When it comes to portrait photography, your camera, your light, your years of photographic know-how counts for little if you don't have a subject with substance. The power of a portrait is in the people. Do you reveal their essence? Do you tell their story?
Almost a year ago I posted The Ultimate Guide To The Frequency Separation Technique article and soon after that I created our Retouching Academy community group for retouchers and photographers who retouch their own work. We have been seeing a lot of before & after images posted there by artists of all levels from complete beginners to seasoned pros.
In this video, Karl Taylor and Urs Recher experiment with and demonstrate the uses of a Parabolic reflector. Using a model who is wearing white against a white background, they produce a number of portraits demonstrating how to shape the Para light to separate the model from the background. The versatility of this practice is quite astounding as the photographer is able to stand in front of the light and have it still perfectly illuminate the model and is a simple one light set up.
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.
Glyn Dewis goes through his process of retouching a creative grunge image from start to finish, showing how he uses Photoshop as well as plugins from Topaz and the Google Nik Collection. This video is great for some quick retouching tips which includes a simple lighting effect using paint brush and is some excellent inspiration for filters and effects to add to your images. As always, Dewis shows you how to work non destructively so that you are always able to go back and tweak your many filters and layers.
What happens when you take a technology from the early 90's and use it in your photography business in 2014? Just ask Jeffrey Bennett, a professional wedding photographer based in Detroit who in 2011 decided to start producing GIF animations for each one of his engagement sessions and wedding nights, which resulted in many happy clients, a lot of interest from potential clients and of course beautiful results he can then share online.
That’s right. You! No matter what your skill level, there is a project in this world that is perfect for you. Are you going to get paid for this project? Nope! This one is going to be a freebie.
Now I know what you are thinking. "Whoa Whoa Whoa, stop the clock! You want me to work for free?”
Yes, that’s exactly what I want you to do. And here is why.
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.
Our friend, retoucher and commercial photographer Clint Davis is no stranger to this site. He was nice enough to share this awesome behind-the-scenes video from this recent ad campaign. The most impressive part aside from the images themselves? The fact that he only had about five minutes per setup while working alongside a separate video shoot.
Photographer Suzanne Heintz has spent the past fourteen years “playing house” with two mannequins-her fictitious husband “Chauncey” and their daughter "Mary Margaret". Her fantastically elaborate “Life Once Removed” series, featured previously on Fstoppers, stemmed from a frustration with the stigma she faced as a single adult woman. A continuation of Heintz’ series, “The Vows” was recently released, and features Heintz and Chauncey renewing their vows in a satirical-but very real- ceremony.
It’s always nice to work with a client that has as much invested in making a great image as you do. I recently had the opportunity to work with poet and academic Katie Schmid for some portraits. Outside of her own poetry, Katie writes for a few blogs and online magazines. Katie knew she needed a fairly standard image to use with those publications, but expressed interest in creating a second image that better captured her personality.
In addition to lifestyle, I have an affinity for shooting natural light portraits/beauty/headshots - whatever you want to call them. It's not something I shoot often, but when I do, I'm reminded of how much I love it. In fact, you may recall a few months ago, I wrote an article detailing my ideal natural light setup for the black and white portrait / headshot photos that I occasionally shoot. In the article,
Photographer Brigette Bloom draws from her start in documentary photography to create mystical, story-driven work. A concept photographer, Bloom works with Impossible Project Polaroid and 35mm film, which she often alters to create interesting effects (you may recognize her as “the photographer who pees on her film.”) I spoke with Bloom about her captivating “Kaya” series, and her overall process as an artist.
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.