Gel filter lighting setup

Gel filter lighting setup
The white balance settings are important too when using colored gel filters.

Gel filters can really change the impression of the photo. In this photo of Professor Martin J. Blaser, photographer Pontus Höök is using two different colored gel filters to get this expressive effect.

The reflections to the left is from a glass cage used for scientific research. Professor Martin J. Blaser has been researching the bacteria behind ulcers.

Sport portrait lighting setup

Sport portrait of NHL player Peter Forsberg. The sweat is real and the ice is fake.
The reflector behind Peter gives the illusion of ice, in this creative setup by Pontus Höök

This photo by Pontus Höök is taken in a hallway at Colorado Avalanche’s training facilities. Peter Forsberg came right of the rink to Pontus’ makeshift photo studio. The sweat you see is real. 22 exposures later Peter is off to the locker room. The photo is shot using analog film.

This photo was the cover photo of the first edition of the sportmagazine “S”

Portrait with dramatic lighting

This image really needs to be viewed in full size. Click to enlarge!
Lighting diagram

Cool locations demands cool lighting setups. Photographer Pontus Höök shot a portrait of Ottawa NHL player Daniel Alfredsson in a small aircraft. Daniel Alfredsson who was studying to get his pilot’s certificate at the time. There is a strobe with a softbox in the cockpit, wirelessly fired by pocket wizards.

This dramatic lighting setup goes perfect with the dramatic sky and camera angle.

You can follow Pontus on twitter.

Portrait of Howlin’ Pelle with creative lighting setup

Howlin' Pelle in the light of a laptop
A simple and creative lighting setup

This is a very creative and playful portrait lighting setup by photographer Pontus Höök. The key light is actually from a laptop and then there’s a regular lamp used as a kicker. Great results with a minimum of lighting equipment. Since the light sources aren’t very powerful, this setup requires a lens with a large maximum aperture. In this case 1.2. The shutter speed is 1/40 and the camera is handheld. Pelle is the lead singer in The Hives and this photo is taken backstage at a concert.

Photographer Pontus Höök

Photographer Pontus Höök, a swede in New York

New York based photographer Pontus Höök is a great visual storyteller who has been shooting for Scandinavian newspapers and magazines in the US for more than a decade. He is also known for his photo blog:  A Swede in New York that features documentary pictures from the streets of Manhattan among other things.

Lighting for photo: –Where are you from?

Pontus Höök: – I grew up in Tranemo, Västergötland, which is one hour southeast of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Lighting for photo: –How old are you?

Pontus Höök: – I’m 38.

Lighting for photo: –How long have you been into photography?

Pontus Höök: – My interest in photography started in High School. They offered photography classes and I thought it was heaven to walk around aimlessly and just shoot pictures of people. My father understood I was serious about photography so he remodeled our sauna at home to let me use it as a darkroom. When I was 18, I started out as an intern at the local newspaper Borås Tidning. Now I have been living in New York for the last 13 years, and I’m working primarily for Scandinavian publications.

Lighting for photo: –What is your dream assignment?

Pontus Höök: – My dream assignment would be to go on a road trip throughout the US and to shoot great pictures of people I meet along the way.

Lighting for photo: – What is the most common mistake beginners make when it comes to lighting?

Pontus Höök: – Beginners can make it more complicated than it has to be. I’m all for keeping it simple.

Lighting for photo: –What is your worst photo experience?

Pontus Höök: – It was probably when I was asked to shoot pictures of a CEO for a big American company, and he left after two shots. Thankfully, I still got the picture needed.

Lighting for photo: – What do you think of the thin line between image adjustment, enhancement, editing and manipulation in documentary pictures? What is acceptable?

Pontus Höök: – Some of the documentary pictures that you see in different photo competitions are so heavily photoshopped that it’s more art than anything else. Since these pictures make it into the competitions it is somewhat given a stamp of approval. That alone blurs the line between what is documentary and what is art.

This is why I think it is very important for newspapers and photo agencies to have a clear picture policy.