Studio lighting – creating portraits with a difference | getting the best from a model

Richard Cawood has created a distinctive style of portraiture. In this article you can discover how he achieves his style, learn some tips for beginners and look in detail at the lighting rig he uses when travelling.

Richard Cawood has created a distinctive style of portraiture. In the first article we looked at what is behind his emotive minimalist style. In this second article you can learn more about how he works with models and go behind the scenes with details of a typical studio lighting rig.

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Studio lighting
creating portraits with a difference
getting the best from a model

Grasping Unlimited Space

During his travels in 2017, the Lebanon-born photographer Dany Eid played with the visual contrast between a close up and the vast expanse of landscapes to explore the theme of infinity. He shot at various locations, always keeping ZEISS Lenses at hand to visualize infinity for both him and the people he meets in the particular region.

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ZEISS Infinity Tour with Dany Eid
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Focus demands Resolution and Contrast

What determines sharpness and blurring in an image? Bertram Hönlinger, optics expert at ZEISS, talks about the performance of modern camera lenses and the limits of what is technically feasible.

Mr. Hönlinger, in photography the topic of “sharpness” is touched upon time and again. What exactly does it mean?

Bertram Hönlinger: One of my colleagues once put it like this: “Focus is an out-of-focus term.” By that he meant that there is no clear-cut definition of focus in photography. We see the concept much more on the subjective level.

But you are an optics expert. So I am sure you have a very specific image in your mind of what focus means.

Focus is closely related to depth of field. As soon as I focus on a point within a shot, say the eyes of a model when I am taking a portrait, a focal plane is created that ideally runs parallel to the camera’s sensor. One point on this focal plane will appear as a single point on the sensor – or almost will. It is a different story with the details in my motive points which lie either in front of or behind this focal plane: the rays of light reflected by them do not meet at a point in the camera sensor, but are in fact spread across an area around the target point.

This is known as the circle of confusion …
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“The camera’s resolution capacity and the reproduction of micro contrasts makes all the difference when it comes to image definition.”

125 Years of ZEISS Camera Lenses with the Future in Focus

125 Years of ZEISS Camera Lenses with the Future in Focus

Zeiss125OBERKOCHEN/Germany, 20/03/2015.
ZEISS has been producing camera lenses for more than a century – and the tradition of creating major innovations has continued to this very day. For example, the current ZEISS Otus SLR lenses are setting new standards in image quality. The first camera lenses left the Jena production facility on 21 March 1890.

“Camera lenses have been an important field of business for us for over 100 years,” explains Dr. Michael Kaschke, President and CEO of ZEISS. “We are very proud that cameras featuring our lenses have already been to the moon and have been used by many famous photographers. For us, this tradition is an obligation to continue offering the highest quality and developing pioneering new technologies.”

Zeiss125aZEISS was founded as a workshop for precision mechanics and optics in the German city of Jena in 1846 . Until the death of company founder Carl Zeiss in 1888, the company’s production portfolio was focused primarily on microscopes. From this point onward, Ernst Abbe, who was responsible for many outstanding developments in the early days of the company’s history, started to expand the product line and added camera lenses as a new business sector. These comprised glass materials displaying greatly enhanced optical properties, produced by Otto Schott for the first time in the 1880s.

Zeiss125bAlthough the main methods of photography had been discovered about 50 years previously, it was not until this period that they were widely used. ZEISS developed new types of camera lenses that were faster than previous models. Paul Rudolph, a scientist who worked at ZEISS, created the Anastigmat camera lens that was produced from 1890 onward and renamed to Protar in 1900. The basic optical design used for some of his developments like the ZEISS Planar and ZEISS Tessar lenses is still incorporated in camera lenses to this very day. Tessar lenses are used, for example, in many Sony cameras or Microsoft cellphones as they offer high image definition on a tiny area. The successors to the ZEISS camera lenses initially produced 125 years ago are used by millions of people around the world today.

Zeiss125cIn 1935 ZEISS enabled brilliant photos for the first time by the introduction of an antireflective coating that is now labeled with the T* symbol. This surface coating reduces distracting reflections and stray light. Just eight years later ZEISS developed a process for measuring the image quality of lenses through MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) curves that is still used by numerous manufacturers today. The introduction of CAD (Computer Aided Design) in the development of lenses in 1961 allowed much more complex constructions than with manual design.

20 July 1969 marked a major milestone in modern history: the first landing on the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin used a Hasselblad 500EL with a ZEISS Biogon lens to capture the first images of the lunar surface. Because mass-produced lenses do not work properly on the moon, this lens was developed specially for the mission. The “moon lens” had a different lubricant and no leather or plastic parts. The mounts feature pressure-compensating openings, and the operating elements were modified for gloved users.

Zeiss125d“ZEISS has not only written photographic history, but continues to impress and inspire the world with its first-class developments,” says Dr. Winfried Scherle, Head of the Consumer Optics business group at ZEISS. “For example, the ZEISS Otus SLR lenses introduced in 2013 meet even the most challenging requirements of professional photographers.” They stand out thanks to their excellent image quality, even at full aperture. They guarantee a neutral bokeh in the background, highly detailed images without distracting artifacts, high resolution across the entire image field, no color fringes or distortion, and outstanding image contrast right into the periphery. The image performance remains constant over all distances.

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