Portrait Photographer Colin Lenton Interview

ECR (Explore, Create and Repeat) is a site I was just introduced to recently and is a site worth checking out for some great photographers to inspire. They have some really insightful interviews with some great photographers, check out the site over at: http://4ormat.com/ecr.

I was reading the most recent interview they had with Portrait Photographer Colin Lenton and he has some really great tips that I think everyone here could benefit from. Here is just a quick excerpt from the interview and you can read the entire interview here:
Portrait Photographer Colin Lenton Interview

ECR: Much of your location photography has the appearance of being shot with available light; is this in fact the case, or do you achieve this natural look by artificial means?

Colin: We almost never shoot only available light on location. I’m glad that you think they are though, because I don’t want my lighting to be obvious. Normally we try very carefully to balance our light with the ambient light on location. We use the light to add shape and character to the images without being distracting.

A photo director that I interned under, Mark Pynes at the Harrisburg Patriot-News, told me once that the difference between a professional photographer using flash, and an amateur photographer, was that when the pro uses the flash, you can’t necessarily tell from just looking at the image.

He told me this because I was under the impression that all of my favorite photographers were never using flash, and he told me – correctly – that this wasn’t the case. He encouraged me to get my first off camera strobe, and it is because of him that I began teaching myself lighting. I’ve included a behind the scenes grab [above] from a recent shoot in Ft. Collins, CO so that you can see a typical lighting setup for a remote location shoot. In this shot, you can see we have two lights. We used the larger “soft lighter” umbrella as a key light, and used the ring flash (held by my smiling assistant) non traditionally off camera as fill.

Both are alien bees and are powered by portable lithium batteries. So , basically a typical setup for me includes a key light and a fill light. The fill light is normally 1-2 stops under our key, and our key light is normally 2 stops above ambient.

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There is much more great advice in the interview and some solid work to go along with it. Again you can check out the entire interview here:
Portrait Photographer Colin Lenton Interview.
I am also going to be picking back up our photographers spotlight series that we used to do. These will have interviews of real world photographers to help give us all some extra inspiration. Stay tuned for more info on that and if you have someone who’s work you really admire please let me know and i’ll contact them.

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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