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/.

Shooting Jewelry with Daniel T. Jester

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/