As a photographer, my skill set is constantly put to the test. In most cases, I’m handed an idea on a slab of wood and the mission is to hand that idea translated to a tangible artifact back to my client on a silver platter. It’s never an easy process, but it’s a part of my job.
Recent Fashion Articles
Building a quality portfolio can be an expensive endeavor, especially if you don't budget and carefully consider your costs. Putting together professional quality shoots on a budget can be challenging. After experiencing some of the wide variations in cost for things like models, makeup artists, and the other essential pieces of a shoot, I wanted share my experiences and lessons learned the hard way.
Digital retouching is a touchy subject. Many see it as virtual plastic surgery, a dishonest concealment of the person’s true self — creating an unrealistic standard of beauty. Others view it as a means of helping a person look their best, or to achieve an artistic vision. Either way, there doesn’t seem to be much sign that this trend is about to change. Countless articles have been dedicated to this debate, but it is not every day that we hear a famous photographer weigh in on this issue. In this video, fashion photographer and past judge of America’s Next Top Model, Nigel Barker steps up to defend this form of image manipulation with some interesting justifications.
This past Sunday the Hollywood elite gathered at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for the 72nd annual Golden Globe awards. Many of us can only dream of what it would be like to take the stage in front of such a large number of A-list celebrities to accept one of those golden globes, or what it would be like walking off the stage with one in hand. Well now, thanks to acclaimed fashion photographer Ellen von Unwerth, we get a taste of what that experience is like.
Justin Bieber is no stranger to the being in the media, whether it’s for any of his numerous tasteless stunts or even his interactions with photographers. This time it’s his most recent photoshoot for Calvin Klein that has the celebrity blogs buzzing, where an allegedly leaked, unedited photo shows major differences in muscle mass and body hair among other altered features. However, the question still remains: is it real?
If you’d asked me this question last week, I would have said no. What a difference a few days makes. Ruslan Pelykh, a New York City-based videographer and photographer, is creating outstanding video with a Leica D Lux 6, a 10 megapixel, $600 point and shoot. This post is a kick up the butt for anyone hanging on for a piece of gear as being the reason they can’t create with what they have. Welcome to creating more, with less.
When people walk through my living room studio, they are puzzled that I do not own or rent a permanent studio space. What many do not know is that when I’m contracted for a commercial assignment, about 80% of the time I must travel to a location or shot at the client’s home base. And, in many cases that requires transporting several 9 foot seamless backdrops and a whole lot of equipment. I don’t have a giant bus to haul all of my studio gear, so it’s been a trying experience to find the right tools to efficiently pack and tote my mobile studio.
Last year, Vogue China approached Mario Testino to be the sole photographer for their 100th issue, a task which the legendary fashion photographer took to with great relish. Recently, Testino released the making-of video that documents the work that went into this issue. This is not one of those annoying fashion videos that is over in thirty seconds after bombarding you with bad techno music and flashy editing. Instead, this feature offers some excellent insights into how Vogue develop their concepts, as well as behind-the-scenes footage offering glimpses of how each shoot was set up.
Long time watchers of DigitalRev on YouTube will be all too familiar with the awesome series Pro 'Tog, Cheap Camera which airs only a couple times a year. For the uninitiated, as the title suggests, in this series world-class professional photographers leave their high-end gear at home and show what they can do with the most basic equipment imaginable. Previous episodes of the series include Alex Ogle, Philip Bloom, Chase Jarvis, Ben Von Wong, and Zack Arias to name a few. The newest installment features rock star fashion photographer, Lara Jade. Take a look!
For many, the 7’ parabolic umbrella seems like a one-trick pony. The textbook move of sandwiching the camera between the subject and the light for an edgy, high-key look is quickly growing old. In this video, commercial photographer Joel Grimes shows a different way of using the 7’ parabolic to create soft, high-key images best suited for beauty photography.
One of the most noticeable differences between portraits taken outside using natural light as opposed to artificial light is the background. Images using artificial light tend to have darker backgrounds. This is crucial in catching the eye of the viewer and allows him or her to focus on the subject. This article is a guide in achieving this look using natural light only.
I guess I’ve always been different; I’ve never really yearned for a big studio space. As a freelance photographer, the majority of my clients require that I come to their location and shoot on-site. I have a strict organizational-mobile system to transport all my equipment which includes over 8 strobes, 2 scrims and a plethora of staging props and modifiers. I’m asked quite often about my studio and where I shoot all these incredible portraits and dramatic fashion editorials. The answer is easy; my living room.
Everything starts from nothing. Thousands dream of being full time photographers, but knowing how to start a business - and how to grow it - are really tricky parts of a complex equation. Emily Soto today celebrates 4 years of full time professional photography. In this exclusive interview, she shares insights on how she has grown her business, as well as the struggles, hardships and rewards she's encountered along the way. If you're curious about what it takes to make it as a successful photographer today, this might just provide the answers you've been looking for.
Benjamin Von Wong is known for his daring, and sometimes dangerous, photo shoots. Whether it be chaining a model to a shipwreck or lighting massive amounts of fire next to 3 million dollars worth of sports cars, no idea is too crazy. In fact, the more crazy, the more creative Von Wong can be. But not every photo shoot that Von Wong creates is dangerous... to the people at least. Even in relatively mellow settings, Von Wong has to do something to make it more interesting. As he details in his latest blog post, sometimes you even have to have a $38,000 Mamiya Leaf Credo 80 just inches over the water to get "the shot."
People often forget that all successful photographers started from the bottom. This knowledge should be an aspiring photographer's motivation that fuels every action and re-touch. Each person has the ability to exceed beyond expectations; to set goals and reach them. In the future, you may look back at your work with embarrassment. Remembering where you started from should be a source of pride. The growth of 20 popular photographers in their retouching skills might be the greatest source of inspiration.
These days it's hard to come by a fashion shoot that's not shot with a digital camera. That's why when Fstoppers discovered on a Facebook Film Shooters group that Indonesian based photographers Wirawan Sanjaya and partner Gaillard Mathieu had convinced the editors at Bazaar Magazine to allow him to shoot the entire editorial on film, we just had to reach out! The stakes were high, but his results were stunning.
Artificial lighting can be overwhelming, there are thousands of options to modify one single light source and there are dozens of companies that claim they have the best product and best bang for your buck. Regardless, photography equipment is expensive and I know I'd rather not waste money on a gimmick product when the same result could be achieved with just the right strobe placement or accessory.
Senegal-based photographers Omar Victor Diop and Antoine Tempé are the co-creators of [re-]Mixing Hollywood / ONOMOllywood, a photographic series which re-imagines scenes from classic films, incorporating Senegalese landscapes, culture, and fashion.
Have you ever wondered what fashion trends will be in style, let’s say 20 years from now? Well some say the best way to predict the future is to look at the past, and this video does exactly that. "100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute" illustrates hair and makeup styles from each decade, starting at 1910 straight through to 2010.
I’ve just read a comment from a photographer who said it’s time to stop shooting in black and white. He claimed we don’t see the world in black and white and it was something only done in the past due to the limitations at the time and it’s time to move on. Here’s a number of reasons why I think it’s critical to shoot black and white from time to time, and how it can help nurture your photographic eye.
Austrian fashion photographer Andreas Ortner creates highly detailed work, showcasing his subjects in rich, colorful images. Having established a distinct style, Ortner’s work is stunning and imaginative.
You never know what’s going to happen in New York. Last week, photographic gold was struck in Times Square in the deep cavernous archives inside the Conde Nast building. Two thousand prints shot by Edward Steichen, one of 20th Century’s most influential photographers, were found after lying hidden for over eighty years. The story behind them, and of Steichen’s rise to photographic fame and acclaim, are almost too unbelievable to be true.
Our generation has witnessed the death and rebirth of Polaroid Instant Film; yet it is interesting to note that most model agencies have always preferred the format as a staple facet in portfolios. From the model's perspective the idea of a harshly lit and un-editable image is less than ideal. However; standing in the shoes of the photographer or creative director, it is always best to have an idea what you'll really be working with.
If you’ve been following the photography industry in recent years, there’s no doubt that the term ‘boudoir’ has entered your lexicon at one point or another. While the century-old niche has enjoyed renewed momentum as of late, there are many more different groups of people that seem to be losing their inhibitions today than upper-class exhibitionists of the early 1900s. Individuals and couples of all walks of life are seeking boudoir sessions and it’s becoming an increasingly lucrative business. But what exactly is it? And how do you do it?
Many people will avoid picking up a camera because they think they don’t have an eye for photography. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take talent to capture a solid portrait. It takes skill and the motivation necessary to master those skills. Portrait photography can be dealt with as an equation; with just a set of rules and guidelines, it’s possible to take jaw dropping, natural light portraits tomorrow. Here are seven steps to master portraits using natural light only.
When I first attempted to retouch the photographs I took in 2006, I had no idea what I needed to do and how. Today there are thousands of video tutorials on the web on how to retouch, but nobody explains what it is that needs to be retouched to make a female face look more youthful, healthy and beautiful. It took me some time to figure out what the common problems that I needed to remove from my subjects' faces and bodies were, and what I had to alter to make them look more attractive.
Fashion designer-turned-photographer Vivienne Mok creates ethereal images; her young subjects bathed in light simultaneously soft and brilliant light. Drawing from her background in design, Mok creates intricately detailed settings decorated with treasures gathered from flea markets or built by hand.
The use of Photoshop by companies is changing and it’s indicative of a much deeper trend. Earlier his year, American Eagle stopped retouching the models in their 'Aerie' lingerie shoots. They claim that the 9% sales increase last quarter is directly related to this position. This is an unprecedented commercial statement, and has wide implications for photographers, videographers and post production specialists everywhere.
I have been a fan and a friend of Benjamin Von Wong for years. I have seen him turn tech employees into athletic gods and seen him schmooze with the police while on a 13 hour photoshoot deep in a foggy forest. In my eyes, the genius that is buried in Von Wong's creative mind can do anything, and he always knows it. Well, little did I know, the man who once chained a model to a shipwreck to get the perfect shot, often doubts himself, much like all of us.
Taking portraits at wide apertures and consistently nailing focus is is not an easy task. In fact, it’s a skill that must be practiced in order to master it. However, an aspect not often discussed in regards to capturing sharp images has nothing to do with the lens used or the f-stop. Here is the ultimate guide to capturing tack sharp images at wide apertures.
Go behind the scenes with one of the worlds top high-end retouchers, Pratik Naik, in this two part video as he walks us through his process of working with a model shot by David Geffin. Exploring the fine line between retoucher and photographer you can see his passion for what he does and the understanding it takes to capture the photographers vision perfectly.
Whether we're a photographer, graphic designer, painter, musician or dancer... throughout our career, we’ll slam right into a rock solid wall and it some cases it can be so traumatizing that some of us may never recover. It’s not really a question of if; it’s a question of when and if you’re a new artist then brace yourself, there will come a time when things just don’t click. I’ll be honest; I hit that wall with writing for Fstoppers this past month. Writing 1,000 words once a week is no easy feat, I figure it's only appropriate to write about this very topic as I sit here in recovery from a creative collapse.
People often think that modeling is just about looks. This misconception turns a beautiful person into just a body with no skills. Modeling is not about having the perfect "looks." The key to successfully modeling is the mindset. With just one thought, a photographer can take his or her models to the next level.
Supermodel Coco Rocha and photographer Steven Sebring have teamed up to release an interactive book, The Study Of Pose, chronicling over 1000 poses captured from 100 different angles in an experimental 360 degree rig. It is an ambitious project that has resulted in a massive, and certainly quite heavy, book with over 2000 pages.
“Trend Spotting” - A Journey Through Fashion Photography’s Past, Present And Future With Melissa Rodwell
Melissa Rodwell has been there, done it and got the t-shirt. A thirty year veteran of the world of fashion photography, she has paid her dues and then some. She has seen the trends come and go, and now has the knowledge and experience to help those just starting out. Anyone interested in fashion photography, or simply how to survive as a professional photographer will benefit from this frank and exclusive interview.
I have seen absolutely beautiful things happen in the photo industry. I've seen strangers become best friends, I've seen grand ideas being brought to life, and I've seen photographers grow from beginners to mentors. I've seen so many things that make me proud to be a part of such an amazing community. The sad news is that I've also seen the uglier side of it. I've seen jealousy turn into bad-mouthing, I've seen photographers knowingly leave out key techniques from classes or talks, and I've seen new photographers become discouraged and disheartened by the cold shoulders of the more popular photographers in the industry.
We’ve all been there, stuck with bad light and fresh out of ideas. I may spend up to an hour pre-lighting before a model or subject steps onto set, I work out the kinks and make sure everything is how it should be. But, despite my best efforts to make it right, every now and then I run out of time and have to wing it. We all have our “go to” lighting scenarios, but when you’re standing in unknown territory, keep the following tips in mind and you just might make it through the storm.
There are dozens of "How To" articles when it comes retouching. Very few, if any, focus on vital tips that are often overlooked, that will take your retouching to the next level. Here's a list that the Professionals in the industry never share with you.
How would it feel to photograph Will Ferrell or Seth Rogen? How would you ever get to be able to shoot clients like these? How do you marry technical capability and develop your own style to deliver something unique? What if you could learn from someone doing this sort of work day in day out? Well, now you can, in this exclusive interview with Emily Shur.
I get asked day in an day out; "What is that big black box on the front of your lens?" Well, it's a matte box that mounts glass filters in front of your lens... the LEE Filters System. In attempt to cover the question I recieve so often, I wanted to address it all and explain the system, but my friend and fantastic photographer Dave Kai Piper beat me to the punch! So, instead of writing my own article on the matter, I thought it best to simply share his article...
Ever since Benjamin Von Wong took a leap of faith and left his successful career as a engineer to persue his artistic passions, he has kept a legion of die hard fans enchanted by his ability to turn the ordinary into epic. Whether it be organizing complicated pyrotechnics, photographing surreal scenes of ultraviolet models, or chaining models to a shipwreck 25 meters below the surface in Bali, Benjamin has never been interested in being ordinary. In his insanely creative mind, his thought process of "If it's not epic, than what's the point?" has led to some of the most memorable photoshoots in the last several years.
Throughout my career so far I have failed over and over again. Although it’s the successes that I'm remembered and known for, it’s the failures that are always the catalyst. At the end of the day, the key to success lies in failure. This improvisational beauty shoot was only a success because I set myself up to fail.
Annie Leibovitz has been pretty busy lately. Fstoppers recently posted her work as part of the "Live Who You Are" campaign for The Corcoran Group; the BTS video for it can be found here. In this campaign for Moncler, Annie pulls out all the stops - acrobats on ladders, backseat canoodling and even a hiker in the form of a Hindu deity (although to be fair, he could also be Buddhist or Jain). In any case, she brings her personal touch to the images.
British photographer Jason Bell is probably one of the most accomplished photographers in the world. By age 45 Jason shot some of the biggest names in the entertainment world (Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie), many film posters (Billy Elliot, Bridget Jones) and some very intimate family portraits of the Royal Family and Prince George. And he did it with style. Not many photographers get to shoot 'personal' work/projects with high-caliber names, but he's one that proves us all it is possible.
Did you know there was a beard and moustache growing challenge besides the MOVEMBER movement? Until today I had no clue! And after seeing some of these images, i'm suffering from Beard-Envy! Direct from The Beard Team USA website: "It’s time to start growing! The 2014 Just for Men World Beard and Moustache Championships® are invading Portland, Oregon on Saturday, October 25. Inside the spectacular, 3,000-seat Keller Auditorium in downtown Portland, hundreds of the world’s best “beardsmen” will put the art of facial hair on display in the most entertaining and creative competition to hit the Northwest."
With a saturated market for photographers, there are so many pitfalls a photographer can plunge into that can prevent them from being successful. Taking a step back to analyzing yourself and your business can be the first step to improve and guarantee chances of success for the future. Here are a number of things to look out for, these things can be what is preventing you from reaching your potential.
Chantelle Brown-Young was teased in school, often called "zebra" or "cow" becuase of her skin condition, vitiligo. However, things began to change when a Toronto photographer encouraged her to model at 16. Her alter-ego-named Instagram (@winnieharlow) became an outlet for her modeling photos and soon enough, Tyra Banks contacted her to become a part of America's Next Top Model (ANTM).
Walking into a bookstore, grabbing a magazine off the shelves, and seeing your name and images in print is nothing short of wonderful! Getting published in a fashion magazine is extremely rewarding, but it is no easy task, especially when getting started. Over the past 5 years I’ve been publishing in magazines ranging from online magazines to large internationally acclaimed publications.
Almost a year ago I posted The Ultimate Guide To The Frequency Separation Technique article and soon after that I created our Retouching Academy community group for retouchers and photographers who retouch their own work. We have been seeing a lot of before & after images posted there by artists of all levels from complete beginners to seasoned pros.
And in there we all have been witnessing that one of the most abused and misused techniques by those who work with images of people is Frequency Separation (FS). Mainly by beginners, of course....
In this video, Karl Taylor and Urs Recher experiment with and demonstrate the uses of a Parabolic reflector. Using a model who is wearing white against a white background, they produce a number of portraits demonstrating how to shape the Para light to separate the model from the background. The versatility of this practice is quite astounding as the photographer is able to stand in front of the light and have it still perfectly illuminate the model and is a simple one light set up.