There are many different ways to learn photography. For me, one of the biggest keys to improving my craft has always been observational learning. I find that watching others do things I’d like to do is both inspiring and educational. It’s one of the reasons why I try to watch at least a couple of behind the scenes videos every day. What better way to learn something than from the best, such as fashion and beauty photographer Patrick Demarchelier?
The French photographer recently shot a campaign for Guerlain with the stunning Russian Model Natalia Vodianova. A short behind the scenes video was produced, and I believe that having a quick peek at a large commercial campaign shoot is always beneficial. It’s probably not with this two-minute long video that you’ll learn to place your lights properly. However, it’s interesting to see how simple some of the setups used in such shoots are. If you look at the first setup shown in the above footage, you’ll see that Demarchelier only used one single light with what looks like an Elinchrom 39" octabox, a piece of reflective material, and some kind of cardboard or foam core to add movement to the hair. That’s it! Famous creatives don’t always use tools that are not accessible to us!
While there’s nothing wrong with a minimalist approach (I’m the first to shoot with a single strobe or even natural light if I can), seeing how Demarchelier works is a fantastic reminder for photographers that you don’t need a lot of gear to create world-class images. Sure, it’s always nice to have more equipment than you need, but too much can quickly become a distraction.
Do you like watching behind the scenes videos as much as I do? I would love to see more of them in the Fstoppers Groups and have a chance to repost the best ones in future articles for everyone to see! So, be sure to check out our community and share your work there in addition to Instagram or Facebook.