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.
Articles written by Patrick Hall
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.
If you've ever seen one of those movie or tv show posters then you probably already know that they are usually huge composites of every actor. But that doesn't always mean that the different characters are simply shot against a white background. Check out this fun video featuring the cast of House season 6 as they pose for different promo shots in a studio large enough to fit an old motorhome. Photographer Florian Schneider has an excellent site to browse and even has an image or two from this shoot posted.
Jeff Johnson is a very talented lifestyle and advertising photographer based out of California. He is probably best known for his adventurous images as the staff photographer for Patagonia. He has also worked with Best Buy, Macy's, Target, and General Mills. So when he sits down with Marc Silber to talk about how he produces great travel photos you better take notes. I hope all you outdoor and nature photographers enjoy this video.
Scott Schuman runs a really popular fashion blog called The Sartorialist, and the whole idea is that he takes timeless looking images of fashionable people in cities around the world. A few days ago we ran a viral story on Vivian Maier who may have been the greatest unknown street photographer of her era. I thought this short documentary on Scott might be interesting to those of you who enjoy taking spontaneous images on your own city streets. It's easy to get wrapped up in gear and fancy lighting with 'modern' photography but ultimately it's your subjects that really makes an image. What better way is there to test your own craft than to take just a camera and lens and hit the streets?
Congratulations to Jay Malone for winning the December 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 Jay's portrait work. 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 Jay not anyone on the Fstoppers Staff. Have fun submitting to the January Fstoppers Forum Contest and good luck to everyone!
Fstoppers reader Tyler Kaufman sent me this interesting video that shows a little glimpse of what it is like to shoot NBA basketball. Professional photographer Layne Murdoch has been shooting sports for over 30 years and has created some really spectacular images as the New Orlean's Hornets main photographer. Part of what has made his images so successful has been the use of Pocket Wizard triggers for remote camera operation. He can actually cover both sides of the court at the same time while only being physically positioned in one spot throughout the entire game. Professional Basketball is one of the few sports that allows studio strobe use during the games and Layne shows you a little on how having built in house lighting can freeze action for sharp motion shots.