After almost a year of work we have finally finished Peter Hurley: The Art Behind The Headshot. We created this to be a double DVD tutorial and we may eventually still make a physical copy but for now we have decided to begin with a digital download. I would like to thank each one of you that supported us by pre-ordering this video and I am so sorry it took so long to produce. Patrick and I filmed and edited this and it was far more complicated than we ever imagined. Creating this video has been the hardest project I have ever worked on but at the same time one of the most rewarding.
During the 5 days of filming this video Peter completely opened my eyes to a new way of shooting people. Peter helped me look past the technical side of the camera and the lighting to see the emotion and feeling that each of his clients were producing in each image. When his clients weren’t producing compelling images, Peter knew exactly how to coach them into creating that perfect “look.” This experience has changed my photography more profoundly than any other experience in my life and I hope that everyone who watches this video will feel the same way.
Fstoppers is full of new and free information every single day including the first video we did with Peter over a year ago. This video was created with the professional photographer in mind and it costs $300 for a digital download of the 4 hour video. We know that many of our readers are photography hobbyists and if you don’t shoot professionally you may not see the value in this download and that is fine. Please realize that this is a tool and a piece of education that will help (some) professionals take their business to the next level. If you don’t see the value in it, please do not buy it and enjoy all of the other free material on our site. If you do decide to buy this video, I would like to thank you so much for supporting this venture and Fstoppers.com. Never in a million years would I have thought we (two wedding photographers from South Carolina) could have created a 4 hour tutorial of this complexity. I know we will never make enough money from DVD sales to make up for the time spent producing it (for some reason we thought it would only take a few weeks to edit) but I hope that this video will impact the photographers who watch it in a huge way.
Nick Fancher is the lifestyle photographer for the website JackThreads.com. JackThreads is constantly receiving large shipments of totally different types of apparel that need to be shot as quickly as possible. Nick takes us through a normal day of shooting that may involve multiple, totally different looking photoshoots. This is a fantastic example of how a poorly filmed video can still become a killer BTSV with some simple voice over information. The bottom line is that Nick uses the absolute smallest amount of gear to come up with fantastic images in an extremely short amount of time. I’m hoping that Nick has something big planned for our Behind The Scenes Contest.
Von Wong has been featured on our site many times because he is constantly coming up with unique ideas. In this video Von Wong sets out on an unplanned photoshoot with a couple of dancers. Sometimes too much planning can actually limit your creativity. While many of us would have worked on a single shot, Von Wong came away with a group of excellent and completely different images. I asked why this video wasn’t a contest entry and Von Wong said “Not epic enough!” I hope this means that an epic entry is on the way.
Some of our readers might have met up with Monte Isom at last month’s Fstoppers NYC Meetup. His videos have been fan favorites on the site and this week he is sharing another one of his commercial shoots. In this behind the scenes video, Monte shows you how he photographed his latest Molson Export Ale ad campaign featuring hockey players as they slide in towards the camera. As always, Monte has a lot of fun on his shoots and hopefully you can gain some ideas for shoots of your own from this video.
Things have been pretty quiet in terms of video submissions for our big 2011 BTS Contest and I know that everyone is planning to have theirs done last minute. Let me give you a little advice, DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. As submissions are posted on the forum we will be posting our favorites on Fstoppers. If you submit your video with the masses the very last day, it will not get the attention it deserves. In this submission Dave Gruentzel (who is a still photographer) decided to film a his buddy Cory Albrechtson’s new fashion concept. Cory was inspired by a simple fabric print and from that came this whole shoot. Check out the full post to see the final image.
Jay P. Morgan is a commercial photographer based out in Los Angeles. His behind the scenes videos have been a hit with our readers because they always feature some useful lighting or photoshopping technique. In his latest video, Jay shuts down a highway ramp in order to light an 18 wheeler truck against the LA skyline. It’s pretty interesting that an image like this is shot in camera and not completely photoshopped but that’s what makes Jay P. Morgan a hero around the office. If you enjoy this video be sure to check out some of his other videos here.
Joel Grimes is a commercial advertising photographer who is most known for his composite portraits. In his recent interview with [Framed], Joel discusses how he got started with his career, how he uses 16bit HDR images in his workflow, does a full photoshoot, and even shows off his musical talents. The video is long so take your time watching it because he gives a lot of useful tips. I’m trying to persuade Sean Armenta to create an Fstoppers Post Production Tutorial on this type of composite editing so if you have questions leave them in the comments below. [more]
This striking image (pun intended) was shot by Blair Bunting for a Deadliest Catch ad for Discovery Channel. Curious to know how he did it? Well, luckily for us, his assistant Paul Morton filmed the whole thing, and Mike Maez was kind enough to edit it down into a digestible and inspiring video. Do not worry, it did not take any knocked out teeth or injured sailors to get the job done, but rather a couple of Pro-7a units and 3 high powered leaf blowers. Have a look and see for yourself!
Jay P Morgan is a commercial photographer out of California who has a history of creating some of the best most educational behind the scenes videos out on the internet (click here to watch tons of them). In this video Jay explains how you can shoot athletes in a studio environment and composite them into any scene easily and effectively. I want you guys to take note of how Jay breaks down his photography approach and offers concise and detailed information about his shoot. If you are interested in winning our Behind The Scenes Contest (and instantly having a studio of your own), you are going to need to explain your process thoroughly and in an interesting manner. Also be sure to check out the full retouching video on Facebook to see how everything was pieced together in post.
Ryan Enn Hughes just submited his entry for our BTSV contest and it is quite impressive. Ryan teamed up with The Big Freeze and set up 48 D700 cameras in a circle and then fired them all at once as dancers did their thing. The photographs are pretty cool on their own but the real magic happened in post during the editing phase when Ryan teamed up with sound designers at Zelig Sound to create two incredible 30 seconds videos. Obviously this is an extremely high budget project but our contest will not be judge on that so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have 48 $3000 cameras to play with. As always, you can check out all of the submissions to our contest as they come in here on our forum.
Strobist has an interesting article by architectural photographer Mike Kelley. Usually exterior shots of homes and buildings are simply too large to effectively light with speedlights or big power packs. The tried and true method of capturing a great looking exterior shot is to turn all the lights on in the building and wait for the ambient sky light to match the build’s artificial light. In the behind the scenes video below, Kelley shares his “selective lighting” technique and how it can be combined with multiple exposures from a small Canon 430EX to produce a sort of hero shot for publication. Click the full post for the final images.
Taking your creativity to the next level can make all the difference between typical photographs and artistic photographs. Orb Outerwear just released their new Fall 2011 fashion designs and they included a fun behind the scenes video to go along with it. So many photographers already have a pretty solid understanding of lighting to produce great photos. What they lack is artistic vision to do something different and unique. Everyone who reads this blog can easily create a small team of set designers, hair stylists, makeup artists, and clothing stylists to produce studio quality catalog profiles. Try putting something like this together for your entry into the Behind The Scenes Contest we are running. Unfortunately I could not find out who the photographer was so if you know the talent responsible for these please reply in the comments. Click the full post to see a stop motion video of some of the final images (the snow shoot doesn’t appear to have been published yet).
I have to thank Tyler Kaufman for turning me onto this next video. Sports photographer Peter Read Miller recently shot some of the top NCAA college football players for the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. There really isn’t any super informative information in this video but it’s still great to see how the top photographers in the world pull off cover material for magazines like Sports Illustrated. From the video, it appears that these shots are lit with only 3 light sources: One large parabolic reflector as a key, one smaller parabolic reflector as a kicker, and a spot gridded flash head for a rear rim light. If you’ve ever shot in this style you know that small hard rim/kicker lights can really edge out your subject. If you click the full post and look at the super high res final image you can see how the larger side light makes the highlights broad but still harsh. It’s easy to think that a barebulb speedlight to the side of your subject is sufficient for a rim light but adding that one extra modifier can really make a huge difference in your final result.
I’m sure many of you have heard the saying “overcast skies make for amazing photos”. While it’s true that soft overcast light is usually more flattering on people’s faces, it can also make your photos super boring and even gloomy. So what can you do with your bag of tricks to spice up a photo session during cold, rainy, or overcast days? Damien Lovegrove explains how you can use a “dingle” (or more commonly a Cookie) to bring some pseudo-sunlight into your portraits . This clip is from Damien’s Speedlight Mastery DVD and he does a great job explaining this super useful technique that can be applied to many of your own shoots at almost zero cost. Next time you see those interesting shadow patterns while thumping through your girlfriend’s fashion magazines you can imagine the dingle that created them!
A big part of what makes commercial photography so interesting is it often requires photographers to incorporate the latest graphic trends into their work. In other words, in order to cut the mustard in commercial photography, you not only have to be at the top of your game but you also have to produce something eye catching in a market full of interesting media. That’s exactly what photographer Gary Land did with his latest Adidas ad featuring soccer superstar Lionel Messi. However, his arsenal of Profoto lights and heavy photoshop has caused a bit of controversy over on the Strobist website where many photographers are claiming the final image is a bit overkill. I personally love the final image and think the direction Gary went is exactly what separates the boys from the men. However, I can appreciate the purists point of view who think great advertising photos should remain true to real life and capture a more realistic vision. Check out this great behind the scenes video of the latest Adidas shoe ad and let us know what you think in the comments. Check out Gary’s interesting website as well for more inspiration.