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.

Holiday and End of Year Tax Savings

Posted: December 10th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | 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: Lee White | 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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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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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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Dom DeLuise dies, we lose a great talent and gracious man.

Posted: May 6th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | 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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Los Angeles advertising photographer Lee White focuses on healthy living.

Posted: April 29th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | 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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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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A personal shot that’s not a personal shot.

Posted: February 24th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Louisa

I did this shot for a job but it looks like a real shot of a friend. There is a level of comfort the subject has that speaks to a certain level of intimacy. It’s the emotional connection between the subject and the viewer that I always strife for in my images. In reality, it is a model I had never met before this shoot, being photographed by me, a professional advertising photographer on set, but it looks like two people in a trusting relationship. You know this person, you like this person. The feeling is helped by the unusual angle.

A key element in an advertising photograph, trust.

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Little enough light.

Posted: January 23rd, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Lighting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I love photographing people on location with just a few small lights that can go outside at a moments notice. Now, coming from a advertising photography background and at times shooting multiple sets with 8X10 film view camera I have strobes and light modifiers enough to light up an office complex at night and have. My studio has dedicated outlets just for strobe packs.

Sometimes it is necessary to have tens of thousands of watts of light available but regardless of how much power you have it is always about crafting the light and getting the most from your subject. I can’t show the recent cover shot from the Comerica Bank photography yet but using the same portable light system I did this editorial photograph.

Sherry King with clouds

Sherry King with clouds

I used a single light to make this dramatic portrait Sherry King. Rather than just accepting the soft light created by a cloudy day, I was able to control the light. I could pick the light’s direction and so select the areas of clouds I wanted behind her. The light on her nicely defined her features and clothing. It equalized the brightness of the subject to the brightness of the background so I could keep good rich cloud detail. You can see I purposely let the light fall off quickly at her lower legs to hide the dirt and sticks. Not only does it hide an ugly foreground it gives a solid base to the picture while still showing she was outside. At times, you need to hide ugly details in plain sight and make them work for you.

With my portable lighting kit I can move about without worrying about plug-ins or generators. I can keep in rhythm with my subject and the energy up.

It is all about having and using the right tools at the right time.

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