Category: Photography

A ringlight project

After reading a DIY tutorial on making a large lightring with lightbulbs and especially after seeing the results I knew I wanted to try this myself one day. It took some time to get around to it but last week when I was playing around with some led-stips I started thinking of this project again. So today on my day off I went to the hardware store and bought the necessary parts to make myself an awesome ringlight.

The design
I bought twelve lights, so I made a circle just big enough so all the lights would complete a circle. I added enough room to be able to be able to add a second row in the future.
ringlight design Then it was time to start sawing:
ringlight sawingWith all my fingers intact, I started placing the light sockets on the wood placing the wiring along the way:
ringlight placing socketsThe wiring I did parallel btw.

I connected a standard dimmer on the back and added a standard plug:
ringlight plug
Then came the moment suprise. I placed a lamp in the last light-socket in the chain to test the wiring.
ringlight test lampLuckily it all work fine, so time to finish placing the dimmer on the back:
ringlight dimmerI first thought to mount the ringlight on to a lightstand but figured this would not be very stable so I used an adjustable cloth rack on wheels that I wasn’t using anyway. This means a stable way to use the ringlight and an easy way to get it out of the way.
I mounted the top bar on the ringlight with tie-wraps after drilling three holes:
ringlight topbarand placed it back onto the cloth rack:
ringlight cloth rackThe finished ringlight (for now):
ringlight finishedA quick test with my girlfriend posing to see the results:
ringlight Veraand a 100% crop of her eyes with the reflection of the ringlight:
ringlight Vera eyesI can’t wait to really test this ringlight during a model-shoot.

To be continued…

Making of “Big black dress”

The following video is a timelapse of the editing I did on the Big black dress photo. The photo consists of a background (hdr) photo I took in the “De Rotterdam” building. I combined this with a studio photograph of model Nisa. To make the dress I had my sweet assistant Vera hold and move a large black sheet in the studio while I took the photo’s.
The result image:
[singlepic id=282 w= h= float=center]

The making of video

Do you want to try such a project for yourself and you are interested in a bunch of hi-res images of the black sheets I used for this photograph then download them here. Non-commercial use only and a link back would be appreciated.
This file is a psd file for use in photoshop and contains different images each on its own layer. I have already made the images transparant, but that was a quick and dirty way, so you might want to finetune the masking here and there.

Lost at dawn

This week I published my latest work called “Lost at Dawn”. It is a composite I made from a background photo I took at the port of Scheveningen and studio shots of models Melissa, Nick and Vera.
As usual I published on my 500px page also. On images that get a lot of likes will receive pulse points. The more pulse the populair the photo becomes. With this photo I saw the pulse skyrocket up to finally a 99.4 score which is a new personal best for me.
Of course I am very proud an thankful for all the attention this gave me. I received over 130 comments on the image and it got over 3100 views. This is of course great exposure for me and the models in the photo who have all worked on this on a TFP basis.

The background image is a HDR shot made out of three exposures:
Mid-exposure shot
background mid exposureHDR tonemapped:

At first I visioned this composite with a female model in a black dress that would look out of place or lost after a long night of clubbing. During a couple of photoshoots I took photo’s of models for this composite but never really found the right one until model Melissa showed up with her pink dress. At that moment I knew I had to try her photo in this composite.
The visherman/robber with the knife is my girlfriend posing in a coat we bought for this composite and a kitchen knife. I took that photo last sunday when I was nearly done with the composite.
The other fisherman/robber is model Nick who had posed for me last year. I won a price with one of the shots from that shoot a while back. I never planned on a second robber in the image but when I tried it, it looked really nice so I left Nick in the composite.

The three models Melissa, Nick and Vera:

modelnick modelveraCompositing was relatively easy. The biggest problem I encountered was turning the cloudy middle of the day photo of the background into a believable dawn photo.
The photo of Melissa was the only model photo I had to do some skin retouching on and the photo of model Vera needed some adjustment of the sleeve. I did that using the liquify filter and some heavy dodge and burning.
After placing the cut-outs in the scene I color-corrected all of them to fit the scene by adding a solid color adjustment layer on top of them with a brownish/orange color (sampled from the concrete of the docks) in the blend-mode color at an opacity of around 20%. This way the colors are more believable.
Melissa and Nick needed some shadows on the concrete and I used some hand-drawn fog around Nick for some extra atmosphere.

When all editing was done I used Nik color effex pro 4 for some extra tonal contrast and the image was done.

Final result:

[singlepic id=246 w=640 h=480 float=center]

Retouching before / after picture

A recent retouch I did was the “Lady Mobster” image with model Patricia. Take a look at the before / after picture to closely see the difference with retouching. As often is the case with my work this image is not meant to be a photorealistic photo but an image which sets a mood and or tells a story. In my retouching I try to give the image a little bit of an painterly effect.

The complete end-result:
[singlepic id=236 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Making of “Troubled Road”

This won’t be a tutorial, but I will will show you how I made “Troubled Road” by doing a walk thru. This image is part of “The Road” project. A project where I will make use of a piece of road and tell a couple of stories that take place on that road.

The road itself is a photo I downloaded from A really great website for getting images you can use in your own projects. You can find the photo here.
Also the power poles and the Ford Mustang came from that website.
The sky (also used for the mist) and both models I photographed in the studio.
troubled road blog sky

First of I started work on the road. Adjusted the contrast and made the concrete a lot darker.
Troubled Road Blog RoadThe next step was adding the mist. I used the sky photo for this by duplicating the layer a few times and flipping it both horizontal as vertical. Put the blend mode on screen on all the layers. This way only the lighter parts of the sky photo will be visible. I finetuned this part by drawing with a soft brush and low opacity with a white color on the parts where I wanted the mist to be a little thicker.
Troubled Road Blog MistThis will not be all the mist, because I will be adding more mist later on that needs to be on top of the layers with the car and the power poles and cables.
Next I added two layers withe the sky image. One of those layers is flipped, just to add some extra highlighted areas in the image. I adjusted the color balance to add a bit of blue in the whole image and added some more mist/fog by adjusting the exposure of the mist.
troubled road blog sky addedBy now the background is done, so let start adding some of the foreground parts by starting with the Ford Mustang. I manually added the part of the hood that is missing in the source photo, adjusted the size, made a cut-out and placed it in the left corner of the image.
troubled road blog white mustangNext I changed the color of the car with a gradient map on the color blend mode and made the orange a bit deeper by using an exposure adjustment layer. Also I painted a bit of the same orange color on the road as a very light reflection with a low opacity soft brush.
troubled road blog mustang orangeNext I added the pwerpoles on the right on blend mode “darken” to only use the dark parts with an hue/saturation adjustment layer set to desaturate to loose all the color. I made a few copies of the layer for the second and third pole and used different parts of the layer by masking the rest out. The cabled where drawn by hand by clicking with a hard brush set to black on the first pole then while holding the shift key clicking on the second pole to create a straight line. With the warp tool I pulled the cables a bit down in the middle and with the perspective tool I made the cables thinner in the distant. Also I adjusted the opacity in the distance to make the cables and poles a bit more realistic in the mist.
troubled road blog power poles

Next I hand drawn the power cables and used blending option bevel and emboss to give them a 3d look. Also I added some more mist but this time allowing it in front of the poles and the car to give the mist some more depth.
troubled road blog start cables

Now we need some models to let the scene come to life! So let’s start with adding Nick in the image. I already did all the retouching and the cut-out on Nick before bringing him over to this image. I added lot’s of detail to him, cleaned up the skin and used dodge & burning to highlight his muscles, eyes, etc.
troubled road blog NickNext I want to jumpstart cabled to spark. I did that with a custum brush and added some flares and light effects on an overlay blend mode.
troubled road blog sparks

Next I added the other model Kimberley. I also did all the retouching and the cutout before bringing her over to this image. Sadly Kimberley did not fit the height of the car So I used the puppet warp tool to make her lean onto the car as you can read in my previous blog post.
troubled road blog KimberleyNow all the parts are in place, so let’s start with the final part of the composite by doing the final touches. I added some tonal contrast (plug in), darkened the whole image with an exposure adjustment layer, added a gradient map (blue orange) on multiply blend mode to give the color an overall mood. This also helps to get all the pieces glued together better. And finally I added some vignette to the image

The final result:

[singlepic id=227 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Hope you liked seeing my workflow on an image like this. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or leave a reply on this page.