One of my favorite little quips to drop on my workshop attendees is "Did you know that models are, as it turns out, human?", which usually just yields a few chuckles. But the truth is, that is just my lead in and my way of sarcastically reminding model photographers that fashion and glamour models have opinions, preferences, and emotions as much as anyone else. Which is sadly something that seems to be overlooked in the often callus industries of fashion and glamour. To that end, I invited some Texas based pro models to sit down with Staci and I discuss the industry.
Articles written by Nino Batista
Recently, during my annual trek to Las Vegas for WPPI (wherein I arrive in the city of sin and proceed to actively avoid going to the actual expo because I book too many other things), I found myself in the deserts outside of Vegas with a Sony A7RII, a few bits of glorious Zeiss glass, no modifiers or lighting of any kind, and Renee Robyn as my model. Welp, guess it was time to see what Sony's dynamic range claims were truly about then.
Late last year, Playboy magazine announced that starting this month, March 2016, the publication would no longer - simply enough - feature nudity. This announcement was immediately received as shocking, welcomed, amazing, derided or just plain hated, depending on who you asked. Curious as to the impetus behind the format change, I asked Jarmo Pohjaniemi about it when we spoke recently, and have since heard from another Playboy master lensist, Ales Bravnicar, about the matter. Bravnicar and I also discussed his phenomenal career and his upcoming retrospective in an upcoming international Playboy edition.
Full disclosure: Creating this Action goes against many things I've stated in the past, including and especially my whole idea that "No Action should create effects for you". That said, with the huge influx of Action requests that I've been receiving, I reasoned this particular one is steeped wholly enough into "procedure" that it could possibly make a decent (and useful) automatic process. As such, let's have a look at my Soft Flare FX Action.
So I've been posting more and more of the Actions I've been making and using lately, and this afternoon is no different. While today's Action creates a subtle effect, and may not be something everyone likes, I am posting about it because it's a process I use pretty frequently. Sure, it's not for every image, but sometimes it just does the trick. Let's review what it's all about.
Nothing could be simpler than increasing contrast of your image in Photoshop, right? But as is my usual, I prefer control over convenience and take my contrast boosting a little more seriously than perhaps I should. In the interest of bringing some convenience back into the matter, I've created an Action for you to try out which showcases my most common contrast boosting method.
Sharpening your images in post has been discussed time and again in every manner of tutorial under the sun, and everyone has a preferred method that works for them. For me, I found I enjoy the look of a partial sharpen done with the classic high pass filter (and requisite blending mode) along with an appropriate luminosity mask to blend it where I want it. These days I've gone and made an Action for the process that seems to work for about 80% of my images. Let's review it.
Black and white photography may well be the ultimate classical expression of the art form, after all it is how photography started. It's still a continually popular aesthetic, even now well into the digital age. However, black and white images, in my opinion, should be simply more than the removal of color. Thankfully many thousands of photographers and designers agree with that, and the usage of black and white conversion methods and approaches is prevalent in the post production world.
Despite having grown up around photography all my life (thanks, dad) and then starting my own commercial portrait business in 2009, there is one small little thing I'd never done before, silly as it sounds. I have never, ever shot in snow. Born in the Caribbean in 1975, then briefly living in Miami before settling down in Houston in 1979, I have truly never experienced real snow. But all that changed for me recently in Salt Lake City and Albuquerque - in January.
I admit it freely: I didn't used to pay attention or care about portrait lighting patterns. In fact, when a photographer would mention them around me, I would cover my ears and say "La la la la la" as loudly as possible while hurriedly trying to leave the room. There was a time where dismissing the standards was my usual, as was my tendency, but eventually I realized I was missing out on fundamentals that I could easily have built on and expanded rather than ignored. Just starting out? Don't make my mistakes.
If you work in portrait photography, be it commercial fashion or high school seniors or anything in between, at some point you will be on set with makeup artists (MUA) and hair stylists, if you aren't already. A good makeup artist can make or break your sessions, and a bad one can simply ruin everything. And since no amount of retouching can totally undo subpar makeup, hair, and styling, Staci and I decided to sit down with pro makeup artist Sarah Stafford in The Backyard to shed some light on the relationship between MUAs and photographers.
Over a year ago, after having discovered his work a year before that, I felt it necessary to introduce Fstoppers' readers to photographer K. R. Whitley, the world traveling wilderness/landscape and urbex artist. Since then, Whitley has traveled even more and expanded his work in some bold, new directions. I brazenly invited him to an interview at my house, and thankfully he agreed.
Make no mistake, Shoot The Centerfold is the most exclusive and well respected glamour and model photography seminar on the planet. And as it turns out, this year I've been invited to see everything that goes on at STC, both up front and behind the curtain, in what will be an exclusive insider view on this most revered of photo events. Oh, and I might be a little bit excited about it.
Shooting portrait work during the day outside has always meant that you have to think on your feet and improvise depending on what Mr. Sunshine decides to do. Some days, you get brilliant, bright rays of sol pummeling the entire city with impunity, and other days the order of the day is cloud cover and über diffusion. The biggest challenge, in my opinion, occurs when the sun and clouds start to play games with you and change the game every few minutes, causing you to contend with hard light at 3:54 p.m. and soft diffused light at 4:03 p.m., etc. So, how do I deal with that?
It is a common misconception, and it has been addressed before on photography groups, forums and news sites many times. However, for the new year starting today (2016, for those reading in the future), I reasoned a quick video review of the concept of file resolution versus pixel dimensions, and the interplay between them, would be in order.
There may be a dozen ways to skin the proverbial outdoor lighting cat (sorry for that, felines), but it never hurts to review some of the most common basics. Some of my favorite approaches outdoors start with pure natural light with some simple modifications, leaving the strobes or speedlites at the ready only when they are absolutely needed or desired. After all, natty light should look natural, no?
Several of my associates are surprised to find out that, based on my 3+ years of traveling to give workshops, something like 75% of my class attendees see retouching as a necessary evil, or otherwise disliked doing it and wished they didn't have to bother with it. They all wanted to be good at it, but for many and varied reasons, weren't. And sometimes I am asked "How important is retouching anyway?" So I decided to record a mini-episode of my web series to talk about it a bit.
Seems like just a short few years ago, Sony DSLR's were the laughing stock, what with their proprietary this and convoluted that. Yet today, going into 2016, Sony has made a huge impact in the photography world with their hyper-techy mirrorless cameras almost out of nowhere. After much consideration (and provocation from Sony) I decided to try out some Sony gear in the most challenging way possible: on a client job. Nope, I had never worked with a Sony before. What could possibly go wrong?
It can been said that according to Occam's Razor, the simplest solution to a complex problem is usually the correct one. That's all well and good in logic and philosophy, but when it comes to art, solving problems is hardly the priority. Or rather, it shouldn't be. This is why my motivation of late is steeped in the mantra of "How do I eschew my usual, or anyone else's for that matter?" when I walk onto a set.
All children have imaginations ranging from creative to radically abstract, and it's not until we become adults that far too many of us accidentally lose a good chunk of that imagination after the years start to stack up. How cool would it be for a child to see a dramatized depiction of what they want to be when they grew up? Brandon Cawood and his family asked the same question and put a project into motion called "When I Grow Up."