Articles written by Patrick Hall
If you were a film student and your professor gave you an assignment requiring you to show a series of different lighting setups, what would you do? John Note and his fellow classmates created a pretty funny video tutorial that shows 10 different lighting setups that you could use in both your films and your still images. If you are a photographer you might not be completely familiar with the power references but you can probably imagine the different ratios if you had to convert them to strobes or speedlights. I have often found in my own photography that simply changing the lighting setup to one which I might normally overlook can really change the story telling element of your photos. Has anyone else tried to reproduce morning light or midnight lighting before?
By now you are probably aware of the massive 8.9 earthquake that shook Japan and caused a devastating tsunami. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan and those affected by this horrible disaster. If you would like to help in the recovery or in a charitable way, check out a few of the links below. This earthquake was the 5th largest earthquake recorded in modern time and the potential for loss of life is very high. Connect with missing persons with Google's Person Finder Support the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund Donate to the Red Cross
Harry How is a sports photographer without any prior photography training. With hard work, determination, and a pressing urge to create images that hold up against his peers' photographs, Harry now has a career shooting for Getty Images. In this video Harry explains in detail what it takes to make the transition from hobbyist to full time professional and outlines his gear and little tips throughout his own transition into a sports photographer. If you enjoy this type of candid interview, be sure to hit the full post to watch part 2 and part 3 of this video series.
Fstoppers was created in part to help show the faces of the photographers behind the lens and also to give insight on how they approach their photography. But have you ever wondered who the people are behind some of tools and software we use day in an day out? Well Adobe recently released this video featuring many of the names behind their industry standard software Photoshop CS5 as they explained some of the difficulties they faced in the newest update. I've always wondered why it often takes longer for the mac version to appear on store shelves than it does the PC version and now I know why. via PetaPixel
One of my favorite directors is Robert Rodriquez, and I was about to post another great BTS video showcasing his directing skills when I came across this video. Most of this short Nike commercial is shot on green screen but that doesn't mean that you as a photographer can't take away something from this big production. I love Robert's ability to tell a story with wild twists and turns all while sprinkling his films with exciting characters and effects that still bring out the teenager in us all. Click the full post to watch the final Nike Black Mamba short film.
While browsing Creative Motion Design's blog I came across an eye catching ad for Sony's Bravia series of HDTVs. The complete video directed by Superfad had elements of slow motion, CGI effects, graphic design, animation, and photography. Luckily the good people over Hype Communications put together a make of video on how Superfad and the entire creative team was able to piece together this amazing Sony marketing ad. Below is the behind the scenes video; click on the full post to watch the final product.
As I'm sitting in the San Diego airport waiting to lose my entire day to layovers and time changes, I finally have some time to catch up on our email account. One video that was submitted to us multiple times was recently featured by our friends over at Strobist and showcases fashion photographer Martin Prihoda. Martin has relocated his business to India where he continues to produce clean and commercial style images for print. In this video he takes us BTS on his December cover for Cosmopolitan India and gives us a great explanation on how hard and soft light can be used as fill to control the transitions in your shadows.
Every month here at Fstoppers we run a photo contest that is judged by one of our readers. We'd like to congratulate Julius Koivistoinen for winning the February Fstoppers Forum Photo Contest. Click the previous link to see his winning photograph and watch for his banner at the top of the site to see more of Julius's work. As we do every month, the winner of the contest gets to pick the next theme and Julius has chosen "COLLABORATION". This month's winner will also win a custom image and website link on the Fstoppers rotating banner above and also a Photoflex Starlite QL constant light which is our goto light for video and shallow depth of field portraits. As always, our contests are judged by the winner of the previous month's contest so you have to impress Julius not anyone on the Fstoppers Staff. Have fun submitting to the March Fstoppers Forum Contest and good luck to everyone!
One of our readers just emailed us this great video of landscape photographer Ansel Adam's darkroom. Michael Adams, Ansel's son, gives us a full tour of Ansel's home studio and shows some of his prints as well as much of his equipment. I currently have Adam's Moonrise, Hernandez hanging in my kitchen and it's really fun to see what the untouched negative looked like before all the dodging and burning. What's always amazing to me is that these prints were all done before the days of the computer, and every area that was altered had to be done by hand and with extreme precision. If you don't already own some of Adam's work, head over to the Ansel Adam's store and pick up a book or print.
Okay I admit there is nothing really "behind the scenes" in this video but it is just too cool not to post. On Feb 24th, NASA's Discovery space shuttle launched for the final time and created a lot of media buzz. Most people travel down to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral to watch these amazing launches, but a few lucky passengers flying out of Orlando, Florida experienced the launch like few have ever seen it: 35,000 feet high in a commercial airline! Check out our previous post on NASA's video coverage of their shuttle launches if you want to see more amazing video of the space program.
If you've ever attended a crazy big music or art festival then the thought has probably crossed your mind, "I should probably photograph these interesting characters while I'm here!" While attending the annual free expression festival Burning Man in Nevada, photographer Eric Schwabel decided to build a portable photo studio to capture dramatic portraits of everyone in attendance. His setup consisted of two strip boxes, two Profoto Pro-B2 power packs, and two Profoto Pro-7 heads. Everything was shot on a Mamiya 645 AFD with a DM28 digital back. I must say, I would be a little nervous bringing this sort of gear out to the dusty desert, but then I would have been the guy who missed out on creating such a cool project!
Fred Conrad is a photographer who has been working for the NY Times for over 34 years. Recently he attended the Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show and photographed every single breed of dog at the show. His setup was basically a white backdrop, a ring flash, and a photek softlighter. I've always thought dog shows like this are a bit insane (watch the mockumentary Best in Show for a good laugh), and Fred has captured not only interesting portraits of dogs but also some of the most wild haircuts I've ever seen of dogs. Check out Snoop Dogg the Bedlington Terrier and all the rest over at the interactive online gallery.
It's the end of the month which means it's almost time to judge the monthly Fstoppers Forum photo contest. The response for this month has been really great and I can't wait to see who wins it and takes home some new gear. The final submissions will be valid until Midnight (EST) on March 1st so be sure to submit now rather than later. As we do every month, the winner of the contest gets to pick the next theme and Frank has chosen "Birth". This month's winner will also win a custom image and website link on the Fstoppers rotating banner above and also a Photoflex Octodome Extra Small Kit which is our goto soft light for location shooting. As always, our contests are judged by the winner of the previous month's contest so you have to impress Jan winner Frank Lin and not anyone on the Fstoppers Staff. Have fun submitting to the February Fstoppers Forum Contest and good luck to everyone!
Michael Nichols is a photographer for National Geographic who was recently faced with the task of photographing a 300 foot Redwood in Northern California. In order to capture the tree in all of its glory, Michael had to use 3 Canon 1Ds Mark II cameras, several pocket wizards, a cinema dolly system, and dozens of bracketed photos all shot at f2.8. Each full image of the tree took over 1 hour to complete and in order to capture the perfect photograph of the tree Michael and his team photographed the redwood over 18 days. The video below shows a quick recap of the project and the second video in the full post explains in detail how he was able to overcome all the obstacles required in creating this 18 meter tall image.
Earlier in the week I posted a video featuring commercial photographer Monte Isom photographing comedian Colin Kane. We'll it turns out Monte has been filming great behind the scenes videos of his photoshoots all along. In this video Monte shows you not only how he created the fun ad campaign for the EA Sports FIFA 2010 video game but also how he secured the job in the first place! It's really great to see photographers like Monte having a good time on their shoots and also showing exactly how they took a concept, pitched some images, and ultimately won the bidding war to secure a high end project. If only every photographer would be so open with sharing their success stories we might have more videos like this. Monte gives some exclusive insight on the shoot and the final image on the packaging in the full post.
Lee and I are wrapping up our trip to WPPI in Las Vegas which is basically the largest wedding convention in the US. So today after meeting with tons of wedding professionals we thought it might be fun to showcase an underwater bridal shoot. Jonathan Ryan is a wedding photographer in Canterbury, England and in this video he is using a few strobes, a Nikon D3, and our favorite Ewa-Marine underwater housing to take some unique bridals underwater. It's pretty interesting to see how Jonathan syncs his strobes underwater since radio transmitters are pretty much useless around water.
Yes, you read the title correctly. The famous female Mattel toy has photoshoots, and they are actually quite extravagant. When I first saw this I thought it was a joke but after doing some research I found that Mattel designer Robert Best has big production photoshoots like this for all his Barbie Fashion Model Collections. The photographer is Paul Jordan at Mattel, and the final products are really interesting considering these are just toys. If you don't want to go through all the set building and fashion lighting required to get these photos, you can always use a simple reflector just like this Barbie fashion photographer. Click the full post to see the final image and other images featuring Barbie.
When I think of pageant photography I often think of those glamor shot booths in the mall with the crazy hair, makeup, and horrendous props and backgrounds. Well times have changed and most young women competing in pageants around the world are taking much more fashion and beauty style portraits of themselves. In this video Justin Grant shows us what it's like shooting the images used by both the reigning Miss and Teen Miss Utah and Arizona. Watching this video really changed my perception of what "pageant photography" is and should look like! Be sure to check out Justin Grant's portfolio which features some really amazing advertising, fitness, and beauty images.
These days, creating a portrait that grabs the average pedestrian's attention isn't an easy task. So what did local New York City comedian Colin Kane do to spice it up a little? He added a raging mob of crazy people behind him in this awesome portrait by photographer Monte Isom. It looks like Monte used a large 7' Octabank to light the crowd and then a beauty dish with a little fill from a smaller softbox to give Colin a harsh key light look without losing the shadows. I love the overall idea and I've personally always wanted to work with a big group of people like in this video. If you are in NYC, check out Colin's stand up act and definitely head over to Monte's site to see some mind blowing advertising images as well as the largest group photo ever! Click the full post to see the high res final image.