One of the most noticeable differences between portraits taken outside using natural light as opposed to artificial light is the background. Images using artificial light tend to have darker backgrounds. This is crucial in catching the eye of the viewer and allows him or her to focus on the subject. This article is a guide in achieving this look using natural light only.
Pressure, fear, joy, excitement – these are not uncommon emotions on any shoot. A few weeks ago, I spent a few hours in a helicopter above New York City with Vincent Laforet where we experienced all of these emotions. This exclusive interview and BTS video highlights not only what’s involved to produce aerial stills of this nature, but provides 5 key insights we can all apply to our own shoots.
For the last 2 years I've made my living shooting architecture with DSLRs, mostly short videos of California's fanciest multifamily apartment communities. When my client Synergy Corporate Housing asked me to continue that mission with all of their international properties in 10 major cities across 8 European countries, the first thing I thought when I saw the 32-day itinerary was, "bring a Hasselblad."
Every time I hear a photographer state, “I’m a natural light photographer”, it can carry a suggestion that they are a more honest type of photographer, better attuned to reality, and purer in motive. What I hear is, “I haven’t learned to use my flash.” This may sound harsh but I can’t help it; right or wrong, I want to call them out on it. It is time to question why natural light shooting has, in many circles, become the more virtuous form of photography.
I guess I’ve always been different; I’ve never really yearned for a big studio space. As a freelance photographer, the majority of my clients require that I come to their location and shoot on-site. I have a strict organizational-mobile system to transport all my equipment which includes over 8 strobes, 2 scrims and a plethora of staging props and modifiers. I’m asked quite often about my studio and where I shoot all these incredible portraits and dramatic fashion editorials. The answer is easy; my living room.
Everything starts from nothing. Thousands dream of being full time photographers, but knowing how to start a business - and how to grow it - are really tricky parts of a complex equation. Emily Soto today celebrates 4 years of full time professional photography. In this exclusive interview, she shares insights on how she has grown her business, as well as the struggles, hardships and rewards she's encountered along the way. If you're curious about what it takes to make it as a successful photographer today, this might just provide the answers you've been looking for.
At the Photo Plus Expo a couple months ago in New York, a new photo management software solution was introduced to much fanfare: Mylio. Mylio aims to solve a lot of problems that other companies seemed to be floundering around. It would give us complete access to our images no matter what platform we were on, and would regularly back them up across platforms and in the cloud or through whatever system you were currently working. It also brought something else to the table that immediately caught my interest: an in-house, custom built raw editor that worked on iPad, iPhone and desktop computers.
Let's face it, it is about to be 2015. As in, 15 years after the change to the new millennium. We are firmly in what we used to call "the future" when I was a kid, and technology is overwhelming us with brutal amazingness every couple of weeks. The youth of today have no idea what life is like sans smartphones (read: access to almost every piece of information in the world at any time in your pocket) or social media platforms. To them, life is one big pile of over shared, overseen and overly celebrated schlock mixed in with useful bits of knowledge, and it is all taken for granted. The digital world isn't coming, it is here, and has been. So who in the right mind gives a crap about a printed photograph anymore?
People often forget that all successful photographers started from the bottom. This knowledge should be an aspiring photographer's motivation that fuels every action and re-touch. Each person has the ability to exceed beyond expectations; to set goals and reach them. In the future, you may look back at your work with embarrassment. Remembering where you started from should be a source of pride. The growth of 20 popular photographers in their retouching skills might be the greatest source of inspiration.
A new photo series on display at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Arts explores the handful of countries that have declared sovereignty that no one knows about. In his “Lands in Limbo” project, photographer Narayan Mahon documents the seemingly non-existent countries of Abkhazia, Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh, Somaliland, and Northern Cyprus, all share one thing in common - the lack of international recognition. In many cases, he was surprised to find that many of them actually functioned better than he thought. “It’s not chaos. It’s not lawless,” he tells Slate.
These days it's hard to come by a fashion shoot that's not shot with a digital camera. That's why when Fstoppers discovered on a Facebook Film Shooters group that Indonesian based photographers Wirawan Sanjaya and partner Gaillard Mathieu had convinced the editors at Bazaar Magazine to allow him to shoot the entire editorial on film, we just had to reach out! The stakes were high, but his results were stunning.
Artificial lighting can be overwhelming, there are thousands of options to modify one single light source and there are dozens of companies that claim they have the best product and best bang for your buck. Regardless, photography equipment is expensive and I know I'd rather not waste money on a gimmick product when the same result could be achieved with just the right strobe placement or accessory.
Allow me to state that for the record before we dive in here, gear does not make the photographer. A talented artist can make an image with whatever falls into their palm, but for those of us who have the luxury of choice, be it the pocket sized Ricoh dangling from Moriyama's wrist, or Crewdson's cherrywood 8x10, a powerful image is about the framing of a moment, the machine it is seen through only serves simplify and streamline the process.
Reviewing our old photographic work can be a little daunting. As styles change and skills improve, we start to notice what was once a hero image is now sorely lacking in quality and perhaps even embarrassing to look at. I propose that it is a good thing if you hate your old photographs because it could be a sign that your taste is improving. Having a refined visual taste is arguably one of the most important factors to developing as a photographer. It guides all our creative and technical decisions, but it is also one of the most elusive qualities to develop.