The Fstoppers 2011 BTS Contest is now closed and we are going through every single video 1 by 1 to choose our favorites that will make it to the next round. In the next round our panel of celebrity judges will narrow the lot down to the top 3 winners. At this point we still have not seen every video but if you would like to look through them yourself, you can see them all here on our forum. I just ran across this really interesting video by Loren Byerstein and Syx Langemann that involved shooting a nude model with a projected pattern. Not only do they show you how they did it but they have actually released the software to make your own patterns easily. If you want to give something like this a try on your own, you can download the software here.
One of the biggest rewards of our 2011 Behind The Scenes Contest is we finally get to meet our readers and see what they enjoy shooting. Meet Kevin Kozicki; he is a great fashion photographer based out of sunny Los Angeles. In his contest entry, Kevin wanted to use poinsettia leaves in some sort of beauty themed image while not going in the typical Christmas/Holiday route. The images Kevin produced are outstanding and his lighting is perfect for this type of project. I do wish Kevin would have explained his lighting a bit more but it's also nice to hear photographers talk about the overall production ideas because they are equally as important and often overlooked. If you have any questions for Kevin, leave them in the comments below and click the full post to see a few of the final images.
Unless you shoot fast moving objects with flash on a regular basis, you might not be aware that a strobes "flash duration" has a huge affect on an image's total sharpness. Flash duration is simply the time at which your flash is emitting light. Technical gurus will break it down into T.1 and T.5 times but for simplicity the longer the flash duration, the more your strobe light acts as a constant light for extremely fast moving objects (great article here). Recently Broncolor did a test between their Broncolor Scoro power pack and the Profoto Pro 8 Air to see which one had a faster duration. As biased as it might appear, I think it's fair to say that the Scoro does produce a sharper image especially since you can digital select the flash duration on the power packs themselves. The Broncolor packs do cost about 20% more than the Profoto packs so unless you are shooting extremely fast moving objects then you probably won't ever notice the difference. I think it could be interesting to throw something much cheaper into the mix like an Alien Bee but my suspicion is it might fail the color accuracy part of this test.
Warning! You now have 3 days to submit your behind the scenes video for our big 2011 contest. I've been a professional wedding photographer for 7 years now and I've seen tons of absurd wedding advice online. Anytime I see a wedding related video submission I think "oh boy, here we go again." I just stumbled upon a video from 375 Photography on our forum that broke the mold. Not only is this video good, it may be one of the best wedding related videos I've seen online. It's informative, entertaining, and the images speak for themselves. No matter how long you have been shooting weddings, you will learn something from Justin and his team.
Jay P Morgan is at it again with a new Christmas themed photoshoot. Almost everytime I watch one of Jay's photoshoots I learn a clever way to artificially create something that I wouldn't have thought of before. If you've ever wanted to know how to create realistic fake snow on a set, Jay teaches you a simple and easy way to bring the elements into the studio. Granted bringing in artificial snow into the studio will create a huge mess, but it looks like a lot of fun and can allow you to create a winter atmosphere even in the summer. There are a lot of places to buy artificial snow like Amazon or Superior Studios Specialties so stock up now if you ever want to try this yourself. As always, if you enjoy Jay P Morgan's videos, check out other tips of his in the Fstoppers Archives.
Amy Lynn must really want to win some of the $20,000 in photo gear we are giving away in our Behind the Scenes Contest because the photoshoot idea she came up with is one of the most original ideas we've seen yet! Amy wanted to create a fashion image with a twist. Her plan was to take a bunch of photos of her friends in a circle and stitch them together in a way that would allow the viewer to pan around the scene in full 360 degrees. I wasn't quite sure how the image would turn out when I first started watching her video but the final product is pretty impressive. I've embedded the final image HERE so make sure you check out the full post to see how awesome this turned out. If you have any questions for Amy about how she created this awesome fashion image, leave her a comment below. We wish Amy and everyone else who has entered this contest so far the best of luck!
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 Jamesis 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!