Review LED Light Godox LA 200

This is a powerful LED light that’s solid for studio work and light enough to take on location. I appreciate the Color Rendering Index is a high 96 for clean color with no shifts. It produces lots of light 230 watts. It’s easier to show you how this light works than to write about it, so I invite you to check it out. See what I like, a lot, and a small issue or two to watch for…

Review LED Light – Godox LA200 Single color 5600k. Godox also makes a LA150 and bi-color versions.

If you have any comments or questions about this review let me know. BTW, I was able to keep this LED Light at no charge.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob

Want to look a little closer at the specs or order the light, here’s a link –

LED light review f7 pocketlite fold

LED light review f7 pocketlite fold

Got a chance to play with a new LED light called the PocketLite Fold. I had the previous model F7 PocketLite and here’s a review from last year. I like them both. But, I like the Fold more than twice as much. It has twice the light and a built in control from the phone APP DeSal Lite which you can download to control your lights at no additional charge.

Having a small, powerful light is a good thing to have in your kit. This will work super as a fill light, a special effects color light and creative tool. If you are not at a far distance it will even serve as a main light. I measured 1/30th of a second at f/2.8 ISO 200 at four feet. The beauty of working with LED lights is WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get.

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob

coffee shoot java presse

coffee shoot java presse

Java Presse – Coffee Shoot

The Genesis of a Commercial Shoot

Not quite ‘nectar of the gods’ but I’ve found some serious joy in my morning coffee. It was a gradual process to see the pleasure I now have in the morning ritual and enjoyment of grinding beans, brewing and enjoying coffee.

java presse coffe imageJava Presse Coffee image square format final crop

It started with some friends showing the benefits of grinding beans for French Press coffee. Good stuff.

I found myself getting frustrated with the ‘static cling’ that was generated by using an electric grinder that had a plastic bin for catching the grounds and left little trails of tiny grounds scattered along the counter. This led to looking for a mill that had a stainless steel basket. Research showed that prices were more than I wanted to pay. Which turned out to be a good thing! Because that led me to the stainless steel coffee grinder from Java Presse.

The grinder led me to lots more information about the whole process of roasting coffee, the freshness of the beans and proper preparation for the French Press that I use. Thanks to Java Presse the entire experience has turned my morning coffee into an enjoyable ritual. And who knew that freshly roasted beans, ground fresh just before brewing could make such a difference.

I’m a coffee convert.

Photography Process

And, now on the photography section of the making of a commercial image of the product. You can see the final photo at the top of the post above. Below is how the photo was built.

Good, solid commercial images should look effortless and clean. It takes a bit more to achieve the look. I make this happen by creating several images with different lighting patterns which are later combined in Adobe Photoshop. This comes in handy for items that have different levels of reflectance such as the stainless steel of the grinder and coffee storage container as well as making sure logos are readable.

java presse working photoNote the harsh light patterns in the metal especially the one crossing through the logo on the grinder

java presse working photoUsing a reflector I reshot the scene to give more pleasing light on the stainless steel, but now the reflections that give the image life are gone

java presse working photos blendedSee the difference between the two blended images. Logos are a much easier read, and there are highlights right where they are needed without distraction

java presse layers palettePhotoshop Layers Palette is showing some of the work with Masks used to help create the final image.

I also used Skylum software (formerly MacPhun) software called Focus CK. CK stands for Creative Kit. It is a very handy sharpening and blurring tool for directing attention where you want. I often use the ‘Macro’ setting on its layer and mask in what I need.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

PS – Here’s the gear I used in this shoot.

2 Fiilex LED lights with softboxes
Lumix G9
White foam core panel
Posing table
Tripod Necessary for keeping images in registration for compositing the lighting
Ball head for tripod – Siri Model K-20X



musician photography

musician photography

Studio Photography of a Harp Musician

I enjoy working with creative people. It’s a blast. Creative folks tend to bring an extra little something to the photo session. I was working with Sedona musician Peter Sterling the other day. He had some specific thoughts on the session we were photographing for some headshots and CD cover art.

Once an idea is put forward, then it’s time to tweak the lighting to create the mood and feeling needed. We started with a high key background then went to a low key background with more dramatic lighting.

One of the first images from the session. * setup described below harpist photoHarpist Peter Sterling

Above and below are unretouched photos on a high key background. Peter was an excellent subject as he made excellent eye contact with the camera and was easy to get relaxed. He made my job pretty easy!

peter sterling harp player photoI liked this one as a different look but wasn’t thrilled with the foot pad and stool. I wanted to crop in but it has a very casual feel, and it keeps growing on me.

photo of peter sterling harp music performerMoved to a black background and worked on a more moody look. Peter asked me to retouch this one, and I like it a lot! ** the setup described below

photo of peter sterling harp music performer black and whiteWhen I do final retouching for artists, I always include a black and white version. This is often way better than sending off a color image and letting the newspaper or magazine do the conversion.

* White seamless backdrop with a Fiilex 360ex Variable LED light with 24×36 inch softbox as main light (camera right) Camera left another light with a smaller softbox used as fill.

** Black seamless backdrop and lights as above but adjusted for more drama. A 5-inch Fiilex Fresnel attachment was added to another light for the background

Images were captured with the Panasonic Lumix G9 and the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 lens and processed in Adobe Photoshop

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob


go pet friendly part two

go pet friendly part two

Go Pet Friendly – Part Two

Here’s a follow-up to the post from the other day about shooting an author’s photo and some support images for a book project. Amy Burkert and her husband Rod are on the road searching and researching pet friendly travel venues and a book is being written about traveling with pets as an addition to the Go Pet Friendly website

One of the images was the whole crew and the thirty-seven foot Winnebago with which they travel the country. Lighting conditions were a bit on the contrastly side with high sun and shade under the awning.

go pet friendly winnebagoGo Pet Friendly home on the road and the family that lives there.

I used two Paul C Buff White Lightning X-3200 lights to control the contrast of the scene. The main light was fitted with a thirty-six-inch Octabox and the other was used for fill with a thirty by sixty inch foldable softbox camera right. A couple of braketed exposuers were made to get a lighter exposure on the tree that was in shadow to bring back some detail that would have blocked up otherwise.

The lights were powered with Paul C Buff Vagabond Mini battery packs. Portable power comes in very handy on location as it keeps from dealing with cords. It makes it easier to position lights exactly where you would like them to be.

Amy also wanted to show off her ‘children’ Ty and Buster.

amy and her dog tyAmy and her dog Ty pose for a portrait

amy ty and busterAmy, Ty and Buster pose in front of the RV

Images captured with the Lumix GH5 and the Leica 12-60mm G LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT PROFESSIONAL f2.8-4.0 lens

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

go pet friendly

go pet friendly

Go Pet Friendly – Book Session

I don’t often share my commercial work on Successful-Photographer. I probably should.

So I will.

I received a call from a pleasant voice asking about a photography session for a book cover. Images needed would include an RV, two people, and two dogs. The owner of the friendly voice is named Amy Burkert. She and her husband Rod have been on the road for about six years traveling the country in an RV, looking for pet-friendly places and sharing their findings via their blog 

The main photo Amy for which Amy was looking was her back cover author’s image. Especially for the book, she has written, the image should make her appear open, friendly, and inviting while telling a bit of her story. I always ask plenty of questions before coming up with a plan for the capture.

What is the layout of the book? Do you need a horizontal or vertical photo/ Have you considered your wardrobe? What background would you like to have, studio or environmental? What story do you wish to convey?

amy at the wheel of the winnabagoAmy at the wheel of the thirty-seven foot Winnebago

After all the questions were answered, we ended up with Amy behind the wheel as she does most of the driving while they are on the road. There wasn’t a lot of room for supplemental lighting which made me reach into my bag for LED lighting bricks from Fiilex. With three of the bricks, I was able to add some fill light and get some background separation. These battery operated lights are color and brightness tunable and can be tucked into tiny spaces.

I choose a high angle from which to shoot to enhance Amy’s friendly and open feel. When the subject is looking up in an image it makes the viewer feel they are looking down on the person. It didn’t hurt that the camera likes Amy and she was entirely comfortable in front of the camera.

I supplied a horizontal and a square version of Amy’s portrait. Additional support images were made of the RV with Rod and the rest of the crew including the two dogs Ty and buster which I’ll share in a future post.

Images were made with the Lumix GH5 and the Leica 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 Lens

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob