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Ben Sasso
Los Angeles, CA

Articles written by Ben Sasso

My Gear and How I Use It to Affect Emotion

Photography is a game of emotions. Think about some of the most powerful images that you’ve ever seen. The ones that have left a lasting impression on you. Sure, they might have gorgeous tones, light, or composition, but the reason they have stuck with you for so long is probably the emotion or mood that the image evokes. Our job as a photographer is to control those moods and to decide which emotion we want our viewer to feel.

The Why and How of Test Shoots With Models

My high school enemy is my new best friend. I'm talking about a glorious thing called "tests." In the photo world, a test is a shoot set up for the sake of portfolio-building, experimentation, fun, or all of the above. It's not a paid shoot, but these suckers pay off big time. A test shoot is when you book a model (we'll talk about how) to shoot a concept that you put together. As I'm writing this, I actually have my journal open on my desk in mid-plan for a test that I'll be shooting later this month. Let's talk about a few reasons why testing is so important, how to find models, reach out to agencies, and what you need to do once your model is booked. Dig in!

3 Basic Editing Tips with Before and After Images

Ever since the middle of high school, I've been immensely interested in "the process." You know, that middle bit between point A and point B that nobody but the artist ever sees. I've always loved peeking behind the scenes to see where something started and what kind of work and thought went into creating the finished product. To satisfy those of you who are just like me, here's the second post in my before/after series which not only shows you my images straight out of camera and the final product, but which uses each image to explain a bit more about what I do in post. If you want to dig in way further than these, I cover every step of my post processing in my Editing + Consistency class. Enjoy, friends!

Editing Tips : Before + After Images

Heck yes! I'm pretty dang pumped about this post. Ever since the middle of high school, I've been immensely interested in "the process." You know, that middle bit between point A and point B that nobody but the artist ever sees. I've always loved peeking behind the scenes to see where something started and what kind of work and thought went into creating the finished product. I know I'm not the only one because a lot of you have asked to see before/after's of certain shots on my...

The Photographer's Manifesto

I have seen absolutely beautiful things happen in the photo industry. I've seen strangers become best friends, I've seen grand ideas being brought to life, and I've seen photographers grow from beginners to mentors. I've seen so many things that make me proud to be a part of such an amazing community. The sad news is that I've also seen the uglier side of it. I've seen jealousy turn into bad-mouthing, I've seen photographers knowingly leave out key techniques from classes or talks, and I've seen new photographers become discouraged and disheartened by the cold shoulders of the more popular photographers in the industry.

Be Positive: How to Bring Out the Best in Your Models

Always be positive. Always. Be. Positive. Positivity and genuine excitement about what you are doing will always move you forward. Not only will it affect your mood and work ethic, but it will affect your subject’s mood on set. Building the confidence of your subject through the direction you give will bring out the best that they have to offer.

Don't Pose, Give Direction

If you are a lifestyle photographer one of your jobs is to make your images look natural- not stiff, not awkward, and definitely not staged. Your audience should see your images as moments that were going to happen regardless of whether or not you were there to capture it. The imagery that Roxy uses in their advertising is a spot-on example of this. Their photographic brand is made up of images of surfer girls living their carefree, summer lifestyle. Each image is a moment.

The Importance of Taking It Easy

This is it. By now, You will have been inspired, honed your ideas, found the perfect location and booked your talent. You will have taken that little bit of inspiration and nurtured it into a full fledged shoot. If you are anything like me, you will have tossed out far more ideas than you kept and you will have spent hours upon hours solidifying the few that stuck with you. It is safe to say that the hard part is over.

Using Shot Lists Will Make You a Better Photographer

When I first started shooting, I would spend absolutely no time planning my shots. I would focus tons of time and energy into every other aspect (location, wardrobe, mood, etc) but in some weird turn of events, it must have slipped my mind that the end goal is "The Shot." How that slipped my mind still baffles me. Instead of putting in the effort to plan what my actual finished images would look like, I found a model, found a location and showed up on shoot day with a plan to wing it.

The Importance of Experimentation

There is a fine line between having a well defined photographic style, and constantly putting out the same stale, boring work week after week. A fine and dangerous line. A line that can make the difference between being a successful, inspiring photographer and a photographer who has lost his audience and has even lost interest in his/her own work.