When I began photography I didn’t understand the importance of lighting and the difference makeup has on an image. Looking back, if I would have first understood and attempted to master the techniques behind makeup, I would have understood the proper way to light my subjects when photographing them.
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Ever since I started diving into studio photography the term “V-Flat” has been a big mystery to me. Google and YouTube have been the quintessential resource for photography knowledge and for whatever reason there isn't much detailed information on how to construct a V-Flat or what purpose they actually serve. It took time to sift through the noise of nonsensical DIY fabrication and even more time to unfold the enigma of this studio essential.
Yes this is a big ad for Sandisk and yes it's an uncut webinar that is an hour long but if you are in post production and want to fill the air with something other than the sound of your teeth grinding and knee bouncing, then there are some great tidbits of information riddled through out this video.
Smartphone cameras are the new master tool for capturing the moment. In this webinar, world-renowned photographer Joao Carlos shares what you need to know
The largest ring light I've ever seen consists of 27 bulbs and is four feet in diameter. Six months ago, I built it. With so many questions left unanswered, I put together a short film that explains how I built it, why it was built, and why it's the most amazing light I've ever used to date.
Vanity Fair posted a video on their YouTube channel giving an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at a Mario Testino’s Best-Dressed Shoot: London (Shot in May, 2014), featuring snippets of their interviews with Cressida Bonas, Betty Catroux, Helena Bonham Carter, Nicky Haslam, Elisa Sednaoui, and Charlotte Olympia Dellal!
During our 2014 Fstoppers Workshops in the Bahamas students had the privilege of watching 10 successful photographers share their top photographic techniques. Commercial and celebrity portrait photographer Michael Grecco taught classes on environmental portraiture and sexy swimwear photography, so of course we thought it would be awesome to tag along as Michael explained some of the tips that make his portraits so unique.
I’ve always been enthralled with first person movie scenes, games and music videos. Clocking countless hours with Duke Nukem 3D in my parent’s basement on an old Packard Bell PC planted a seed that forever changed me. To this day I think The Prodigy's breakbeat electronic hit “Smack My Bitch Up” is one of the greatest first person videos of all time.
If you think you've got a quick trigger finger, then you haven't used the new Strike Finder Touch (SFT) by Ubertronix. This sleek remote trigger boasts the ability to trigger your camera shutter in less than 1 millisecond. The device has 5 different modes: Time Lapse, Lightning (or high speed flash), laser, sound and motion. All you need is 4 AAA batteries, your camera, and a great subject to get started.
I have only been shooting photography for a little over 3 years now. Things have progressed so quickly during that period of time that I haven't really had the chance to look back at the evolution of my photography. I had to think thing long and hard about the investments I have made over the 3 years and the things that really changed the game for me.
I ran across the incredibly imaginative portfolio of John Flury a few weeks ago. When I viewed his image "Provincial Uprising" where a womans dress was made of human hands I couldn't figure out how it was made.
Most of us love natural light and feel comfortable shooting with it – but how well do you really know how to utilize it effectively and to control it with precision? I just spent the day with Erik Valind, a New York City-based lifestyle photographer in his 'Controling Natural Light' workshop. Here are 17 simple ways to help get great results from better understanding and utliizing natural light.
Lighting isn't easy, a world-class-perfectly-lit studio portrait happens with a lot of instinct and experience. A strong grasp of lighting comes with experimentation and practice. Those that know my aesthetic know I'm a huge fan of one light photography. With that said, every image I produce I try and maintain the look of one light, even though it very well be lit with six lights. If I'm shooting for a hair, the hair needs to be well lit. If I'm shooting for makeup, the light needs to fill the face and really show detail. The same applies to product photography or fashion. I always give the client what they need, but always retain my dramatic lighting style.
Back in 2004 I was given the Nikon D100 digital camera for Christmas and I started making money with the camera within a few months. I fell into wedding photography and within 2 years I was making almost 100% of my income shooting them. In the last 10 years I never learned how to process a RAW file (effectively) or use Lightroom until last week.
Last week, we featured an interview with the awesomely talented retoucher and photographer Marina Dean-Francis. This week, she's shared a video with Fstoppers showing her retouching on a hair and beauty image. Although the video has been sped up tremendously, it's not hard to see that there aren't many quick tricks in play here. It's no secret that maybe the greatest skill in retouching is patience.
Pay close enough attention, and there are some very useful tips in this video - my personal favorite comes in around the 2:30 mark and is a great way to add highlights on...
Inspiration spurs creativity and it is often you find a photograph or artist that influences your practice. In this Photoshop tutorial Ben Secret helps you recreate the look and feel of an image by matching contrast, tone and saturation. With these brilliant tips get a handle on colour and tone through imitation, but then have fun adding your own unique style.
Regret is the worst feeling in the world but as humans, we feel it. There are times we all look back at, kicking ourselves thinking "if only I had known… I would've done it differently." I remember telling myself if I was ever given the opportunity to be heard, I'd collect a list of tips to share with others so they don't have to feel the frustration that often comes along with regret.
All this week at the PRO EDU studio in St. Louis, Michael Woloszynowicz has been hard at work showing off his techniques for an upcoming tutorial series on creating fashion and editorial photography. Today at 11am CST, myself along with the rest of the video crew will be streaming his model test look demonstrations live from the studio.
I’m always one to preach the importance of prevention and preparation before walking into a photo shoot, but there are some things you just can’t prepare for. The more you shoot the more you come to find that gear will tend to fall apart after a excessive number of uses... and abuses.
Last year Mercedes-Benz USA (@MBUSA) ran a very successful social media campaign using Instagram and some of its top influencers to spread the word about the new CLA which you can read about here. Now, they are at it again with a new approach on the much anticipated Mercedes GLA. What better way to advertise than to hit social media with some absolutely stunning adventure photos?
After spending a fair amount of time looking through the best images that the Fstoppers community has to offer, it's pretty easy to see what sets them apart. Not only are the shots themselves exceptional, but the post processing is world class (Julia Kuzmenko McKim and Michael Woloszynowicz, Photoshop extraordinaires, hold a few of our top spots). Photographers often take on their own post work either because of budget or wanting to maintain their full creative vision. Sometimes, even great photographers call on the retouching gods to lace their images with a bit of perfection. Marina Dean-Francis is one such retoucher (and photographer) with that incredible power.
Buying expensive gear and mastering lighting and technique play an important role in photography but ultimately, these things are secondary in achieving a solid portrait when facial expressions are factored in. No matter the genre of photography, whether it's fashion, weddings or family portraits, connecting to the subject is far more important than any other detail in shooting portraits. When portraying a personality or specific mood, there is a necessity to connect and extract emotions and moods.
Inverse Square Law of Light is something we all hear and know about, but don't always know how it really affects our photography. We always hear the math and the science behind it, but there is nothing like seeing it in a visual way to fully understand it. For people like me who find it hard to deal with math equations, those 2 great videos by photographer Karl Taylor will show you the important basics about the law you should know.
Miss Aniela creates photographic magic. She inhabits a dream world and uses her photographs as a visual means to realize the whimsical, highly creative visions that she dreams up. Her new commissions for Nikon’s D810 flagship launch blur the boundaries between fantasy and reality even more than usual as none of them utilize Photoshop, only relying on some technical post work in Nikon’s NX-D RAW image software.
Last month we shared a really impressive project of an underwater shoot in Bali done by my friend and conceptual photographer Benjamin Von Wong. He stated then that was only part one and that part two would be coming soon. Well, soon is here and he's sharing more technical aspects of how he made the project come to life.
I’m a huge fan of Annie Leibovitz and the imagery she has captured over the past few decades. Being a self-taught photographer, I looked to her work time and time again for inspiration and motivation. Over the course of a year, I scoured the internet for information on her lighting setups, equipment and methodology. But, the more I dove in, the less concerned I became about equipment and the more I felt the need to simplify my style.
My Weekend With The Phase One IQ250 Camera System: Lifestyle, Swim, Beauty, Fashion, and On-The-Road Edition
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of testing out the Phase One IQ250, and so I thought I would put together a practical write up of my time spent the Phase One IQ250 Camera System, the Capture One software, and whether or not either one has found a permanent place in my workflow.
What We Can Learn From David Bailey’s “Stardust”, One Of The Most Important Photographic Exhibitions In Decades
David Bailey is a master of portrait photography. His four month gallery exhibition “Stardust” just closed in London. It took 3 years of planning to put it together, and looked at his 50+ years as a photographer and artist. I got to see it before it closed, but if you didn’t get a chance to go, don’t worry – here are five things that I think made Bailey the success we celebrate today, and what we can learn from him.
Posing your subjects can be one of the most challenging tasks you have to face on shoot-day. If the person in front of your camera is not a supermodel who knows all the tricks, chances are you'll have to direct and pose that person (or people) in order to get pleasing images that make them look at their best. If you're in the business of photographing people, you should clear your schedule and watch this 2-hour B&H class as soon as possible.
When someone tells a photographer that “their camera must be really good,” chances are the photographer will respond with an eye roll. The debate surrounding gear verses skill in the photography world is a tired albeit consistent discussion. Let’s not kid ourselves, gear does in fact matter. However, does a photographer need top of the line equipment to produce mind-blowing images? Take a look at this collection and decide for yourself.
When you think of conceptual, high-fashion photo shoots, you imagine big budgets. Turns out, couture shoot concepts don’t have to cost more than $100. Professional photographer Amanda Diaz is demonstrating how to do just that right now during her CreativeLive class aimed to help photographers concept, style, and capture stunning images on a true DIY budget.
There is one thing that constantly keeps cropping up in both my own work, and in the work of others I see around me. I've worked with more and more photographers and videographers lately who just shoot with a single zoom for most of what they do. So many people I see seem to be producing strong work with one decent zoom. This post asks a very simple question that keeps bouncing around in my head. "Just how many lenses do we actually need?".
The music business is a brutal, cutthroat, dog-eat-dog world and I lived it for nearly 10 years. Since the age of 16, I struggled as a touring musician, surviving off nothing but cold Spaghettios and sleeping in a decade-old 8-passenger van. I was fortunate enough to explore the nation and see things that most will never see, but by the time I left the business I was completely burnt out.
I've had some pretty amazing experiences in my life. Fstoppers.com has given me incredible opportunities like meeting Bon Jovi, or riding in the first Lamborghini Aventador in America. Our international workshop last week took a year of planning and insane amounts of stress. On top of it all, I had the flu during the entire week. Even still, last week was the most rewarding week of my life.
The Finnish art duo Nutty Tarts / Tärähtäneet ämmät (Katriina Haikala and Vilma Metteri) are the artistic directors bringing to life an idea that Elina Halttunen (Ph.D.) originally came up with - swimwear for women who have had mastectomies. "Who says you need two?" That's the Monokini 2.0 tagline.
It was something I’d been thinking about for a while. Casually admiring others and how they went about it so naturally. Watching from afar, admiring the differences between them and me and wondering if there every was going to be a day when I was comfortable enough to do it myself. The more I watched, the more interested I became. Soon, I began visiting websites, looking at the photos and day dreaming what it would be like when I had the nerve to do it myself.
Over the past couple years we've all seen Benjamin Von Wong rise to the occasion time and time again with shoot after epic shoot. This time is no different, when he heads back underwater (this time in the untamed wild ocean of Bali) to attempt a shoot surrounded by a coral-covered shipwreck. In Von Wong's words, "everything is more complicated underwater."
Fstoppers Exclusive Interview - HoldFast Gear Founder Matthew Swaggart on Photography and Entrepreneurship
The whole idea of what a camera strap should look like and how it should perform changed when the MoneyMaker hit the scene just a few years back. Gone were the days of tactical black nylon. A new era of stylish form and function began when Tulsa, Oklahoma based wedding photographer turned entrepreneur Matthew Swaggart founded HoldFast – a luxury line of leather camera gear and accessories.
It all started with a conversation between filmmaker Justin Gustavision and I this past Friday. Justin works for Nadus Films who just released a brilliant award-winning documentary “BBoy For Life” which shows how break dancing has provided teenagers a way out of Guatemalan gang life. The film has been picked up by Starz and Discovery Channel, yet their social media presence could be considered dry, when it should be arousing a well-deserved tornado of hype.
Former Fstoppers writer and Columbus, Ohio based portrait and fashion photographer, Nick Fancher has recently been working on a series he calls Studio Anywhere in which he photographs models in their own homes. Nick's an avid strobist; meticulously lighting every shoot with a small army of speed lights. He has kindly agreed to give us a sneak peek into his lighting setups from two images in the series.
When I met Laura Grier at WPPI this year, she showcased her latest editorial fashion shoot with a behind the scenes video. It isn't everyday you get a backstage look at the work and creativity that goes into this type of photo-shoot. Not only are the photos incredible, but the designs and creations showcased on the models are one of a kind. Truly an inspiring piece.
When each of us picks up our camera, whether it be for the first time or the ten-thousandth time, our finished work is a product of everything which has inspired us. Everything we've seen, everything we've done, everything we've learned and grown from can be seen in our work in at least some small part. That's why, I believe, it's important to not only look back at our work on a regular basis with an eye critical to how technically proficient we've become, but to look back at our work from an influence-based standpoint to see how much of ourselves we can find into our work.
Yesterday was the 2014 MET Gala which is one of the most important fashion events of the year. This $25,000 a plate charitable event draws some of the most prolific and legendary names in the fashion industry so it is not surprising to hear that fashion photographer Mario Testino would be present at the event. This year he was not just in attendance, however, he was also the event's photographer!
I always tether. Whether it's for a client or fashion editorial, the CamRanger has played a very important role in capturing rock solid images. But, before the wonderful technology of wireless tethering came into the picture, I always tethered to a workstation. However, that came with the annoyance of a long tether cable dangling off your camera. I always felt the sense of being trapped or held back from moving freely, I was always concerned and it was always a distraction.
About four years ago - or about a month or so after I picked up a camera and decided I was a photographer - I thought it would be in my best interest to start up a Facebook Fan Page (as they were called back then). I assumed that because a few friends were liking the random collection of photos that I was posting to my personal Facebook page, strangers - and eventually clients - would find my Fan Page, like it, and then money and fame would come rolling in.
Although it would seem like common sense, proper motivation is key toward not only getting things done, but getting things done well. This is true in any creative field and this is especially true, it seems, in the over-saturated everybody-with-a-camera-is-a-photographer world we live in.
I’m a bit of a dreamer. I’m also a huge aviation geek, and I often catch myself browsing the web at 2am looking up articles on aviation and aviation history. So when I found Anthony Toth and learned more about his life’s work, I knew that I had my next personal photography project in mind. As I'm mostly an architectural photographer, I got bored of waiting around for an airline to hire me to photograph their next ad campaign, so I decided to hire myself into my dream gig.
Yes, Terry Richardson is making the headlines AGAIN. But this time, he seems to have outdone himself from the last few times we have wrote about him. According to Jezebel.com, model Emma Appleton shared a screenshot of a message from Terry Richardson which was offering her a chance to have a featured Vogue shoot in exchange for sex.
Zoom, focus, spray and pray. That seems to be the M.O. of many photographers who shoot runway. I admit, I was one of those photographers. The one who scours through thousands of images at the end of the night, wishing they had shot more strategically. And, after two hours of culling, flagging three images per look, they’d be lucky if only one was tack sharp. After many shows, I’d criticize my every move and would long for a time machine to do it all over again.