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.
Sometimes it's a pain to bring a client to your studio, or maybe you don't even own a studio. In these situations you must figure out a way to bring the studio to the client. Diana Deaver shows us a quick glimpse of her last shoot that involved bringing a paper background and a single large parabolic reflector into a clothing store.
Recently over at the forum, a conversation came up about shooting nudes and glamour style images. One of our readers recommended a short documentary on famous fashion photographer Helmut Newton. We've all seen Helmut's images but if you were like me you might not have known the man behind the images. This 5 part documentary, filmed by June Netwon, shows Helmut working through his shoots with such famous models as Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer as well as the legendary Luciano Pavarotti. It always amazes me how images I would consider 'snapshots' can become iconic images in the fashion world. Fashion photography today often involves studio lighting and extensive photoshop, but as this documentary shows, Helmut was able to cut through the heart of his subjects with nothing more than a film camera often times in auto exposure. Check out more about Helmut over at the Helmut bookstore.
If you have ever wanted to frustrate yourself as a photographer, try shooting food and actually make it look appetizing. Edward Gowans, a photographer based out of Portland Oregon, has made a living shooting food for almost 20 years. Edward learned there was a big market in the northwest looking for stylized culinary images. Using the lighting knowledge he gained from shooting fashion models, Edward began creating stylized culinary images for his clients. As you can see in this video, some of his setups are pretty extensive and sometimes take full days to design. With food, the light often needs to be scrimmed, flagged, and reflected perfectly to showcase both the textures and colors of a well plated dish. Check out more of Ed's work in his portfolio here.
I know a couple of Fstoppers that go by the names of Tiffany and Gianna that are going to love this one... Jay P. Morgan is back again with a really unique concept. In this video Jay explains how he created a super hero concept from nothing and then shows us every minuscule detail that goes into making that image come to life. As always, Jay does an incredible job of packing his video with priceless information that every photographer can use, even if you don't ever plan to shoot Wonder Woman.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have to admit, I really enjoy the bands, artists, photographers and other creative professionals I discover watching Carson Daly's show Last Call. One such artist is Los Angeles based photographer Alex Prager. If I had to describe her work, it would be very editorial in nature with a lot of retro clothing, fashion wigs, and classic Americana references. What I find most inspiring about her work is that she holds nothing back when creating the bright and simple world found in her photographs. Almost every one of her images looks as if it was actually created in 1967 whether it be the hair style, the makeup, the clothing, the cultural references, or even the lighting and film grain. What's even more remarkable is her humble story on how she became a photographer with no formal training at all. If you enjoy this interview from MOMA then click the full post to watch more candid video of Alex talking about her work.
I can't remember the first time I saw this video by Gregory Crewdson but I'm glad it came across our desk again. Gregory is more or less a conceptual photographer who uses both sound stages and real locations to create images that make you stop and question what is going on in the shot. His lighting is very similar to what you would see on a big budget movie, and the amount of resources required for these sorts of productions is probably beyond what most photographers would even consider.
I'm a pretty big fan of Hip Hop music and I have seen every one of the pictures in these two videos. What I didn't know was that they were all taken by a single person. Jonathan Mannion is extremely talented but he also seemed to be around in exactly the right time to shoot the faces of this growing genre of music. Check out the full post for the second video.
I'm sure many of you are familiar with Help-Portrait, an organization of photographers who shoot free portraits to share their art and enrich others lives. Most photographers shoot free portraits around their communities but Sasha Leahovcenco wanted to shoot people that may never get the opportunity to have their picture taken at all. Sasha and his crew traveled to Chukotka, Russia and produced an amazing video of their experience.
I've seen a lot of videos that attempt to explain why you would use a beauty dish over a softbox but I've always had a hard time understanding the subtleties. Jay P Morgan created a video that not only explains everything in great detail, but he also shows 3 lighting examples with each type of dish configuration. If you have always wondered about the magic of the beauty dish, all your questions will now be answered.