Kern-Photo http://www.kern-photo.com Minneapolis Wedding Photographer Sun, 26 Jun 2016 17:17:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.3 Larchmont Yacht Club Wedding {Sara & Cosmin} http://www.kern-photo.com/2016/06/larchmont-yacht-club-wedding-sara-cosmin/ http://www.kern-photo.com/2016/06/larchmont-yacht-club-wedding-sara-cosmin/#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2016 00:42:12 +0000 http://www.kern-photo.com/?p=19036 Ahhh, a wedding at Larchmont Yacht Club makes for warm memories in my heart. Which is why I am always excited to return! What I love about Sara: She works in fashion, Dresses her cat MiuMiu for Halloween, chronicles #themiuproject adventures, loves Romanian food, and is particularly excited about her 16” x 20” wedding album. […]

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Ahhh, a wedding at Larchmont Yacht Club makes for warm memories in my heart. Which is why I am always excited to return!

What I love about Sara: She works in fashion, Dresses her cat MiuMiu for Halloween, chronicles #themiuproject adventures, loves Romanian food, and is particularly excited about her 16” x 20” wedding album.

What I love about Cosmin: he rides a silver Vespa, flies on a trapeze, grew up in Romania, and wedding cake really excites him. During the rehearsal dinner, while introducing me to his friends, he commented on how much he enjoyed my images from a Burning Man wedding. And to relax before the big day, he went sailing with his guys (and brought us along, too). Bonus!

Sara looked stunning in her gorgeous Reem Acra gown & Cosmin was looked equally sharp in his classic black bow tie. “Anthropology meets Downton Abbey” served up inspiration paired with the backdrop at Larchmont Yacht Club, NY. We explored the tennis court where they met (I love sentimental places like that!) and topped off the evening with a sparkler sendoff. I’m really in love with their set of images and can’t wait to share the final album!

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Sara & Cosmin, thank you for inviting me as part of your wedding day! I hope you enjoy your honeymoon together, perhaps Cosmin let her win a game or two of tennis 🙂

VIEW SLIDESHOW HERE

Special thanks to my friend, Matt Steaffens, for serving as a second photographer at this wedding!

Ceremony : Larchmont Avenue Church
Reception : Larchmont Yacht Club
Coordination : John Wall
Florals : Stephanie Piccone
Hair & Make-up : Beauty by Daniela and Jackie K Styles

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Makena Beach Maui Wedding Album http://www.kern-photo.com/2016/06/makena-beach-maui-wedding-album/ http://www.kern-photo.com/2016/06/makena-beach-maui-wedding-album/#respond Mon, 13 Jun 2016 19:18:02 +0000 http://www.kern-photo.com/?p=18997 Sam and Ben renewed their vows in Maui in April and their album is done! I designed this hand-crafted book just for them, complete with metallic paper, a leather cover and matching slipcase to showcase to their story book experience. It’s a one-of-a-kind, stunning in person, something you just have to experience first hand. The […]

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Sam and Ben renewed their vows in Maui in April and their album is done! I designed this hand-crafted book just for them, complete with metallic paper, a leather cover and matching slipcase to showcase to their story book experience. It’s a one-of-a-kind, stunning in person, something you just have to experience first hand. The cappuccino leather cover complimented their wedding colors, reminiscent of my linen suit I wore at our wedding in Hawaii. My wife commented while I was photographing their album that if we had our wedding in Minneapolis, our florals would blend similar colors with peonies, white hydrangeas, and fresh greens. Ah, spring!

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If you loved this completed album, check out these, too!

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Really Important Lighting Stuff pt 3. http://www.kern-photo.com/2016/05/really-important-lighting-stuff-pt-3/ http://www.kern-photo.com/2016/05/really-important-lighting-stuff-pt-3/#respond Tue, 31 May 2016 13:33:37 +0000 http://www.kern-photo.com/?p=18971 I’m wrapping up my 3-part blog series illustrating highlights from Felix Kunze’s workshop in LA. If you are just joining us, click below to catch up on the series! Really Important Lighting Stuff pt 1. Really Important Lighting Stuff pt 2. Photographers, before we delve in, I suggest reviewing my 11 tips of how to […]

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I’m wrapping up my 3-part blog series illustrating highlights from Felix Kunze’s workshop in LA. If you are just joining us, click below to catch up on the series!

Really Important Lighting Stuff pt 1.
Really Important Lighting Stuff pt 2.

Photographers, before we delve in, I suggest reviewing my 11 tips of how to get the most of a professional photography shooting workshop. These topics run through my mind before I plunk down change for a workshop. It is wise to think critical before investing in your photo education.

Preface: Erwin Olaf Lighting Secrets

A buddy of mine attended a lecture by Erwin Olaf at RIT. Erwin is one of those rare photographers successful in balancing a commercial and fine-art career well. In the audience, someone asked him how he lit his images. Most academics would think question would be taboo in those kind of lectures, because the photographers generally wanted to talk about their craft or thinking, not their gear. Olaf laughed when he heard the audience groan. A professor stood up and was like “Well, uh, we don’t usually ask…”

After Erwin Olaf finished laughing he said, “I usually light everything overhead as a key, then take a nine-foot octabank behind me at the camera to fill in the shadows to what I like. There, I told you, but good look making my images your own!”

This is really great to hear, as it drove home the great point that it wasn’t just his lighting, but the concept, the styling, the color palette, his sets, etc that made his art. He didn’t make the students feel like idiots asking a question. After all, they were there to learn. Olaf was a student once upon a time, too, and understood the importance of answering the question, but more importantly, reminding them there is no secret magic button.

Felix was no different. He answered questions to the core, while emphasizing theory over f-stops and numbers. The workshop was far beyond the basics, which was exactly what I was after.

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Phaseone 645 XF with IQ 260 digital back, 80mm at f /5.6 for 1/200 sec, ISO 100.

Here’s the thing about this workshop: yeah, we learn a ton. But it is often the experience in itself yields rewards. Getting out of the sphere of influence, learning new things, meeting talented photographers and so on.
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Phaseone 645 XF with IQ 260 digital back, 80mm at f /5.6 for 1/200 sec, ISO 50.

Five Things I learned from Felix Kunze

Without going into great detail (not giving that away for free), I’d like to share five things I learned from Felix:

1. Creating light in a studio is that looks “natural” isn’t easy. “Messy” light can turn an otherwise textbook perfect lighting setup into something more interesting, more “natural / realistic.” Scrims, V-flats, large soft-modifiers are among the tools that many photographers use. Using them indirectly (bouncing light off them lighting yields) can create new solutions to lighting challenges flattering for all.
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2. Pose with a leg up. If you look at many of the Greek statues in museums, the subject often has a shifted weight to one hip. A small apple box can go a long way to create natural posings that don’t look as “stiff.”

3. Creativity = solutions to problems. Never thought the side panel of the Photek Softlighter was useful for much… but it helps to create beautiful soft wrap. Need proof? If you are shooting with an assistant, study the light on their face from holding the light. It often rewards with a new understanding of the effect of the strobe with this unique diffuser.

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4. Stay consistently cool. Not only watching Felix remain cool under pressure, but he also smart enough to measure the cool light temperature for his strobes as well. For example, not all diffusers reflect light in the same way, some are warmer. Some are cooler, some reflect warmer light at a given 5500K light output. For example, to match the same light with two modifiers, (the Phototek vs the Elincrhom Octa), he will often use a 1/4 CTB on the Elinchrom to match. Details, details are important at this level.

5. “Point light in front of the model.” Forehead slap! Don’t know why it took me this long to figure out that is the optimal direction to feather soft light. Trying to describe how to feather the light in just the correct manner to my assistant has always been a challenge as a primary shooter. Now I feel I have a brand new words: IN FRONT, that way the softest part of the light is feathered on the subject in a painterly fashion.
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Phaseone 645 XF with IQ 260 digital back, 80mm at f /3.5 for 1/200 sec, ISO 200.

As with any review, I don’t give loads of praise without giving good constructive criticism.

PROS

Focus on lighting philosophy
Great food!!!
Talented staff / model / team to work with
Well organized, on-time
Inspiring downtown LA studio space
Questions answered throughly
Small class size (6)
After hours hangout was a highlight for me
Post production topics covered, too

CONS

Limited time to “test” knowledge learned in the workshop

My one suggestion would be sure to “test” student knowledge during application in a new scenario. I feel this would iron out any knowledge creases. Lapses in critical thinking can happen while excited about the overall learning experience. Then when needed to apply in a different situation on a different day, knowledge can slip away, reverting to old standby approaches.

In sum, advanced lighting photographers in search of new lighting approaches, I would highly recommend attending a workshop taught by Felix!!! A big special thank you for all the staff and team that helped make this workshop experience happen!

CREDITS

Model: @avalonleigh
Styling: @ericahoward
Hair/MUA: @ginaribisi
1st asst: @mrmorichards
PA: @meraiphoto

Extra Credit

These days I find myself changing lots of diapers. In fact, blogging this series, I’ve managed to plug in a pacifier into a three month old about 150 times. The bonus is I am able to practice a few new lighting skills on a cute subject:
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Phaseone 645 XF with IQ 260 digital back, 80mm at f /6.3 for 1/125 sec, ISO 50.

Looks almost daylight, but not. Subtle fill from above helps to fill in shadows the way our eyes would naturally see them if light was above (note the catchlights):
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Really Important Lighting Stuff pt 2. http://www.kern-photo.com/2016/05/really-import-lighting-stuff-pt-2/ http://www.kern-photo.com/2016/05/really-import-lighting-stuff-pt-2/#comments Wed, 25 May 2016 20:30:48 +0000 http://www.kern-photo.com/?p=18953 I’m continuing my series on attending Felix Kunze’s workshop focused on studio lighting. If you are just joining us, click below to catch up on the series: Really Important Lighting Stuff pt 1. It’s often the light you don’t see that matters. You might want to ready that again: It’s often the light you don’t […]

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felix-kunze-studio-lighting-workhop_rj_kern_header-2016-05-25-15-30.jpgI’m continuing my series on attending Felix Kunze’s workshop focused on studio lighting. If you are just joining us, click below to catch up on the series:

Really Important Lighting Stuff pt 1.

It’s often the light you don’t see that matters.

You might want to ready that again: It’s often the light you don’t see that matters.

This was my big lesson for this workshop… a topic I will explore in this blog post.

Painterly Fill Light 101

When I first started out learning studio lighting, I studied blogs, books, magazines. I looked at what I thought what mattered most: the key light, which mainly lit the subject in a way the defines shapes and shadows.

However, after studying old paintings in fancy museums, subtle shadow details revealed what my camera couldn’t. There was something missing and I didn’t know how to put my finger on it. Painters, I guess, have it easier. With a brush, they can create all the shadow detail they want, in the proper contrast and tonality they wish. Lucky bastards.

I knew there had to be some sort of special sauce, a golden ratio that made all the difference.

World-class chefs often spend a decade learning the basics, only to find out the “secrets” are often in one thing: fresh ingredients. Not some special tool. Or unique technique.

Dan Winters and David Hobby inspired me to being exploring on-axis fill years ago. That got me close. A new palette of lighting options, yes.

Learning from these talented photographers didn’t define my style.

It informed it.

Working with Felix taught me this (my bridal clients will love this!):
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Phaseone 645 XF with IQ 260 digital back, 80mm at f /4.5 for 1/200 sec, ISO 100.

A Dash of Salt

My favorite Maldon Sea salt is used by world-class chefs as a way to naturally enhance flavors of food without bitterness. I found out about it reading The 4-Hour Chef in which Tim Ferriss creates a simple path to cooking like a pro.

A little salt goes a long way. Too much, you stand ruining the dish.

What does studio lighting and cooking have in common you might ask?

Turns out, a ton.

The mark of a signature dish is no different than a creating a unique photography style. No one wants to become a copycat. No one. You take a recipe and make it your own. Like this:

You see an image you like. You learn how it was created. You copy it, well. Then you go and make your own. Share. Reflect on what works, what doesn’t. Repeat.

This has always shaped my progression on developing a photographic style. All artists are influenced by others. We don’t live in a vacuum; It would just be too hard to breathe.

Attending Felix’s workshop offered me an opportunity to learn how he makes his images. While on-axis fill was a term new to Felix, he knew the approach like the back of the hand. Bath the subject is soft, beautiful light to establish the minimum amount of shadow detail. Then build the key light around that.

Presto!

Felix’s New Lighting Book (rumor)

Much like Gregory Heisler, Kunze is a photographer’s photographer. Which means if he was to write a book about this workshop, perhaps it would be called:

“Light that Isn’t There: How to Hide Your Key with Your Fill Light.”

I’d buy it.

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Phaseone 645 XF with IQ 260 digital back, 55mm at f /5.6 for 1/160 sec, ISO 200. Note the native ISO of the IQ 260 is 50, two stops under ISO 200, however to keep things simple when sharing with other attendees we standardized the numbers and kept flash power down and recycle rate up.

A (Light) Lunch Break

Without going too technical, the key for learning for me has always been to experience, explore, and have fun. Workshops really help open the schedule book for that opportunity. And of course paying $1,000 forces me to take notes. Good notes.

On a lunch, my mind wandered on how I could soften the Broncolor Para 88 with a large scrim and study the light fall off.

My takeaway: the bigger the light source, the bigger the wrap!
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Phaseone 645 XF with IQ 260 digital back, 55mm at f /8 for 1/160 sec, ISO 50.

Because any good studio lighting blog post is made better with a behind-the-scenes glimpse, here is mine from the setup above:
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Want to know a few more Felix Knuze-isms?

Click HERE to read the final installment part 3!

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Really Important Lighting Stuff pt 1. http://www.kern-photo.com/2016/05/really-import-lighting-stuff-pt-1/ http://www.kern-photo.com/2016/05/really-import-lighting-stuff-pt-1/#comments Mon, 23 May 2016 03:17:29 +0000 http://www.kern-photo.com/?p=18939 “Approach each new person you meet in a spirit of adventure.” — Eleanor Roosevelt To be more productive, do a little less. I write this in my journal as one of the highlights attending the first studio lighting workshop by Felix Kunze, noting that the above four images were created for the same model with a […]

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“Approach each new person you meet in a spirit of adventure.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

To be more productive, do a little less.

I write this in my journal as one of the highlights attending the first studio lighting workshop by Felix Kunze, noting that the above four images were created for the same model with a rather simple, yet dramatic setup. Stay tuned for the how, why, nuts and bolts.

My wedding clients know my panche for “Vanity Fair editorial style” portraits (secrets shared here). Turns out Felix Kunze (pictured center) is a talented photographer in genre with knowledge to share. My first assist, Matt Steaffens (pictured right), supported the knowledge quest:
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Felix Kunze Lighting Workshop Review

The one day workshop was an amazing “lightbulb experience” which reaffirmed the basics we’ve known. For those who have years of trying, yet search for a little secret sauce which remains a mystery yet adds depth to an image, this workshop is for you!

Felix challenged us to think critical of the basics, yet remain sensitive to the importance of a soft fill light while controlling the main light in a “messy” manner.

Here is a glimpse of one of my final image post-processed cropped (Shot on PhaseOne XF with IQ 260 medium format digital back, 55mm lens).
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Want to go deeper?

Click HERE to read Part 2 in which I share a few of the highlights from my workshop experience along with more high res images!

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