a game changer. Being able to shoot f1.8 in direct sunlight is a dream. I ditched pounds of equipment for speedlights that will beat the sun and keep my assistant from sweating all over my model when I want some beautiful clam shell lighting in the middle of a field on a cloudless day at noon… why not?! I can!

High flying in the sunshine

I cut my teeth in the wedding industry, but find myself doing much more commercial work lately. One of my main clients, Explore Licking County, definitely keeps me on my toes. We’re always cooking up something new and exciting to shoot. Recently, we’ve been pulling together ideas to better promote The Arts in Licking County. “Art Lives Here” was the brainchild of Dan and Carol from Explore Licking County, and it was my job to bring it to life, visually.

The idea grew from the need to fill ad space in a local theater flyer that would run this year. We wanted to take performing art off the stage and into the county. After a good round of brainstorming and a model search post on social media, we had our locations and ballerinas.

Advertisement for Explore Licking County

Advertisement for Explore Licking County Photo by Garrett Martin

As you can see in the video, my assistant never breaks a sweat! During the shoot we were in bright direct sunlight, in the shadows of the alley and in the light of sunset on a river bed. Logistically, a lighting nightmare, but with my LP180R’s it was a breeze. Add in the ability to control everything with my Phottix Odin transmitter – I never have to leave my camera, and I can completely change my lighting in 2 seconds.

To say I love my LP’s is an understatement. Mixed with the right modifier, I have a studio anywhere, and it doesn’t take carrying crates of equipment onto location to get the job done.

Garrett Martin is a wedding, commercial and portrait photographer based out of Central Ohio. As a self taught photographer, he’s had a camera in his hand as long as he can remember. Garrett has been the owner and lead photographer at Martin Digital since 2004. To see more of Garrett’s work, visit http://martindigital.co/.

Giving Back to the Community Using LumoPro Gear

This is a guest blog by Daniel T. Jester. All images used with permission.

Community is always a big part of a photographer’s life. Photography tends to be a hyper-local endeavor, and the community where you work and live is often your source of inspiration, clients, and lasting relationships – both personal and professional.

I work as a professional commercial photographer in Riverside County, CA. The team I work with recently connected with the local chapter of Help Portrait to offer our skills and services back to the community. We planned a local event where we offered free portrait sessions, complete with hair and make up services, photography, retouching and refreshments.

My small part in planning this event was to lend my expertise in lighting, process, and workflow, so that we could offer this experience to as many people as possible.

The original plan was to ask volunteer photographers to provide their personal equipment to the event. We needed enough lighting and grip equipment to build out four portrait sets. As we started gathering lists of what everyone had, it occurred to me that in order to create the smoothest, easiest experience for our guests, we should standardize our equipment wherever we could.

BTS 3

That’s when I turned to my friends at LumoPro. I love my LP180 flashes, and if there is one thing I know about LumoPro, it’s that I can trust them. LumoPro generously lent us enough LP180s, light stands, background stands, and miscellaneous grip equipment to put together four identical sets. All we had to do was plug one of our photographer’s cameras in to each set, and they could start shooting portraits.

Family BTS

The event was a massive success, due in no small part to LumoPro’s support. The team at LumoPro came through, the equipment performed beautifully, and we were able to process over 80 portraits sessions over the course of a few hours.

Here are a few of my favorites from the day.

20170218-_mg_0248IMG_5043cm0b0430dsc_7413HP.4CM0B0204HP.2HP.3

Connect with Daniel on Twitter or his blog. Or see more of his work at http://www.danieltjester.com/

Gina Manning’s Conceptual Fashion Shoot with LumoPro Modifiers

A big part of fashion photography is making your images stand out, and one major contributing element to a unique look is lighting. Fashion photographer Gina Manning recently used LumoPro modifiers to achieve the edgy, cinematic look she wanted. All photos by Gina Manning and used with permission.

Model with metal head piece

Photo by Gina Manning

Gina used a combination of the LumoPro beauty dish, octabox and stripboxes to create a variety of intriguing images for her conceptual “La Reine Des Dieux” shoot. The video below gives a behind the scenes look at how the shoot came together and shows the gear in action!

Gina will be hosting a release party for the full set of images in a few weeks. If you are in the Boston area, be sure to get out and see the collection in its entirety. Find more info and RSVP here!

Release party August 5th, 5-9 PM, 460B Harrison Ave, Boston

See the full set of images and hang out with Gina!

GinaManning_02

Photo by Gina Manning

About Gina Manning

Gina is a high-concept fashion photographer fascinated with telling intriguing stories. She brings a cinematic quality to every shoot she designs; from creating atmospheres that set a surreal tone to selecting models with character to tell the perfect story. For her, it’s about the collaboration of gorgeous clothes and gorgeous ideas.

Her subject matter is largely focused on the concept and power of a confident and beautiful woman. Always with an obsession of the subconscious and the control that the mind has over an individual, she’s constantly incorporating the things that keep her up at night in her photographs.

Over the years she has honed in on a style that captivates the eye with light, color and texture. Gina believes in creating new worlds for fashion to exist outside of the ordinary.

You can find more of Gina’s work at www.ginamanning.com.

Setting Up to Shoot Jewelry with Daniel T. Jester

This is a guest blog by Daniel T. Jester. All images by Daniel T. Jester. Used with permission.

One of my favorite things to do is leverage my skillset as a product photographer and help small businesses with their photographic presence. A business’s image identity ties directly in to their brand, but the challenge of shooting product is only a small part of the mountain of things that need to be done day to day.

Recently I had the opportunity to meet up with Emily Kaniasty of Art & Soul Beads (artandsoulbeads.com) and Amanda Dougherty of The New Blak (thenewblak.com) at their storefront space in Louisville, Kentucky. They were looking for a little help in shooting their jewelry for their respective websites. I brought along some of my favorite LumoPro tools, and we set out to shoot some jewelry, as well as some editorial shots to be used in social media.

For their website images (what we call “catalog images” or primary selling shots), Emily and Amanda were looking for a clean, on-white presentation of some of their pieces. My set up of choice for this situation is a clear plexi or glass plate, separated from the white background. This allows us to light the background separately and control the output without too much worry of spill onto our necklace. We weren’t going to have a ton of space to set up in their retail location, so I needed a set up that was compact, but could get the job done.

LumoPro Spring Clamp and Umbrella Swivel Setup

Spring Clamp mounted on LP634 Umbrella Swivel holds the glass in place.

My background was a simple white collapsible reflector hung on a light stand. The glass plate where our necklaces would hang was held up with one of my new favorite grip tools, the LumoPro Spring Clamp. The Spring Clamp, in this case coupled with the LumoPro Umbrella Swivel, is a really great tool for holding stuff. It functions perfectly here – holding my plate glass in place and giving me a solid spot to put our product.

LumoPro Spring Clamp and Umbrella Swivel Setup

White reflector serves as the perfect compact background.

Clamped onto the stand holding the plate, was the LumoPro Studio Clamp with an LP180 aimed toward our backdrop. Rounding out the rest of my set up was my LumoPro compact stand, used here because I could use it on top of the existing work table without it putting my light too high. Up top was another LumoPro LP180 with the double flash bracket and 16″x24″ soft box.

LumoPro Compact Stand and softbox setup

7.5′ Compact Stand holds the Double Flash Bracket and small softbox as the key light.

Pullback view of the jewelry setup

Pullback view of the whole setup. Lots of light in a small space!

Last but certainly not least, we had PLENTY of fill cards on hand. The trick to shooting jewelry (or anything reflective) is that it doesn’t matter how much light you throw at the subject, if the light is reflecting off the piece and out into space, your subject is going to appear dark. You need to put a fill card in the reflection to capture that light.

In the end, using some of my favorite LumoPro gear, we were able to set up a robust jewelry photography set that didn’t take up a ton of space and could be packed into a fairly small bag.

Jewelry shot by Daniel T. Jester

The final product. (See what we did there…)

Technical Details:

Camera: Fujifilm X-T1
Lens: Nikon Micro-Nikkor 55mm Macro
Strobes: 2x LumoPro LP180
Modifiers: LumoPro 16×24” Softbox
Radio Triggers: Pocket Wizard Plus III

Connect with Daniel on Twitter or his blog. Or see more of his work at http://www.danieltjester.com/