As artists, we have all been there. The creative rut. The most fatiguing part of being an artist and perhaps the downfall of many talented individuals who could not climb out of it. Creativity comes from many places within us all. However when a photographer's passion is absorbed by the repetition of what we specialize in, the outcome of the work becomes all too grueling to look at. So how do we get back to the love of what we do? How do we fuel once more the passion that showcases our work as new and creative?
A couple of years ago, I came across a portrait of a sad owl under the rain on 500px. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. I never knew there existed such a deep photograph of a non-human creature. I was not the only one thinking so. That picture had won an award and I discovered Shamma Esoof (Sham Jolimie), a person who advocates for animal welfare, social justice, and is passionate about nature conservation. The cherry on top was when I discovered that the author of that unforgettable owl portrait was a mutual friend on social media and was from Mauritius, a country I call my second home after Armenia.
There is a tiny island in the Indian Ocean called Mauritius that reminds me of heaven. When my husband and I got a job offer to work there some years ago, I had no idea I would meet this amazing soul that was Khatleen Minerve. Eventually, she turned into a very talented and requested photographer.
Highlights that glow can be a great way to give your portraits and beauty work some pop, but there is a fine line between skin looking dewy and just straight oily. Shiny skin can be overwhelming to an image, but when faced with that problem you don't have to scrap the shot. In this quick video, photographer Joe Edelman shows us a quick and easy fix for controlling that shiny skin using Photoshop.
Beauty and fashion retouching has been controversial for so long that some of the argument's ground has been conceded. For example, skin retouching is rarely debated anymore and it's merely a "given" that someone in an advert or magazine will have had their skin corrected. However, criticizing body manipulation in Photoshop is very much still in vogue (if you'll excuse that glorious pun).
It goes without saying that creating a comfortable, safe environment while shooting beauty photography can go a long way towards building a strong working relationship with your model. Comfortable, however, is what I'd define as the "barrier to entry." What you really want to do is go beyond that by giving your model a slight boost in confidence. By building up the model's self-esteem you get her thinking positively, and that state of mind leads to fantastic moments which create a genuine spark of expression.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort." It's no secret that many of my clients belong to the LGBTQ community. I've worked hard to build a following in a demographic that should consider me an outsider; there is a real fear of being judged by anyone who doesn't routinely walk in their shoes. However, my client base hasn't always looked like this, and the road to building trust has been interesting to say the least. Why go through trouble? The simple answer is, “Because I love doing it!”
I have way too much fun with my drone. And while it's great for landscape shots, I wanted to try something a bit different, so I put a call out for musicians, told them to lay on the ground, and put a camera in the air. However, using a drone to take portraits is far different from having your camera at eye level.
It's all in the details. Adding elements like wind is a great option to add more life and emotion into your photographs. Studio photography and natural light photography can be very different genres. In the studio, you’re in total control of your environment and surroundings, and having an industrial fan that plugs into a wall is pretty standard in most studios. Unfortunately with natural light, you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature. But that’s OK; with this inexpensive tool you will add a little “studio flair” to your natural light portraits.
Learning how to properly light the human face can be a challenge for many beginner and intermediate level photographers. Sure, you can grab a single light source, your significant other, and turn a Sunday afternoon into an experimental test shoot, but what happens when you want to start playing around with multiple lights? Figuring out where exactly to place your lights can be a daunting task, but luckily there are dozens of common lighting setups available for critique right on your television!
“The War In Every Portrait” is an interesting video from photographer Sean Tucker that explores the idea of capturing authentic moments in a portrait session. Tucker muses that there is a constant battle between the subject and the photographer. The goal is to find the kink in the armor of their exterior persona and expose the “real” person hidden inside.
"I can't take a shot like that. My camera isn't good enough. Oh sure, you can talk all you want, but you have thousands of dollars in expensive equipment! Yeah, I know it's the photographer, not the camera, but let's get real: my beginner gear can't do that!" Excuses, excuses, excuses. A lot of people, especially those just starting out, use their lack of pro gear as a tether, holding them back from getting the shots they are capable of. Here are some reasons to push past your budget concerns and make the most of what you have.
The full name of this video is "Idiot continues to take daily self-portrait for 16 yrs despite better projects, longer projects, more popular projects, his face," and it's massively entertaining. JK Keller spent over 5,000 days taking photos of himself, and the result is fascinating.
We're big fans of Peter Hurley here at Fstoppers. We've collaborated with him twice on Peter Hurley: The Art Behind The Headshot and Peter Hurley: Illuminating The Face. His signature headshots are well known throughout the industry. What you may not know is that Peter was a world-class sailor in his day. Recently, he returned to his roots to combine sailing and photography, and the results are awesome.
If there is one comment I hear the absolute most at my studio lighting workshops, it's "Nino, I need to learn studio lighting. That stuff is hard. I'm a natural light portrait shooter and that's much easier." This is a statement I could not disagree with more, and here's why.