Monday, 24 September 2012

Flat Copying

Flat copying                                 

This is the technique you may have to use in order to photograph art work such as a David Hockney joiner, drawings, artwork, paintings etc.

You'll need a few things...
2 x studio flash heads. B&C
Camera and black tripod D
Sync leads
Sync adapters.
Black cloth or similar (large) E
A method of putting the art work on the wall
1. Position the art work (a) on the wall at camera height (Chest height)?
2. Position two lights off-set to the art work, pointing at it at 45 degrees. To some extent, the further they are away from the art work the more inverse square law is going work in your favour. So with this in mind depending on how big your studio space the more powerful the flash units the better. Another factor is the size of the artwork. If the art work is massive then you'll need more powerful lights and studio space. Our diagram here works fine up to A0 size with he lights between 10-15 feet from the subject.
The reason the lights are positioned at 45 degrees is that the light then reflects off of the shiny surface at the angle of incidence meaning none of the studio light is reflected back into the lens.
Position the lights so that they are central to the position of the artwork, e.g. not pointing down or upwards, but pointing at the art-work centrally.
3. The camera D should be used at F11 (Optimum lens performance). Your shutter speed should be 1/125 unless of course you're shooting film and you're using a camera with a slow sync speed (Our Pentax K1000's must be set at 1/60th of a second). Digital cameras set manual, consider using manual focus as auto focus may not work as there may be nothing to focus on? White balance "Flash". ISO as low as you can go to optimise quality.
4. It may be the case that the light spilling out around the room, despite the use of spill kills on the lights may reflect back and pick up yours and the background reflection if either are predominantly light in colour. Similarly if the tripod is reflective this may be an issue too. If you're working in such an environment a big black sheet/fabric will offer a solution to this problem.
5. Turn off one of the lights (c) and take a reading in the centre of the image with light (b). adjust the power settings so that the reading is exactly f8.
6. Take readings from the sides of the image checking to see if the inverse square law affect is problematic. If the readings are within tolerance 1/3 of a stop, you're probably okay.
7. Turn off light (b) and repeat the process with light (c).
8. Turn on both lights and the combined reading should be doubled up to F11.
9. Check the readings all over the image area and see if they are within tolerance for your light readings. Try and keep the readings all within 3/10th of a stop tolerance. If you have problems move the light further to maximise the inverse square law benefits.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Yelena Yemchuk ID Magazine The Location Issue - Turn on the Bright lights

Yelena Yemchuk ID Magazine "Turn on the bright lights".

I cut these images below out of an ID magazine years ago (May have been 2005)? and have used them in my photography lessons as inspiration for my students, as I'm based in Southend-on-Sea and we have a bit of a Coney Island thing going on here (Adventure Island) amusement park and all...

I contacted Yelena in Feb 2016 and asked for her permission to use the images on my blog, so as far as I'm aware here they are for the first time on-line with permission from Yelena.

Photographers Yelena Yemchuk - ID Magazine - Location Issue "Turn on the bright lights" a fashion shoot at Coney Island styled by Soraya Dayani. In Yelena's reply to me she said...
"It was a very personal project and a fun one, a rarity these days in fashion magazines".

One of the reason's I love this set of images so much is that fun aspect, there's a real sense of connectivity with the models, it doesn't look like a fashion shoot, it looks like a set of images shot by a friend on the way back from a party early in the morning as the sun rises, laughing and joking - still drunk and heady from the night before. I also love the 1960's styling - the make-up, hair, skirts, shoes and tops, all brought together with the use of black and white film on what looks like 35mm.

Photography - Yelena Yemchuk  for ID Magazine

2017 Update. I contacted Yelena again as the current students are shooting a location assignment and I've directed them to research and analyse Yelena's work, suggesting they look primarily at the set below. I asked Yelena about the materials, techniques and processes and she very kindly replied...
Hi Dave,
How are you - Sure no problem.
I shot that on a Nikon fm3. I always shoot trix 400 when I shoot black and white, No fill or reflectors or lights were used. I think that series was influenced by Antonioni and Monica Vitti 
At that time I believe I was really influenced by cinema as I still am, but particularly at the time by cinema from the 1960's in Europe. Please let me know if I can answer any more questions. 
Thank you.



The reason I use these images in my lessons is that the images are an example of how simple a fashion shoot can be and yet be really evocative of a moment. The images are especially useful with regards to the narrative based unit. I you research Yelena you can find interviews with her where she explains her work process. She explains that she creates characters and then expects the models to act out a role of the character... story telling and using narrative.

Right in our back yard we have virtually the same backdrop - Southend on Sea seafront - the potential is massive... Use it and draw influence from Yelena's work.

Thanks to Yelena Yemchuk for allowing the use of the images.