Monday, November 7, 2011

Shooting (Photographing) a Jewish Horah Wedding by Jason Lanier

Shooting a Jewish Horah is the one of the funnest things to shoot for a wedding photographer. Why? Because they are fun, loud, and always unpredictable. I have shot Horah's where people fell off of chairs (none were hurt), people were launched clear off the chairs, and just in general it's a heck of a way to kick off a new marriage.

First the bride and groom are lifted onto the chairs followed by the parents of the bride. The bride and groom hold a cloth in between them and hold on for dear life. As a photographer the best and only way to truly capture the essence of this moment is by getting into the action. It can be a little intimidating at first because there are a ton of people and you can't really even know where you will end up because you are too busy taking the pictures. But once you get the rhythm down, and you just decide to have fun with it, it can be a very rewarding experience.

In order to maximize the picture opportunity for your clients you need to make sure to set proper lighting, and you will need to make sure to use either a video light, an external flash, or both to get the best shots. You also need to make sure to keep your shutter speed fast enough because there is a lot of movement going on! For these shots below which were all shot on manual mode, the settings were: Nikon D700, 1/100 sec at f/4.0, 16mm at ISO 3200, flash fired.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Trash the Dress Composite Shot

Trash the Dress, watch it all happen in 1 photograph- this image was taken last week during my bridal trash the dress session with Randi, my bride from my Catalina wedding in August of this year. For this image I set my tripod up in a spot where I knew I could capture the full spectrum of everything happening within the frame. I then had Randi go from start to finish, getting her dress caught, and then we would cut with scissors. Each shot of her is a different picture, which were all stitched together in photoshop.

In photography it's so difficult to show a progression of something like a trash the dress session in only 1 picture. So, if you want to try and accomplish something like this, you pretty much have to do what I've done here. This is a lengthy process in shooting and editing, but the results are REALLY FUN! Camera settings: Nikon D700, 1/80 sec at f/4.0, 16mm at ISO 200, flash did not fire. Shot at 5:47pm on October 27, 2011 by Jason Lanier.

Should Photographers Add Fake Skies to their Pictures?

To Add or not to Add, that is the question. Since photographers learned how to add skies and other elements to their images, this is a question that has stayed in the industry since Photoshop taught us how to do it. Personally I don't like adding other elements to my imagery, I want them to be real. That being said, many times I find myself going to a location one time, and if the weather doesn't cooperate, I walk away with no shots to use.

FOR THE RECORD: If I were to ever use a "fake sky" I would certainly state that the image is a composite. I NEVER misrepresent my work..:)

I pride myself on my work and the skies that are present in my images and like any other self respecting landscape photographer I will wait many times/days/weeks for that perfect shot. This image was taken during my workshop in West Virginia at Blackwater Falls. It's a situation where I only had 1 hour to get the shot and then we moved to another location. So either I use a sky from another shot, or I really don't have a shot to share. Thoughts?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Photoshop Tip- How to Add Rain to your image

Today is the first of many Friday Fotoshop Fun Facts that I am going to start posting weekly. Check back on the blog to see these updates, and don't forget to follow my Facebook Fan Page as well as Twitter: @jlanierphoto.

For today's topic I wanted to show a very simple technique for adding a "rain" look to your image. This is all done in Photoshop CS4. The idea is to take a simple picture that doesn't have any rain and make it look like it does. The image below is a shot I took in Morgantown, West Virginia in October of 2011. Here's how to do it!

1. Open your image in Photoshop...

2. Create a duplicate layer by pressing Command J (Macs) Control J (PC)

3. Click on "Filter", "Render", and then choose, "Fibers"

4. The selection screen for Fibers will pop up. I chose to use 16 as my Variance and 4 as my Strength. Play around with it and choose what works best for your look!

5. This is what your screen will look like, don't panic, it's supposed to look like this...

6. Click on the layer mask button on the bottom of your layers palette as shown in red. This will create a mask for you to wipe away the rain and bring in the background image.

7. Click on "B" to select your brush tool as shown in red.

8. The brush toolbar will then show at the top of your screen. Select a large sized brush as I did here, "900 or higher" so you can wipe away big chunks of the fibers (fake rain). Select an Opacity of about 88% (so it wipes away a lot but still leaves some to be seen). Don't worry about the Flow...

9. Start wiping away the fake rain! This is what it looked like when I wiped away half of the screen.

10. This is what it looked like after I had wiped away all the fake rain at 88% Opacity. So in essence it left 12% of the rain in the image.

11. I then chose to turn my Opacity to 100% and wipe the fibers "fake rain" away completely in select areas of the image. In this image I wiped it all away in the grass areas.

And this is what it looked like when it was done! There are certainly a million ways to do a million things like "fake rain" in an image, but I choose to do tutorials on the most streamlined and already built into Photoshop way to do it. I hope this helps! Please let me know what topics in Photoshop you'd like me to address for topics on upcoming weeks. Thanks and stay tuned!

Jason Lanier Photography on Twitter

Hey everyone! After starting a great Fan Page on Facebook I am finally getting around to launching our Twitter Page! So if you'd like hints, tips, and more updates from Jason Lanier Photography, Twitter is the place to go! Just go to @jlanierphoto and check out what we're doing!


Creativity- Don't ever be afraid to become a kid again when you are shooting. I think it's so funny that adults pretend that say they aren't creative. Creativity is a grown up word for "playing make believe." If more people stopped worrying about what other people thought about what they did, and just channeled their inner 5-year old and started "make believing" they would make amazing imagery. SO GO BE A 5-YEAR OLD AGAIN!!!!

Bridezillas- this image was taken during my workshop in West Virginia last month. We found this abandoned little house that was nestled in between overgrown weeds and a corn field. It was the kind of thing that's almost impossible to find in California which is one reason why I love shooting in areas like West Virginia. We had two models a house, and an idea….they were both in love with the same man and he was inside the house, all they had to do was fight and to the victor would go the spoils. Both girls took turns being the aggressor and I have a ton of great shots from this shoot. Camera settings: Nikon D700, 1/500 sec at f/5.6, 19mm at ISO 100. Shot at 3:23pm on October 11, 2011 by Jason Lanier.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Long Exposure Photography- getting the right look!

Long Exposure Photography- this is an image taken earlier this year in Maui, Hawaii near the lava rocks by Waimea/Kihei area. The trick to long exposure photography is to set it up on a tripod, frame the shot the right way, keep your ISO low (that sounds crazy with low light, but if there is enough available light, you want LOW ISO because it gives you much more ability to work with in post production. With the long exposure time it will add a movement type look to the image like you see here with the water. If you haven't tried long exposure photography, give it a try today! Camera settings: Nikon D700, 30 sec at f/4.0, 16mm at ISO 100, flash did not fire. Shot at 7:33pm in Maui, Hawaii by Jason Lanier on August 31, 2011.

Basking in the Hawaiian Sun- this image was taken while I was in Maui back in August of this year. We were shooting some tutorial videos and we had this amazing back drop, beautiful woman, and the golden sun. This was shot with natural light. If you shoot at the right time it will look like you are applying special effects because it just looks so good. If possible, shoot during the "magic hours" of 2 hours before and after sunset and sunrise...this was taken about 20 minutes before sunset. Hope you like it! Camera settings: Nikon D700, 1/400 sec at f/5.6, 16mm at ISO 100, flash did not fire. Shot at 6:12pm on August 30, 2011 in Maui, Hawaii by Jason Lanier.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bridal Portraits West Virginia

Almost Heaven, West Virginia- this image was taken during my 1 on 1 with Stephanie Stiles back in August of this year in Morgantown, West Virginia. This was such a fun shoot, and I just loved the rolling green hills, it is just beautiful out there. I also want photographers to know that you don't have to or shouldn't always put your subjects in the middle of the's boring if it's on all your make it more dynamic and change things up a little! Camera settings: Nikon D700, 1/320 sec at f/9.0, 16mm at ISO 100, flash did not fire. Shot at 5:26pm on August 20, 2011 by Jason Lanier.