I'm an advertising photographer/videographer based in Los Angeles, California. My mission is to create striking advertising photography, corporate photography and editorial photography of people for major advertising agencies, fortune 500 corporations and major magazines. I shoot photography and video assignments throughout California including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego as well as the rest of the world. As a photo educator I am happy to share my unique vision and methods. I'm currently teaching classes at College of the Canyons in video production for professional photographers and photography students. I give workshops, seminars and lectures on short form video production at colleges, organizations and conferences around the world.

The Quality of Light

Posted: January 7th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Chimera, Lighting, photo lighting | Tags: | Comments Off

The quality of light is something photographers obsess over whether they work in still or motion. This is especially true when discussing lightbanks. The last thing that kisses the light before it reaches the subject is the front diffuser of the bank and this is why I have always appreciate the quality of light created with the Chimera lightbanks. Yes, the Chimera material is durable and fade resistant, at least in my experience. But it’s the quality of the light that keep me coming back to Chimera when my choice is a lightbank.

Chimera has two types of lightbanks, one for strobes and another for film & video. It’s important that you use the correct bank for the continuous hot lights because of the higher temperatures. Coming from strobes I had to introduce myself to Chimera’s Video Pro line when I started shooting motion with hot lights. The OctaPlus has become my go to light when I need the wrap around of a 7 foot light and that special light quality. When doing many of many portraits the Chimera medium bank is perfect.


Lee White Portrait

Portrait by Lee White, Los Angeles photographer using Chimera medium lightbank

For more information on the various types and sizes of lightbanks go to http://chimeralighting.com/

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Discover a Photograph and Make an Image

Posted: November 6th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Education, photo lighting | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

As an advertising and editorial photographer and videographer, much of my work consist of assignments where the subject is defined for me. I have the challenge of discovering the best way of illustrating the purpose of the photograph depending on the requirements of the client. It can be rewarding when that moment happens and you know you are on the right track.

It is totally different when there is no assignment or even a specific purpose for my photography. Each day I get up looking forward to the chance make an image. Note, I said “make an image” not just take a photograph. Anyone with a camera can take a photograph by just pushing the shutter, to me that is not making an image but just recording a scene.

I was recently listening to how Sam Abell talked about making his layered images and the discovery process he went through. It reminded me that it sometimes takes trial and error before setting on an image that you like. I think most photographers go through a similar process of sorting out how and what to use in making images.

This evening, just after sunset, as I strolled among a nearby beach, I found the tide was unusually low. I noticed it exposed the ocean floor that normally would be under several feet of water. There as a different texture to the sand and some interesting patterns. But, in the quickly fading light there was not quite enough drawing of the contours. Then, I saw the piece of seaweed in the first image which looked promising but again the light had faded a little to much. There was still enough side light to create interest but the values were now too close to really make a statement.

As I walked along, I noted shore birds wading near the shore with beautiful golden light reflecting off their white chest feathers. But, I was not prepared with a long enough lens to make anything worth while.

As I walked past the birds, I started to notice some chest feathers had come loose from those birds and were now sitting on some of those ocean bottom contours. I selected the ones I felt would make the most interesting images and quickly composed them in the fading light. See my final picks below.

Feather Sand #1

Feather on Sand #2

Feather on Sand #3

Feather on Sand #4

Feather on Sand #5

Feather on Sand #5

As you can see by the time I found the last feather, the light had almost faded to nothing.

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Secrets of Video for Photographers in Portland Oregon

Posted: June 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: AJA, Anton/Bauer, Casio, Chimera, Manfrotto, ManhattanLCD, Panasonic, photo lighting, video, video production | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Newspace Center of Photography was the perfect setting for my Friday evening Secrets of Video for Photographers seminar.  We set up in the newly constructed main gallery surrounded by photography by local photographers.  There were an interesting variety of photographers from advertising, editorial, commercial, corporate, architectural, wedding and portraiture that attended my presentations. Today’s photographers realize the need to get into video from the many requests they get from clients.

Saturday’s workshop was a combination of studio owners and some employees from Pro Photo Supply.  The photographers were either getting into shooting video or sharpening their video skills by being introduced to new video techniques/products and their uses.  The Pro Photo Supply employees both helped out with support and educated themselves on how to better advise customers on the products available to make shooting video easier.

Lee White talking about video to photographers in Portland, OR by ©Daven Mathies

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More Practice, Imgenomic Realgrain and Hoodman Loupe

Posted: January 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Hoodman, Lighting, photo lighting, Workflow | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

As an advertising photographer, very often much of the format of an image I’m assigned to shoot is already decided before it gets to me.  Of course, I get to add my creative input, which in part is why I’m being hired as long as it conforms to the message and shape of the assignment.  When I go out and practice, I get to explore more freely.

I just got back from a location scout, where I found six wonderful spots to shoot at one location.  So the scout was successful, and along the way I got to practice.  I took my time exploring the location and watched the light.  I also took pictures both of the spots I might later use plus interesting subjects for myself.  Since, I did not have the pressure of a client looking over my shoulder or an expensive model standing in front of the camera, I could experiment.  If one of my experiments didn’t turn out exactly as I expected, no harm was done.  I also shot subjects that I like that would not normally be subject matter for my advertising photography assignments.


I used Imagenomic’s realgrain to help give the image a more natural gritty look.

I took along a budding photographer as an extra set of eyes. I had the time to explain some of the processes I was going through which both helped the photographer and reminded me of alternative ways of handling subjects.  I also had a person as a scale to put in the location shots so I had a better idea how a person could interact with the location.  It is hard to see the image playback on the screen in bright sun, so I introduced the photographer to the Hoodman Loupe.  Plus we discussed the value of using the histogram rather than the screen to check exposure.

As Kim Weston, once said to me “all we do is a craft; it’s a craft and if you don’t know your craft…there are no shortcuts.”

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Advertising Photography and Video Together

Posted: October 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Canon 7d, Lighting, photo lighting, video | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Now that the Canon 7d is out, can new video from Nikon and Panasonic be far behind?   Some more interesting new products are out to help photographers move into doing short form video.  One of the problems that photographers got away from long ago was the need to use constant lights with the advent of strobes.  The constant lights were hot both to handle and on the subject, it took a lot of wattage to get a decent exposure, and were 3200 K so had to be gelled to balance with daylight which brought down the power even more.  Well, as wonderful as strobes are and I’m a big advocate of using them whenever possible except for a very few highly specialized stop motion systems, they are useless for video.

If you want to shoot video, now there are a number of choices beyond the old tungsten lights.  One type that is finding favor with cinematographers is the new LED light.  As a light source, they are powerful (for their size), small, sturdy, draw little power and a are daylight-balanced source that run very cool.  As of now, to light large areas you still might need a number of 1 x1 panels that can cost quite a bit but that will surely change in the near future.  For now you can start by trying one of the smaller battery powered on camera LED lights like the Litepanels Mirco or MicroPro.   Powerful enough to light small scenes or use as a fill in some cases, it can be dimmed with little color change.  I have found them useful off camera for interviews or as a kicker and on camera for an eye-light and run and gun situations.  I wish I had had some when filming in the catacombs of Paris a few years ago.  The quarters were cramped with no place for stands and these LED lights could have been hand held right where I needed them. Image by © Lee White

Litepanels Micro LED

Litepanels Micro LED

Zeiss continues to grow their line of Canon mount manual focus lenses that are especially suited for the DSLRs with video capabilities.  The latest is the ZEISS Distagon T* 2/28 ZE which is a moderate wide-angle lens designed for full-frame (D)SLR cameras, delivering a 74-degree field of view. Like the other Zeiss ZE lenses, it incorporates a CPU and data contacts for communication with the camera body and long focus pull.  This lens is meant to be used on the Canon cameras such as the 5d Mark II and the new 7d.  As I have mentioned before, Zeiss already has a line of Nikon lenses for video capable DSLRs.

Zeiss Distagon F2 28mm lens for Canon

Zeiss Distagon F2 28mm lens for Canon

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Photography of healthy lifestyles

Posted: May 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Canon, Green, photo lighting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

As a California photographer, I have great weather for healthy lifestyle images all year round.  I especially love the summer months for surf and turf images when I get either rich blue skies or dramatic cloud filled backgrounds.

California surfer showing healthy lifestyle

California surfer showing healthy lifestyle

Combining great locations with my lighting style allows for some stunning advertising or editorial photography.  Casting of models and/or locations is easy for California photographers and clients in the place where the healthy lifestyle trend was started.  Being on the west coast means wide sandy beaches, vast deserts and majestic mountains for striking images.

Corporate imaging here is great too!  New facilities in open green areas are ideal for portraying the new face of greener corporations.

Photo hint:  Even when shooting at golden hour be ready to use supplemental lighting techniques like strobes or reflectors.  You might find the perfect shot is towards the sun which can add real life to an image as well as extra depth.  Photography is a craft.  Photographed with Canon camera and strobe.

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NAB inspires with new ideas, techniques and equipment.

Posted: May 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Canon, Education, photo lighting, Workflow | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Los Angeles photographers have the NAB convention to help keep them up-to-date. Commercial photographers like me often do advertising photography with the flavor of photojournalism to make location photography seem more real including my video work. The new video equipment I saw at NAB will help with that. When I do editorial photography, I often get to do video interviews and some of the new equipment will help with that was well.

Los Angeles photographer dramatic night portraiture

Los Angeles photographer dramatic night portraiture with Canon 5D

I had some very productive chats with the following representatives and want to thank them for all their information. In chronological order Peter of Lectronics, Fred at Audio Technica, Red of Photoflex, Joey of Mathhews Studio Equipment, Greg at JVC, Douglas at Shure, Ulrich Goetze of California Sunbounce, Mike of Marshall Electronics, Bernie of Panasonic, and Jennifer of dedoweightfilm.de.

California photographers are lucky to have so many resources locally. I have been shooting video for over seven years and there is more demand for it than ever.

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Los Angeles advertising photographer Lee White focuses on healthy living.

Posted: April 29th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Education, photo lighting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

California photographers are right in the middle of the country’s most health conscious region. Advertising photography of healthy food, year around outdoor activities and mind/body health are photographed here. Location photography is easy with endless sunny days, beautiful beaches and mountains.

Los Angeles photographer Lee White shoots healthy lifestyle - Yoga

Los Angeles photographer Lee White shoots healthy lifestyle - Yoga

Yoga studios and gyms seem to be on every block providing commercial photographers like me beautiful models for my advertising and editorial photography.

Photography hints: use cool pastel colors to make your subject’s skin tones standout. Cool colors also help present a calm quiet atmosphere.

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Advertising photography- dramatic lighting of a Ryan PT22 classic airplane

Posted: April 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Canon, Green, photo lighting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Classic Ryan PT22

Classic Ryan PT22

This is a location photo out of a quick edit of a recent advertising photo shoot I did, near Los Angeles, with a classic Ryan PT22 1935 airplane. The model is John Campanella, son of the well-known actor, Joseph Campanella and quite a good talent himself. I‘ll post a few from the final edit soon along with a video of the shoot.

Until then for you photo enthusiasts, I used a Canon 5d, along with a chimera soft box and Canon 580 EX strobes, with rechargeable batteries to stay green, connected by pocket wizards, again rechargeable. The sun was in and out all afternoon so this combination allowed me to move quickly and light the face beautifully just as the sun came out of the clouds. Location photography is an art in itself, so remember it is about the craft not the equipment.

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