My new studio: uClick Studios

I have been looking for some studio space for a while now. I have had some projects that I wanted to shoot on white seamless, and my living room wasn’t going to cut it. I first looked around my neighborhood, because I wanted something that was in walking/biking distance. That wasn’t working out well. The places I found were small, and yet still seemed expensive.

I looked at possibly getting space with someone else in an established studio building in north east Minneapolis, but the distance to get there, combined with the price, I just wasn’t sold.

Then I came upon uClick Studios. Unfortunately, this is not close to my house either, but it is close to my current consulting job in Chanhassan, and allows me to rent by the hour instead of by the month.

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The studio is run by Tracy Rust, and is just getting going, but she has great enthusiasm, and a ton of great ideas. The studio is available by the hour. I have used it a week ago to do some yoga pictures, and have it again this next week.

The picture above was taken at uClick, and the setup I used in the studio is the picture at the top of the post. I was using white seamless, but she also has several other backgrounds available. There are two shooting bays, and one has windows for using natural light. They will soon have a covering system if you don’t want that light. The space is not huge, but is quite workable for a two light setup with a small number of subjects.

The lighting is being finalized, and there should be a studio light available for the background as well now, or in the near future. The studio provides the lighting and radio trigger that you place on your camera. No need to bring anything other than your camera if you so choose.

Tracy is also working on getting different props and chairs and seasonal props for the studio. These are all things that are difficult to keep and store on your own, so they will be welcomed.

If you are interested in renting space at a great rate, contact Tracy at uClick and check out this new photography studio for rent.

Yoga Pose Pictures Taken in new Studio

I have had a project in the back of my head for awhile now. The idea was to take pictures of people doing yoga poses in a studio environment. Why yoga? Well, I know several people that do yoga, and it seemed different enough from the standard studio type shots, that if would be both interesting to shoot, and hopefully interesting to potential clients.

The first issue I had was to find a studio. That was harder than I thought. My area of Minneapolis is more conducive to high mortgages than to low rent studio space. I then found uClick, a studio that you can rent space from. I will blog more about this place soon, but suffice to say, I now have a place to shoot studio pictures.

Second was to find willing subjects. I asked a few of my friends that do yoga to help me out. First up is Steve. He has been doing yoga for a couple of years now, and has started a training program to be an instructor. A special thanks to Steve for being the first in line. I have been to yoga a few times with my wife, and just started to learn some of the poses. I by no means know a lot about yoga, but knowing something helps in the communication with your model, and knowing when they are in a pose, or transitioning, or how hard it is to hold.

So I mentioned earlier about potential clients. I am looking for individuals that would like their own yoga poses in pictures, as well as looking to approach studios. One possibility is to see if a studio would be interested in having me come into their studio to take pictures. That way I could take pictures of several people, and the cost per person could be lower. If you know of a studio that might be interested, let me know.

More Studio Shots

Ugh. It¬†took a week to get to my shots from last Wednessday’s studio shoot. Well, not quite true. On the weekend I did the collage of Alex and the poster of Whitney. Last night I got through the rest of the images. I had to get the images onto CD’s to give back to people today. Here are some of the images from that shoot.




There are more in my portrait flickr set.

So today is the last of these classes. They have been a lot of fun, and I have learned a lot. I need to keep this up. There are some more things that I would have liked to have looked at more. We didn’t play with lighting ratio’s much. I would have been nice to set the lights, take a picture, change the lights, take a picture, etc. I might need to just spring for my own set to be able to do that.

Whitney Jumping Poster

I was shooting at my studio class and noticed that some people were taking pictures of Whitney jumping. Whitney leads her cheer group, so she is a natural at this kind of thing. We weren’t really set up for this kind of shoot. We were doing head shots before.

Jumping as shot We had a gray muslin background, and the background light was too low and not configured correctly. I would have rathered it had a regular reflector pointing higher at the background. The background wasn’t really high enough either. To change the angle, I stood on a riser, and held my camera above my head. This way I wouldn’t have Whitney’s hands above the background.

We had to photogenics strobes in softboxes at 45deg to her that we had set up for portraits before. They still seemed to cover her well enough.

So I thought that I had a pretty good shot, but I wanted to so something with it. I didn’t like the background, and I needed a way to hide the light, so I decided to cut her out of the background.

This was harder than I thought. Well, actually just time consuming. The quick selection tool was horrible. It kept selecting parts of her. I then tried the magic wand. That was a little better, but there was still much to do. I then spent quite a bit of time with the other selection tools adding and subtracting from my selection.

Jumping on White Once I had her selected, I feathered the edge a few pixels, and then coppied her onto a blank layer. Another layer with a fill of white, and we were almost done.

When I looked at the edges of her legs, there was a bit of a grey line beside her jeans that didn’t look right. I replaced that grey with white. That looked much better.

Then I had an issue with her hair. I managed to “erase” some of her hair (actually did it with a mask) on the right side of her head. But, I am still not sure what to do about the grey that is still between her hair on the left side of her hair. I am sure that would show if printed.

Jumping Cheezy Poster So that wasn’t too bad, and was really what I had started out to do, but now that I had her seperated from the background, could I put her on a different background?

I looked through some older images and found one that was mostly clouds and sky. I then created another image with this sky, and added Whitney in as another layer. Because she was feathered when I cut her out, she placed pretty well on top.

Then, I expanded the canvas to give lots of space around the image. I added a drop shadow to the cloud layer and added the text at the bottom.

Voila. Cheezy poster.

70-200 at the Studio Lighting Class

I missed posting for a few days. It is time for the next studio class, and I am just getting to putting up some pictures from the last class!

I got the chance to use my Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 lens. That thing is very nice. I liked that I was able to stand back a bit and not be on top of the model. I had taken some pictures before with my 55-200, but these turned out sharper. I wish I could remember exactly what type of lighting we were doing with each of the models. Some of the lighting techniques woked better than others. I have some of the images turned into prints to bring to class tomorrow. The “models” in the photos are others from the class. The people that were supposed to sit in the chair didn’t show up.

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New studio lighting class tonight

TestI am psyched. Today is the second day of my studio lighting class. The class is going to be down at the instructor’s studio. He is bringing in live models, and we will be using his strobes. He has some radio triggers (pocket wizards I think) that he is planning to use. He will have the recievers set up on the lights, and just hand us the transmitter when it is our turn. I will have more about the evening later.

Studio Lighting Class

Alien Bees B400I just got back from my first studio lighting class. It wasn’t too bad. We just went over equipment, so we didn’t get into any real detail. Next class is when the fun starts and we get to set up lights and shoot pictures of a model.

The class is through continuing education, with this class at Jefferson High in Uptown. The instructor is Gil Dignen, and he seems to be a great guy. I have signed up for the intro and the advanced course that follows it, so I have 9 weeks total I think.

A cool thing about the class is that we are going to go to his studio for the next 3 classes (at least), and he will be bringing in a real model that he works with. This should be a lot of fun.