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How Would You Light This: Vincent Ricardel

How Would You Light This: Vincent Ricardel

As seen in Shutterbug August 2014

As seen in Shutterbug September 2014

Vincent Ricardel had a unique vision for capturing in both still image and video of a “Human Butterfly,” using a variety of Dynalite heads and modifiers he was able to accomplish the desired lighting effects this project needed.  Each light was placed on opposite sides behind the model. Both of these lights were positioned high and aimed at a 45º angle toward model’s hairline. The spill created enough luminance to highlight the silk shear fabric that was sewn to resemble a butterfly wing.  The ends of each wing were held by assistants carefully moving the fabric to create texture and simulate a sense of movement.  The back-light created a dynamic effect not only on the hair but on the texture of the sheer fabric.

The spill from the Key, Fill and Background lights also created a soft-light on the dry ice hovering on the studio floor.

Key-Light- 71″ Grand, SH-2000 Bi-tube Head, and SP-1600  Studio power supply.

Fill Light- MH-2065v Head- with 12×16 softbox, Roadmax MP-800 Power Supply.

Two more SH-2000 heads, each powered with a XP-800 power supply, outfitted with a 35″ Grand Softbox with no diffusion.

It took one day to prep the studio and construct  a 1.5′ high retaining wall around the shooting area to contain the dry-ice from dissipating throughout the studio.  Another six hours to paint the model on day of production. Almost a full day to sew the shear and construct a pulley system to manually adjust the fabric to simulate the contour of the butterfly wings. The model had to move carefully since the ends of each wing was attached to her back with gaffer tape. The call time on the day of the shoot was 8am and the first shots were probably not made until 3pm. We wrapped by 5:30pm just under 3 hours of shooting for what took nearly 2 full days to prepare for.  Many thanks to my 4 photo production assistants, stylist, body airbrush make up artist, traditional make up artists, hairstylist, and the director of photography for the video content of the shoot as well as his 2 assistant camera operators who all made this possible.  

The video was back lit with two 2065 heads using 650 watt modeling bulbs. As I said above, the stills portion of the shoot ran till 5:30pm,  each segment of the video portion ran additional 3hrs.  Each segment was filmed and photographed over three days. Here you can see the completed Butterfly Video

BUTTERFLY from Vincent Ricardel on Vimeo.

How Would You Light This? : Rick Friedman

How Would You Light This? : Rick Friedman

Thad StarnerThis is from an assignment I shot at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA.  The MIT Media Lab is a hub for innovative creations and ore of my favorite places to photograph.  I was at the Media Lab looking for interesting projects to photograph when I met That Starner who was working on wearable computing.  Starner is now a professor at Georgia Tech.  The idea for this shoot came about when Starner showed me a pair of glasses that had a computer monitor in the center of one lens, which he connected to a small computer in his pocket.  With no preplanning, this is what I cam up with.  Little did I know this was the beginning of “Google Glass.”


The lighting on this photograph is 2 strobes and 2 computer monitors.  I had to match the brightness of the two computer screens to determine my exposure, matching the brightness of the large monitor in the background and the small computer screen embedded in his glasses.  To obtain the exposure I used the meter in my camera.  I needed a lot of depth of field for this shot, so that glasses and my subject were in focus.  My focal point was Starner, seen through the glasses.  The glasses were clamped to a light stand with a Superclamp.  The main light was a Dynalite MP-800 power pack and a Dynalite head with an extension tube, a grid holder on the end of the extension tube, a 10º grid and a sheet of Rosco Tough Spun over the grid to soften the light.


I really needed to control my light on the subject, so there was no light spilled on the glasses or the screen behind the subject.  Just off set, on the right side, I set up a speed light with Rosco yellow gel and a snoot made of Cinefoil to outline the frame of glasses with color.  The Cinefoil snoot was brought down so it was about a 1º opening.  When making shoots out of Cinefoil, which is black tin foil, you have flexibility to make any shape you want with any size opening giving you great control over the output from your Dynalite heads.  To determine the exposure of both the speed light and the Dynalite, I used a Sekonic light meter.  If you are maxing speed lights and studio strobes, you speed light needs to be on the manual setting and not the TTL setting.

See more of Rick Friedman’s “How To’s” of Location Lighting on his blog where every Tuesday he has another tip that he shares from his Location Lighting Workshops with Rick Friedman!

Christian Lalonde

Christian Lalonde

Since 1997, Christian Lalonde has worked as a commercial photographer with Photolux Studio, working in the world of Photography for many local, national and international clients, in both the private and public sector.

Prior to working with Photolux, Christian was a photgrapher at one of Canada’s largest commercial studios, located in Montreal, and was a teacher of photography at La Cité collégiale.

As a principal photographer at Photolux Commercial Studio, at age 39, Christian Lalonde has made his mark in the industry.  His work demonstrates a remarkable versatility as a commercial photographer and photo illustrator.

Christian completed his photography studies in 1996 from La Cité collégiale in Ottowa, Ontario, Canada.  Since joining Photolux in 1997, he has secured clients such as: Bank of Canada, Ontario Tourims, Costco Wholesale, Crown Plaza Hotels, Estée Lauder, IBM, Le Cordon Bleu, Loblaws, Maple Leaf, Agriculture & Agri-food Canada, National Art Centre, Nygard, Readers Digest, Sony, Trump and Yves St. Laurent, just to name a few.

One of his most prestigious projects can be seen on the $5 and $100 dollar bills that have been in circulation since 2001 in Canadian currency.

As part of his impressive repertoire Christian was named “Canadian Commercial Photographer of the Year” in 2001 and 2002 by the Professional Photographer of Canada (PPOC).  He has been highlighted in several international trade magazines and publications.  Recognized for his experience in lighting as well as his high standards in photography, Christian has been speaking for the last 9 years at WPPI, one of the worlds largest photographer conventions and trade shows, held in Las Vegas, Nevada.  His work is also feature by MOAB Papers as well as LiteShapers (XP Photo Gear) on a regular basis.


“Love them!!! Consistent color, consistent output, fast recycling times.  Great power output.  RELIABLE!!!” -Christian Lalonde

See more of Christian’s work at


Frankie Leal

Frankie Leal

“I love the Dynalite products! I won’t show up to a shoot without my lights! They are consistent, dependable, durable and very easy to operate. They always produce the quality of light needed for my standards. One of my favorite features is the built-in pocketwizard™ inside the powerpacks. Thank you for your awesome products that make my job easier.” – Frankie Leal

Frankie-Leal-HeadshotAt the age of 20, Frankie began his professional career as a graphic designer. With his natural artistic aptitude and eye for detail, graphic design came easily to him. At first he hired photographers to take photos for his design projects, but then he realized that he could at least take pictures as well as they did. In 2006, he drove to the local camera store and bought himself his first digital camera; a 6.3 MP Canon Rebel.

His education in photography began from analyzing pictures published inside his favorite magazines. He studied the picture’s highlights and shadows and would then recreate the light quality with his subjects in his studio. He absolutely fell in love with the art of strobe lighting. “I couldn’t get enough of the craft and therefore strived to improve my photographic ability by teaching myself through workshops, books, blogs and reading interviews of those whose work I admired,” said Frankie.

Today, he shoots out of his Los Angeles and Central California studios, but you can also catch him on-location throughout the United States shooting for a wide variety of clients that include several in the entertainment & advertising industries. Frankie’s photographic images are frequently used for print ads, magazine covers, corporate marketing, web-sites and social media marketing.  See more of Frankie’s work at


Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio’s photographs embrace the elements of a powerful symphony. Here are choruses and chords of color. We perceive a rhythmic movement in objects that may seem stationary in the three-dimensional world that the rest of us inhabit. Vibrant hues begin to blur and invisible lines direct our gaze toward a sacred center where the subject of the photograph vibrates with spiritual intensity. DiMaggio propels us through new perceptual portals. Passive viewing is not possible. Inspired, at first, by a grandfather with ample talent as an amateur photographer, DiMaggio developed under the influences of other shooters like W. Gene Smith, Alfred Eisenstadt and Mark Kaufman. He looks to the likes of DaVinci, Michelangelo, Monet and Picasso as muses (or, as he puts it, Gods). “If it seems like I”m all over the place, I am,” says DiMaggio. These giants served up kindling for his creative flame. He renders images that are uniquely and distinctively DiMaggio’s own.

Also evident in DiMaggio’s work is a robust spiritual undertow. “Because of my relationship with Mother Nature and all of God”s creatures,”” he says, “I never think of a man, woman or child as a subject. I think of them as beautiful creations.” In DiMaggio’s view, he is merely the instrument “to record”their space in time at that particular moment.” It started in the woods. DiMaggio, while never defining himself as a nature photographer, tends to dwell among the trees for a goodly portion of each day, and that is where he first found magic in the details of the scenery. Soon, though, DiMaggio expanded his imagination. He discovered hitherto unseen luminosity in cityscapes, on sports fields, at racetracks. He made light viscous and emotionally meaningful.  To DiMaggio, every scene is significant.

DiMaggio’s work over three decades has been featured in publications like “Time,” “Life,” “Sports Illustrated,” “U.S. News and World Report” and hundreds more. In 1981, his “Sports Illustrated” cover of Cooney Holms was named Best Picture of the Year by “Time Magazine.” His talent earned him a coveted invitation to join the International Olympic Games Pool. His gift for advertising photography has netted him a list of Fortune 500 clients and prestigious advertising agencies.

DiMaggio’s talent as a teacher has gained him a national reputation. He’s been featured on ABC-TV’s “World of Photography” and has hosted episodes of ESPN’s “Canon Photo Safari” with celebrity guests and amateur photographers William Shatner and A.J. Langer. He has lectured to thousands of aspiring photographers in workshops around the world. He is a contributing editor of the internationally published “Times Journal of Photography” and a lecturer for the “American Photo/Popular Photography” Mentor Workshops. He has taught at additional workshops in Palm Beach and the Maine Photographic Workshop.

Equally at ease with pictures that move, DiMaggio has directed a number of commercials and short films. He recently completed directing a one-hour documentary which aired on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week 2005.

As he ages, DiMaggio’s talent matures along with his heart. “For me the camera represents my soul,” he says. “It is a part of me and what I believe in. The amazing part of the process is that it’s constantly changing and evolving. It’s never the same twice.”

You can see more of Joe’s work on his website