This Artist Spotlight features Wisconsin-based photographer, Mike Tittel. Motivated by his travels and personal experiences, Mike created a stunning portfolio of adventure sports mixed with a wide variety of lifestyle and location work. His unique approach to sculpting light and creating stunning imagery has attracted numerous renowned clients to select Mike as their top choice photographer.
Take an inside look at photographer Julia Kuzmenko’s top choice modifiers for high-end beauty portraits.
One of the biggest challenges that we face as photographers is developing our own style that is not only recognizable, but resonates with our target audience. Many of us start the quest as solely natural light photographers and some choose to stay here indefinitely, which is fine. Sure, there are many ways that natural light can be manipulated, however, this is such a limiting factor both developmentally and financially. A very common and natural progression for portrait photographers is the transition from natural light to toying with artificial light.
I shot this editorial series for Creem Magazine with my Hasselblad H4D 50mp and Broncolor lighting. Using the Para 88 placed high and to the right of the subject was able to create a dramatic light that was still beautiful on the skin. A large V flat was placed several feet from the model on the left side to bounce back and create a hint of detail in the strong shadows. The background was a Thunder Gray seamless paper and the model, Ira Sumbaeva from Muse was stunning. She was styled by Lisa Jarvis, with makeup by Yuko Takahashi and hair by Takashi Ashizawa. Camera settings were 1/400 of a second shutter speed, the lens aperture set to F.22-32 depending on the photo, and the ISO at 100. All photos were taken with the 150mm lens.
The Para 88 has been a great addition to my work. I had been using a nice big beauty dish for years, but wanted to move up to a more versatile lighting system. The beauty dish was sort of a one size fits all attempt at lighting, and not all my subjects were the same. Originally, I imagined I would still predominantly use the dish for much of my work and switch to the Para 88 when needed. However within a week of using the Para 88 I found it to be an ideal every day lighting combo, especially its ability to quickly alter its look depending on the subject. The dish sat on the shelf for a couple years and I sold it.
I have reinvested some of my earnings from bigger jobs over the years into some really top notch equipment. I am a big believer in owning equipment over renting it as I want to use the best stuff every day, and not just for the biggest jobs. I never feel as creative when I have to worry about working with gear that I don’t know intimately. Working with models constantly, I get a better feel for the subtle effects and can make adjustments seamlessly. The confidence I have in Broncolor allows me to concentrate on being creative and not worry about the equipment.
The best purchase that I have made in my career is the Broncolor Scoro. I wanted one for a while and had checked it out at numerous Photo Expos. I was actually looking at a couple of manufacturers flagship power packs. My previous system was a very popular low/mid range pack from another brand. It had served me well for a decade, but there were some drawbacks. One of my most successful photos in my early career almost didn’t happen because of motion blur in the studio. The model was jumping and the flash couldn’t freeze it. I only had a couple of usable frames where I had caught the model at the apex of her jump. I hated that because I shoot with a lot of movement, and it was a key factor in finally deciding to get the Broncolor Scoro. It is so easy to set your flash duration. You can perfectly freeze a model that is flipping her hair, while jumping and spinning. It is just a beautiful workhorse; consistent, fast recycling and great quality. It is now hard to shoot with anything else.