I'm an advertising photographer 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.

First production Canon 7d in the US

Posted: September 29th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon, Canon 7d, video | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Having one of the first production Canon 7d DSLRs in the US I have to think of what glass I want to put on it. Photographers love their glass, they love the rainbow colors reflecting off the multicoating, the image snapping into focus and the silky smooth feel of a fine rotating focus barrel. Up until now, photographers have had to live with the manufacturers line of lenses which are often very good especially the high end models or after market brands of varying quality with an occasional standout. Now there is a growing line of very high quality lenses that are especially well-suited to the latest DSLRs with video capabilities.

Still photographers now have access to a line of extraordinary Zeiss prime lenses much like feature filmmakers have been able to use for years. (Lenses that are still compatible with many of the electric functions of the camera but that have been set up to have an exquisitely long manual focus pull that make manual follow focus and track focus much easier.) The very wide prime aperture, along with its nine blades, ensure that the effects of the out-of-focus areas of the picture have an attractively balanced “bokeh” so highly prized by cinematographers.

Zeiss has already created a line of Nikon mount lenses and is starting to fill out the Canon mount lens line of a Planar T 1.4/50mm and Planar T 1.4/85mm with the just announced Distagon T 2.8/21mm and more to come. For more information on Carl Zeiss SLR Lenses go to www.zeiss.com/photo.

I have already decided on my first tandem still/video production with a friend’s classic bright red convertible Corvette and a romantic couple along the beautiful California coast.

Zeiss Distagon f2.8 21mm lens for Canon cameras

Zeiss Distagon f2.8 21mm lens for Canon cameras

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7d, Canon’s Latest Entry in the DSLR Video Race

Posted: September 1st, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon, Education, Workflow, video | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Canon 7D DSLR camera with HD video of interest to advertising photographers.  I’m looking forward to testing the 7d to see how it might work for the videos I do for my clients.   Sept. 1, 2009 2:30 A.M. PST breaking news for those thinking about adding video to their photography and just using one camera for both.  Just announced in Sweden a few hours ago was Canon’s 7D with expanded video capablities. In light of the Collision Conference that just happened in Los Angeles this last weekend and the stir created by the video REVERIE created on the 5D Mark II, a new addition to Canon’s DSLR line with video is welcome.  The 7D is a less expensive camera than the 5D Mark II using a smaller CMOS chip of 22.3mm x 14.9mm rather than the full frame chip of 36mm x 24mm which give the 7D a magnification factor of 1.6x.  It is set to be a 18 megapixel still camera using dual Digic 4 image proscessors that also shoots the two HD formats of 1920 x 1080p and 1280 x 720p.  The ISO range is 100 to 6400 like the 5D but tops out at 12,800 expanded unlike the 5D’s expanded reaching 25,600. It has continous raw shooting speed is fast at  8 FPS for 15 frames compared to the 5D at just under 4 FPS.  The autofocus has 19 points instead of 9 points for the 5D.

For video, the long hoped for 24FPS (23.976) is here along with 25FPS and 30FPS (29.97) in 1080p with 720p being restricted to 50 or 60FPS.   The smaller chip means a depth of field much like that of the 35mm motion picture cameras as they both have about the same size image area.  The Canon 7D has an interesting choice of 60FPS for the 720p which helps with fast action, crisper freeze frames and smoother slow motion.  It will be interesting to follow the testing of this camera to see how it might best fit into a photographer’s workflow.  Canon reportly plans on shipping late September.  For more details on this camera visit Canon’s website.

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Professional Photography and Video Merge into Hybrid

Posted: August 31st, 2009 | Author: Lee White | 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: Lee White | 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: Lee White | Filed under: Canon, Education, Workflow, photo lighting | 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 commercial photographer Lee White involvement with ESL teacher conference in California.

Posted: April 19th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon, Education | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Advertising, editorial, and corporate photography is the main stay of my Los Angeles advertising photography studio’s work. Since many of my assignments as a corporate and magazine photographer include a video interview, it was natural I would be asked to help out at Ventura College and Santa Barbara City College during video projects. Being involved with photography education, I always feel privileged to assist other educators.

ESL teacher Kari Tudman presenting at CATESOL conference

ESL teacher Kari Tudman presenting at CATESOL conference

Los Angeles advertising photographer Lee White presenting at CATESOL conference.

Los Angeles advertising photographer Lee White presenting at CATESOL conference.


The CATESOL presentation was given by the well-known ESL teacher, Kari Tudman who used producing a video in class as a classroom community building project. During the class project, I assisted Kari and the students with technical advice and a second camera when needed. Kari and the students did the bulk of the work themselves and a good job at that. The two videos turned out very funny and the students really enjoyed working together. I then did a slight reedit, grading and sweetening of the projects at my Los Angeles photography studio to prepare the two videos for presentation in a large conference room. I also helped out at the presentation to make sure there were no technical problems and answer a few questions.

Photography hints: With over fifteen years of experience in photography education, I find I have benefited as much as I have contributed to any class. Take the opportunity to share your knowledge and give to your community.

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Video class for photographers starting very soon.

Posted: April 4th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon, Education, Lighting, Workflow, video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Ready to expand from still photography to HD video? Before you take the plunge, sign up for a highly informative class at Santa Monica College designed to take the photographer through all the steps of preproduction, production and postproduction while building on the skills he already has given by Los Angeles advertising photographer Lee White. By the end of the class, an experienced photographer should be able to start producing short form videos.

The class will cover DSLRs with HD video capabilities as well as traditional video cameras , workflow, treatments, estimating, planning, digital formats, camera techniques, lighting equipment and techniques, sound equipment and techniques, narrative techniques, editing with Final Cut Pro and output. At the first class, equipment from Canon, Panasonic, Redrockmicro, Marshall monitors, and Bogen are scheduled for discussion and viewing.

Photographers are particularly well place to learn the video skills that will add value to their services and a new creative outlet.

You need to act fast as there is limited enrollment contact lee@leewhitephoto.com

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Advertising photography- dramatic lighting of a Ryan PT22 classic airplane

Posted: April 2nd, 2009 | Author: Lee White | 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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Advertising photography – On a cold winter’s morning

Posted: March 22nd, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon, Lighting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

advertising portrait
It was dark and cold in the predawn hours as I left my studio in Los Angeles for an assignment to do a beauty shoot in San Diego in tandem with a TV Commercial shoot. I arrived just as the sun broke over the distant horizon and started to warm the crew that had gathered at the production studio entrance. I have done a number of these shoots and it is always interesting to see how the Director of Photography is going to light the same talent. Besides the fact, I love to light for video when I do web interview content in conjunction with my editorial photography. Undoubtedly, sometime during my part of the shoot, some of the production crew will come by to see what I’m doing and, when I get a chance, I get to do the same on their set. For these photos, I used my Canon 5d in raw mode to give the client options for both print and broadcast use.

This time the cinematographer was Stuart Asbjornsen, who has worked on a number of feature films and TV series such as Baywatch. I had to finish my portion of the shoot before the talent could move on to Stuart’s commercial set. This meant I had to wait until I was done to see just how he was going to handle the beauty lighting for film. Would it be similar to how I light my commercial photography or vastly different?

When I finally got a chance to get over to the other set, I was pleasantly surprised how much his set up was like the set up I often use to light women. A large soft light from the side to give contouring to the face, broad front fill to soften the skin, and rims to give sparkle to the hair and make the face glow. In this case, I was using strobes and the film crew hot lights but once again it brings up the fact that it is about the craft and not the equipment. The above shot is not from the San Diego shoot but uses the same type of lighting. The San Diego images have not been published yet, so I cannot release them in my blog.

Knowing how to make attractive lighting for women is useful in all types of commercial photography whether it is for an advertising photo, editorial photo or corporate photo.

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Video-Students jumping for joy.

Posted: March 18th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon, Education | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Lee White filming the exciting conclusion of a scene.

Lee White filming the exciting conclusion of a scene.

[caption id="attachment_156" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Lee White with students involved with a class video project. "]Lee White with students involved with a class video project.  [/caption]
Here are a couple of shots, taken with a Canon G9, during a recent video session I did at Santa Barbara City College for a non-photo class. I have been teaching and lecturing in photography classes as well as volunteering to do photography and video for non-photo classes for over fifteen years. I’m always happy to help out and find the student’s enthusiasm contagious.

In the future, I hope to see more interaction between the image making and non-image making classes so image-making students can learn how to deal with situations they will face out of school. Almost all image-makers, except a few fine art creators, have to learn how to communicate with non-image making people and become team players while not losing their individual identity. As image-makers, we are usually part of a collaboration in creating something more than just images, our images are combined with text, spoken language and music to convey a total message that communicates information and emotions about an idea, an event, a service, or a product. The sooner students can enjoy the interaction and creativity that comes with collaboration, the sooner they will be comfortable with the world after school.

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