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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Apple Computers Black Friday Sale True!

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

You’re hearing it here first, all the rumors you have heard about a apple having a black Friday is true! Visit our Association online store the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 27th for a special holiday shopping event. You’ll find dozens of great iPod, iPhone, and Mac gift ideas – all with free shipping. Remember, you can order for yourself or on behalf of friends and family!

Also, don’t forget to visit our Association Online Store on Monday, November 30th to learn about exclusive products available only on the Apple Online Store. Association customers will also receive free shipping on all items in their Apple online store. This includes items priced under $50. This is a great time to purchase Mac and iPod accessories for the holidays and to make equipment purchases before the 2009 tax year is up!

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Advertising Photography and Video Together

Posted: October 14th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon 7d, Lighting, photo lighting, video | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Now that the Canon 7d is out, can new video from Nikon and Panasonic be far behind?   Some more interesting new products are out to help photographers move into doing short form video.  One of the problems that photographers got away from long ago was the need to use constant lights with the advent of strobes.  The constant lights were hot both to handle and on the subject, it took a lot of wattage to get a decent exposure, and were 3200 K so had to be gelled to balance with daylight which brought down the power even more.  Well, as wonderful as strobes are and I’m a big advocate of using them whenever possible except for a very few highly specialized stop motion systems, they are useless for video.

If you want to shoot video, now there are a number of choices beyond the old tungsten lights.  One type that is finding favor with cinematographers is the new LED light.  As a light source, they are powerful (for their size), small, sturdy, draw little power and a are daylight-balanced source that run very cool.  As of now, to light large areas you still might need a number of 1 x1 panels that can cost quite a bit but that will surely change in the near future.  For now you can start by trying one of the smaller battery powered on camera LED lights like the Litepanels Mirco or MicroPro.   Powerful enough to light small scenes or use as a fill in some cases, it can be dimmed with little color change.  I have found them useful off camera for interviews or as a kicker and on camera for an eye-light and run and gun situations.  I wish I had had some when filming in the catacombs of Paris a few years ago.  The quarters were cramped with no place for stands and these LED lights could have been hand held right where I needed them. Image by © Lee White

Litepanels Micro LED

Litepanels Micro LED

Zeiss continues to grow their line of Canon mount manual focus lenses that are especially suited for the DSLRs with video capabilities.  The latest is the ZEISS Distagon T* 2/28 ZE which is a moderate wide-angle lens designed for full-frame (D)SLR cameras, delivering a 74-degree field of view. Like the other Zeiss ZE lenses, it incorporates a CPU and data contacts for communication with the camera body and long focus pull.  This lens is meant to be used on the Canon cameras such as the 5d Mark II and the new 7d.  As I have mentioned before, Zeiss already has a line of Nikon lenses for video capable DSLRs.

Zeiss Distagon F2 28mm lens for Canon

Zeiss Distagon F2 28mm lens for Canon

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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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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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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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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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