Portraits

A Chinese New Year In the Desert
We've featured the work of David Nguyen in the past and this time he has taken his whole production to new level. In his most recent photoshoot, Whispers in the Wind, David takes his creative team out to a desert and creates some really inspiring composite beauty images. The theme is sort of a Chinese New Year, and David has included wild elephants, tigers, rabbits, and birds into the final shots. I love it when artists take a concept to the max and really push their own creative aspirations. If you have not checked out David's portfolio, you are really missing out. Now if only we could get some BTS on how he made these composites!

Profoto Takes On Ray Allen And A Trampoline
Profoto has really done everyone a great service in having photographer Matthew Jordan Smith explain some of his personal favorite images in his portfolio. In this particular image, Matthew decided to photograph NBA superstar Ray Allen in his own backyard while jumping on a trampoline. Equipped with just a single Profoto D1 Air and a magnum reflector for hard light, Matt was able to take a rather limited lighting setup and create a highly stylized image. I think it just goes to show that thinking outside the box and not limiting your shoot to any prior conception can be more important in making a great image than simply focusing on your initial plans.

Dancers Among Us: Urban NYC Portraits
Jordan Matter is a headshot photographer based out of NYC but does some rather quirky personal projects. One of his going projects is titled Dancers Among Us where he places professional dancers in urban environments and tries to capture a spontaneous yet thought provoking image. I must admit some of his tactics might be a bit unlawful and I don't recommend necessarily following his advice but the concept is pretty interesting. Shooting in public places is always tough especially when you want a high production value but doing it in NYC can be extremely tough without getting proper licenses. View more images from this series here.

Detailed Lighting Setup For An Amazing Western Shoot
Jay P. Morgan seems to be releasing one great BTSV after another. I have enjoyed them all but I must admit that this one is by far my favorite. At his last workshop, Jay used a 5D Mark II and 4 studio strobes to professionally light his western themed set. If you don't have all of the studio gear yet, keep in mind that it is possible to light scenes like these with much smaller and cheaper speedlights as well (like the SB-900 or 580EX), just keep in mind that they will not be as powerful as a studio system.

Platon's Photoshoot in Burma:  First Lady of Freedom
Portrait photographer Platon is best known for his stylized wide angle photographs of political figures such as Bill Clinton, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez, and countless other iconic leaders throughout the world. His images have graced the covers of Time, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Esquire to name a few. For Platon, putting himself in a position to capture portraits of some of the most unapproachable and impenetrable political rulers has not only been stressful but also extremely dangerous. Such was the case when he set out to Burma, one of the most dangerous countries in the world, to photograph opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi. In the video below Platon recaps his experience being chased by Burmese secret police in his effort to create the cover image of the January 2011 issue of Time.

Ella Manor Is The Lady Gaga Of Photography
Ella Manor is a fashion photographer based out of New York City who approaches her photography in a rather unorthodox manner. Much of her work combines beautiful models and extravagant clothing with dreamy camera effects and often times double exposures. Her hybrid style lends itself to the unpredictable nature of Lensbaby lenses so much so that she has been labeled a "Photo Guru" by the lens company themselves. This video showcases her latest photo essay Power House and explains how she approaches her photography from both a technical aspect and also a visionary aspect. I can't say I've ever seen anything quite like this before but judging from the images on her website I think I like what I see.

Calle Hoglund: A Photographer Being Creative
The biggest problem with photographers today is that we don't actually get out and shoot enough. It's so easy to watch videos of others being creative or wait until we have that next magical piece of gear before we plan a shoot. What happened to taking pictures and being creative because that is what we love to do? Calle Hoglund did just that. He had an idea one night while his buddies were over and he shot it that night. Luckily for us, he also filmed his progress, enjoy.

Alex Soth Still Uses An 8x10 Camera
Alex Soth is an American photographer based out of Minnesota. He recently setup a big exhibition at the Minneapolis Walker Art Center which showcased his work done on a large 8x10 camera. Most of his work is done by photographing strangers in unique environments. This short profile video explains his outlook on photography and makes one think "how in the world do you walk around with such a large camera"?

On Set With The Cast Of House
If you've ever seen one of those movie or tv show posters then you probably already know that they are usually huge composites of every actor. But that doesn't always mean that the different characters are simply shot against a white background. Check out this fun video featuring the cast of House season 6 as they pose for different promo shots in a studio large enough to fit an old motorhome. Photographer Florian Schneider has an excellent site to browse and even has an image or two from this shoot posted.

Jeff Johnson Takes Some Amazing Travel Photos
Jeff Johnson is a very talented lifestyle and advertising photographer based out of California. He is probably best known for his adventurous images as the staff photographer for Patagonia. He has also worked with Best Buy, Macy's, Target, and General Mills. So when he sits down with Marc Silber to talk about how he produces great travel photos you better take notes. I hope all you outdoor and nature photographers enjoy this video.

The Sartorialist:  Documentary on Street Photography
Scott Schuman runs a really popular fashion blog called The Sartorialist, and the whole idea is that he takes timeless looking images of fashionable people in cities around the world. A few days ago we ran a viral story on Vivian Maier who may have been the greatest unknown street photographer of her era. I thought this short documentary on Scott might be interesting to those of you who enjoy taking spontaneous images on your own city streets. It's easy to get wrapped up in gear and fancy lighting with 'modern' photography but ultimately it's your subjects that really makes an image. What better way is there to test your own craft than to take just a camera and lens and hit the streets?