Posts

Save the Date: Shoot-NYC

Shoot-NYC, the annual professional forum held by industry leaders broncolor and Hasselblad is back, with exciting new photographic forums and live shooting sets that incorporate the latest photographic technology.

By attending Shoot-NYC, you will learn from top industry professionals. Educational seminars will cover topics that range from reproduction, fashion and commercial photography, to the ever-changing business of photography. Hands-on demonstrations will encompass advanced lighting techniques, as well as pre and post production, cross over lighting (still and video), and video production lighting. In addition, one can take a tour of the gallery of finalists from the Hasselblad Masters Exhibition, which will make its 2011 U.S. debut at Shoot-NYC.  By attending, you will learn how to harness your talents to face the ever-changing photographic business.

The event runs from October 27 to the 28 at the Terminal Building (608 West 28th Street New York, NY 10001 ).

REGISTER HERE

Speakers and forums:

Room 1, 10/27

10:15 – 11:15 – Dave Mathews, “Tools & Tips: Under the Hood”

Image quality and product consistency remain essential for photographic excellence and client satisfaction. Today’s photographer must achieve both. A sustainable digitization effort, combined with beautiful imagery, equates to professional survivability.

This talk features specific tooling and work flow disciplines which help guide and inform quality image formulation, decision making, uniformity of style and distinguishable image product. These useful tips, practical tools and workflow specifics, when applied by determined photographers, not only ensure very high quality of product but often lead to new and repeatable discoveries.

The talk is short and concise, aimed at providing practical and sustainable image quality solutions for the working photographic professional. Creation of high quality files requires more than top-end equipment. Understanding the technology, pursing viable solutions, and discovering insightful diagnostics will help verify and ensure photographers that their files provide the professional results required for multi-use publications and long term archiving.

http://www.theimagecollective.org/

11:30 – 12:30 – August Bradley, “Developing a lighting strategy when shooting for still and motion. “

Moving from a background in still photography studio lighting into dual still/motion production and motion-specific lighting. August will examine productions he has done for fashion and advertising clients that have required both still and motion deliverables (for both web and broadcast uses), and how to efficiently and effectively develop a lighting strategy. He will also give an overview of motion lighting with an emphasis the areas that differ from lighting in the still photography world.

http://www.augustbradley.com/

12:45 – 1:45 – Dan Saelinger, “The Business of Photography”

A New York City based commercial photographer, Dan Saelinger shares his ideas on making it in the industry. Learn everything from Dan while he discusses such points as portfolios, equipment insurance, websites, blogging, representation and making a living at what you love. Dan will explain the fine-tuning of your business by delving into the following points:

– Setting Up Shop: Things to think about before you start shooting

– Promotion: What does and doesn’t work? How to get your work in front of potential clients.

– Representation: How to find a rep: is it needed for you?

– Making a Living: From smart billing to controlling costs – making sure your business is profitable

-Video: Stepping into video and what you need to know before taking that first video assignment

Working with clients such as Nike, Brides, National Geographic, Men’s Journal and many more Dan has had the experiences to understand the best approaches.

http://dansaelinger.com/

2:00 – 3:00 – Beth Taubner,  “The Secrets Behind Creating Powerful Brand Identity”

Beth Taubner is called the “Photo Whisperer” by many of her clients. In this talk, she will unveil the secrets of major American and global brands (some of whom she has worked with) and how their approach to branding applies to you.  Photographers and videographers: you will learn how to think like good brand strategists and express your unique POV in a consistent way using visuals, design and language. Beth will talk about what  it takes to define your brand, and how to apply it to all of your presentation tools, including your portfolio, website and reel.  By creating a strong, coherent and differentiated brand positioning,  you will enter, sustain, and maintain a happier and stronger role in the marketplace.

mercurylab.com

3:15 – 4:15 – Adam Sherwin, Resource Magazine / RETV, “Photography to Videography – Successful Strategies for Marketing New Services”

Adam Sherwin of Resource Magazine will share valuable tips on how practicing photographers can utilize the recent advances in DSLR video technology to successfully expand their services to clients, as well as avoid how to avoid common mistakes in marketing yourself with video. Topics include optimizing content in social networks, maintaining quality control over your work, and placement strategies for getting your work noticed.

http://www.resourcemagonline.com/

http://resourcetelevision.com/

4:30 – 5:30 – Ryan Enn Hughes and Arash Moallemi, “Between Videography and Photography – Working Seamlessly in Multiple Mediums”

Ryan and Arash will discuss in detail their experiences of incorporating film production into their photography practices, the in- and-outs of budgeting simultaneous photo/film production costs, and walk you through the funding process of a larger motion creative. Learn about the technical, budgetary, and practical considerations faced when creating ground breaking works such as C Walk, Bugs! and Fish!

http://www.ryanennhughes.com

http://iamphoto.ca/

Room 2, 10/27, PRACTICALS:

10:15 – 11:45 – John Pannozzo, ColorByte Software, “Mastering the Art of Studio Printing”

Color management is one of the steepest hurdles to face for a majority of individuals and studios attempting to retain creative and qualitative control in the output of their photographic work. John Pannozzo, President of Colorbyte Software, will cover every aspect of mastering your printing workflow – from printer choices to color profile creation, from selection of paper types to new printing technologies. This is a valuable seminar for anyone seeking to keep their printing in house while maximizing the efficiency of the process and reducing waste in proofing.

http://www.colorbytesoftware.com/

12:00 – 1:30 – Andre Rowe, “The perfect marriage of both lighting and exposure”

A crash course on the perfect marriage of both lighting and exposure. Face challenging lighting situations on location with the confidence of understanding. Never again question your ability to get the best results each and every time.

– Visualizing Light

– Calculating exposures in easy/complex lighting situations

– Establishing proper lighting / subject placement

– Choosing the right lighting & modifiers for the job

– Understanding lighting ratios

– Blending strobe lighting with ambient light

http://www.andrerowephotography.com/

1:45 – 3:15 – Lindsay Adler, “Shoot in Action”

Beauty Shoot: This will be an editorial shoot, where you can watch a beauty shoot in-action.

Fashion Bridal:  How to add techniques of fashion photography to your portrait and wedding images. Will have bride and groom couple to demo lighting and poses; on location.

http://www.lindsayadlerphotography.com/

3:30 – 5:00 – Scott Markewitz, “Freeze Frame – Outdoor Action Photography Fundamentals”

In recent years, artificial light has become more and more prominent in outdoor sports and lifestyle photography. When used well, the addition of strobes can create powerful, dramatic action images. To capture this look, photographers go to great pains to transport lighting gear into almost any location and setup imaginable. Many photographers using this equipment outdoors don’t really understand the capabilities of their gear, or how to get the most out of it. In this seminar, outdoor photography specialist Scott Markewitz will discuss the basics of lighting the outdoors and evolution of using strobes and artificial lighting in outdoor photography. Scott will cover the types of equipment needed to achieve powerful results, the use artificial lighting in a controlled manner to achieve the results and the look you’re after and how to create some very distinct looks with specific lighting setups and various shaping tools. All told, Markewitz will leave you with an understanding of the sports you’re shooting and the knowledge and timing it takes to capture images that get published.

http://www.scottmarkewitz.com/

Room 1, 10/28

10:15 – 11:15 – Robert Levine, “American Photographic Artists Understanding the Issues of Copyright Law in an Age of ‘Free’ Media”

Sponsored by APA

For the past decade since Napster shook up the music business, we have been hearing about the conflict between big media companies and young people who love the Internet. In my book, “Free Ride,” I show that what we’re really seeing is a conflict be- tween two groups of companies: the creators – companies that produce and fund culture, and the technology start-ups that want to distribute their work without paying for it. I will review the methods by which licensing affects photographers in today’s media markets, and discuss methods for photographers to protect their interests.

http://freeridethebook.wordpress.com/pic-and-bio

11:30 – 12:30 – Bob Heiss, Sandler Training, “Talking Tools of the Photo Trade – Converting Prospects into Sales”

Sponsored by ASMPNY

Do you want to learn how to uncover a prospect’s budget? Do you feel like you’re at a disadvantage when negotiating? Do you ever hear, “I’m interested, but call me after the holidays?” or “This is great, I just need to run it by my boss/editor/wife/business partner?” but you never hear back from the prospect? Let’s face it, photographers need a roadmap to navigate the highways and byways of the current market. Sandler gives photographers a complete system for handling the sales process and uncovering a prospect’s real motives for buying. This course will combine classroom learning, role-playing, negotiation, and individual troubleshooting using YOUR real world examples. Sponsored by ASMPNY

http://www.robertheiss.sandler.com/

12:45 – 1:45 – Kawai Matthews, “Guerilla Marketing 101: Quick, Cheap & Easy Ways to Grow Your Photo Business”

For those of you with big marketing budgets, this seminar isn’t for you!  But if you’re a bootstrapping photographer that wants the secrets to marketing without a budget – keep reading.  Grab your notebook and spend a power-hour with me, learning quick, easy and FREE ways to market and grow your creative business.  Get excited and get ready to turbo boost your marketing strategies and increase your bottom line.

airphilosophy.com

2:00 – 3:00 – Lindsay Adler, “Top Ten Best Practices for Social Networking”

Social networking is a powerful tool for reaching your target audience and building an online reputation. Today business growth

is not just ‘word of mouth’, but also ‘word of mouse’. This presentation will focus on the top ten best practices for social networking. You will learn what you can do online to efficiently and effectively leverage social media for business growth. We will cover topics like utilizing analytics, search engine optimization, developing a schedule, and becoming a resource for your target audience.

http://www.lindsayadlerphotography.com/

3:15 – 4:15 – John Engstrom, Scheimpflug Digital, “Set Mastery Tips and Techniques of Photo Production for Digital Technicians”

John Engstrom is one of the most sought after “get it done” guys in the industry, and he’s got the client list (and scars) to prove it.  He’s shot with Peter Beard in the wilds of Botswana, and was favorite assistant to legendary photographers David LaChapelle and Patrick Demarchelier. John will talk about his wildest experiences on production sets around the world, and will deliver a wealth of valuable information to current and aspiring digital techs, covering everything from rigging carts for digital capture to working with large crews.

theflug.com

4:30 – 5:30 – Lois Greenfield, “Her work and her career”

Lois Greenfield has created innovative and iconic images for most of the major contemporary dance companies. Her unique approach to photographing the human form in motion has radically redefined the genre, and influenced a generation of photographers.

In this seminar I will discuss the multifaceted nature of my photographic career . My beginnings as a photojournalist and travel photographer inadvertently led to my specializing in dance photography. Little did I realize this would lead to shooting fashion, athletes, and musicians in my studio. Directing TV commercials was a natural outgrowth of shooting advertising campaigns.

Working both with and without reps, I learned how to “get the job” and negotiate contracts for all these varied projects. I adopt an effective, flexible pricing strategy which includes adapting to the reality of the market in these challenging times.

http://www.loisgreenfield.com

Room 2, 10/28: PRACTICALS

10:15 – 11:45 – Andy Ryan, “Using Cutting Edge Technology to Advance Your Architectural Photography”

Photographer Andy Ryan shares his tips and techniques to help you create the best architectural images. Andy has traveled the world shooting some of the most demanding architectural projects. Join him as he shares his vast experience to help you gain a better insight into how new technology can help in creating the finest architectural images.

http://www.andyryan.com

12:00 – 1:30 – Rick Friedman, “Portable Lighting Techniques for On-Location Lighting”

Learn about portable lighting techniques that have enabled Rick Friedman to capture his on-location, award-winning imagery around the world. One of the key things that he will share in a “very hands-on way” is how to better control your lighting. This dynamic, intensive, interactive seminar is designed for portrait, wedding, corporate and event photographers, photojournalists and serious amateurs who want to improve their knowledge of illumination and light. If you attend Rick’s class, you can plan on leaving feeling empowered to capture great images no matter what lighting situation you come up against!

http://rickfriedman.com/bio.html

1:45 – 3:15 – Bryan Hughes, “Uncovering the ‘Hidden Gems’ of Adobe Photoshop”

Photoshop is the premiere program for photographic editing, and in this industry it is imperative to keep up with new and interesting approaches. As the senior product manager for Adobe Photoshop, Bryan knows the tricks of the trade. In his talk, Bryan will provide tips and instructions on how to navigate the program, as well as an in-depth review at some overlooked and underplayed techniques for manipulating and molding images. For anyone who wants to learn how to hone their skills, from the sharpen tool to puppet warp, this is something you don’t want to miss.

http://www.photoshop.com/people/bryan

3:30 – 5:00 – Kawai Matthews, “Shooting Stars!: How to Shoot Actor Headshots”

Learn how to shoot headshots for actors in the entertainment industry.  With a huge local population of aspiring and established talent, photographers can earn extra money or even start a business shooting headshots for entertainers.  The key is knowing how to shoot them and shoot them well, taking into consideration the industry standards.  In this workshop, you will learn how to use studio lighting, quick tricks with reflectors, posing your actor, tips to getting personality shots, flattering angles, wardrobe do’s & dont’s, commercial vs. theatrical looks, what agents and casting directors want and much more.  This is a hands-on workshop!  Be prepared with your cameras, as we will be shooting live.

airphilosophy.com

REGISTER HERE

Caesar Lima: A Master at Depicting the Unique

A master at depicting unique and captivating subject matter, Caesar’s inspiration is derived from a singular drive to push the limits and evoke emotion through innovative photography.

“I feel exactly the same way when I’ve started my career always researching and experimenting to create something different, doing it from the heart.”

With a Bachelors of Arts in Advertising, Caesar has always had an eye for the creative. With a passion and drive to depict unusual, even surreal images, his photography always evokes emotion. As a self-proclaimed “non-purist”, his photography calls to mind imagery that is just outside of the box.

“I really respect David La Chapelle, Jill Greenberg, Terry Richardson, Alex Prager, Steven Meisel, there are so many talented people… but I do follow illustrators, designers, street artists also because we all are image makers, doesn’t matter which tool we use. Guys like Banksy, Space Invader, Shepard Fairey are amazing artists.”

“Build your image bank for reference, it’s like a muscle, the more you use the stronger you get. References are there not to be copied but for inspiration you need to study what makes an image interesting and why it appeals to you.”

Todays Shoot

“I like to use available light when I’m on location and Sunbounce screens and reflectors are amazing, I have done many jobs without using any flash, it’s so good to shoot without worrying about syncing speed.”

“Nothing really comes close to what Sunbounce has, and it’s a system, it’s much easier than having reflectors and modifiers from 3-4 different manufactures.”

Caesar has received multiple accolades and awards including the 2010 IPA Awards, 2010 PX3 in Paris, 2010 Archive 200 Best, 2009 IPA Award, 2009 Addy Award, and the 08 Spider Award to name a few in recent years.

www.caesarlima.com

A Short Profile: Susanne Kindt

o   How did you become a photographer?

I first picked up an SLR camera when I was 17 and it was for a high school project. I loaded the film incorrectly and nothing came out of my first shoot but it didn’t matter, it was love at first sight. As soon as I graduated I moved from my native Stockholm, Sweden to Copenhagen, Denmark where I attended a one year photo school.  I moved back to Stockholm a couple of years later I began assisting local photographers and worked in a darkroom as a printer for an architect photographer.  In 2005 I made the big move across the world to Los Angeles. Here I started off going to school at the Santa Monica College.  I then moved on to assisting for photographers like Miranda Penn Turin, Michael Haber, Craig Cameron Olsen and Cliff Watts while shooting my book with the local modeling agencies.

On this image, I ended up using the silver beauty dish and a regular reflector. I first shot the girl, then wheat pasted up print outs to finally shoot her in front of herself. The graffiti is put in there in post. This was obviously the most time consuming shoot but I love the edgy feeling! I really enjoy shooting with broncolor, the quality of light is truly beautiful!

o  Was there one or more life changing moments that helped you move to the next level and become the photographer that you are now?  Perhaps a big break, a perfect mentor, a movie, a mystical moment?

Honestly, its all about working hard and marketing and believing in one self,nothing comes for free in this industry. For me there was never a big break, more small steps in the right direction towards my goals.

o   How do you learn how to do what you do?

I have assisted for years and you often pick up new ideas from seeing what others are doing and getting inspired. I also stay tuned on the latest trends by reading fashion magazines and blogs. The internet is a goldmine of inspiration.

o   Who are your photo heroes?

>I always love the work by Camilla Åkrans, she is truly an amazing photographer but I also get very inspired by Miranda, Cliff and some of the other photographers I worked with.

For this series I used the Para 220 and a head with a P70 reflector for some extra pop, I really love the richness of these!

o   What is the worst part about doing what you do?

Self marketing, it is so hard to sell yourself as a photographer and I really believe that most photographers do or would benefit from having an agent do that work for them. Oh and rejection. It is hard not to take it personally since my photography feels so personal to me.

o   What is the best part?

Taking pictures, it’s such a joy in my life, I love photography and the freelance lifestyle. I am way to restless to work a 9-5. What it lacks in stability it makes up for being such a big part of your life.

o   What have you been shooting lately?

Last weekend weekend I did  two shoots…  two very different shoots, one is a heavily lit and poppy swim suit shot and the other was a harder lit moodier shoot where I wheat pasted images of the model behind the model and then shot her again.

o   How did you figure out how to compose and light your images?

By analyzing other images that have lighting that inspires me and then trying it out. Also, when shooting models they always spend tons of time in hair and make up, that is the perfect time to fine tune and test out ideas!

o   What tools did you use to do these shoots?

For shoot number one, I used the broncolor Para 220 and a head with a reflector for a little extra pop and for the second shoot I used the broncolor silver beauty dish  along with a fill light with a reflector, I really love the contrast this gave.

o   Why did you choose these tools?

The Para has been something I have been wanting to shoot with for a while. Most of the time, since I live in LA, I shoot natural light.  There are endless locations here and the quality of light here from the sun is just breathtaking.  So working with the Para was a natural  choice,  I feel it has a sun type of feel to it and  with the sun in mind it was really fun.

On this series I went for a much younger look. The Para 220 is the main light and then I have two reflectors with gels on to light the background. I really like the doll feeling the Para creates here, it really worked well for this look!

o   What features of the equipment that you use make it easier to do your job?

The fact that I could set up the Para so easily, without assistance is just amazing. So much photo equipment demands so much man power and is unnecessarily unergonomical.  To consider how big the Para is and how smart and easy you can take it up or down really speaks for how thought through the product is.

o   Did you use competing products in the past? What made you change?

Yes, that is another thing that makes assisting essential to any up and coming photographer. You get to test out all kinds of brands and equipment on someone else’s dime!  I really feel that it is a step up in overall quality than most competitors. For someone like me, who often works outdoors as well as in, the way broncolor has designed their products for ease of use in either,  that is something that truly impresses me. I really enjoy shooting with broncolor, the quality of light is truly beautiful!

Susanne Kindt

Los Angeles Based Photographer Scott Nathan. Whimsical, Comedic and Often Ironic, But Always Memorable.

o   How did you become a photographer? Describe your career development?

On my eighth birthday, I got a Kodak Instamatic X-15, a starter roll of 126 film and a pack of Magicubes, (which were more fun to stomp than fireflies).

Serendipitously, my father rented some office space at the 325 W. Huron building in Chicago.  The building was home to Helix Camera, which is the big photo outfit there.  Most everyone in the building except my dad was in the photo business. Kodak had offices there. There was a modeling agency and there were a lot of commercial photographers there. I became friends with a few of the photographers, and some would let me sit in and watch them work.

A union elevator operator I became friends with surprised me one day with a Nikon F2AS and a 50mm 1.2 lens.  My mother was sure it fell off a truck and my dad looked the other way, but I couldn’t have been happier.   On my 12th birthday, he built a darkroom in the basement.  It was an amazing gift — a second-hand Nikor enlarger, a brick of Tri-X, and a pinball machine.

I saw a Bruce Davidson book in a dentist’s office and for a year or so, I had a secret life sneaking away on the L train, to Chicago’s mean streets, shooting pictures of families in urban housing projects like Cabrini Green and the Robert Taylor homes.  At this point I was probably 13 or 14, with a pair of worn, brassed out SLR’s.  The F2 and an Alpa, which was an obscure but incredible Swiss-made SLR.  I wish I still had it.   As out of place as I was, nobody messed with me and families were nice about sitting for me.  Suffice it to say, Bruce Davidson’s career wasn’t in danger, but I learned a lot about what worked and what didn’t.

Cut to 16.  I had a driver’s license and was free.   I was at a Chicago Bulls game one night and found a press pass on the floor.  It was this metallic gold card with a Bulls head on it.  This was my Willy Wonka golden ticket.  I remember the guy’s name on it: Jack Minnevich- WGN Sports.  I snuck into games that entire season, sitting on the wood with the “real” photographers and shooting greats like Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson in his rookie year.  I was pretty audacious.  I’d ask the magazine guys for their settings and go or it.

In high school, I took my first photography class.  On the first day, the teacher asked “Does anyone here know how one becomes a famous photographer?”  A few hands went up and some guesses were tossed about.  The teacher responded “No, no, no.  You become a famous photographer by taking pictures of famous people.”  At the time, I thought it was a joke, or educator bitterness, but it’s not without some truth.

From there, while in college at Northwestern and University of Colorado at Boulder, I picked up a pawn shop Linhof 4X5 field camera with Schneider glass that I loved.  I shot lots of landscapes and lots of Polaroid portraits of friends. I also learned the discipline to slow down and compose carefully.

Strange as it may seem.  At no point did I ever consider becoming a pro.

o   More specifically, was there one or more life changing moments that helped you move to the next level and become the photographer that you are now?  Perhaps a big break, a perfect mentor, a movie, a mystical moment?

I love films where there isn’t a frame that you wouldn’t proudly hang on your wall.  Lawrence of Arabia. The first two Godfathers,  Elio Petri’s L’Asassino and everything by Wes Anderson and Federico Fellini.  There are dozens, but those are some examples.

There were a few key milestones. I was invited to a holiday dinner at a friend’s home in Los Angeles. I was using a Contax G2 rangefinder at the time and started snapping photos of the kids at the party.  TMax 3200 stock pushed a stop.  As a thank you for having me as a guest, I sent some sepia-toned prints to the parents and grandparents.  The grandfather, as it turned out was a guy named Sid Sheinberg,  President & COO of Universal Studios and the man, who among his many achievements, gave Steven Spielberg his start. He thought the pictures had a “Schindler’s List” quality to them, which was a huge compliment, since I love Kaminsky’s cinematography.  Mr. Sheinberg referred me to his landscape architect, who hired me to shoot some of his client’s gardens.  We did a lot of celebrity homes, shot mostly with Mamiya RZ67, Fuji 6X9 & Fujichrome Velvia 50 film stock.

From there, a college friend called me and asked if I would go on the road with him.  He was directing a TV show for Playboy and asked me to shoot some key art and unit stuff. We traveled around and had a lot of laughs.  The first city we shot in was Phoenix.  The first person I shot  was Dita Von Teese, who, amazingly, a dozen years later I’m collaborating with on her beauty book for Harper Collins Press.

Right around that time, I picked up golf.  Through a mutual friend, I was introduced to photographer and Smashbox Studios/Cosmetics co-founder, Davis Factor.  We played golf every day we weren’t working.  One day we were playing at Rivera.  Davis and his brother & business partner Dean, more or less told me that they believe in my work & informed me that I was turning pro.  I laughed and told them I was too old to start a new career.  They were supportive and kind, and offered to let me use their studios and equipment to begin testing.  It was there that I proceeded to blow my life savings over the next year taking my first test images.  In exchange, I agreed to teach his crew and studio staff all I knew about high-end medium format digital, which was an emerging technology.  I was working as an I.T. consultant at Disney and Universal, and was a natural digital tech for obvious reasons  The Factor brothers offered me my own digital capture business inside Smashbox.  And while it no doubt would have been lucrative,  I didn’t want to be computer guy anymore — I figured, let’s go for broke here and make photography happen. I ran digital for Davis for eight months or so, until one day he told me, “It’s time for you to turn pro. You’re fired. Go make it happen.”  Life has a lot of twists & turns, but if it weren’t for those guys, I’d still just be an enthusiast making a living one way or another.

o   How do you learn your techniques?

Many ways — first and foremost, taking a lot of bad pictures…  good old fashioned trial-and-error, which of course, over years leads to better work and fewer mistakes.  I constantly continue to learn by dissecting bits and pieces of work that inspire me and painting my own stroke of color over it.  Oftentimes, I find myself figuring out light from paintings & films, as much as magazine & book pages.  I’m constantly impressed by the things my team suggests. Assistants are the unsung heroes of the photo business. Technically, they know it all, but the great ones see it all.  Besides lighting, they have a preternatural understanding of the bones of a photo shoot. They process the timing issues from shot to shot; they make suggestions.  How many shots until lunch.  How we’re going to dissect the shot list. They feel the moods of clients, talent, things I might not necessarily notice.  The first assistant keeps the ship pointing in the right direction & allow us to relax more & create better work.

Who are your photo heroes?  Or who has inspired your career?

So very many.  It’s all a mosaic, really. The best ones are the masters of connecting with their subject.  This was Richard Avedon’s greatest gift — a near perfect batting average of “old friend” intimacy with his talent.

As far as contemporary photographers go, I think Annie Liebovitz and Steven Meisel are a couple of the greats. It’s amazes me how busy these two are. How many campaigns, stories and covers they shoot.  Every month, day in and day out.  Never a misstep with either.

I love Brassai.  He was so painterly.  So soulful. I love Cartier-Breson. I love Hurrel’s light and how fastidious he was about figure study.  I don’t try to emulate any of them, but appreciate them.

o   What is the worst part about doing what you do?

The not photography part of it.  The bidding, the hustling. The occasional abrasive rejection.   It’s a necessary component  of most careers, particularly in the beginning. To be honest,  I  think we would all just like to be childlike and creative.

o    What is the best part?

Creating an indelible moment, a whole story in a fraction of a second.  The photograph is the nucleus of every memory.  When I think of Jimi Hendrix, the first thing that pops into my head isn’t the sound of “Purple Haze.”  It’s Jim Marshall’s image of him burning that Stratocaster.  When I think of Nirvana, it isn’t “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” it’s the naked baby, underwater shot.  When I think of Fleetwood Mac, it’s Annie’s photo of Mick in that wedding dress.  It’s our responsibility as photographers to make our subjects look the best and most memorable they ever have in their life.  Having a hand in that is the best part.

When I was shooting actor Carlo Rota, who was a cast member on “24” at the time, I pitched him, my idea that ended up being “The Sledder.”  I told him I had rented this antique snow sled and was going place him on this sand dune, and put him in a suit and so on.  He was apprehensive at first and asked “Mate, how is this image going to benefit anyones career but yours?”  And I said, “I’ll make you a deal.  I’ll shoot two “bread & butter” looks for you: a classical portrait and a lifestyle shot in your home. They’ll be good, but human brains see a lot of those pictures, and they have a limited attention span.  Give me a few minutes for my idea.. When it’s finished, I’ll email it to you and if you don’t love it, nobody, including your publicist, will ever see it.”  It ended up being the only image the magazine used.

As far as process goes, the best part is putting together a fun and incredibly talented group of people.  There’s a rush that comes from everything working right.  When shutter clicks take your breath away and you’re grateful just to be there.

·      Learning from the Pro

o   What are we going to shoot today?

We’re shooting Dita Von Teese here at Milk Studios in Hollywood, California.

o   How did you learn how to do what you are about to show us?

Photography isn’t unlike music, where there are 8 notes, 12 tones, whatever. The rest is just moving the furniture around the room & making the best use of the tools we have available to us.

I hauled out the basic ammunition, a cart full of Broncolor Scoro A4S packs, heads, reflectors, a Para 220, some flags, C stands, sandbags & a white beauty dish.

From there we begin our pre light.  With every subject and look, the focal point changes.  My focal point in this shot are her lips, since it is for her forthcoming beauty book and the Michael Schmidt designed crystal sunglasses she’ll be wearing.

I knew I had to mix hard and soft light sources and control them in a tight, head and shoulders setup.

o   What tools are you using to make this image?

My key light is the Broncolor white beauty dish with the sock.  This was on a boom, about 18 inches over my head.

To highlight the glasses, I used a Broncolor reflector with the tightest honeycomb grid,  10 degrees and flags above and below to feather that hard light in just so.

I cut out a 2”x5” strip of silver shiny board, which a member of my crew uses to surgically highlight Dita’s lips, to get that nice shimmery highlight.

My fill light, just behind me and off my left shoulder was the Broncolor Para 220FB umbrella with the #3 diffuser, which is super soft.  It was just a kiss of light, & just what I needed as frosting.  It makes everyone’s skin velvety and gives this picture a beautiful overall finish.

I love the Para’s and seem to end up using them on many shoots.  It brought the Katy Perry “One Night Stand” image to life,  & was the only light source on the Lindsay Lohan “Bossy” cover for Universal.

Sometimes Para is just a bit of pop over daylight, sometimes it’s the only lighting source with a group.  It’s versatile.  It can go from super crisp to mushy soft. It’s focusable, you can use it with regular, twin or ring flash heads. You can also use it with Kobold HMI continuous lights.

I lit the background with two reflectors onto grey seamless.

o   Why did you choose these tools?

I generally work backwards.  I knew what I wanted this to look like before I booked the studio.  Getting there is different every time.  I started with the beauty dish.  I brought in the the reflector with grid and it hardened up the glasses, but the image felt more contrasty, and shadowy than I wanted, so we gradually goosed up the Para until it was perfect. After that I pressed the button and got the hell out of her way.  Dita’ is a joy to work with.  She knows her angles.  She works tirelessly and brings it every time.

o   What features of the equipment that you use make it easier to do your job?

The RFS transmitters are life changing because they allows you to quickly make adjustments to all of your light sources from the camera or computer.

I’m fortunate enough to have a great team, but it saves a ton of time to not have everyone running around from pack to pack making micronic adjustments, like the old days (last year).

o   Did you use competing products in the past? What made you change?

I wanted a greater level of control over my details.

When I was getting ready to invest, I did an in studio, side by side tests of 3 brands.

First and foremost, the flash duration comparison was no contest.  I don’t go by numbers, I’ve actually never even read them.  These were real world tests.  Liquids flying, fan blades at full speed and hair blowing.  The Scoro froze motion best,  had the fastest recycle time and the most consistent color.  They were also a few bucks less expensive than their closest rival.

Dialing in color temperatures in mixed color environments is a real luxury.  If I’m mixing with daylight, I can match it or contrast it.  It saved my butt on a studio shoot last year.  We were in a remote city, and I wanted more light sources than we had on hand.  All this studio had were 20-year-old Speedotron packs. I figured that we’d be close enough, being “daylight” and all.  The Speedo’s lights looked like they were covered in pink gel.  We color metered it, dialed up the Broncolor’s,  matched the Speedo packs, re-balanced everything and life was beautiful.

In the end, the Broncolor Scoro A4S was the victor.  They had the most power at 3200 watt seconds. They had the shortest flash duration and fastest recycling time. They also have 3 output channels, which is a big bonus.

My “Desert Island” rig is my Broncolor Verso A2. It does it all.  It’s a totally capable, no compromise, 3 channel studio pack.  It produces that classic  Broncolor light.   It’s also the best battery powered pack I’ve ever used.  I used to have to get my old portable packs modified to keep the modeling lamp on during pre light or to use in dark places or where I needed it to focus.  It’s built into the Verso.  It may seem like a minor distinction, but when you have 15 minutes with a celebrity in a dark, setting,  and have to have an intern shining a flashlight in their face to focus… well… you only need to have that happen once to realize you need more.

On the continuous light front, I’m loving the Kobold HMI’s.  Continuous light was the beginning of studio photography.  I think in many respects, it’s the future.  More and more clients want us to shoot video on our shoots. The Kobold’s aren’t the big, hot and heavy ordeal that they used to be.  You don’t need a movie business grip truck and a diesel generator anymore.  These aren’t your daddy’s HMI’s.

The Kobold’s have this gorgeous pearlescent specularity.  They come with every type of lens you could want, and have available, all the modifiers you will ever need.  I’ve been using the fresnel lens for the beauty spots I’ve been directing for Urban Decay Cosmetics.

The Kobold uses very little power and come in 200/400 & 800 watt configurations.   I can run 2 800’s off household current.  They are dead silent, with no fans and somehow stay cool.  Best of all, they’re waterproof.  You can shoot all day in the rain with them and hose the mud off them when you wrap.

Scott Nathan

Scott Nathan Photography

Scott Nathan Photography Facebook Page

Lighting By The Numbers With Andre Rowe

Lighting a Set or Scene

Every photographer has their own preferences as to where to place their strobe(s) when setting up a shot. Now although there are no firm rules to this, I would like to introduce you to a simple theory in which “you” can choose what is best for you in every situation.
Start by remembering OCD. Not OCD as in obsessive-compulsive disorder, but instead by O.C.D. – The O’Clock Diagram (or Drawing, Display, Design). With OCD, you can have any number of strobes to illuminate your subject or scene. The goal however isn’t to strictly light your subject, but to actually balance the strobes with whatever ambient light that exists. The true benefit of OCD is apparent in the placement of only a single strobe, in relation to the source(s) of ambient light. This essentially means that one well-placed strobe may be all that you need in many cases.

Here are the Instructions:
* Each number represents a strobe position, including “12” of which might be a ringflash, or a strobe over/under the camera, or a strobe that is on the same point of view as the camera.
* The camera is always represented by the number “12” position.
* The subject is always represented by the dot in the center.
* The number “3”position will always be to the left of the photographer, the number “6” position is always facing the photographer on the opposite side of your subject, while the number “9” position will always be to the right of the photographer.
* The foreground is the area between the camera (“12” position) and the subject (dot). This area is always represented within view of the numbers “9”, “10”, “11”, “12”, “1”, “2”, and “3”.
* The background is the area behind the subject (dot). This area is always represented within the view of numbers “3”, “4”, “5”, “6”, “7”, “8”, and “9”.

¬In this scenario, the sun is at “7 o’clock” while the strobe is at the “11 o’clock” position, placed at a very high 12 ft. height. The ambient reading (of which is always taken first) was ISO 200, 1/250 sec @ f/16. Since the sun is gazing straight into the lens, there is a notable amount of flare. Also, as you might imagine, the front of the subject is therefore cast within a shadow. This gives the strobe the responsibility of illuminating the entire subject from the cameras point of view. The strobe was metered to the exact same reading as the ambient in order to maintain the natural contrast and color that comes with the ambient reading.
The strobe was placed high in order to spread the light wider for a greater angle of coverage. The 15ft. distance of the strobe from the subject also contributes to the spread of light in the overall foreground. I chose a P65 reflector (hard modifier) in order to maintain the same harshness of light and shadow as the sun itself. Moving the light to any other position within the foreground (“2”, “10” or “12” for example) would not impact the shot much differently considering the overall height and angle of the strobe. The P65 is lightweight and easy to handle. Additional choices I might have considered are the P50 at a slightly greater distance or the Mini Satellite for more efficiency and contrast of my subject.

Andre Rowe is the featured speaker at the upcoming Atlanta broncolor/Hasselblad/Sandisk event on June 24th.

Registration is free, please click here!

Andre Rowe Photography