Check out the picture above. Pretty cool, huh? Well, to make photos like this you can use a special technique. It wasn’t invented by me, but by a Bay Area photographer named Scott Jarvie. It’s a pretty eye catching way to take port...
Check out the picture above. Pretty cool, huh? Well, to make photos like this you can use a special technique. It wasn’t invented by me, but by a Bay Area photographer named Scott Jarvie. It’s a pretty eye catching way to take portrait photos, and here’s an introduction to how it’s done.
I first stumbled across the Jarvie Window technique when I was reading Scott Jarvie’s blog. Scott apparently discovered the new technique himself while wandering around a PhotoWalk event in Utah with a ring flash. After someone lent him a super wide angle lens, he snapped a picture and discovered that an awesome photo had resulted.
After reading about the technique, I wanted to try it out myself, so I followed his directions and created my own Jarvie Window setup.
Most photographers are going to have some of the basic things to start using this technique, but most will probably have to buy a few things to make it work. You really need 4 things to be able to take these pictures: a DLSR camera, an external flash, a ring flash adapter and a super wide angle lens.
If you have those things you are set and can start. Well, I had two of the things — a pretty nice Nikon DLSR camera and a SB700 Nikon Flash — but I didn’t have the ring flash adapter and my wide angle lens (14mm Nikon) was just not wide enough to avoid catching the edges of the ring flash adapter. So I had to spend some money to create my rig.
The flash that I already have and use is an SB700, which runs about $300 and is Nikon’s more basic flash. I found that it’s perfect for all types of flash photography and works particularly well with the Jarvie Window technique.
You’ll notice that I have it taped around the base. I did that because I needed to raise the flash head about a 1/4 inch with a wedge I created out of paper, since the ring flash adapter was weighing it down and causing the bright edges of the ring flash to fall out of view.
Some people hold the ring flash while they are taking the pictures, but I just prefer to put the wedge in and crudely tape it. Since I have two SB700s I just decided to dedicate this flash for this purpose.
The next step was getting a ring flash. I decided to use the flash that was recommended, called the Ray Flash, which I found on Amazon.com. It ran me about $150 and you need to get the right size adapter based on the flash you are using, since the flash head size and shape is different.
The Ray Flash is just an adapter and doesn’t require any batteries since it is basically taking the light from the flash itself and channeling it down a lighted tube to a ring that fits around the lens.
It’s pretty cool, and I find it is fairly robust since I have dropped it about 10 times and doesn’t even have a scratch. That’s really key for me: to have camera equipment that can take a beating, since I am pretty merciless and clumsy with my stuff.
The next step was to get the right lens. The recommended lens was a Sigma 8mm which is extremely wide angle. When you have an FX format camera such as the D3S that I am using, the pictures you take with the lens come out completely round.
There is not a lot of functionality with the lens other than taking super strange photos at a very, very wide angle. Before buying the lens I tried using my Nikon 10mm lens, but I found that it did not work with the technique correctly.
The minimal focal length was a 5 inches from the subject, and that does not work with this technique as you literally have to be two inches from someone’s face to make this work.
I ended up ordering the Sigma 8mm lens.
It was not cheap and ended up costing me about $800. I’ve tried the lens now for two weeks and it is actually super sharp when you are a little over an inch from a subject — amazingly so actually.
The problem with the 8mm focal length is that I think it is just a little too wide for an FX camera which makes it not really practical outside of just using for these types of portraits. It’
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