Strobist has an interesting article by architectural photographer Mike Kelley. Usually exterior shots of homes and buildings are simply too large to effectively light with speedlights or big power packs. The tried and true method of capturing a great looking exterior shot is to turn all the lights on in the building and wait for the ambient sky light to match the build's artificial light. In the behind the scenes video below, Kelley shares his "selective lighting" technique and how it can be combined with multiple exposures from a small Canon 430EX to produce a sort of hero shot for publication. Click the full post for the final images.
Articles written by Patrick Hall
Let me warn you, this video has nothing to do with photography directly. Chances are you have probably heard the opening parable before, but when paired up with the training video of an aspiring football player the message is pretty powerful. How bad do you want success and what are you willing to go through to possess it? I think everyday as photographers, we struggle with staying motivated, finding inspiration, working towards our goals, and expanding our skill set. I find this especially true with my own work since I compete with myself which often leads to less motivation than competing directly with someone else. Reaching the point of wanting success more than the desire to breathe is probably unrealistic so let me ask this: how much sleep, time, and short term gratification are you willing to give up in order to achieve long term success?
Part of the appeal of doing something the long way is exactly that: proving you have the guts to reinvent the wheel. When Stephen Doyle was asked to help with the New York Times story What If The Secret To Success Is Failure? he decided to try something that would have been rather easy to produce in post production. Instead of relying on Photoshop, Stephen used forced perspective to physically write out words within different scenes. The final images appear to have words written on top of the images but infact they are embedded into each photograph directly. Click the full post to check out a second video and see a few examples of the final published images.
It seems every day someone is creating an interesting timelapse that shows something we've never seen before. This one comes from the International Space Station as it orbits around the earth at night. The video was made from using data from the Gateway To Astronaut Photography Of Earth and stitched together with the open software Virtual Dub. It's pretty amazing how much light pollution makes it to each exposure and look carefully for bursts of lightning over the Pacific Ocean. Props to the person who spots the satellite that makes the frame as well!
What could be more fun than drifting a MINI Coupé around Rio, Brasil during Carnival? Director Paulo Martins takes you behind the scenes in the latest MINI commercial from the Another Day, Another Adventure campaign. Instead of filming the commercial during the annual Carnival in February, Paulo recreated the festival months later so he could drive the car directly into the parade. I have to admit I was a bit nervous watching the stunt drivers weave in an out of the city but it does make me envy one of these small cars.. Click the full post to watch the final commercial and head over to the MINI Youtube Channel to watch other commercials in the series from Honk Kong and Iceland.
Have you ever wondered how DSLR cameras match up when compared to film and high end HD video cameras? Last year, Zacuto brought together some of the biggest names in the movie industry to see how well the first round of video capable DSLRs compared to the industry’s standard film and HD video cameras in The Great Camera Shoot Out of 2010. This year they have started another series which compares some of the top cameras including 35mm Kodak 5213/5219, Arri Alexa, Red One M-X, Phantom Flex, Sony F3, Panasonic AF100, Canon 1D Mark IV, and Nikon D7000 (where is the D3s?), and a bunch of other professional video cameras. The Great Camera Shootout is a must watch if you are a gearhead or simply enjoy seeing how well the current crop of DSLR cameras are at video. In this video they goal was to compare the overall noise sensitivity and perceived sharpness of different cameras. You might easily got lost in the technical talk used in these discussions (unless you really study this sort of thing) but nevertheless it's pretty interesting to watch as a photographer or film maker. You can also watch other Zucato Shootout Episodes Here.
Taking your creativity to the next level can make all the difference between typical photographs and artistic photographs. Orb Outerwear just released their new Fall 2011 fashion designs and they included a fun behind the scenes video to go along with it. So many photographers already have a pretty solid understanding of lighting to produce great photos. What they lack is artistic vision to do something different and unique. Everyone who reads this blog can easily create a small team of set designers, hair stylists, makeup artists, and clothing stylists to produce studio quality catalog profiles. Try putting something like this together for your entry into the Behind The Scenes Contest we are running. Unfortunately I could not find out who the photographer was so if you know the talent responsible for these please reply in the comments. Click the full post to see a stop motion video of some of the final images (the snow shoot doesn't appear to have been published yet).
For many shutterbugs, the dream of making money with photography doesn't extend past being able to pay for new equipment. Photography might just be a hobby if you already have a fulfilling career. But if you are looking to make a business out of being creative the first question that will cross your mind is "how much should I charge?" Knowing how to price your product (and from a tax perspective everything you do IS a product, not a service) does not come without consequence. Pricing yourself too low might gain you a ton of business but will also rob you of any free time. Pricing yourself too high, especially early on, will decrease your workload but might also send you filing an application at Starbucks...again! Mark Wallace has tackled the issue of how much to charge in his latest video, and he gives a lot of great pointers. Lee and I are currently working on a detailed video series on wedding photography where we will outline our ideas on pricing so stay tuned for that as well. Leave any questions or experiences you have in the comments below.
I have to thank Tyler Kaufman for turning me onto this next video. Sports photographer Peter Read Miller recently shot some of the top NCAA college football players for the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. There really isn't any super informative information in this video but it's still great to see how the top photographers in the world pull off cover material for magazines like Sports Illustrated. From the video, it appears that these shots are lit with only 3 light sources: One large parabolic reflector as a key, one smaller parabolic reflector as a kicker, and a spot gridded flash head for a rear rim light. If you've ever shot in this style you know that small hard rim/kicker lights can really edge out your subject. If you click the full post and look at the super high res final image you can see how the larger side light makes the highlights broad but still harsh. It's easy to think that a barebulb speedlight to the side of your subject is sufficient for a rim light but adding that one extra modifier can really make a huge difference in your final result.
I'm sure many of you have heard the saying "overcast skies make for amazing photos". While it's true that soft overcast light is usually more flattering on people's faces, it can also make your photos super boring and even gloomy. So what can you do with your bag of tricks to spice up a photo session during cold, rainy, or overcast days? Damien Lovegrove explains how you can use a "dingle" (or more commonly a Cookie) to bring some pseudo-sunlight into your portraits . This clip is from Damien's Speedlight Mastery DVD and he does a great job explaining this super useful technique that can be applied to many of your own shoots at almost zero cost. Next time you see those interesting shadow patterns while thumping through your girlfriend's fashion magazines you can imagine the dingle that created them!
A big part of what makes commercial photography so interesting is it often requires photographers to incorporate the latest graphic trends into their work. In other words, in order to cut the mustard in commercial photography, you not only have to be at the top of your game but you also have to produce something eye catching in a market full of interesting media. That's exactly what photographer Gary Land did with his latest Adidas ad featuring soccer superstar Lionel Messi. However, his arsenal of Profoto lights and heavy photoshop has caused a bit of controversy over on the Strobist website where many photographers are claiming the final image is a bit overkill. I personally love the final image and think the direction Gary went is exactly what separates the boys from the men. However, I can appreciate the purists point of view who think great advertising photos should remain true to real life and capture a more realistic vision. Check out this great behind the scenes video of the latest Adidas shoe ad and let us know what you think in the comments. Check out Gary's interesting website as well for more inspiration.
Being a sports photographer often requires standing in a place of potential danger. However some photojournalists have also found that capturing a sports story off the field or in the locker room can be just as dangerous when a player isn't having a good day. Sports Center has put together 10 of the most outrageous attacks and hits on sports photographers. Not all of these confrontations end as relatively peaceful as Scott Kelby's tackle last year as an NFL photographer.
Photojournalists have always struggled with balancing subject sensitivity with truthful documentation after horrible moments in history. Almost six years ago to the day, the United States was hit by Hurricane Katrina resulting in the most costly natural disaster the country had ever witnessed. Photographer Richard Misrach went down to New Orleans to capture the devastation and the human response from the terrible event. This documentary gives an interesting perspective into the eyes of a photojournalist in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It's pretty amazing to see both the reoccurring responses from those affected within the community as well as humorous responses after such a life changing event. As a photographer it was also interesting to see how a 4 megapixel point and shoot camera came to be the main storytelling tool throughout Richard's documentary.
We've all seen huge gigapixel images and their boring sidebars that allow us to navigate through them. But what if you could scroll through a photograph Minority Report style? The good people over at the University of Lincoln in the UK have put together an exhibit that combines huge gigapixel images with gestures based on the Xbox Kinect gaming console. The next step seems obvious: combine this technology with Photoshop! If you are near the univeristy, check out the Gigalinc page for future shows of this interesting concept. And if you know how to hack the Kinect, someone please hook this up to CS5!
Recently Petapixel featured a rather amusing video of photographer Fabio Pires out of London. Fabio is a street photographer who shoots spontaneous photos off the cuff. Unlike the video we featured of Clay Enos's street setup, Fabio's approach is more in your face, candid, and potentially more risky. In Fabio's opinion, the best shots come from strange and interesting people who aren't expecting to have their photo taken. I dunno, maybe in England this isn't frowned upon as much as it is in the United States?
When it comes to giving great tutorials on DSLR video, the guys at Stillmotion are full of helpful tips and tricks. This latest video discusses some of the advantages you have in setting your camera's white balance and color profiles. Since DSLR cameras still do not allow you to record in a RAW format, you must make many decisions in camera much like you would if you were shooting jpeg (which is great for events like weddings). Lee and I are big fans of getting it right in camera which is crucial when filming video because a compressed video has so much less room for error than a large 12+ megapixel photograph. Seeing real time comparisons of how white balance, sharpness, contrast, and color shifts can change the look of your final video is really helpful and should become a part of your workflow everytime you start filming video. Hopefully many of you can use this info when filming your BTS contest videos. We've featured Stillmotion a lot here on Fstoppers so be sure to check out their older videos as well.
A green screen, also known as a chromakey, can make life really easy if you are doing a lot of video work and want a simple solution for dropping in different backgrounds. David Dugdale created a great tutorial for green screen which shows how to effectively light a chromakey background and key it out in Premiere. ReflecMedia has created a different solution for chromakeying with their Chroma Background Kit. It uses a green LED ringlight that illuminates their special background made up of glass beads. Even with the lovely Olivia Tech explaining how it works, I'm still a bit shocked that such a small ringlight can illuminate the background without affecting the subject. This system isn't cheap but I can see the advantage of not having to carry extra lights just to evenly light a huge background especially out on location.
Douglas Sonders has always created some pretty interesting behind the scenes videos of his photo projects. Recently he shot the band Blink 182 for the cover of Alt Press Magazine. The behind the scenes video below doesn't show much mainly because Douglas only had about 30 minutes with the band and had to shoot 3 separate covers with each band member individually as well as 1 complete band photo. The lighting is pretty straight forward though with a few rim lights, a soft over head key light, and a ring flash. Check out the full post to see a detailed video on how Douglas photoshopped the final images for print and how he uses the Nik Software Viveza in his workflow.
Footage like this scares the bejesus out of me but also makes me wish I knew how to surf. Tahiti is home of Teahupoo, the world's most dangerous naturally occurring wave. If you've watched the documentary Riding Giants then you've seen how monsterous these waves can become. I'm not sure that Teahupoo is actually larger than Peahi or Mavericks but it must be called the most dangerous wave for a reason. This video was shot with the Phantom in all it's slo-mo glory. Click the full post to see more footage in real time as 32 of the world's top surfers try to wrangle the beast.
It seems like there are at least a dozen "photo trends" going on right now but this one has to be the most abstract and definitely the most risky. Steven Leckart of Wired Magazine explains how you too can bring out the artist inside of you by throwing and twirling your point and shoot camera into the air with a long exposure. While Steven explains that you need a few constant lights, I'm willing to bet that you can come up with some interesting results with just natural light too. If you really want to up the ante, throw your DSLR camera with fish eye lens up in the sky ala Mike Larson. I can't find his wedding video at the moment but he demonstrates his unique portrait toss in the full post.