André Düxmann (39) and his girlfriend Janine Gwinner (42) from Solingen have been photographing portraits, street photography, light painting and lost places with DSLR and smartphone for more than ten years. André is responsible for DSLR photos, while Janine tends to take photos of both with a smartphone at a high level. Recently they have been using the for their portraits Lumen Sticks from Rollei, with which they create absolutely great pictures. In the interview, André Düxmann reveals, among other things, a few tips and tricks, the set construction of the photos and what makes the two of them Lumen Sticks above all like it.
Rollei: André, how did you become aware of Rollei products and what do you like about them?
Andre: We taught ourselves photography by watching a lot of YouTube videos and reading blogs. In addition, we worked a lot with light painting and therefore of course needed good lamps. If you get a lot of information, you come across Stephan Wiesner's YouTube page. So that's why we have them Lumen Sticks ordered because we wanted it specifically for portrait photography and for creative and interesting images. What excited us about it is that the lamps simply have a lot of power. We didn't even have them on full power for the shoots and we didn't have to because they get really bright. And next to that RGB function, with which you can work super creatively, it is practical that you can run it on the mains unit, but also on the battery. Simply screw it onto the tripod, turn it on, done. And that you can also control app can is a really big advantage.
What is important to you in shootings and what ideas did you have of your current shooting?
Andre: I've often seen images that have been photoshopped so much that the image wasn't natural anymore, and I personally don't like that very much. I prefer to work Lightroom and good lighting. The current shooting took place indoors, although I have to say that we work both indoors and outdoors when it comes to portraits. In the current shooting, the main focus this time tended to be on Beauty/Editorial. At the same time, we wanted to achieve a somewhat gloomy look, which is why we also worked with a fog machine. The image should therefore have a glamorous, but also a bit dark appearance.
Can you tell us something about your setup??
Andre: During this shoot, among other things, we V flat reflectors have used, you can very easily fold them up and take them with you. They have two sides, one reflects light well with white coating, the other side in black absorbs light. We then formed a U with the reflectors, so to speak, and put our model Lorena Bjelic in it. Of course we made sure that Lorena with the help of the Lumen Sticks has enough light from left and right. Then we put the sticks in the U and put another reflector on the floor. In the first pictures, the lights are set up at an angle of 45 degrees on the left and right. Above all, we made sure that the face is well divided in terms of coloring. So that one color is placed on the left and one on the right and that it is also symmetrical. On the darker images it's a blue-green-magenta tone and on the image of the finger on her mouth we turned on the smoke machine I was talking about earlier. Then the background was black, and we saw the light from the left and right Lumen Sticks hit the side.
Which camera settings and which hardware did you use?
Andre: In general, I tend to shoot wide open with the DSLR in order to achieve a nice blur and bokeh in the background. So f/1.8 or 2.8. Simply with a good average so that the center is sharp in the center and gets a little blurry towards the outside. I then first take test shots to see if the image is sharp enough and then see how high I need to set the ISO. I only used the Rollei light for the test photos, and that was enough. In terms of hardware, Janine uses the Samsung Note 10 and S10 Plus, I use the Canon 6D and the Sony A73. Of course, I change lenses and cameras as needed.
The lenses used were the Sony 50 mm f1.8, 24-70 mm; from Canon the 50 mm f1.4 and from Sigma the 35 mm f1.4.
You said a little something about post-processing earlier. How about that in this case?
Andre: Exactly, well, I tend to do Lightroom overall and Janine also uses Lightroom on her smartphone. After Lightroom I go to Photoshop, but then I just remove small imperfections, set a little light, add some shadows and see that the eyes are perfect. What I also do in Photoshop is that I adjust the colors a little, which works better there than in Lightroom thanks to the selective color correction. Of course we only did the glitter effects with make-up, nothing was bought.
And what would be your final summary of our Lumen Sticks?
Note: Please note that the Lumen Stick RGB shown in the photos is the previous version without an integrated and non-removable handle. The technical specifications of the new model with integrated handle are identical. You can use the new Lumen Stick RGB for a shoot in the same way as described and shown here.
Andre: You can really only recommend it. You create a real one with it creative lighting, you are super mobile and the battery is also really durable. Really good lights!