Three Photographers Take on the Lens Challenge

Los Angeles-based photographers Flannery Underwood and Jon Brandon Cruz have created a joint YouTube channel under the name Black & Ginger. The duo's first video on the channel was a Lens Challenge featuring Detroit-based photographer Jessica Kobeissi and NYC-photographer Brandon Woelfel. 

The photographers were challenged to take their best photos using six different lenses, each in two minutes, some of which the photographers have never previously shot with. Underwood, Kobeissi, and Woelfel each also shot on their preferred camera bodies, with Underwood shooting on her Sony a7R III, Kobeissi on her Canon 5D Mark IV, and Woelfel on his Nikon D850. The different lenses featured in the video were set at the following categories: macro, wide, nifty fifty, portrait, long, and the final mystery lens. 

See below for some of my favorite challenges and the photos that came from them! 

Challenge 1: Macro 

Kobeissi was first up, shooting on a Canon 100mm f/2.8. Kobeissi, who is more accustomed to shooting more for fashion photography on her Canon 24-70mm f/2.8, immediately realizes her crop is way too close for any low angle she would typically go for. Each photographer utilized different aspects of the location to truly make the challenge their own. There was definitely an adjustment period for each lens, but each photographer did a spectacular job at making the challenge fit their own style of shooting.

Challenge 2: Wide Angle

Flannery immediately took a different approach when shooting with her Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8. Her first instinct was to have model Paulina Shafir lay on the steps to capture the gorgeous scenery at an angle. 

Photo by: Flannery Underwood / YouTube

Challenge 4: Portrait

Brandon Woelfel used a Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 for the portrait challenge. He utilized different pieces of nature and his surroundings to make the image pop in the otherwise boring location outside of a parking garage.

Challenge 6: Mystery Lens

The final challenge was the big kahuna: Canon's 600mm f/4 lens. The photographers assisted one another in being human tripods for this large and in charge lens. My favorite shot was Flannery's, who had Paulina pose in the parking lot across the street. She captured her in the gorgeous glow of a lamppost. 

Photo by: Flannery Underwood / YouTube

How do you think the photographers did? Do you have a favorite photo from each? Let us know in the comments below! With such a strong debut video, I'm excited to see what other content Flannery and Jon post on their new channel, Black & Ginger. Sound off in the comments below how you thought each photographer did in each challenge! 

Lead photo by Lucas Favre on Unsplash, used under Creative Commons.

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5 Comments

michaeljin's picture

I think they did pretty well and it's definitely a great idea for a challenge. It's interesting to see how different people choose to solve similar problems in photography.

#2 would have looked better if then model's head was left and feet were right; same pose, just reversed, with her body guiding the viewer's eyes up the middle instead of to the right.
The 1st picture is great, love the attitude in it.

Ryan Cooper's picture

Nice, though personally, I wish they would do these challenges without the silly 2min time limit. I'm also always amazed at how well their models take direction. My experience, even with agency represented models is that I almost always have to spend ages working with them on poses. Being able to say something like: "oh, move your hand up to your hair" and having the model be aware enough that the whole pose is great based on just that blows my mind hahah.

....Monopod or man up?

Daniel Medley's picture

I find it ironic that Underwood's results stood out as unique because they were relatively normal in color grading. Whereas the other two resorted to the now overused and cliche approach of gobs of orange and teal. Good God, take it down a notch.