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.
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.
We just received a very interesting contest entry from Viet Q. Mac, a recent graduate from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His buddy from Film Matters contacted him about an upcoming video production involving the 311RS and a couple Red Epics. Viet decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to create something for our BTS Contest. Although this video leaves many questions unanswered it is a beautiful look at a production of this size. To check out all of the contest entries as they come in you can keep an eye on our forum.
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.
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!
via the ProFoto Blog
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.
Some of our readers work in a unique genre of photography called Pet Photography. I’ve always found it a bit ridiculous when my friends dress up their pets for photos but I guess if there is a market then there is money to be made. In this video, Julie Johnson gives some pretty useful tips for working with animals in a studio setting, and I must admit I was really impressed with her images. If you’ve ever had to work with pets then you know how difficult they can be at times. Even if pet photography isn’t really your thing, you still may enjoy the ridiculous video in the Full Post. Have any of our readers built a business around this sort of thing?
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.
This video was featured on the Fstoppers Forum and it had me laughing from the beginning. Luckily there is also a behind the scenes video that explains how in the world they created all of this “HD Porn”. I would have never thought in a million years you could mix Iron Maiden, the most ridiculous looking poodle, the largest bubble machine I’ve ever seen, and flashing neon lights to produce an entertaining commercial for Sony high definition products. Then again I’m not paid the big bucks to think this outside the box either. Enjoy the final commercial below and then head over to full post to see how everything was put together.
Now this video may be over many of your heads (it is definitely over mine) because most of us are still photographers who may only dabble in video but this is still worth posting. In the video below Video Copilot shows us how they filmed a car chase scene in the studio with a green screen. I’ve never shot anything on a green screen before but after seeing how easy this is, I may have to give it a try.
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.
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.
Nobody’s face is perfectly symmetrical but it’s very difficult for our brains to notice the differences in each side. Jesper Petersson recently worked on a unique project that involved shooting a group of people and then using each side of their face to create two new, perfectly symmetrical faces. It’s really shocking to see how different each side of a face can be.