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.

Advertising Photography in the New Age

Posted: October 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Lee White Photography | Tags: , , , | No Comments »
Family

Family?

As an advertising photographer in Los Angles California, I am called upon to illustrate concepts in my advertising and editorial photography.  The first read should be clear and understandable while there might and hopefully are many other layers and some subtexts with the image.  So what is up with this image?

The first read is that of a women, probably a mother with two boys, probably her sons and brother to each other.  There is no one else in the image so we start with these conclusions.   Now we start to read into the image based on our own biases.

Where is the father?  Is he just outside of frame or hidden by the horizon? Or is this a modern single parent family?  What else is hidden by the sand?  What has caught the boy’s attention?  This brings up why is the view such that we cannot see what the boys are looking at?  Where are they…? at the beach…?in the desert…?  The clothing give so no clue so we are left wondering.

Some advertising and editorial images can be used just to capture the viewer’s attention and bring them into the story told by the text.  I would allow comments and would enjoy them except for the crazy spammers.

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Professional Photographers Find Value in DV Expo

Posted: October 2nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Education, video production | Tags: , | No Comments »
Leewhitephotography.com composition frence

Leewhitephotography.com composition

As a professional photographer in Los Angeles, California, I’m always looking for ways to improve my photography whether it is still photography or video.  DV Expo was an important resource for professional photographers who want to learn more about producing video.  That was the obvious goal of the Expo.  But there were two sessions that I attended that would be helpful to photographers with shooting stills as well.

On Wednesday, I attend Richard Harrington’s session on Timelapse photography.  It gave me some interesting insights into using long exposures with great depth of field to give a great feeling of motion in Timelapse productions.  Timelapse is a tool that any photographer should have in their skill-set.

Another session I found had some very useful information was Robbie Carman’s all day Friday class on color correction and color grading.  Many of the tools and techniques related directly to handling still photography as well as video.  Some of the most important ideas were that our ability to adapt in seeing color makes it important to have the right environment and not to work to long on an individual image.  Creating a neutral environment with the right lighting is important to judging color and reducing eye fatigue.  Our ability to automatically adapt to new color bias makes it important not to work too long on an individual image while color correcting.  Rather it is better to work on color correcting an image for a short time and then come back to it to have a fresh judgment.

I recommend you consider getting as much information in the fast changing world of digital imaging in both still or motion.  DV Expo is one of the resources you should consider whether it is checking out the exhibit and/or one of more of the sessions.

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Tribute to Ernie Brooks

Posted: September 16th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

Before going to Art Center College of Design and becoming professional  advertising and editorial photographer in Los Angeles, California I considered going to Brooks, Institute of Photography.  It had an outstanding name as a learning institution for photography.  A number of well known photographers especially underwater photographers have come out of Brooks, Institute of Photography.  It is not surprising that the tribute to Ernie Brooks filled the Arlington Theatre with over 2,000 attendees.

Many that attended seemed to be friends and long time collaborators of Ernie’s.  Some of those show their work to the enjoyment of the rest.  Along with a number of historical presentations were some newer photographs and video created by the speakers.  David Doubilet, a contributing photographer to National Geographic Magazine, showed some of his split over and under water photographs.

© David Doubilet

Visit his website at www.daviddoubilet.com for more beautiful images.

Howard Hall show some spectacular video footage of the kelp beds of Southern California among other places. Some of the work he has done is in the IMAX format which is an amazing feat to do underwater.

© Howard Hall

Visit his website at www.howardhall.com to see some of his beautiful videos.

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Photographs in Video Production

Posted: July 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Hoodman, video production, Workflow, Zeiss | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

As a professional photographer I have a ready supply of stills that I have taken over the years of landscapes, stilllifes and locations.  These images can be a useful addition to my videos.  Remember “video is simply a bunch of stills put together”. This is one of the ways I multi-purpose my work. There is the different that in some video clips something(s) will change position from frame to frame to make it live action but there are many subjects that don’t necessarily have that attribute.  To name a few: landscape without wind or flowing water, buildings, tabletops and so on, you get the idea.

One of the big advantages of using a still in video is if there is any retouching that needs to be done it is only to one frame as that one frame is duplicated over and over when made into a video clip.  This duplication also means the clip can be as long as you need since there is really no end to the number of times a frame can be reproduced.

When preparing a still for conversion into a video clip you should keep some things in mind.  The nominal resolution of video is 72 so that is the minimum resolution your still should end up as.  A higher resolution will not produce a better image and will take up more file space.  You should end up with an image that is a least the size of the video frame you are using so for Full HD you should start with at least a 1920 X 1080 image.  If you plan on any moves like a pan, tilt, push in or pull out you will need to start out with a still with larger dimensions.  For example, if you plan to push in 200% you need to double the size of the still image.  A Full HD frame being 1920 X 1080 times 2 would result in 3840 X 2160 still image that would allow a 200% push in without showing the pixels larger than normal.

If you don’t know what you are going to exactly to do with each still image you convert you might start out with an approximately 4000 X 2200 @ 72 image and see how they work out.  You don’t want bring in overly larger an images as it will cause unnecessary processing time yet they should be big enough to comfortably try some moves.  If you find you are going to make more than a 200% move on an image you can go back and process a larger image for that particular shot.  That is one of the beauties of using still in video, you can resize and recrop your clip after the shoot.

The image should be output from your image manipulation software as a JPEG at the highest quality with a color space of Adobe RGB.  A tiff is not necessary and although the image will be converted down to a Rec. 709 color space which is like the sRGB color space the additional colors the of Adobe RGB might be useful in the conversion.

Start thinking about some of your images that might be useful in your videos and we will see how easy it is to use stills in a Premiere Pro project in my next entry.

Some of the equipment in my toolbox Ziess Distagon T* 2/28 and Planar T* 1,4/50  lenses which I use to get the sharpest images both for photographs and video plus the RAW Steel Hoodman 1000X UDMA7 CF cards which the fastest and american made cards to record my still images and video.

To be continued.

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Beachtek New Adapter Help Get Better Audio

Posted: June 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Beachtek, Canon 7d, Education, video production | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

In my last entry, I mentioned that the Canon 7D has joined the ranks of DSLR that have manual control of audio.  Great news but it does not relieve the need to connect professional audio gear via the professional XLR connector.  While a simple mini to XLR connector will work it does not handle the issue of the poor preamps in DSLRs.

Beachtek has a wide variety of audio adapters for DSLRs depending on yours needs including their new DXA-SLR Pro.  Beachtek also has a large amount of information on how best to use your Beachtek adapter at http://www.beachtek.com/support/.  They also have a very informative video on getting the best out of your adapter on their home page.

Beachtek-DXA-SLR PRO

Beachtek-DXA-SLR PRO

Here is a sample of the valuable information they have on thier skulpport pages:

“Hiss is a common problem with most of today’s DSLR cameras. The front ends tend to be noisy which can lead to excessive hiss if the levels are not set right. The simple fact is that the higher the gain of the camera preamps, the higher the hiss. The solution obviously is to reduce the noisy gain in the camera and replace it with the very clean gain of our DXA-SLR or DXA-SLR PRO adapters. When no amplification is required as when using wireless mics, our low cost passive DXA-5Da can be used.

When using the DXA-SLR, adjust the level controls on the adapter so that the indicator LED’s flash green. This tells you when you are in the proper recording level window to get the best signal to noise ratio and least amount of hiss. On the DXA-SLR PRO, you can use the built-in VU meters as a guide and set the levels so that the audio is peaking at no more than -12 dB. Use the AGC Disable feature on the adapter to reduce the noise created by the AGC in the camera.

If your camera allows you to disable the AGC from the camera menu, you can use manual mode to get even better audio. On the Canon 5D MK II or MK III set the camera gain to 25% of maximum. On Nikon cameras set it to LEVEL 1 on the older models, or 7 on the newer D4 and D800. In this case, you do not need to use the AGC Disable feature on the adapter – keep the switch to the left so that it is not activated.

It is critical that the levels be set right so that you are not starving the camera for audio as that will increase the internal camera gain which is something you want to avoid. Once the levels are set correctly, you should be able to capture clean, crisp audio.”

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Pegasus the Versatile Slider Dolly

Posted: April 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »
Rail and tabletop slider

Pegasus-carbon-slider

The prize for the Best Commercial/Promotional category in the APA 2nd Annual Short Video Contest is the Cinevate Elements Camera Slider Bundle.

The words I hear most often to describe the Pegasus dolly are versatility, creativity and fun.  We all know that moving the camera gives a feeling of presence and higher production value. As a kit, it has what you need for many shooting solutions for the independent filmmaker.

The Elements Bundle  is lightweight and easily handled by one person.  The Pegasus is easy to set up either as a slider dolly or a tabletop dolly.    The Pegasus dolly uses steel ball bearings that run smoothly along 15mm carbon rails making for a lightweight but sturdy slider.  The design allows the unit to be inverted on the rails for overhead shots that can add a unique moving viewpoint to many subjects.  Once you unhook the dolly from the track, it becomes a tabletop dolly that can perform both straight and curved dolly movements.

The kit includes an All Terrain foot system but can also be mounted using adapter plates using 1/4-20 and 3/8 (my favorite) threaded holes or 5/8 holes for  lighting stands.

For more information please go to www.Cinevate.com

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CROSSING OVER FROM STILLS TO VIDEO

Posted: April 8th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Redrock Micro, video, video production | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

The prize for the Rockin’t It People’s Choice category in the APA 2nd Annual Short Video Contest is the Redock Micro Crossover Kit.  With The Crossover Kit, once again Redrock Micro has put together just what a photographer shooting video needs.  As a professional photographer owning Lee White Photography, I have also shot video for over twenty years.  I have found few things beat well thought-out professional equipment.  Shooting video sometimes takes specialized equipment not usually in a photographer’s kit.  The Crossover Kit provides just such equipment.  I have used the various parts that make up this kit and found them indispensable at times.  This is a great starter kit for those getting into video.

The Crossover Kit starts with a choice of base plates, either the DSLR Baseplate, microRRS or lowBase which holds the 15mm support rods.  15mm rods are industry standard so you will be building a very adaptable set. The final piece of the kit is the microMatteBox which controls the glare and gives you two full-size rotating stages for most filtration plus fits virtually any size lens or camera.  For more information, I suggest you go to http://store.redrockmicro.com.

To find out how to submit to the APA 2nd Annual Short Video Contest and to read the fine print, please go here: http://tinyurl.com/APAvideo. The contest is open to APA and all creative content creators.

Redrock Micro Crossover-Kit

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To UV Or Not To UV

Posted: November 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

As a advertising and editorial photographer that shoots both in the studio using strobes  and on location using the sun I am covered in UV.  What I mean is that both light sources emit large amounts of UV.  Since, I have been a professional photographer for over thirty years, I started my career shooting film.  It was popular and useful to use a UV filter when shooting film.  Film is sensitive to UV, digital sensors are not.  So the possible carry over of using a UV filter is needless in this age of digital photography. So the answer is Not To UV.

This hold true for shooting digital video as well as digital still photography.

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Color Balance Important in Video

Posted: April 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Lighting, Manfrotto, video | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

As an advertising and editorial photographer in Los Angeles, I usually shoot in RAW so while I always do a white balance before I start shooting.  It is basic best practices even if it is not really baked into the image file.  It is even more important when one shoots video which has a baked in color balance.  Unless you are shooting one of the 4:4:4 video cameras which records all of the color information in the image file you are interpolating down much of the color information to a small percentage of the original.  You cannot be far off in your exposure or color balance without downgrading your image in post corrections.

Yet, so often I have to remind photographers who are starting to shoot video that right after getting the exposure setting to white balance the camera.  I would say this is important all the time rather than relying on the presets even if you are shooting daylight or professional lights.  Very seldom do you really shoot in direct sunlight so there can be a bias in the diffusion material or fill reflectors.  Lights get old and change color plus any diffusion can again cause a color shift.

I always carry a 12 inch Lastolite  EzyBlance Calibration Card with me.  It folds down into a 7inch carry bag and flexes out to 12 inch with a neutral median grey side and neutral white reverse side.  The median grey side allows for both setting exposure and white balance.  This can be especially helpful to wedding shooters that have to contend with white gowns and black tuxedos under mixed light sources.

Lastolite EzBalance Calibration Card

Lastolite EzBalance Calibration Card

Go to http://www.lastolite.com/ezybalance.php for more inforamtion.

Another handy device is the SyderCube.  For RAW shooters you can use it alone to find your color balance.  For video you can use it in tandem with the Lastolite  EzyBlance Calibration Card to further refine your color balance.  It has four areas for adjusting your color and exposure – white, median grey, black and black trap.  Again, small enough to easy carry with you. Simple shoot the SyderCube and use the white and median grey sides with the eyedroppers and the black slider in Final Cut Pro to show a slight difference in the black and black trap.  I’ll post a video using the SyderCube for corrections soon.

Datacolor SpyderCube

Datacolor SpyderCube

Go to http://spyder.datacolor.com/portfolio-view/spyder-cube/ for more information.

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Flicker Around The World

Posted: November 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Lee White Photography, Lighting | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

As an editorial photographer based in Los Angeles, California my assignments have given me an opportunity to shoot all over the world.  I have shot photographs and video in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and above the arctic circle (I know it’s not a continent by it’s still very cool).

Any type of travel bring with it certain difficulties and far off lands bring the add problems of different electrical issues.  There are different plugs, voltages and cycling.  I have a fist full of plug adapters.  I shoot my still photography with Balcar multi voltage strobes.  And take special care when setting my shutter speed shooting video.

In the US, it is usually fine to shoot video under fluorescent lights with shutter speeds at 1/48 to 1/60 of a second to prevent flicker and that holds true for any 60 Hz country.  In european countries and other places in the world that use 50 Hz AC power shooting video at 1/100 of a second usually solves the problem of fluorescent flicker.

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