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!
Articles written by Patrick Hall
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.
Usually when I hear someone is shooting a sexy calendar my stomach churns a bit as I imagine poor photography, less than stunning models, and ridiculously boring scenes. Thankfully this military themed calendar from Hot Shots is definitely not one of those poorly executed photoshoots. The final images are not yet public but they do have a bunch of them within this behind the scenes video so watch closely. The lighting is perfect, the photoshop is inspiring, and the amount of production value everyone put into this is something everyone should notice even if you aren't shooting sexy military bikini babes (which who isn't really?). If anyone comes across more of the final images let us know. In the mean time, enjoy a break from your typical Tuesday afternoon!
Hurricane Irene down here in Charleston, SC was pretty unmemorable. However, up in NYC it seems most everyone pretty much followed the precautions and got the $@*# out of dodge. So what did the city that never sleeps look like when hit overnight by a historic storm? Check out this interesting black and white video shot by some daring videographers as they visit the subways and streets. Also be sure to head over to the Buffalo Picture House for some other great films and documentaries. Let's hope they still have working gear after all that rain!
If you've been shooting stills or video for any length of time, chances are you've often thought about making a product that could make your life a bit easier. Cinetics designer Justin Jensen's own idea was to make a simple dolly system for DSLR cameras that was also portable. He designed and launched his CineSkates on Kickstarter and the response has been huge. So far Justin has raised more than 6x his initial goal of $20,000 so it looks like this production version will soon be in photographers' bags world wide. The system basically adds skateboard wheels to the versatile Joby Gorilla Pods and creates a system that gives your video footage high production movement. You can also the CineSkates for timelapse photography. Check out the video below to see exactly how the system works.
Hurricane Irene is battering the East Coast of the US right now which has left many stuck in their homes browsing the internet for storm updates. One particular story that has filled my facebook news feed and was tweeted by CNN involves a shark swimming in the streets of Puerto Rico. Apparently the shark was swept up by Hurricane Irene and trapped inland on flooded streets of the Caribbean island. But something about the photo seems very suspecious. A few weeks ago Fstoppers correspondent Reese Moore interviewed photographer Thomas Peschak and one of his most famous images features the same shark making headlines today. Coincidence or is this shark just hungry for more media attention? Click the full post to see the two photos and you be the judge.
Senior portrait photographer Jennifer McKendrick has been making quite a name for herself over the last few days. The Pennsylvania photographer recently refused to photograph a few of her clients because she caught them bullying other students on Facebook. Jennifer wrote on her website that she will not photograph any ugly people by saying "If you are ugly on the inside, I’m sorry but I won’t take your photos to make you look pretty on the outside!" An overwhelming amount of support for Jennifer's actions have been filling up the blogs and social media outlets so it made me think, would you cancel a photo session with someone who was "ugly on the inside"? I have to agree with the comment made at 2:40 in the video below....do people actually spend a great deal of time screening their clients on facebook?
If you are a fan of iphone photo apps, huge CGI production movies, and sexy girls fighting with mystical powers then you will probably love this behind the scenes video. The Demon Cam is an iphone app that allows you to turn your face into a demon zombie. In order to promote the release of the Demon Cam, the guys over at Video Copilot created an unbelievably complex promo video that showcases how the application works. The behind the scenes video has a lot of CGI and chromakey trickery but it also has a bunch of clever ideas any photographer could use in their own productions. After reading the reviews of this app and seeing the amount of work that went into the opening video, I'm kind of curious to see what a Patrick Hall demon would look like. Click the full post to see how everything came together in the final video and head over to the app store to pick up the $.99 iphone cam.
It should not be shocking to hear another story about a police officer wrongly accusing a photographer of breaking the law. These stories have become pretty common place lately. However, recently police in Long Beach California have been reprimanding individuals who have been caught photographing locations with no apparent aesthetic value. Back in June, Long Beach Post contributor Sander Roscoe Wolff was detained after photographing a refinery on North Long Beach. Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell has publicly stated that his officers have the responsibility to detain photographers who are not engaging in "regular tourist behavior". This story is an unfortunate consequence of the post homeland security world we live in and probably will not be the last infringement on individuals' rights. To read more about this story, head over to the original article on the Long Beach Post.
If you have followed Fstoppers for any amount of time, you know we are big advocates of photographers having great looking websites. Most photographers love the look of a flash site but more and more companies are starting to offer both flash and HTML versions of their sites. Creative Motion Design has been hard at work creating flashy looking websites that are coded in HTML so your potential clients can check out your work while browsing on their mobile devices and tablet computers. This week CMD released their first fully customizable HTML websites Rosie and Ethan with more designs coming out throughout the rest of 2011. I love the look of Ethan, and the prices on these sites are reasonable especially since CMD's customer service is leagues above many other website design companies. As soon as Lee and I have some free time, we are planning on converting our sites so they load up easier for potential clients.
If you are planning a behind the scenes video for our 2011 photo contest, you probably also need to setup an interesting interview segment to explain the details of your photoshoot. Most photographers spend a lot of money on their flash equipment but often don't have much in the way of constant lights. The guys over at SLRlounge have come up with a great BTS video on how you can create an interesting interview set on a budget. In this video, Pye Jirsa used basic work lights mixed with natural ambient light. In our contest video we either shot completely natural light or mixed in some of these inexpensive LED lights to make it a little more interesting. Taking a little bit of time to make your interview footage look good always goes a long way and is often just as fun designing as the actual photoshoot itself.