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.

Found Photographic Subjects

Posted: November 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Workflow | Tags: , , | No Comments »

As a commercial photographer in Los Angeles, CA, most of my photographic subjects are already predetermined as part of the assignment.  So it is a joy to photograph on my own.  I try and keep a camera with me as much a reasonable.  I get to practice developing my photographic eye.  Watching the play of light.  Finding compositions in the jumble of shapes around me.

This time my found photographic subjects were rocks along the seawall.  The light seemed to caress the smooth round surfaces late in the day. I found one design after another.  I struggled to take what was chaos and find order.  I realized I must first take in the whole and then find the areas that most interested me to photograph.  I wondered if while placing the rocks if the workers just considered strength or somehow drawn to the designs they were creating.  While photographed in color the rocks were monotone and I felt they were best represented in B&W.

Ventura CA Seawall Rocks by Lee White

Ventura CA Seawall Rocks 2 by Lee White

Ventura CA Seawall Rocks 3 by Lee White

Ventura CA Seawall Rocks 5

Ventura CA Seawall Rocks 6 by Lee White Photography

Ventura Seawall Rocks by Lee White Photography

Ventura Sea Rocks 1 by Lee White Photography

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Zeiss 28mm F2 Lens Shockingly Sharp

Posted: October 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Zeiss | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

As an advertising and editorial photographer / videographer in Los Angeles I’m always testing techniques. I heard that shooting in digital monchrome RAW actually gives a full color RAW that displays in monchrome in picture style. I never take anything on faith without testing first so I when into my backyard to take a few shots with the monochrome picture style to work with.

I was working with one of my favorite lenses the Zeiss Distagon 28mm f2 on an APS-C chip size digital camera giving me an effective 39mm lens. Zeiss also makes another great lens for both still and video which is the Zeiss Planar 50mm f1.4.

Zeiss Distagon 28 mm F2 ZE Lens

So, I’m shooting and I see a Monarch butterfly land on a branch about four feet above me. I have no way of getting closer and I always figure I would rather take the shot and delete it later then miss it. What a surprise when I took the image into the computer and looked at it. At first, I could barely see the butterfly but then I started to blow the image up. I was shocked when I settled on the final cropping and saw the sharpness of the Zeiss lens. The first shot is the full frame shot and then there is the same shot blown up and cropped.

Zeiss Distagon 28mm F2 Lens Full Frame Shot

Zeiss Distagon 28mm F2 Lens with Image Blown Up and Cropped

For more information on the complete line of Carl Zeiss DSLR lenses go to https://photo-shop.zeiss.com.

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Windy Day at Point Lobos

Posted: November 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Manfrotto, video production | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Manfrotto 536 MPRO sticks and the new 504HD fluid head saved the day in strong wind gusts.  Just after being on an advisory panel at Brooks, Institute of Photography presenting my vision of the future of photography, I headed up to Carmel for a meeting with the Weston Family.  Carmel is also the home of the famous Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and some of the most beautiful scenery along the Pacific Coast.

As soon as I got out of the car at Point Lobos, I knew something was up. The wind was coming in strong gusts, buffeting me.  I planned to shoot with the lightweight compact Panasonic HMC 40 using the advanced AVCHD codec to capture the fine detail in the sculpted  rock and twisted Monterey pines.   As I looked up the first of many flights of stairs that would take me over the hills through the woods, I knew I wanted rock solid shots and silky smooth pans and tilts.  The upside of a camcorder like the Panasonic HMC 40 is it is small, lightweight and easy to carry yet carries a big punch in image quality.  But, its light weight can make it difficult to hold it steady in strong winds.  My solution was choosing the Manfrotto 536 MPRO tripod and 504HD fluid head.

Manfrotto 536 MPRO Tripod and 504HD Head

The Manfrotto  536 MPRO sticks might seem like overkill for such a lightweight camera, but in fact, it was just what was needed to add stability.  I was not going to spend my day climbing the hundreds of stairs of Point Lobos and end up with shaky shots.  Lightweight camera plus substantial sticks equals steady shots.  If I had been using a heavy shoulder mount camera that placed a lot of weight on the tripod, forcing it down, I might have been able to use a lighter weight set of sticks. However,  with only the sticks to ground the camera, I was happy to have the sturdy carbon composite legs.  The MPRO 536 held the HMC 40 in place even in the heaviest gusts of wind.  Another nice attribute of the MPRO 536 is that I could extend the legs making it easy to get higher than eye level shots and, of course, it can flatten out to almost ground level.

As for the 504HD fluid head, again, one might start out thinking why such a strong head for a handheld camera?  Same as with the sturdier 536 legs, the ball bearings and wide range of adjustments for tension in panning and tilting added to silky smooth moves with the 504HD.  It reminded me of thick creamy chocolate milk as I made my pan / tilts.  I was able to follow the waves working their way up the mini fiords of Point Lobos while splashing against the rock walls.  My pans were kept smooth even when I was hit by an unexpected wind gust as I stood exposed on the rocky shoreline.

Lee White Shooting Monterey Coast

Lee White Shooting Along Monterey Coast

The samples of the video from my shoot will be posted soon.

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Are Your Hard Drives Fast Enough?

Posted: September 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: LaCie | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

You can store video files on any speed hard drive but editing video is a different matter.  If you use too slow a drive, it will not be able to provide Final Cut Pro or your choice of NLE the video frames fast enough.  Slow drives result in dropped frames and make it impossible to precisely frame edit.  You need a 7200 RPM drive to edit video.

You should use a different hard drive to store your video data than your Final Cut Pro or other NLE application drive.  It is just very taxing on one drive to both run the NLE application and be constantly feeding video data for editing.

I prefer the LaCie hard drives for both travel and in my studio. I have been using them for over a decade without trouble and years before they became a sponsor of my Secrets of Video Production for Photographers.  For storing my files while traveling, I find the little orange wrapped “Rugged” 7200 RPM drive to suit my needs. Be careful and make sure you get a 7200RPM one as there are 5400 RPM speed ones available.  In the studio, I like the 2big Quadra as it can be configured in a variety of ways to meet your needs of safety and speed.

One last note, you need to connect the hard drives via either firewire or eSata connections as USB is just too slow.

Rugged

Rugged

2Big Quadra

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Secrets of Video Production Blows into the Windy City, Chicago

Posted: March 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Apple, Education, video, Workflow | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Video production for photographers is coming to Chicago on April 16 and 17. I’m looking forward to the windy city right after visiting NAB in Las Vegas for a few days.
Friday night is going to be the APA evening presentation from 6:30pm to 9:00pm where I give a basic outline of the process of video production within a still production and the additional software and equipment needed. Richard Wiser of VMI Broadcast and Professional video said of the evening, “ I found the information accurate and interesting and your presentation top-notch.” See http://midwest.apanational.com for more details.

Saturday’s workshop is always fun and informative as I have more time to really get into video production. In the morning, we look at the basics from a different point of view and then build on those basics including about when to call in a post house like Rawworks to help. In the early afternoon we do some lighting and camera techniques followed by a short commercial shoot with the latest equipment from Manfrotto, Panasonic, Ziess, Marshall Electronics, Redrock Micro, Beachtek, Sennhieser, K-Tek, Hoodman, and LaCie. I then take that video into Final Cut Studio, edit it and output it for various distribution methods. The day gives anyone interested in video production a good outline to follow in their own productions. See www.tiny.cc/chiapr17 for more details.

Video production is changing by the day and can be confusing to photographers just getting into motion. Having a working understanding of the overall picture, helps give the photographer getting into video production a understanding of how to judge what equipment and software to use. Once the photographer is producing video, there are a number of ways to market their new skill set to current and potential clients.

Christopher Lozano www.tlsHollywood.com did this time lapse click (MOVIE) of the LA evening presentation.

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Holiday and End of Year Tax Savings

Posted: December 10th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Apple, video | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I hope you will all join me at the Advertising Photographers of America Los Angeles holiday event. You can hear about my up coming video production for photographers events coming in January.

The holidays are here and so is the end of the tax year. While you’re out getting gifts for everyone else, think about what you might like for a gift to yourself. With all the early mornings and late nights you spend happily toiling away at making images, you deserve to take advantage of whatever tax saving you can while getting the equipment and software that make your life easier. Of course, always check with your tax advisor before making purchases.

apple-logo-silver-copyI want to remind you of the Apple Member Purchase Program available for APA members. Do any of us ever have enough computing power? The iPhone can be like an office in your pocket. I have fellow APA members that have their portfolios and videos on their iPhones to show anytime and anyplace, plus they can email images to potential clients in an instant.

Adbase has a load of services for your online marketing needs and is offering 25% until December 30th. Call to see how this fits in with the 15% APA members get as a membership benefit. Make sure you know what your needs are and how they can help you before signing up. Check out their website and don’t be afraid to call them to get answers to all your questions. The phone number is on the home page.

carl_zeiss_logoZeiss is quickly developing a line of Canon ZE lenses with two new additions of the Makro-Planar T* 2/50 and 2/100. Both macro lenses render objects in close-up on a scale of 1:2. To enable such detail, these lenses include Carl Zeiss’s acclaimed “floating elements” design. This special lens alignment enables high optical performance across the entire focusing range, from 0.24 m to infinity as in the case of the 2/50 ZE lens. The Makro-Planar T* 2/50 and Makro-Planar T* 2/100 are currently available for F bayonet (ZF) and K bayonet (ZK) cameras. The Makro-Planar T* 2/50 is also available as a ZF.2 version. Both lens systems are optimized for analog and full-format digital SLR cameras.

The Makro-Planar T* 2/50 ZE will begin shipping in December 2009 and the Makro-Planar T* 2/100 ZE will be available in early 2010.

There are loads more local and national member benefits at the Los Angeles chapter website apa-la.com under the drop down menu MEMBERSHIP

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Canon 7d video hybrid camera first production model in US

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

Canon 7d the new DSLR with expanded video capabilities; I just received one of the first production Canon 7d cameras in the US. It probably comes as no surprise to most of my clients and professional friends, since I have been shooting tandem stills and video in my projects for a decade now, that I would be one of the first to get this camera. In fact if you look back a few blog entries, you will find I announce the 7d just a few hours after Canon officially announced it in Sweden in the middle of our night. Why Sweden? I have no idea. I like Sweden; I have shot in Sweden and found it a beautiful and welcoming country.

Since many of my projects include video as well as stills, a DSLR with good video capabilities was something I am very interested in. Yes, I shot with the Canon 5d MarkII and found it somewhat lacking in a few critical areas. Mainly it was restricted to the one HD format of 1080p (progressive) at a true 30FPS, which is a non-standard frame rate for anything. Plus the sound is not only automatic gain controlled but also recorded in 44,100 kHz, which is CD quality instead of 48,000 kHz, which is digital video quality.

The canon 7d has taken care of the format issues by giving us five HD formats – Full HD in1080p at 23.976, 1080p at 25 and 1080p at 29.97, HD in 720p at 59.94 and 50, all of which are standards for NTSC and PAL, see one of the images below. The audio is still automatic gain control but has been bumped up to a DV standard of 48,000 kHz in linear PCM. At this point, I should probably bring up the chip size which is the smaller 22.3 x 14.9 AFS-C which some might think is not the direction to be going in but I find it a positive move. This is near the same size as 35mm movie film and so the look is very similar. One of the problems I found shooting with the Mark II was the depth of field at times was so shallow that even trained actors would shift slightly and end up out of focus on close-ups. Remember the auto focus is virtually non-existent shooting video with these cameras; you need to manually pull focus if you are tracking focus.

The controls on the camera body have changed as well. The on and off switch has moved to just below the mode dial and there is just a lock switch where the on, off and lock used to be. I guess this prevents one from turning the camera off when trying to unlock the settings. There is now a dedicated liveview shooting button that also turns on and off the video recording. The print button has the added feature of being a one touch Raw-Jpeg button. Another completely new button is the Quick Menu button that gives you quick menu in the LCD to change shooting functions.

canon_7d_back

Canon 7d back showing video formats

Enough tech stuff; what about shooting with the 7d and the images? I was looking forward to trying one of the new Zeiss prime lenses out with the first outing with the 7d but no joy there. I ended up using my trusted Canon EF 24-105 mm f/4 lens but remember the smaller sensor creates a 1.6 magnification. A side note: you can do a decent job of zooming and short follow focus with this lens if you give yourself a bit room to start as the lens seems to jerk a little at the beginning. I wanted to test the contrast range with the 7d considering the 5d has been noted for crushing the blacks so I picked a friend’s gloss black and chrome classic Harley-Davidson (see the video test below) for a dramatic subject. The 7d does show a real time histogram with livepicture in the still mode, but there is no realtime histogram in the video mode. After shooting a bit of footage, I took a look at its histogram and there still appears to be some crushing of the blacks although the highlights seem to have very full gradations and there is good rendition through to the lower values. This is a very unsophiscated real world test but I’m not sure how valuable shooting color charts are either.

Classic Harley_Davidson on Canon 7d

Classic Harley_Davidson on Canon 7d

The weekend brought almost 30MPH winds to the California coast preventing my doing the girl at the beach test I did with the 5d. However, it did bring some angry seas with interesting waves, so I tried the different formats to get an idea of the motion representations. I also braved the wind out on the break water to get some clips of the seagulls floating on the winds to get another motion test of the three NTSC HD formats (see sample clips below of coastline, wave and seagulls.)

The clips were converted for the web and so don’t fully represent the original footage which would be impossible to stream. Videos by www.leewhitephoto.com

New Canon 7d camera used by Los Angeles photographer Lee White to shoot video along California coast.

New Canon 7d camera used by Los Angeles photographer Lee White to shoot video along California coast.

1080p @ 30FPS

1080p @ 30FPS

1080p @ 24 FPS

1080p @ 24 FPS

720p @ 60FPS

720p @ 60FPS

wave1080p30-poster

1080p @ 30 FPS

1080p @ 30 FPS

1080p @ 30 FPS

1080p @ 24 FPS

1080p @ 24 FPS

720p @ 60 FPS

720p @ 60 FPS

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Professional Photography and Video Merge into Hybrid

Posted: August 31st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Canon, Education, video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

As a professional advertising photographer in Los Angeles, video production was a craft that has been around me daily. I photographed the print side of commercials and shot specials on set working closely with the crew. Then almost a decade ago, I saw the desirability of shooting video to extend my creative range and supply clients with more creative services along with my photography. I first shot in standard definition and now shoot in high definition with incredible tools such as the very cinematic Canon 5d Mark II. As the internet was starting to become fast enough to play clips and cable had a growing need for material, my clients have increasingly asked for video shot with my “photographer’s eye”.

I have taken my skills in lighting, composition and mise-en-scene and applied them to the continuous narrative that is video. I first sought out video editors to learn what was needed to join clips together to tell a flowing story. If you know where you want to end up, it is much easier to get there. As I learned editing, it allowed me to understand what needs to be shot and how it needs to edit together. From there it has been practice, shooting for clients and watching the trends in films, commercials and on the web. It has come to a point where I teach a college course for professional photographers who want to learn video.

I’m using a Canon 5d Mark II on a rig by Redrock Mirco. Photo by the well known retoucher Dennis Dunbar.

Lee White using Canon 5d in video mode with Redrock Micro gear.

Lee White using Canon 5d in video mode with Redrock Micro gear.

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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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Dom DeLuise dies, we lose a great talent and gracious man.

Posted: May 6th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Lighting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Dom DeLuise died today and the world lost a very funny comic and a wonderfully kind man.  As a Los Angeles advertising photographer, I had the privilege of working with Dom recently, possibly his last commercial photography session.  I have included one of my favorite photographs from that shoot.

Dom DeLuise last photography session with Los Angeles professional photogrpaher Lee White

Dom DeLuise last photography session with Los Angeles professional photographer Lee White

I was doing advertising photographs for his house ware – cookware line.  Many of the shots involved food as props and you guessed it, Dom being the connoisseur that he was insisted on bringing the props.  He showed up at my Los Angeles studio with a limo full of fine cheeses, marvelous smoked meats and fish, luscious fruits and vegetables.  The shoot was incredibly fun.  There was Dom in each shot surrounded by one of the things he loved, great food, happy as could be.  As we finished each shot, Dom always the gracious host, even in my studio, would make everyone sit down and eat all the food from that shot.  It was like being in an Old Italian movie where the cast and crew would shoot then take a meal break together then back to shooting.  All the while, Dom would be telling stories of working with Hollywood’s elite.  I think I had at least a ten-course meal that day and loved every minute of it.

I will never forget that last enchanting day I spent with this kind and loving man, a very funny man and a man who lived life to the fullest.  I will always appreciate the gentleness he showed my daughter and niece when they stopped by and he insisted on have them take a picture with him and his beloved bird.

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