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The Simple Approach
  
 
Laszlo Bencze
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · The Simple Approach


Yesterday I spent the day mentoring the president of a drilling company on photography, his avid hobby. I wanted to show him how very simple things can produce excellent results. In this case the simple thing was the lighting. We went into one of his shops where he repairs pumps, closed the roll up door, and set up a single Lowell Tota Light ($118 from B&H) on a short stand. I set it to bounce off a wall that was more or less white or beige or something close enough. The roll up door provided the backdrop and the chair was set right next to a 5' x 5' wire basket filled to the brim with trash. As most of you know, this broad bounced light is very easy to work with and very forgiving. Yet, it still produces beautiful modeling and pleasing shadows to bring out the contour of the face.

So here's the picture I took of him which I rather like. No it's not a great shot, or creative or a breakthrough. Thatís' not why I'm presenting it. I'm showing it simply to reveal how the ugliest surroundings can be transformed with a bit of judicious light and choice of vantage point. Simple approaches of this sort are available to practically any photographer and can produce results pleasing far beyond the effort needed to create them.







Feb 23, 2014 at 02:08 AM
Jim Rickards
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · The Simple Approach


This is the part I liked and agree with: "the ugliest surroundings can be transformed with a bit of judicious light and choice of vantage point."


Feb 23, 2014 at 08:08 AM
fstopperdown
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · The Simple Approach


... I've been thinking along these lines as well. This is similar to my work place environment. Very nice.


Feb 23, 2014 at 03:33 PM
Lisa_Holloway
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · The Simple Approach


Lovely portrait, Laszlo - very nice lighting and love the relaxed look he has.


Feb 23, 2014 at 03:48 PM
annbennett
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · The Simple Approach


Nicely done!


Feb 23, 2014 at 04:30 PM
Laszlo Bencze
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · The Simple Approach


Thank you Jim, f, and Lisa. Minor White once wrote that a photographer should always strive to make good pictures even if their purpose was so simple as testing a new lens. In other words, the photographer should never relax into mediocrity merely because the picture is "unimportant." So here, though the purpose was merely to demonstrate a simple lighting technique, I took pains to make sure the pose was decent, the background clean, the eyes in focus and the expression good. So I agree with Minor.

The result of this carefulness was that Tom, my subject and student, fully understood the point of the lighting technique. The set up was not about mere technique.



Feb 23, 2014 at 04:39 PM
lcl0706
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · The Simple Approach


I like your philosophy here. I once took a portrait of my daughter sitting several feet in front of a window covered with white horizontal blinds. I bounced a speedlite and the result was a somewhat backlit shot with a background that closely resembles your shot here, only white. Nobody needed to know it was taken in my kitchen.


Feb 23, 2014 at 05:09 PM
CW100
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · The Simple Approach


good lighting


Feb 24, 2014 at 11:23 PM
Bfalcon1
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · The Simple Approach


Nice job!
I agree. Simple is best sometimes.
Solid work.
BRETT



Feb 25, 2014 at 12:10 AM
Bfalcon1
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · The Simple Approach


Nice job!
I agree. Simple is best sometimes.
Solid work.
BRETT



Feb 25, 2014 at 12:10 AM
 



sidefunk
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · The Simple Approach


Really nice shot Laszlo. I think in this day of digital its easy to spray and pray. I like that idea of making every shot beautiful no matter what its purpose. I have been trying to do that with my new film camera, but it takes real discipline to slow down. Really trying to learn that along with the other fundamentals.

Looking forward to more nice work and sound advice.



Feb 25, 2014 at 12:20 AM
Laszlo Bencze
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · The Simple Approach


sidefunk wrote:
Really nice shot Laszlo. I think in this day of digital its easy to spray and pray. I like that idea of making every shot beautiful no matter what its purpose. I have been trying to do that with my new film camera, but it takes real discipline to slow down. Really trying to learn that along with the other fundamentals.

Looking forward to more nice work and sound advice.


Thanks Brett (and the others too). My perennial advice to serious photographers is to buy books of the greats. There's simply no substitute for having a well printed book in your lap or on the table in front of you and browsing through the pictures. It's not necessary to read the writing in photo books. Sometimes it's not worth the effort to wade through all the art speak. But it's always worthwhile to look at the pictures. And when I say look, I mean frequently. Much looking influences the mind and eventually comes through in the taking of pictures. Don't worry, you won't be creating imitations. You will be creating your own work but at a higher level than you could attain without the knowledge of the past. As one of my mentors, Arnold Newman, used to say, "If you don't know the past, you will constantly be reinventing the wheel."



Feb 25, 2014 at 08:55 AM
Ian Boys
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · The Simple Approach


Re great photo books - absolutely! If you don't know what good photos look like how will you take one?


Feb 25, 2014 at 10:08 AM
paulmartinmd
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · The Simple Approach


very nice shot sir.. I totally agree with every word you said..

do you mind sharing the EXIF of this one?

Cheers!!!



Feb 26, 2014 at 11:55 AM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · The Simple Approach


Very nice demonstration of the art of simplicity.


Feb 26, 2014 at 01:22 PM
Laszlo Bencze
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · The Simple Approach


paulmartinmd wrote:
very nice shot sir.. I totally agree with every word you said..

do you mind sharing the EXIF of this one?

When you say "EXIF" I presume good old shutter speed and aperture will suffice. So, it was f1.2 at 125th with camera on tripod. With an ultra fast lens, Iím paying a huge premium for that wide aperture so I almost always use it wide open. If the wide open look is not important, as in much of my commercial work, then I just use the 70 -200 IS f4.0 zoom which is a terrifyingly sharp lens and is very
...Show more



Feb 26, 2014 at 06:11 PM
CW100
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · The Simple Approach


good lighting


Feb 27, 2014 at 11:32 AM
pr4photos
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · The Simple Approach


Nice lighting. Just need to tighten up on the white balance - bit green for me, and it would be great


Feb 27, 2014 at 02:20 PM
Danpbphoto
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · The Simple Approach


Laszlo Bencze wrote:
No it's not a great shot, or creative or a breakthrough. Thatís' not why I'm presenting it. I'm showing it simply to reveal how the ugliest surroundings can be transformed with a bit of judicious light and choice of vantage point. Simple approaches of this sort are available to practically any photographer and can produce results pleasing far beyond the effort needed to create them.


Laszio
You could not have put some photographs into a better photographing perspective! Eloquently put, technically savvy andd most of all to-the-point.
IMHO, that being said DOES make a great shot, a creative shot or a breakthrough.
Taking what you have, adding what you know, and personally pleased with YOUR result MAKES the composition!!!!
Again well stated and well photographed!
Dan



Feb 27, 2014 at 02:29 PM
tgrantster
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · The Simple Approach


Damnit Laszlo...off to to B&H for a Lowell Tota Light.


Feb 28, 2014 at 04:46 AM
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