Welcome to the M Palma Photo Blog

Hi, my name is Mike, a professional wedding and portrait photographer born, raised, and based here in beautiful, Silverlake, Los Angeles, California.

On this blog, you'll find the daily inspirations, images and musings of my life.

I love photographing people, places, and anything else that catches my eye. I describe my style of photography as modern, fun, and energetic. So stay a while, check out my work, and get to know me better through my images and entries.

If you'd like to visit my main wedding and portrait site, click on this link, or click on the "connect" button up top to drop me a line via e-mail.

Like I said, stay awhile, and enjoy the entries. And please, do leave a comment. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter (via the icons above this paragraph) for even more up-to-date happenings (don't worry, I won't put up meager posts like "I'm standing in line at Starbucks" (my favorite coffee spot!). Only the really cool and important stuff!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Happy Wednesday everyone! We’re in the final week of the first month of the new year! Whoa! Seriously, as we get older, time sure does fly by faster. Or is it just me? Regardless of how quickly the days are going by, I hope as always that everything is going great for you, AND that your new year’s resolutions are still intact, and going according to plan. Can I get an amen?! Anyone? Anyone…? LOL!

Since my last post, I have been on a tear trying out new stuff to help my photography eye grow and to get better at this thing called “making” photographs, vs. just “taking” them. With the help of my good buddy Farouk, (a down to earth, great soul and personality guy! Who is single BTW ladies – LOL), we did a James Dean inspired shoot last Friday. Farouk kinda has the James Dean look, so, with the help of some easy wardrobe (jeans, white T-shirt, jacket), and some props (motorcycle and truck), we set out to MAKE some fun and inspired images, in homage to the “Giant” and “Rebel” himself.

First off, I want to say thanks once again to my other good buddy Felix V. for allowing us the use of his property and bike and truck! Much appreciated bro-ham! Felix has a small array of vintage cars and trucks, which made for a great backdrop. Without him, we would have just strolled the streets until we saw one parked. Ha!

We started off with Farouk on the motorcycle, with some Ray-Ban Aviator shades. I had him leaning up against the bike while I set up my Einstein strobe with Beauty Dish, situated to camera left. The sun was still up, but fading relatively fast at about 4:00pm. I used the sun to rim light him from the back, while my strobe added a bit more pop on his shadowed side. I chose to use the beauty dish without any diffusion because I wanted a harder, more contrasty light. Besides, for men, it works better, especially in this situation. With the help of the online lighting diagram creator, I was able to graph out how I set up my light to show you how I got the looks we shot. Big ups to the site for providing such a valuable resource!

Here’s the set up for the motorcycle shot. They didn’t have a motorcycle in the background selections, so you won’t see one, but just imagine that it’s there.

 

2015, m palma photography, online lighting diagram creator, nikon, 70-200, einstein, beauty dish, male model, fashion, los angeles, photographer

 

The sun, as mentioned was to Farouk’s back, acting as a rim. From this set-up, I shot from the front and even moved over to my right, and in front of the bike for other angles. The bike was perpendicular to my shooting position in the diagram. Here are the results:

 

 

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You can see where my strobe is coming from and the direction of where the sun light is at.

From this, we went over to Felix’s truck and set up the lights this way:

 

2015, m palma photography, online lighting diagram creator, nikon, 70-200, einstein, beauty dish, male model, fashion, los angeles, photographer

 

 

From this position, the sun was still to camera right, but fading rather quickly, so my strobe provided almost all of the illumination. I also “skimmed” the position of the face of the beauty dish so as to work with the edges vs. the full face, giving me “softer” shadows – kinda. As you will see, the light is still “soft’, yet contrasty, but then again, that’s the nature of a beauty dish. There was also a near sheer drop off behind me, so I had to kinda of be careful. More so for my equipment vs. me! I can heal, my camera can’t! LOL!! Oh, and as mentioned, we used a truck, and not a shiny new sports car as the diagram implies. Maybe next time! Here are the results, some of my most favorite from the series:

 

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The quality of light coming from the Einstien is incredible! I was going for a “magazine” type of look, so I upped my shutter speed to close to my sync speed, but wanted some ambient still. My aperture was at about f/5.6. I just love the texture on the truck and the contrasty nature of the light on Farouk. Sure the shadows are not that soft, but it doesn’t hurt the photos in my opinion, cause we were going for a masculine, tough-guy, type of look. The beauty dish works well here.

Finally, as the sun set over the horizon, I knew that I had some ambient light left to work with, although no more rim light. So, I used my set-up to act as the primary light source, using a slower shutter speed to get a bit more of that ambient into the exposure. No diagram with this one, but you can tell the direction of light:

 

 

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I still wanted to mimic the direction of the sun light so I placed the strobe/beauty dish about 8-10 feet away from Farouk with these two photos. You could see the long reddish rays of the setting sun in the previous photo.

Once the waning rays of sunlight completely faded, I set up my light this way:

 

 

 

2015, m palma photography, online lighting diagram creator, nikon, 70-200, einstein, beauty dish, male model, fashion, los angeles, photographer

 

The sun in the diagram was placed there to let you know where it was setting. I went farther back with my lighting to create harsher shadows. Plus, I upped the power on the strobe as well to cover the distance I put it at, roughly 12 feet to the right of the camera. This time, the face of the beauty dish is angled directly towards Farouk’s face, and not skimming him like before. Here’s what we got:

 

 

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Notice how much more contrast there is between the highlights and shadows? There’s still detail in the dark areas, but the difference is more pronounced. The photo of Farouk on the motorcycle was placed there just to show the variety and wasn’t a part of this last series of him standing.

 

 

 

There you have it! My first blog post complete with lighting diagrams! I actually FORGOT to shoot some behind the scenes shots of my set-ups cause we were working against the fading sun, but I’ll remember to do that next time! I’m glad I had the opportunity to diagram it all out though to show you guys how the photos were created. I’m definitely going to do more of these in the future, so please check back to see what’s new!

 

Thanks again for Felix for the use of his place and for my awesome model Farouk. I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of him on the blog in the future. And ladies, did I mention, he’s single? Cause he is. LOL! Check out his website here.

Lastly, (proud photographer moment!) I wanted to say how thrilled I am to have been chosen to photograph the wedding of my new clients Heather and Roger! Two of the sweetest and FUN people you would ever meet! They are getting married later this year in October! Woo hoo! We’re scheduled for an engagement shoot sometime between now and then, and I can’t wait for that session to take place, cause like I said, they’re so cool! Plus, in about two months time, I’m photographing yet another great couple, Michelle and Shannon. That’s going to be a blast as well! The E-session will take place shortly, and that’s going to be fun too!

Thanks again and as always for stopping by. Now go out and photograph something will you?!

See you next week!

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 


Categories: Fashion, Portraits