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Welcome to my blog. You will find photography tips, tutorials and reviews here at jenniferemery.photo/blog. Always with a positive theme to encourage your photographic journey. Please subscribe to keep up with all the current posts.

All the Best! Jennifer

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Honey-Honey_Photography Happy Hour Ep 1

October 10, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Honey-Honey 

The Photography Happy Hour - Episode 1

One Light Headshots w/ the Honey Badger 

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If you tuned in recently to Episode One of the Photography Happy Hour, this is a follow-up on how to achieve headshot lighting using just one light.

Be sure to subscribe: to the Photography Happy Hour and my blog for updates and new videos.

Here's a quick instructional on how to use the Honey Badger Strobe by Interfit Photographic.

BTW The Honey Badger Strobe list price is an amazingly low $299. and includes a 24" pop-up soft-box. Use my discount code for an additional 10% off. EMERY10 

Here's the shot

This was achieved using one light, above head-level of the model, with a large Octobox modifier, and a silver reflector about waist level. The reflector is place close to the body of the subject to reflect some of the light from the strobe back up into the face. The reflector also creates a nice dewy catch-light in the bottom of her eye.

IMG_9330_TUGloria Perez 1-light headshot w/ refecter IMG_9318_tuIMG_9318_tu lighting diagram_glorialighting diagram_gloria

 


Here is how it looks side-by-side with and without the reflector. The 2nd photo, without the reflector, shows there is much more shadow under the chin. Neither is right or wrong, it's simply preference. For headshots for actors or business professionals, I like the bounce of the reflector, because it is more flattering to most subjects and creates a more inviting look. Notice that creases in the face are more filled in with the reflector - it's an all around softer look.

IMG_9330_TUIMG_9330_TU IMG_9316tu_noRelectIMG_9316tu_noRelect


Here's one more we did for our promo.

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Here's a little more info about all the equipment used and where to get it - click on the link to see more

 

 

 

 


The Honey Badger specs:  version2_med

  • 320w per second flash
  • 8 Groups (that means you can have up to 8 heads set on different power outputs)
  • 15 channels
  • 7-stops (320ws-5w's) with 10 stop increments
  • Sync capablity at 1/250th sec
  • 1 second recycle time
  • Bowens® s-type-mount for all your favorite modifiers
  • And the pièce de résistance- a modeling lamp with a dimmable 5600k bulb that is a powerful 60W LED. (yes folks, that means you can also use this unit as a continuous light and shoot some video.... although it is probably best used for video without sound because of the audible fan in the head)

 

Interfit Color with Slogan copyInterfit Color with Slogan copy  ​​​​​Get 10% off Interfit products now by using code "EMERY10"

enter code at check out


More great photo discounts from my favorite photography companies:

Lighting Gear:            10% off Interfit Photographic: click here and use code "EMERY 10"

Rental Equipment:     Barrow Lenses: 10% off go to this link: click here 

Business software:       Honeybook 50% off go to: click here 


Want to learn more about lighting?!

Buy one of my two books on Lighting on Amazon!

cover2cover2   Emery_Jennifer_FCEmery_Jennifer_FC


HoneyBadger Part 1

September 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

The Honey Badger Part 1

strobe-integration-820strobe-integration-820 I recently got my hands on Interfit Photographic's newest product, The Honey Badger Strobe. List price an amazingly low $299. Not only that, included in the box with this 320w per second compact flash head, is a 24" pop-up soft-box, power cable, and sync cord. Seriously, what a deal.

This was also my first shoot with my new Canon 5D Mark IV. Check out my upcoming Photography Happy Hour video tutorials, where we use the Mark IV to shoot motion, and Intefit's LEDGO's for video lights.


Subscribe

The Photography Happy Hour

Coming soon!

version2_med


My first shoot with the Honey Badger was a "Labor" of love. A Cake Smash Session for my nephew's first birthday that falls on, you guessed it, LABOR DAY!

Meet Silas-The-Destroyer, as his folks like to call him. Honestly he liked the balls more then the cake!

8Y2A01108Y2A0110 I set this up in my living room, complete with a BackdropOutlet background and flooring, cake, balls, and a balloon I found at the local grocery store.

IMG_3711IMG_3711 The specs:

  • 2- Interfit Honey Badger flash heads.
  • Interfit Foldable Octobox as Key-light, on Camera right
  • Interfit Foldable Beauty Dish, slightly lower to the ground, a couple of stops lower for fill, on Camera Left
  • I turned the modeling lamps all the way up, and this greatly helped focus on the little bugger as he moved and grooved all over the place.

(Mom & dad, plus my husband/assistant, 8Y2A00668Y2A0066 flanked the set to keep baby safe and in frame.) 

Radio slave: The Interfit S1 TTL Remote slave works with the Honey Badger units too, so I used that with no issues.

Use my discount code "EMERY10" on all these Interfit products for 10% off !!!!!!

 

 

 


We got some great shots in the 10 minutes we had till the cake was destroyed and the baby was on to other adventures.

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8Y2A01108Y2A0110 8Y2A01218Y2A0121


The Honey Badger specs:  version2_med

  • 320w per second flash
  • 8 Groups (that means you can have up to 8 heads set on different power outputs)
  • 15 channels
  • 7-stops (320ws-5w's) with 10 stop increments
  • Sync capablity at 1/250th sec
  • 1 second recycle time
  • Bowens® s-type-mount for all your favorite modifiers
  • And the pièce de résistance- a modeling lamp with a dimmable 5600k bulb that is a powerful 60W LED. (yes folks, that means you can also use this unit as a continuous light and shoot some video.... although it is probably best used for video without sound because of the audible fan in the head)

All and all,

I have to say the Honey Badger is a winner. It's compact, versatile, strong enough for most shoots at 320w's, and has an unbeatable price point.... not to mention the free soft-box and unbelievably strong modeling /continuous light feature. It's a great starter light for photographers and a great addition to any gear list. And it's cute too!


Interfit Color with Slogan copyInterfit Color with Slogan copy  ​​​​​Get 10% off Interfit products now by using code "EMERY10"

enter code at check out


More great photo discounts from my favorite photography companies:

Lighting Gear:            10% off Interfit Photographic: click here and use code "EMERY 10"

Rental Equipment:     Barrow Lenses: 10% off go to this link: click here 

Business software:       Honeybook 50% off go to: click here 


Smash The Cake Featuring The Honey Badger

September 04, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

SMASH THE CAKE

Why do photo sessions cost what they do? 

An article for the photography client & photographer's guidance

Staring nephew SY THE DESTROYER

and lots of balls... because Sy really likes balls....  

8Y2A01068Y2A0106

It all starts with an email from my sister requesting a Smash The Cake Photo Session for my nephew's 1st birthday. And it ends with me hosing off the backdrop flooring in the backyard. 

Not that I mind, my husband even had fun helping out. But we were exhausted and everyone went home and had about an hour nap, including my husband.

You can see more on how I shot these photos with the Interfit Honey Badger Strobes HERE

I'm writing this article to talk about what you, the client, should spend on a portrait session, because we photographers often get the question; Why does it cost so much? Or, can you do it for less?  There seems to be a disconnect between the photographer and the client about what is involved in producing a portrait shoot. And since I, we, and everyone, were so exhausted after this Cake Smash, I thought it was a great illustration of the cost, skill, and effort that goes into producing any kind of portrait shoot.


Get 10% off Interfit products now by using code "EMERY10"

enter code at check out

Interfit Color with Slogan copyInterfit Color with Slogan copy


Behind the scenes:

Studio Rental/office space

My living room turned into a studio: Lets start with the cost a photographer spends on a rental studio or the time involved in setting-up and cleaning-up a home studio. And lets add in the cost of an assistant.

IMG_3711IMG_3711

 

Here is my husband, standing in as cake wrangler.

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Time:

The question: Why does it cost so much?... all it took was an hour to shoot it?

Studio set-up: It took me about half-a-day to make the space baby safe and clean the day before. Then on shoot day, another 2 hours to set-up the backdrop and lights and do some tests shots. After the shoot - Another hour to breakdown, and 1.5 hours to clean cake from everywhere.... and everything.

That would be: 8.5 hours: just for prep and breakdown 

If this were a regular client I would have had additional pre-production time of about 1 full day/8 hours.

Pre-Production consists of:

Communication and Planning: Multiple emails, phone calls and communication with the client on scheduling and particulars of the shoot. (eg: What kind/size cake should I get? What clothing/ colors are best for the baby? Should we bring the baby dressed or dress him there? What time is nap time and best time to shoot?....) There is never just one email, or one conversation, this goes on for days.

Paperwork: writing contract and invoice... everyone is a little different. Photographers! Check out the timesaving bookkeeping software I use by Honeybook, at the end of this article.

That's about 8 hours: Pre-production 

Post Production: Editing - 4 hours. Orders and print making - 2 hours. Post production, client communication and billing - 2 hours.

That's about 8 more hours: Post Production

Shoot time: 1 hour + 1 hour hang-out time with client before or after shoot.

That's 2 hours: Shot Time


It started like this:

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And it ended like this:

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Skill:

The skill it takes to be able to photograph a baby, or really any person before they meltdown, means training, education and years, and years of practice and honing a craft. Once we started shooting, this was done in about 10 minutes. Babies don't sit still and cakes smash very quickly. An unskilled amateur is not going to get this shot with lighting, a set, and everything that goes into a shoot like this... let alone get it in focus and the exposure correct. Yes I'm tooting my own horn, but really I'm tooting all pro photographer horns. Props to you photogs out there who do baby portraits on a regular basis, they are exhausting!

This takes training and money. What did your education cost you? I wont put a dollar point on this, but I think you get my point.

Equipment

This is the part that I really think is lost in translation with clients. A professional photographer has upwards of 20K in equipment, and that is on the low end. Not only that, we have to replace and update a good chunk of it every 3 to 5 years because of technology updates. Yes EVERY 3 TO 5 YEARS we buy new cameras and computers and more.  Although we can make a good investment in lighting and lens, and not replace them, on average, we replace the following items every 3 to 5 years because of extinction and shelf life. This is the digital age, gone are the days of having a film camera and never having to buy a new one. Gone are the days of a computer that last more then 5 years. Gone are the days of software that does not need upgrading.

Think of these expenses every 3 to 5 years:

Average prices

Camera - $4000.00

Computer: $3500.00

Software: $1200.00

And this does not take into account the investment of all the pro lenses that average $1200 and up each, lighting packages at $4000- $10,000. Backdrops, props, rental on business space or studios, website hosting, advertising, insurance, and other costs of doing business.

Lets put a per-shoot cost on this in terms of what it would cost to rent all this. On the low-end a DSLR camera/lens package and lighting package would be $400 to RENT. Yes $400 just to rent lighting and camera package, and on average a photographer will only charge the client $350-$500 for the session... now our eyes are opening.... this is why we must own our own equipment if we do small portraits shoot, renting is too expensive. The rub is, if a photographer does a high-end commercial shoot, they can afford the rent everything, and usually do.

Price

The average price for a portrait session these days is $350-$600. Here's the problem, photographers where charging this same average price in 1999. With inflation, cost of living increases, and the cost of doing business being much higher, this is incredibly low and should be doubled. 

Here's the breakdown:

On our time breakdown above, we averaged 24 hours in pre and post production. And 2 hours of shoot time. 

Total: 26 hours for 1 photo session!

Running the numbers: 

Average prices: $350 • $500 • $600

Price $350 / 26 hours = That means your photographer is making an average of $13.46 an hour

Price: $500 / 26 hours = $19.23 an hour

Price: $600/ 26 hours = $23.07 an hour

Here's the question. Do you think any professional running their own business should only make $13.46 an hour? 

California's minimum wage will be $15 an hour soon, so that is not even minimum wage. Not to mention I did not average in the cost of doing business like the camera equipment, rental studio or insurance and things like that, so honestly these wages are even lower.

Conclusion

To the client: The next time you wonder why a photo session cost what it does, think about the value of what your photographer gives you in time and product. Think about what your time is worth in your line of work, then pay the bill with confidence that it is really worth it! Photos are memories that last forever and it's worth every penny. 

To the Photographer: RAISE YOUR PRICES. Charge appropriately. Value yourself, your skill, and your product. You are worth it! Otherwise you are bleeding money. Take an inventory of your equipment, and time you spend on pre and post production, then figure out how much you think you should be paid an hour. Depending on your skill level this may be more or less. Depending on the cost of living where you live, this may be more or less. But if you are a professional, and in the business for more then 5 years, you should not be making less then $25 to $50 an hour, period. This means you tally all your hours to produce the shoot, all 26, not just the one hour shoot.


One last note for the Photographer on billing

Get your billing process in order! Want to know how I balance my paperwork of contracts and invoicing, and cut some of this crazy time-involved client dealings? I use HoneyBook - hey more "Honey". And yes, I bought this software, I was not given it for free and now advertising it. I have been using this online platform software for about 2 years, and it has cut the time it takes me to write a contract and invoicing by about 75% less! And it's made specifically for creatives, particularly geared toward event professionals like wedding photographers, event planners and the like. It is equally efficient for my more "commercial photography" world of massive paperwork. And clients can sign your contract and pay all in the same place with a click of a button. The nice people at Honeybook are offering my readers 50% off this fantastic creative's bookkeeping software. Link here to get your discount: Honeybook 50% off: click here 


Coming Soon!

The Photography Happy Hour

Because after a long day of photography, who doesn't need a good stiff drink.

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More great photo discounts from my favorite photography companies:

Lighting Gear:            10% off Interfit Photographic: click here and use code "EMERY 10"

Rental Equipment:     Barrow Lenses: 10% off go to this link: click here 

Business software:       Honeybook 50% off go to: click here 


The Honey Badger_ Part I

September 03, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

The Honey Badger Part I

Coming Soon

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Daily Blast Live- The Headshot

August 17, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Daily Blast Live Promo Shoot 

The Headshot

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 3.53.24 AMScreen Shot 2017-07-23 at 3.53.24 AM

Here is blog post #2 on the TEGNA, Inc Daily Blast Live  Production Stills. Today's entry will cover the cast headshots. Above is how the final versions are used on the website.

DailyBlastLive.com

Lets start with the setup.

Learning to do a good studio headshot is essential for Commercial Portrait Photography.

This is the lighting diagram I gave to my assistants for the headshot setup. As usual I'm using my trusty Interfit 500W monolight strobes and modifiers.

daily blast lighting diagramdaily blast lighting diagram


Get 10% off Interfit products now by using code "EMERY10"

enter code at check out


Image setting and gear:

Canon 70-200mm L series at 135mm

ISO 100

1/125

f/5.6

Why these settings?  I wanted a sharp image, so ISO 100 creates less grain/pixelation, and f/5.6 gives a nice shallow DOF, but not so shallow that anything on the face is out of focus. The shutter I wanted fast to avoid camera shake when hand holding a large heavy lens.


Lighting Equipment

Interfit S1 Strobes and modifiers at work: 4 strobes: If you take a look at the lighting diagram above, you can see the layout for each modifier. A large Octabox for the key-light, a smaller beauty dish below for fill, and backlight with a grid for a little hair-light and separation from the background, and a background light to light the cyc.

Erica Cobb's headshot = @EricaCobbMedia

Erica-037Erica-037

 

Here is BTS of what that lighting set-up looks like.

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Here are the final versions of each headshot.

Al Jackson, Jeff Schroeder, Jen WiderstormTracey Gold, Ebony Steel,  Sam Schacher,  Tory Shulman, Erica Cobb

Al-098Al-098 Jeff-047Jeff-047 Jen-274Jen-274 Tracy-402Tracy-402 Ebony-169Ebony-169 Sam-337_cropSam-337_crop Tory_4006_cropTory_4006_crop Erica-037Erica-037


We also did some full length photos of each cast member and I simply pulled the bottom fill light down and back to the side so it was not in the shot. I then pumped up the light to give more output to evenly light the body. Here are a couple of samples. 

Jeff-013Jeff-013Daily Blast Live_2017Stills_©Jennifer Emery Jen-295Jen-295Daily Blast Live_2017Stills_©Jennifer Emery


Lighting different skin tones

I'm often asked by clients if I can light different skin tones properly, especially if they are in the same photo together, as in our group shot in the previous blogpost here. And photographers just starting out tend to be daunted by this. This has never been an issue for me, and it is always a pet peeve of mine when I see people lit improperly, especially people of color in Film and TV. You simply light your darker subjects more and your lighter subjects less. Yes I know, easier said then done. But really if you are paying attention, when a darker skinned person steps on to your set, you open up your settings to let in more light, and visa versa for a lighter skinned person. With groups, you may want to have your lighter people back from your light source more, and/or put a directional light on your darker subjects to make sure all are evenly lit. The rule of thumb is not to over expose in digital photography, so we need to error on the side of a little under exposed. Just make sure no highlights are so overexposed that the data is missing from your image.

I hope you enjoyed this bog post. Be sure to subscribe and follow my social media links listed on this page. :)


More great photo discounts from my favorite photography companies:

Lighting Gear:            10% off Interfit Photographic: click here and use code "EMERY 10"

Rental Equipment:     Barrow Lenses: 10% off go to this link: click here 

Business software:       Honeybook 50% off go to: click here