Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan. Today on The Slanted Lens we’re out in downtown L.A., shooting some product for Vanguard. You know by now that I love lighting. But sometimes that’s just not feasible. So today I’m showing you a “Run and Gun” shoot. One reflector is the only equipment I’ve got besides my camera and lens. Take a look and see how I do it.
Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan. Today on The Slanted Lens we’re downtown. We’re out here to shoot an ad for Vanguard. I’m just gonna walk and shoot and talk about what I’m doing as we go. We’re going to poach some locations, slide into some places that we may get kicked out of. But you know that’s kind of the way it goes. I think you’ll gain something as I talk through why I’m choosing the angle, why I’m choosing the lens, why I’m doing what I’m doing.
I always start in these situations with my Tamron 70-200mm lens. It’s my go-to lens when I start with this because I want the background to be out of focus. I’ll set it aperture priority to start, at the beginning of the day because my lighting is fluctuating fast. I want to shoot really quick. But I’ll say I want to be about 4.5 or 5.6 so I get a little bit of depth of field. And then I let the shutter just go wherever it wants to go. The light’s not fabulous so I’m trying to get him into a position where the sun becomes a nice key light on his face. And you use that sun in the right place. Sometimes direct sun can look fabulous. Then we’re going to try to work at dusk where the light gets soft and beautiful. So let’s look at some of the different setups we had throughout the day today.
I’ve got Alberto here up on top of the stairs. I am somewhere between 135 and 200mm. I’m trying to get down low so I can get the tripod and him into that blue sky so it isolates a little bit. Sam has a Photoflex translucent reflector working right now. All the light comes through so I can take this hard light off of Alberto. I don’t mind the hard light, but I can’t quite get it into the place I want it. I’ll try again in a minute.
I liked the lines in the steps when I shot a little lower, that was nice. Some of those look cool. But this is just very isolated and we see the blue and we see the tripod against the blue and it just makes the shot very clean. So I’ll probably move him back down these steps a little bit. But then we’re about to run over to Union Station and see if we can walk through there without getting kicked out. Although I thought we were gonna get kicked out of here but the security guy is very nice.
I’m loving this, when I Dutch it. Dutching the angle I can make the camera so it’s square to all the lines in the building, or I can turn the camera so all the lines are on a different, weird angle and it looks really cool. It’s just fabulous. You get just enough light coming through that window to open up his face. I am shooting at 1250th ISO though. Which I don’t love. But hey, in here we can’t set up strobes or anything, we have to shoot with what we’ve got and so I’m trying not to be wide open. We’re about 4.5 but on this Tamron 15-30mm lens I’m using now that’s a lot of focus. I’m at 24mm here. I went to 24 rather than 15 because at 15 the bag looked like it was huge. It looked like it was a major suitcase. But when I go to that little longer lens, when I go back to about 24, then it’s not so huge.
We’re outside now. We’re gonna let Alberto just walk here. There’s a nice rim light from behind with the sun that’s going down. I see a dark background behind him because the sun is low enough now. It’ll look gorgeous here. I’ll get a little bit of highlight on the cement, from the bag as well. I may want Sam to hit the bag with a rim light with the reflector. So we’re gonna go ahead and shoot away.
I chose this angle here for several reasons. One is the sun is pretty low. It’s giving me just a nice kind of sliver of rim light all around his body. It gives me the opportunity to get the reflector in and bounce a little bit of light into that black bag, which I’m fighting a little bit because it’s so dark. So it gives a little bit of light on that black bag. And also I get down on my knees here because I want to push him up into the dark background back there. Not necessarily the bright cement that’s on the ground. And that isolates him, it isolates the bag. I see the bag against the bright cement but him against the dark background with that nice rim around him. It looks really pretty.
It looks nice. It’s a little blown out but I get the flare- the sun in the background, which is really nice. I get him walking back. I’ve got to come up with another thought on how to present this bag that’s not just him walking away from us. But it looks good. I’m exposing for him. That’s nice rim light on him as he goes across. The flare of that sun in the background. I think we’re gonna go up on some brick and just have him stopping, looking in the bag.
The light is going to be clean and open in here. Basically what we have here is you’ve got a light source, a big reflector across the street, that’s bouncing a little bit of light. And you see it on Alberto’s face. He’s got a nice highlight on his side. If he looks into that light it’s fabulous. Kind of raking across the bricks so it’s gonna look really nice. So we’re gonna shoot a few of him next to these bricks with the bag before we move on here. I just like this little spot. I’m going to get down low. I can get almost on the bag’s level on a 200mm lens. The light is fabulous. It’s such a soft, open light in here. It’s gorgeous.
So I’ve got 200mm on my lens. I’m shooting an 80th of a second, which is way too slow. I should really be at twice the mm of my lens length. So I should be at 400th of a second, but I’m at 80th, and that’s the best I can get in here. I don’t want to push my ISO anymore. So I tuck my elbows in, gently breathe out, and then shoot before I draw a breath again. Draw a breath, relax, breathe out and shoot. I also lean it against my eye so I have three points of contact. Two hands and my eye.
I’d like to get 5.6 in here if it’s possible but it’s not possible. Not at that ISO. I mean we’re in deep in the shadows here. So I’m gonna have to kick this up to 1250 ISO.
We had a great shot going up on the plaza but they kicked us out. I had everything just out of focus. This doesn’t look quite as good as up there but it looks pretty nice. The light’s beautiful right now. It’s just soft everywhere. There’s enough highlight in the sky, just a big softbox in the sky above us gives light on his face. That’s sometimes what you have to deal with when you run and gun. You know, we thought we were good but nope. And I’m gonna lay here in the dirt, the bubble gum and the pee and get a shot of Alberto.
We got some great shots today. Some fabulous setups throughout the day. I hope you learned something from that stream of consciousness. I feel like I just keep bumping into fabulous shots as we go throughout the day. But those fabulous shots come because I’m using a long lens, things go out of focus or I’m using a wide lens and I’ve got great interesting architectural context. So those two principles are what guided my thought process throughout our shoot today. So keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’.