Portraits

Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens
Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens traces the arc of Annie's photographic life, her aspirations to artistry and the trajectory of her career. The film depicts the various phases that shaped her life including childhood, the tumultuous sixties, her transition from Rolling Stone to Vanity Fair magazine and later her most significant personal relationships including motherhood. Check out the full post for the rest of the documentary.

A Portrait Of Jesus With Photography and Pastels
This video is a little different than anything we've posted before but I figured it would be enjoyed by those of you who are celebrating Easter. Jeremy Cowart is one of the hottest American photographers right now and his portfolio is absolutely sick! But in this video he is creating a rather unique portrait of Jesus using pastels, photoshop, stock images, and random elements from snap shots. The amount of effort that went into this portrait is quite remarkable, and almost every texture is so subtle you would never know half of what went into making this image just by looking at it. It's pretty exciting to see such a well respected photographer pushing his own craft in a way that is so different than what he does on a daily basis. Click the full post to watch a second video of Jeremy making a portrait of Tom Yorke in this style.

JR Pastes His Photographs On Buildings Around The World
We were just sent an incredible TED talk with artist "JR". During his speech JR talks about his incredible art project that entailed traveling around the world, photographing locals with power stories, and then pasting their images on the sides and tops of buildings. The video is long, and starts off a bit slow, but really is worth finishing. At the end of the video JR gives us all a call to action by taking part in his new project "Inside Out". Art is a powerful thing, and can easily change the world.

Full Tutorial On Mastering Studio Light
We have featured many of Mark Wallace's excellent tutorials with Adorama TV, and it is apparent from the comments that everyone appreciates his simple and thorough explanations. Recently Mark released a full length DVD that covers a wide range of topics for all levels of photographers. There must be over 15 different lighting setups, and he covers everything from portraits, headshots, fashion, and glamour to camera gear, light modifiers, and the properties of light. We always feature quality videos for free on Fstoppers, but we also realize a lot of work can go into these extensive DVD tutorials. If you've enjoyed the tutorials Mark has given for free, take some time to check out his Studio Lighting Essentials DVD. If you prefer a more hands on approach, Mark has several Studio Lighting 101 classes which we hope to check out ourselves next time we are in Phoenix, AZ.

Photographing The Power Of Music
A few months ago we featured a popular video called Wisdom shot by Andrew Zuckerman. If you have not been exposed to Andrew's work, he is known for shooting all sorts of subjects against a white background. In his latest project Music, Andrew sets out to capture the essence of a variety of musicians as he asks them questions about their craft. Most of the lighting in these portraits is pretty straight up and clean but what makes this collection so interesting is Zuckerman's idea of striping alway all the auxiliary settings and environments usually associated with rockstars and popular figures. His portraits allow you to see his subjects raw and unedited. These series definitely have me thinking of pushing my own photography and creating larger scale projects like Music and Wisdom.

EA Sports NCAA Football 12 Cover Shoot
EA Sports has been allowing fans to vote for the cover of their newest installment in the college football series NCAA Football 12. For the contest, they filmed four short behind the scenes videos from each player's photoshoot which can all be found in the full post. The photoshoots consist of two primary setups: hall of fame style portraits and on the field action shots. Each portrait was created with a gridded beauty dish and a hard background light while the action shots were lit with a huge octabank, some stripboxes, and a bunch of white v-flats acting as both gobos and reflectors. I'm not sure that the final images are online yet since the contest just wrapped up, but you can see a lot of them on photographer Tim Mantoani's site. My vote goes to Mark Ingram; roll tide roll!

Baseball Portraits With 400 Pounds Of Plexiglass
Robert Seale is a high end sports portrait photographer who was recently commissioned by Sports Illustrated to photograph Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays. His attempt to create something unique and a bit off-kilter involved using a huge 8'x5' piece of Plexiglas that was 1.25 inches thick and 400 pounds. He then set the huge piece of Plexi on a 5 foot tall frame of scaffolding. Using a couple of Profoto Pro-7B strobes and a unique 'below the player' angle, Robert was able to create this photograph for the magazine. The concept and image are fantastic but unfortunately the BTS video is just a timelapse. If you have a hard time imagining what is going on in this video, head over to Rob Galbraith's post for a traditional write up.

Photography Made Easy: Inverse Square Law
There always seems to be two camps when it comes to photography: those who go by feel and those who go by technique. Neither one is necessarily a wrong approach but knowing the technical stuff definitely helps when you are faced with problems or unexpected results. In this video Mark Wallace explains the inverse square law and how it affects light falloff. I'll admit, not having gone to school for photography, it did take me a while to completely grasp this idea when I first started shooting. Once you understand this concept, you should be able to not only light your scenes better but also become more versatile when giving a single light double duty lighting both your subject and the background.

Megan Fox In Underwear, Armani Underwear
I was going to post a video showing Rafael Nadal's latest Armani underwear shoot but figured Megan Fox might be a little easier on the eyes. Now you are probably thinking that any photoshoot with Megan Fox wearing little to nothing would probably produce strong images from any photographer and you'd be right. But what I found interesting was the way photographers Mert and Marcus used hotlights and large scrims to light the entire set creating a natural light feel. You can see the setup around :35 seconds. Not everyone has access to large HMI lights but it's still an interesting way to shoot and could probably be reproduced firing strobes into white walls in a room. Click the full post to see the final video and you can see the photos here.

Vanessa Williams In Her Natural State
If you've ever been hired to photograph an environmental portrait or a lifestyle image, most of the time your client is expecting a very natural looking image. Using too much flash will kill the mood and remove any sense of a natural environment. Matthew Jordan is no stranger around here, and we love his videos because he articulates his intentions well and tells why he does the setups he does. In this short and to the point video, Matthew talks about how he photographed a natural lifestyle portrait of Vanessa Williams with her daughter. Knowing how to pull off an image like this is an important tool to have in your bag of tricks and is a big money maker in the editorial and lifestyle market.

GPP Shoot Out 2011: Zack Arias VS Joey L
Each year Gulf Photo Plus takes place in Dubai. During part of the show they pit 2 or more photographers against each other in a surprise photoshoot. Last year the shoot out involved Zack, Joey, and David Hobby of Strobist but this time Zack and Joey were the only shooters. This years subject was quite a surprise and a bit more difficult to shoot than the beautiful women they had last year. I'm not a huge fan of the finished images but I'm not sure what other options these guys had. Check out Zack's blog to read about his thought process while he was shooting.