Articles written by Patrick Hall
These days, creating a portrait that grabs the average pedestrian's attention isn't an easy task. So what did local New York City comedian Colin Kane do to spice it up a little? He added a raging mob of crazy people behind him in this awesome portrait by photographer Monte Isom. It looks like Monte used a large 7' Octabank to light the crowd and then a beauty dish with a little fill from a smaller softbox to give Colin a harsh key light look without losing the shadows. I love the overall idea and I've personally always wanted to work with a big group of people like in this video. If you are in NYC, check out Colin's stand up act and definitely head over to Monte's site to see some mind blowing advertising images as well as the largest group photo ever! Click the full post to see the high res final image.
Many of the posts we have seen here lately on Fstoppers have been heavily influenced by Freddy Wong and the amazing special effects videos on his YouTube channel. Now Freddy has tackled something very sacred to us all: something that might still keep some die hards up late in to the morning. Anyone giving homage to Wario or Donkey Kong, the two best characters in the game, will always get two big thumps up from me. If you want to see the final Real Life Mario, click on the full post after watching this great BTS video.
CLICK FULL POST IF YOU CANNOT WATCH THIS VIDEO! If you watched my video on how to photograph wakeboarding then you know I'm a big advocate of throwing water at your subjects during a photoshoot! So needless to say I was excited when this behind the scenes video surfaced showing how photographer Art Streiber shot the hero shots for the television show Hawaii Five-O. The whole lighting setup is pretty straightforward: one beauty dish and a bunch of back lights for the water splashes. To create the wave splash look Art fired high pressure water at each of the cast members with a 4,000 gallon water truck. Click on the full post to check out some of the final images as well as a few behind the scenes stills from the production.
One thing I love about having an Vimeo account is the great videos they recommend checking out. Back in Oct 2010, the first ever Vimeo Awards was held, and the winners for over 9 categories were announced. None of the winning videos are directly related to photography but the winning narrative Thrush by Gabriel Bisset-Smith was created entirely from still images. It's pretty entertaining and it really opens the gates to what is possible now that we are all documenting our lives pretty much everyday. I have to believe that all of these shots were staged, and if so Gabriel did a great job capturing all these frames and making such a unique video.
Yu Tsai is an incredibly impressive fashion and advertising photographer. He also is an established film maker and director (check out his film section on his site). Recently Yu Tsai was faced with the task of trying to make a car ad stand out in one of the most popular magazines in the world: The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. His solution: have ace driver Rhys Millen drift dangerously close to SI supermodel Rianne Ten Haken and film the whole thing. I love the concept and it's nice to have a little behind the scenes video to go along with the final published images. Click the full post to see full resolution copies.
Our friend Tyler Kaufman from New Orleans is a young sports photographer who had the opportunity to go and photograph Super Bowl XLV. Understandably, he was so busy shooting that he didn't have time to create a proper behind the scenes video on what it must be like shooting one of the largest sporting event in the world. Luckily for us, Max Morse was able to make a video showcasing many of the Sport Illustrated photographers in attendance. During our own interview with David Bergman, an SI photographer also in attendance of the big game, I learned that sports photographers do not simply show up and try to frantically track each player and each play for the perfect shot. Instead they are stationed in strategic spots which allows each photographer to cover their section of the field and specific players....assuming the play does come in their direction. I've always thought shooting sports at this level must be extremely difficult, and that might be why I have such respect for great sports images. Click on the full post to see a video on Tyler's experience in Dallas!
Celebrity photographer Brian Smith has a great video online that describes his workflow when shooting burlesque dancers in Las Vegas. The video is an advertisement piece for X-Rite Color Checker calibration tool but Brian gives some really good advice on how he took his career from working at a newspaper to now shooting celebrity portraits. In this video, Brian is mainly shooting with just a Profoto Ringflash and a Sony A900, and the results look great. Anyone know how in the world he is using pocket wizards on top of the Sony? I thought Sony DSLRs used to have some funky hotshoe jack? //-->
I'm sure like many of other photographers, my greatest fear is going blind or at least going blind beyond correction. Pete Eckert is a photographer who has been left completely blind after suffering from a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa. This short little video documents Pete's life and how he has overcome his loss of eye sight and continues his passion of photography. It's pretty inspiring to see what is possible through human determination and reminds me to be thankful for the simple things in life. This video has become pretty viral over the last week and for good reason!
Every now and then someone comes out with a product that really makes me say, "why didn't I think of that?" If you've ever been on the set of a serious movie production, you know that the camera operator or steadicam operator hardly ever focuses the lens himself. Instead he relies on a well paid focus puller who can perfectly eyeball every focus distance and follow focus any lens set on any aperture. It's really amazing to watch. Well now a company called Okii has developed a USB focus puller for Canon cameras that can not only pull focus but also record and save a specific movement. I have no idea why they did not include audio on this video but if you watch if you can see two different points of focus being saved and then automated. Click the full post to see a second demonstration that shows off the actual recorded footage.
Last year Zacuto started a great series called The Great Camera Shootout where they compared film cameras with digital cameras and DSLRs. We featured the first two episodes but somehow overlooked the final show in the series. Some of these tests seem a bit excessive to me but it's good to know that there is a discussion going on with the top professionals in the field. Some of topics covered are camera resolution, color vibrancy, green screening, and shooting video in raw. As photographers, we are still going to hear people making an argument for not shooting video on DSLRs but if you watch the 3 full length short films presented in this episode I think the DSLR video haters' days are numbered.
We've featured Tom Guilmette several times on our website and each time he never ceases to amazing me. Today Tom released a fun video that he shot on the Phantom Flex while he was staying in Las Vegas. We've all seen super slow motion videos before but what really grabbed my attention was Tom's editing skills and his brilliant use of audio to help bring this video to life. If you enjoy watching and learning about high speed videography, check out Tom's website or check out the other Fstoppers Tom Guilmette posts we have featured.
Rob Moody, a good friend of ours at Fstoppers, has been working on an interesting video project with Heartsapart.org. Heartsapart has made it their mission to capture military soldiers and their families before they are separated through deployment. Photographers from all over the Southeast have come together to help this in this cause, and Rob has done a great job bringing this story to the public. I can really appreciate this because I grew up in a military family, and I know how important a photograph can be for those who are stationed overseas for extended periods of time. Check out this great video as past Fstoppers spotlight photographer Brownie Harris takes you in his studio to photograph several families.
Every month here at Fstoppers we run a photo contest that is judged by one of our readers. We'd like to congratulate Frank Lin for winning the January Fstoppers Forum Photo Contest. Click the previous link to see his winning photograph and watch for his banner at the top of the site to see more of Frank's work. As we do every month, the winner of the contest gets to pick the next theme and Frank has chosen "BIRTH". This month's winner will also win a custom image and website link on the Fstoppers rotating banner above and also a Photoflex Octodome Extra Small Kit which is our goto soft light for location shooting. As always, our contests are judged by the winner of the previous month's contest so you have to impress Frank not anyone on the Fstoppers Staff. Have fun submitting to the February Fstoppers Forum Contest and good luck to everyone!
One of my favorite things about Charleston, SC is being close to the ocean. I love being in and around the water, and although I'm not very good at it, I do enjoy wakeboarding. Charleston has become a pretty big hub for sports like kiteboarding and wakeboarding over the last few years, and this city is not short on talented athletes. I took an interest in wakeboard photography a couple years ago, and I always enjoyed shooting images from extreme angles. Although I've gotten some cool images, I never felt like I really had much control over my images with just daylight. I've tried to bring strobes outside to create something "different" but even those shots have been done a million times. I decided I wanted a way to shoot a rider flying through the air with interesting, studio quality lighting and this is what I came up with....click the full post for the full story.
If you are not already subscribed to Freddie Wong's YouTube channel, you should go there right now and watch one of Youtube's most popular animators. Well this week he has created a really simple video called The Freeze Shootout and has provided a quick behind the scenes video on how he did it. Watch the full video here and click on the full post to watch how he created it.
Each year Maybelline creates a limited edition calendar featuring crazy concepts and wild makeup. This year the cosmetic brand teamed up with photographer Kenneth Willardt to produce some very vibrant images. Make sure you head over to Kenneth's commercial section of his website to view a bunch of the images. His ability to light a set is worth taking note as well as the overall production they put into these images.
A few months ago, Patryk Kizny with Dito Gear shared a really amazing video called The Chapel with Fstoppers. I was absolutely blown away by the footage but I knew our readers would want to know exactly how he created it. So I was able to persuade Patryk to create a second video that outlined exactly what he did to create the original HDR timelapse images featured in The Chapel. With just a few Canon DSLRs, a magic arm, and a Dito Omni Slider, Patryk created a really unique looking video made from HDR stills. If you have any additional questions about the making of this video, leave them in the comment section and I'm sure Patryk will be happy to answer them. Click the full post to watch the original video in its entirety.
Philippe Kerlo is a really creative beauty and fine art photographer based out of Paris France. Some people are dubbing his work as "extreme glamour" which might be a fitting title. I was recently turned onto his work by one of our readers when they sent us this video of him shooting beauty portraits through plexiglass covered with paint, acrylic, wax, and other colored materials. The results are really stunning and the idea is so simple I thought I had to share it with everyone. Be sure to check out Philippe's portfolio because his work has a lot of interesting angles like the photos shown in the full post.
Back in the Spring of 2009, Louis Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs teamed up with music mogul Madonna produce their new ad campaign. This video is primarily from the point of view of Marc but that shouldn't prevent you from seeing how photographer Steven Meisel executed the overall shoot. I've always been a big fan of Steven's work, and after you watch this video you can browse through most of his extensive portfolio here. After clicking through 127 pages of amazing photo after amazing photo you will probably feel both inspired and completely worthless as a photographer! Click on the full post to view the photographs from this shoot.
Clay Enos is a laid back photographer who is probably most well known for his portraits from the movie The Watchmen. Today he is taking his portrait photography to the streets and doing something most of us would find pretty intimidating by asking random people to pose in front of his white backdrop. Making people feel comfortable with you in a short amount of time is a crucial skill to have as a photographer, and Clay does a great job explaining how you can do this on the street with a relatively short 50mm lens. Now some people might not consider this real street photography but it's definitely an easy way to capture spontaneous images with a studio look.