Almost all photographers nowadays are familiar with modern equipment and use it to create, show, and improve their work. Some is necessary like new cameras, lenses, computers, and some is complementary. It all depends on your work style and the photos you want to create. But let's ask a question here. How much of this technology and knowledge do you need for being a better photographer in your genre?
If you have ever been assigned a full-day catalog shoot for a big retail brand, you probably know about the hectic process, especially if you are not working with a producer who deals with everything. Besides, a catalog shoot consists of innumerous steps from creating the concept to delivering the final images, and if you don’t have a producer ready for you, there are some steps that you need to consider before start shooting.
When it comes to deciding how good a particular image is, there are three aspects that I think are most important: composition, lighting, and colors. These three properties could be described as the technical attributes of an image. There are those who have compared this image to The Birth of Venus and the Virgin Mary, based on a number of styling choices, one can see some similarities.
From Vanity Fair covers to designer fashion shows and theater stages, artist Sarah Oliphant has painted her way into the fabric of fashion by creating beautiful canvases worthy of framing on a scale large enough to become the industry's leading backdrop painter. Oliphant Studio has been creating scenic backdrops for photographers, film producers, fashion designers, architects, and interior designers since 1978. Along the way, Oliphant has collaborated with the top level of fashion and editorial portrait photographers including Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier, Albert Watson, Mark Seliger, Norman Jean Roy, and Sue Bryce while also providing an inventory of backdrops available for rent to photographers beginning and advanced.
Perspective Control lenses for SLR cameras were developed primarily for architecture, interior, and still-life photography applications. PC lenses simulate some of the movements and control that photographers can get from a view camera. They are great for keeping lines parallel and subjects in focus. Just as PC lenses allow photographers to control what is in focus, they also allow you to control what goes out of focus and how quickly it does that. Fashion and portrait photos with enhanced bokeh or selective focus create dreamy blur and guide attention to the areas remaining in focus.
Some model poses seem to pop up everywhere repeating across different mediums and across decades. Many photographers deride these posing cliches, but these cliches can be useful on fashion and other model shoots, especially when working with new models still learning how to move. They can help create serviceable images when you are stuck for ideas or when you need shoot a series of good looks in a short period of time.
There is no shortage of educational material on the market for getting started in virtually any industry of photography. Moreover, fashion is one of the most crowded spaces in regards to this sort of education which can mean the volume of repetition offered from one educational video to another can become rather tiresome. In contrast, when an aspect of fashion photography sheds new light on an often ignored aspect of the industry, the viewer can enjoy a refreshing new look into well-covered ground.
Recently, while on a speaking engagement in St. Louis, I had some time to chat up several glass manufacturer reps at the conference and ended up testing several lenses, including a side-by-side comparison of the new Sigma 135 f/1.8 Art and the manually focusing Zeiss 135 f/2 Milvus (read that here if you missed it). I also snagged a new 85mm option from Tamron, the 85 f/1.8 Di VC USD, and spent a couple of hours with it. How did it go? Well, let's just see.
Creative genius rarely erupts onto the scene full force and in your face. Its entrance into the world is often quiet, gentle, allowing only a few to see it and recognize its brilliance. Such is the case with Portland, Oregon-based Kate Woodman, whose use of color in her work produces an instant halt to the ever scrolling feed of images - causing even the average user to stop and appreciate the story unfolding before them.
Browsing YouTube can be an exercise in either frustration or bliss, depending on the day. Today, though, I happened upon something that truly speaks to me. If you are a portrait photographer, or anything resembling one, you owe it to yourself to check out the documentary, "Darkness and Light," a part of the American Masters Series, produced by PBS.
Last year, the Fstoppers team joined Joey Wright in Curacao to film one of our best tutorials to date, Swimwear Photography - Lighting, Posing, and Retouching. Not only was the location and team incredible, Joey's photography techniques and ability to work with models produced some of the best photography information I've learned in years. Every lesson spans well beyond the genre of swimwear and can be applied to any shoot involving a model. As a tribute to the tutorial, we are releasing a free excerpt from one of the best lessons on posing I've ever watched.
We’ve all been there; the studio is set, the model is awkwardly waiting, but the light isn’t quite right and the stress begins to build. With every test shot, the light quality increases and the anxiety level decreases. Finally, like a blast of cool breeze on a hot day, everything clicks into place. The light is perfect.