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.

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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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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Portrait Photo-Drama at sunset

Posted: March 4th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon, Lighting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Editorial portrait

Editorial portrait

This photograph could easily be used as an editorial photo, possibly an advertising photo, and the technique could be applied to corporate photos as well.

Again, this is location photography with direct light used for impact. I photographed this portrait on the beach at sunset with dramatic clouds in the background, so I wanted to keep the crisp outdoor feel to the picture using direct light. Photographing with direct light can be challenging, but in this case it makes the woman stand out nicely from the powerful background. The portable lighting system I use allows me to adjust to the quickly changing light at sunset and move about without dealing with generators or power cords. This time I used a Canon 5D and Canon EX580. I plan ahead and always think about keeping it simple, so I can concentrate on the picture.

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You always have a subject!

Posted: February 25th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »
Self Portrait

Self Portrait

As an advertising photographer in Los Angeles, California, I have photographed everyone from Hollywood celebrities for international ads to stockholders for corporate annual reports. Being a people photographer, I find it interesting that there is a common belief that one needs a celebrity or at least a model to make a good commercial photo. New photographers sometimes don’t realize celebrities and models are just real people too. Admittedly they have more experience in front of a camera and sometimes the support of professional makeup artist, hair stylist and wardrobe people so are more comfortable being photographed. It’s our jobs as photographers to create a situation where all our subjects response in the way we want.

Creating and controlling a photo session takes practice, I still practice all the time. This brings me to the above self-portrait. Although, I love the interaction with my subjects and find willing people to photograph almost everywhere I go, even if I don’t find a subject, I always have myself. I set my Canon 5d on self timer to capture this shot.

It is good practice being in front of the camera. If you want willing photographic subjects then you should be willing yourself and as a side benefit, you only have to quit shooting when you get tire. Never fear, in the coming posts the pictures I show and discuss will be of models, celebrities, and “real” people, just don’t forget you always have a subject in you.

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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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