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 Feb 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 Jay has chosen "Power". 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 Dec winner Jay Malone and not anyone on the Fstoppers Staff. Have fun submitting to the January Fstoppers Forum Contest and good luck to everyone!
Articles written by Patrick Hall
We've featured the work of David Nguyen in the past and this time he has taken his whole production to new level. In his most recent photoshoot, Whispers in the Wind, David takes his creative team out to a desert and creates some really inspiring composite beauty images. The theme is sort of a Chinese New Year, and David has included wild elephants, tigers, rabbits, and birds into the final shots. I love it when artists take a concept to the max and really push their own creative aspirations. If you have not checked out David's portfolio, you are really missing out. Now if only we could get some BTS on how he made these composites!
If you haven't checked out Mark Wallace's Adorama TV channel over at youtube you really should. He does a great job creating informative and useful videos on all sorts of digital photography and videography topics. In his most recent video, Mark shows a lot of different types of hot lights that can be used for lighting both your behind the scenes videos as well as your photoshoots themselves. He also talks a bit about how to light different subjects including how to light for a two person interview. Here at Fstopppers, we are using the Photoflex Starlights for our video productions. We really enjoy the versatility they give us but of course you can use anything that fits your budget. I know photographers sometimes stray away from constant lighting in favor of strobes so if you have any questions or thoughts about how to use these to the fullest, leave a comment below.
Kevin Reed is a fantastic fashion photographer based out in LA and also NYC. He also has an excellent blog called Exposing Fashion where he has posted lots of tips, BTS, and bits of inspiration. Each year Kevin creates a new image to include in his holiday newsletter and this year he even filmed a fast behind the scenes video outlining the entire shoot. The lighting is pretty straightforward but it's always interesting to see how much work goes into the details. Usually it's these details that help separate the typical fashion or beauty images from the really great ones. Hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did.
If you were an Fstoppers reader back when we launched then you probably saw Lee Morris's humble attempt at how to photograph a Rolex watch. It wasn't perfect but I think it was helpful in shedding some light on how meticulous product photography can be. Well now Alex Koloskov has made an extremely detailed video on how he created his latest hero shot of a men's Marine Star Bulova watch. The video is very long and it might take you a second to cut through his Ukrainian accent but this video is well worth it. The quick(er) post production video is shown below so you can see how much time and effort goes into touching up a macro shot like this but you can also find the full length lighting video in the full post. Also be sure to head over to Alex's blog post if you have further questions about his workflow. Take your time on this and enjoy!
Profoto has really done everyone a great service in having photographer Matthew Jordan Smith explain some of his personal favorite images in his portfolio. In this particular image, Matthew decided to photograph NBA superstar Ray Allen in his own backyard while jumping on a trampoline. Equipped with just a single Profoto D1 Air and a magnum reflector for hard light, Matt was able to take a rather limited lighting setup and create a highly stylized image. I think it just goes to show that thinking outside the box and not limiting your shoot to any prior conception can be more important in making a great image than simply focusing on your initial plans.
One of the first early adapters of DSLR video for professional use was Shane Hurlbut of Terminator Salvation, The Guardian, The Last 3 Minutes fame. A few days ago he released a really well shot commercial for the US Marines and decided to make a short contest out of it. The video has over 27 frames shot on various Canon 5D, 7D, and 1D cameras as they do every cinemagraphic move possible. I'm thinking we might get a BTS video of the filming of this commercial after the contest is done but in the meantime Shane is going to give away a free copy of Adobe's CS5 Production Premium Suite to whoever correctly guesses what camera shot what footage. You can head over to the contest page for more details and the entries will be accepted until the end of Jan 26th, 2011.
Jordan Matter is a headshot photographer based out of NYC but does some rather quirky personal projects. One of his going projects is titled Dancers Among Us where he places professional dancers in urban environments and tries to capture a spontaneous yet thought provoking image. I must admit some of his tactics might be a bit unlawful and I don't recommend necessarily following his advice but the concept is pretty interesting. Shooting in public places is always tough especially when you want a high production value but doing it in NYC can be extremely tough without getting proper licenses. View more images from this series here.
Photographer and videographer Patryk Kizny from Poland has been making a lot of noise around the web with his HDR TimeLapse slider videos. I've had a chance to talk to Patryk about his setup and the electronic slider he is using made by DitoGear is quite impressive. In this video he has removed all the elements of timelapse and instead he has focused simply on smooth sliding motions in every direction possible. What I found must impressive besides the smoothness of the slider itself is the amazing image quality he is getting out of the relatively new and inexpensive Samyang 14mm 2.8 ultra wide angle lens on his 5D Mark II. I know the Nikon version is expensive but I never thought the quality would be this close on full frame video. If you enjoy Patryk's works, stay tuned because he has a new BTS video on one of his most popular videos coming out soon.
Portrait photographer Platon is best known for his stylized wide angle photographs of political figures such as Bill Clinton, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez, and countless other iconic leaders throughout the world. His images have graced the covers of Time, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Esquire to name a few. For Platon, putting himself in a position to capture portraits of some of the most unapproachable and impenetrable political rulers has not only been stressful but also extremely dangerous. Such was the case when he set out to Burma, one of the most dangerous countries in the world, to photograph opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi. In the video below Platon recaps his experience being chased by Burmese secret police in his effort to create the cover image of the January 2011 issue of Time.
Sometimes you come across a video that just makes you feel good, and this is one of those videos. Brooklyn resident Todd Beiber was out cross country skiing in Prospect Park during the huge blizzard which brought in 2011. During his ski adventure he happened to spot a canister of undeveloped 35mm film. Being the photo enthusiast that he is, Todd developed the film on his own and vowed to track down the owners of the lost roll of film. What he found was very similar to the Vivian Maier's story: a bunch of great images that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. So after watching this video, I feel like it is only appropriate for Fstoppers to help Todd find the owners of this roll of film. Will you help him as well? Hopefully we will get a wonderful follow up video of Todd hanging out somewhere in Europe :)
Ella Manor is a fashion photographer based out of New York City who approaches her photography in a rather unorthodox manner. Much of her work combines beautiful models and extravagant clothing with dreamy camera effects and often times double exposures. Her hybrid style lends itself to the unpredictable nature of Lensbaby lenses so much so that she has been labeled a "Photo Guru" by the lens company themselves. This video showcases her latest photo essay Power House and explains how she approaches her photography from both a technical aspect and also a visionary aspect. I can't say I've ever seen anything quite like this before but judging from the images on her website I think I like what I see.
While watching Carson Daly the other night I was exposed to a really exciting photographer named Andrew Zuckerman. On the show he was promoting his newest project MUSIC which I'll probably post here later in the month. But while researching his other works I came across an older project he did called Wisdom. These last few projects Andrew has taken on have involved shooting people (or animals) on pure white backgrounds while simultaneously interviewing them for a documentary. It's pretty brilliant to have both the single frame and the interview for both formats and what Andrew gets his subjects to reveal is really worth its weight in gold. Check out a little behind the scenes video on how he made Wisdom and check out the final hardcopy book here.
I'm always getting asked by our readers to post more videos on landscape photography but it is really tough to find good videos on landscape photography. Luckily landscape photographer Clyde Butcher has a nice little interview where he talks about how he got into landscape swamp photography and some of the gear he uses. All of his work is black and white and you can really tell how he has been inspired by other black and white photographers who have come before him. If you appreciate black and white landscape photography you will enjoy this video. Make sure you check out Clyde's portfolio to see more of his work since he doesn't showcase much of it in the video itself.
Last month we tested out our first ever Photoshop Contest, and it was a great success. So we have decided to start a monthly photoshop contest so everyone can get in on the action. Think Tank has offered up prizes for at least 6 months of photoshop contests, and submissions are almost due for the January 2011 contest. If you didn't know, this month we challenged you to edit this basketball image from the Pocket Wizard TT5 Test Shoot. If you've watched the video then you know that fellow Fstoppers reader Jaymes Poudrier did a pretty fantastic job of editing my shots but I want to see what you can do. Feel free to manipulate this photograph any way you see fit, and at the end of Jan 15th I will pick a winner. The reward is going to be a new Think Tank Disguise 70 Pro camera bag which is really great for quick on the go shooters. One word to the wise; there are no rules for this contest but I'm a fan of mainstream and marketable photographs. Anyone can participate but if you are outside of North America you will have to pay for any shipping or handling that Think Tank might encounter. Post all your images over at the January 2011 Photoshop Contest Forum and good luck!
Chase Jarvis is most well known for his commercial images and a history of sharing his inspiration freely on the internet. If you've followed his work at all then you know he frequently heads down to New Zealand to gain a head start on marketing campaigns for the northern hemisphere since the seasons are opposite. In this video Chase is shooting landscape shots of New Zealand with the Hasselblad H3D (now the H4D) for a personal project of his. The footage is amazing and I'm sure the photographs will be spectacular too once he gets done with this project. Do I smell another coffee table book brewing from the Jarvis camp?
Alex Soth is an American photographer based out of Minnesota. He recently setup a big exhibition at the Minneapolis Walker Art Center which showcased his work done on a large 8x10 camera. Most of his work is done by photographing strangers in unique environments. This short profile video explains his outlook on photography and makes one think "how in the world do you walk around with such a large camera"?
If you've ever played with an effects lens like the Lens Baby Composer then you are probably aware that you can actually create out of focus areas that have specific shapes by using specially designed apertures. Well Kaleb Wentzel-Fisher took this one step further and actually made his out of focus bokeh spell out words during a recent video shoot. I think there is a lot to be desired with the final video but the concept is pretty genius. Check out this video below to see how Kaleb designed the 'aperture' blades and click on the full post to see the final video.
A few months ago I got a call from one of country star Jamey Johnson's managers asking me to take some photographs of him while he was passing through South Carolina. Since Jamey was born in my hometown of Enterprise Alabama I was pretty excited to work with the real deal country artist (not a pop country bone in this guy for sure). Long story short our schedules weren't able to work. So I was excited today when I came across a BTS video of his new single Playing the Part which was directed by Matthew McConaughy. Few people ever get to experience what it's like on set of a music video so I thought this tongue in cheek video was a good way for you guys to watch how it all goes down. Click on the full post to watch the entire music video.
Love it or find it overly offensive, rapper M.I.A.'s music video Born Free created a big stir on the internet last year when it was released. I personally thought it was a pretty good video considering what most artists release these days. Regardless of your view of the video, the cinematography is really awesome. In order to shoot the driving scenes, director Romain Gavras used the Ultimate Arm to create amazing jib style shots on the move. Check out this BTS on how the team filmed much of the film's final segment and click the full post to watch Born Free in it's entirety.