It's quite common to shoot photo sessions in unimpressive locations; it goes with the territory when shooting on-the-go and outside of a studio. Fortunately, we have options to help us transform boring locations into beautiful backdrops, and it’s easier than you think. Making simple light modifications and quick edits in post can mean the difference between creating average imagery versus creating imagery that impresses your clients.
Every year for the past few years, I’ve donated photo work to a local organization that puts on a half marathon in coordination with the local firefighters union chapter to raise money for local charities. Last year, I ended up doing a relatively simple shoot with just some firefighters and a ring light. This year, I wanted something different. And so, quickly and repeatedly, the question became, “Can we use real fire?”
I'll be honest, when it came to shooting swimwear, I went straight to Pinterest looking for whatever ideas and inspiration I could find. Swimwear is different enough from the other types of shoots that I was typically shooting that I really had no idea where to begin. Granted, my clients weren't clothing line companies, so I wasn't aiming for the more routine, catalog-style shots. Since the people wanting the shots were the models themselves, I wanted to make sure that the end results looked as good as possible and hopefully a bit more stylish.
So you want to create images and travel to gorgeous and beautiful places but how are you going to afford to travel several days or weeks and still pay for food, a roof over your head, and the costs to go from point a to b, c, d, e, etcetera? Well, do you like to camp? For those photographers where money is tight or who just want to have the most flexible arrangements possible, camping is one of your best options to get to out of the way places and still get some rest in between your photographic pursuits.
Golden hour. That time of the day where the warm sunlight makes every shot look like a magazine cover or a movie poster. It would be great if that light could last all day long. Yeah, well a lot of things would be great but not likely to happen. Location fashion and lifestyle photographers have to be able to manipulate daylight in a variety of ways in order to have a productive shoot that lasts more than an hour. Using the techniques of shade, diffusion, reflection, and strobe photographers can work with and against natural sunlight to create beautiful images all day long.
Forget "shotgun wedding," Jay Philbrick brings us literal cliff-hanging wedding photos that take more than a little preparation. Jay knew about the Cathedral Ledge at Echo Lake State Park in North Conway, New Hampshire because of his many years as a climbing guide there. Jay says that only two of their couples have been climbers, and this couple was not one of them.
I'm a sucker for simple videos like this and can really appreciate what goes into making them. As I strive to jump more into video, it is interesting to stay tuned and watch what other people create to help give me ideas for future work. The coolest thing to me about a video or even a photo is the mood or feel it can convey. A lot of the video work I do, I focus on sharp focus, straight lines, clean shots, accurate color, cutting to music and a few other little things. I mainly shoot real estate videos, but it is nice to have the freedom to shoot whatever I want, however I want rather than following my standard rules for shooting real estate. I have been messing around more with video and hope to come out with something to show from it soon enough!
Strobist. Natural light shooter. These words are at two opposite ends of the spectrum of photographer that seem like they're always a hair's breadth away from starting a photographic civil war, both sides preaching their philosophy as if deviation is blasphemy. One side is derided as being "afraid of learning to use flash" and the other side is jeered at for creating "flashy," "fake," or "contrived" images. Both sides seem immovable in their adherence to their preferred light source. Despite this disagreement, a popular saying in photography is, "light is light." So which is it? Is one better and the other worse, are they just preferences or are both sides cutting themselves short?
Have you ever felt that certain photographers and film makers just get the great shots because they get to go to some super locations? Or because they get commissioned by the top brands to have all the best lighting and equipment? A guy called Brandon Li had almost the same experience. He travels to some amazing locations, but decided to make a short film taking place in his hotel room. He sets himself a challenge to make something interesting from a boring space or location to push his creativity and think about ways to make it in to something more appealing.
I recently travelled to the local racetrack with my brother for an open track day and decided that while he was out riding, I would try to make a few portraits of the other attending riders. I spent plenty of time ahead of the trip planning lighting, gear, locations, and more. This is a step by step walkthrough of how I created this series of portraits.
The past few weeks I have been driving up the parkway here in New Jersey for work, my eye kept getting drawn towards this one specific railroad bridge between exit 136 and 137. Every time I passed by it, my eyes would follow it until I had to turn to see the road in front of me again. It was one of those things that I had to remember so I could go back and photograph it when the time came. Today was the day that I set out to photograph it, but before anything, I had to put a little bit of planning into it.