We are heading into the final stretch for our 2011 Behind The Scenes Contest and someone is about to win a truckload of gear! The latest video that caught my attention was from LA photographer Mike Kelley . Mike has been featured on our site before but in case you missed that post, his portfolio is full of some pretty kick ass commercial images of buildings and outdoor environments. So it was only fitting for his contest entry to showcase how he approaches an outdoor commercial architectural shoot. Mike uses a lot of exposures and some well thought out accent lighting to create a composite image that looks really nice. As much as I love this video, Mike won't win this competition by impressing anyone here at Fstoppers. Instead his video has to make a lasting impression among our celebrity panel of judges . If you have any questions for Mike, leave them in the comments below.
A few weeks ago, commercial photographer Jay P Morgan showed us how to balance strobe light with ambient light on a large 18 wheeler (which involved closing down a California highway on ramp). In this video Jay is shooting a lifestyle image for Pilot Freight Services which requires him to light a large outdoor areas with studio lighting. The answer to the question in the title could probably be "one light," but using one strobe on a commercial shoot is not only going to produce a less than perfect image, it is also going to look unprofessional from the eyes of the art director. When photographing large advertising campaigns, I've learned that giving your clients that "wow" experience is perhaps even more important that the actual final image so don't underestimate the saying under promise and over deliver . What is great about this photoshoot is that even if you don't shoot large campaigns like this on a daily basis, it should still force you to think why certain lights are needed, and more importantly, ask what you yourself would do if this was your hired job.
As we get closer to the deadline to enter our Behind The Scenes Contest we are seeing more and more entries, many of which are looking truly great. As I was browsing through the submissions, I noticed this one by Cory Albrechston where he demonstrates how he designed and lit a set to create the look of someone trapped under a sheet of ice. With pretty straightforward lighting and a cool idea, Cory was able to make a really unusual and eye-catching image.
Russell James is perhaps my favorite photographer of all time. His images of sexy women never look cliche, and basically everything about his photographs are brilliant. But few people probably know what steps Russell took in becoming one of the world's most successful photographers. Check out this behind the scenes video as Russell photographs the 2011 Victoria's Secret Christmas campaign and dives into his history of becoming a photographer. I love how much attention goes into making the models comfortable and creating a connection with them. If it wasn't for Peter Hurley teaching me otherwise, I would have completely gawked at Russell's lighting and production. In reality, what makes every one of Russell's images stand out is his subject's connection with the reader. Hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did.
A few weeks ago we posted a video by Nick Fancher that became a huge hit. Nick showed us what it was like to shoot for an online clothing store that required over 10 unique looks shot and edited every day. I was hoping that Nick would create another video for our Behind The Scenes Contest which ends on December 31st and lucky for us he did. With a camera and a few on camera flashes, Nick creates some fantastic shots.
There are a ton of car photographers out there but very few of them are this good. Lee Howell just sent me his newest portfolio shoot that involved shooting a new Audi R8 GT in a soon to be opened tunnel. Lee got his hands on one of the craziest car rigs I have ever seen and walks us through the basics of his production. With a little bit of post work, the images become world class shots. Head over to Lee's website to get more info and pictures.
One of the biggest announcements I was really excited about this year was the release of Nikon's Flagship SB910 Speedlight . Many people were speculating that the revamped portable strobe would be smaller like the classic SB800, finally offer wireless syncing via radio, incorporate a small constant LED light for video, or add another half stop or two of power. Unfortunately none of those changes have become reality yet but the new speedlight does offer enough updates that anyone in the market for a powerful speedlight will want to check out the Nikon SB910. Click the full post to read the official Nikon Press Release. You can already preorder the Nikon SB910 as it should be shipping mid December 2011. Out of curiosity, if you could design the perfect speedlight, what features would you want that this new flash does not already offer?
When Lee and I started this website almost two years ago, our vision was to not only share knowledge of what some of the best photographers around the world were doing but to also create a community that could inspire other creative professionals. Our Facebook Group is full of photoshoots from our readers that were inspired by some of the top talent featured on Fstoppers, and it's always fun to see photoshoots that were inspired directly from something we first did here. The latest such video comes from the Netherlands where photographer Wouter de Winter recreates my very own Indoor Wakeboard Studio Shoot using kiteboarders. Wouter isn't the first to draw inspiration from the original video but he is the first to also create a BTS video about it, and I think you will enjoy it. The next step for other photographers should be to take this idea and create something even bigger! If you have ideas or thoughts about what direction the next "indoor wakeboard shoot" should go, leave them in the comments below. I'd love to hear where others would take this concept...it might even make for a great BTS Contest Video !
Most people know Joe McNally for his photojournalism or his editorial work. Others know him as the author of some of the best photography books on lighting . But Joe "numnuts" McNally is also one heck of an advertising photographer too. Recently Joe photographed the Anti-Gravity Dancers in an ad campaign for Epson's new R3000 printers . By using huge Octobanks and powerful gridded rim lights, McNally and his team were able to create some dramatic portraits of the dancers flipping and soaring above the New York City skyline. Click the full post to see the final image and a BTS lighting setup and head over to Joe McNally's Blog to view a ton of images throughout the day. This shoot looks like a ton of fun and has my wheels turning a bit!
It's pretty rare that a solid behind the scenes video comes from a super high end photoshoot. Usually they aren't full of much photography insight and instead focus on the model. But that doesn't mean you can't get inspired and learn something from the best of the best. In this video supermodel Irina Shayk and makeup artist Baltasar Gonzalez Pinel talk about their recent cover shoot for Elle Magazine Spain which involves a lot of body beads. In the second video below, you can see how a simple hard light with some reflectors can produce a super high end fashion result. Check out Santiago Esteban's website for some amazing fashion images.
Jaren Wilkey is the manager of Brigham Young University's photography department (perhaps he helped on this shoot ?). His Behind The Scenes Contest submission idea was to create a photoshoot that played off a news story there at the university. Jaren and his students set out to produce an editorial type image featuring computer hackers. These hackers weren't the malicious type you typically think of but rather the winners of a large computer science hacking competition. Check out what Jaren and his students came up with and they even used the Eye-fi to ipad tethering tip we exposed here . Congrats guys and good luck with the contest!
I just realized that our Fstoppers Twitter account has tons of unread direct messages (we prefer you email us ). One of them was from Douglas Sonders who had a crazy experience with one of the original Ghostbusters Ecto 1 Cadillacs. These caddies have so many lights on them that I can't make any sense of what is going on but it looks pretty cool. Douglas does a good job explaining how he plans on using a few long exposure shots to burn in the ambient light while using spot grids to pop in just the right amount of flash for specific areas of the photo. Does anyone know if the Roscoe Fog Machine in this video is made by the same company that makes Roscoe Speedlight Gels ? Either way, nice touch on bringing the smoke machine to the shoot. Check out more details about this shoot over at Douglas Sonders's Blog .
There are just less than 7 weeks left to submit your behind the scenes contest video . Submissions are starting to come in and it's amazing what our readers are doing through their photography. As the video submissions come in we are going to feature the standouts here on the front of Fstoppers. In Zach Hetrick 's behind the scenes video, he shows how he created commercial sports portraits of The Hoosiers's track and field team. Zach takes some time at the beginning to talk a bit about the lighting setup he used and shows how you can give your group shots a punch with some nice light thanks to a few Alien Bee monoblocks . Leave your comments below if you have any questions about this shoot or simply want to give some friendly support to Zach. You can check out all the entries on the BTS Contest Forum Thread , and remember to get your submissions in early so we can share your work on the front of the site.
Some of my favorite behind the scenes videos we've featured on Fstoppers are of Matthew Jordan Smith . He speaks well and always articulates his lighting and setups in a way that both amateurs and pros can understand. In this video Matthew talks about exposing for a high key background, metering your subject's face for dramatic studio light, and balancing ambient backlight with a studio keylight. I'll be honest and say that I've never used a Sekonic Light Meter but I can see how useful they can be for more advanced studio lighting. I think Matthew might be the only professional I know of shooting on a Sony DSLR ! I guess it goes to show that your camera brand makes little difference in producing great images. Check out more of Matthew's tutorials here .
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.