Ruby Bird Studio in NYC recently hosted broncolor and Hasselblad for an intergalactic demo evening complete with giant moon rocks and space-themed models. Event goers were able to test out broncolor’s Para 222, Para 133, Siros S and Siros L, Scoro, and 1600w HMI.
I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how this past year, since you came into my life…you’ve changed everything. Sometimes, when I think back, about what I dealt with before you came around..the bland softboxes, awkward beadboards, and bulky fluorescents …well it breaks my heart.
You are something special, and I just want you to know.
I don’t know if you remember this….but remember that time when we shot Courtney Love, and she was literally running all over the set, and you were there for me…for us…you were the only one, actually. I can always depend on you…I’ve put you in some tough spots, and you have always come through…and really “shone” for me.
It reminds me of that time when we were shooting that beauty video for Marie Claire, and the model’s skin was..well..you remember. The smooth even glow you gave her saved me a huge amount in post, to say nothing of the exquisite catchlights you added to her eyes.
You are always so bright and versatile….you amaze me. Even when you are not the star, and you are just providing “fill” you always manage to make things better.
You are flattering, and lightweight….you are quick to assemble and smartly packaged. I can’t think of one bad thing to say about you.
NYC fashion photographer Jodi Jones takes us behind the scenes for a recent photoshoot for client Oriett Domenech:
“I wanted to give you a “Behind the Scenes” look into creating one of my fashion images. I am going to cover: LIGHTING, GEAR, TIPS for ON-SET, and how to get the BEST IMAGES from your PHOTO SHOOT.
My name is Jodi Jones. I am a fashion photographer based out of New York City. I have been working full-time as a fashion photographer for the past 12 years. My work has been published in numerous magazines worldwide including: Vogue, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitian, and Time Magazine.
I have begun this year to start teaching the craft of photography to others. Along with my workshops on breaking into fashion photography, lighting, and the business of fashion photography, I have also created this blog I call “CREATIVE SPACE.” Here I peel back the curtain and take you behind the scenes of many of my photo shoots. At “CREATIVE SPACE,” I will show you how I create an image, and how YOU CAN DO THE SAME.
Here is a recent photo shoot I created for a client. My client, Oriett Domenech is a very talented fashion designer from the Dominican Republic. I have worked with her for the past two seasons. Last season I worked with her in creating a lookbook for fashion buyers, images for her website, an advertising campaign, and a creative video for her runway show.
The images below were just shot of her latest collection: FALL/WINTER 2013. Since photography is the art, science, and practice of creating images by recording light, I will show you how I created the light for these images.
A lot of beginning photographers assume that to get magazine quality images, you have to do a TON of POST PRODUCTION RETOUCHING. While this may sometimes be the case, it certainly does not always apply if you pay VERY close attention to the LIGHTING and all the little DETAILS on set.
The first step always when organizing a fashion shoot is to choose the best model you can get for the job. For this reason, I like to be involved in the casting process. It’s important that the model take good care of her skin, hair and nails. All of these things will show up in the photographs. For the shoot I will discuss with you today, we cast model Anna Fuller, of Muse Models in New York.
Secondly, choose a very strong supporting team. For this particular shoot, the producer/stylist was Oscar Montes de Oca. Oscar and I have worked together many times, and what I especially respect about his work is that he understands that it is not the retouchers job to “fix” the clothes. A good stylist makes sure that the clothing looks as good as possible on set. Being a good fashion stylist is not just about putting an outfit together, it is much more than that. It is important that the stylist understands proper tailoring and can work their magic quickly on set to show off the garments to the best of their ability under a variety of lighting. I say this because many times, a moody side light can bring out details in a garment (good or bad) that we don’t quite notice with our eyes, but will show up on film. Also, I always expect the hair/makeup artist to be standing just off to the side of the backdrop “set” with a few essential tools watching the model pose. It is their job to make sure that when the model moves and the hair gets messed up, that they can step in and fix it quickly. No shoes on the backdrop though, socks only!
Here is a “before & after” example so you can see what one of my images looks like straight out of the camera before ANY post production:
For this particular shoot, I discussed the concept with the fashion designer, Oriett Domenech beforehand and we both agreed that we wanted the model’s skin to be slightly desaturated, but any colors in the clothing needed to POP. We also chose the direction of having the model pose very strong as if she was a drill sergeant or captain. A very sexy captain indeed. I also liked the idea of having the backdrop be a bit gritty in contrast to the elegant, sleek clothing. One thing that was a must was that the clothing needed to be well lit to show all the details without being flat or boring. We still wanted some shadows.
For the lighting, I chose certain tools that I thought would best accomplish the look I was going for. I used a total of four lights to achieve this look. Remember, MORE LIGHTS DOESN’T MEAN BETTER LIGHTING! Many times I light a shoot with just one light. Every time you add another LIGHT, you also add another SHADOW.
Here is a “behind the scenes” shot of me doing a lighting test with my model, Anna. She is still in her street clothes for the lighting test. Adam Rodriguez, my talented videographer is shooting some behind the scenes video footage of the shoot. Shot at Loft-402 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Here is a lighting diagram my awesome intern Sam Bynens (from Belgium) created for me:
The GEAR used for this particular shoot:
CAMERA – When shooting for a client that has such amazing detailing and texture in her clothing, I couldn’t imagine shooting any other camera than Hasselblad. The Hasselblad camera that I used for this shoot was the H4D-50 with a Hasselblad 50 megapixel digital back, and an 80mm Hasselblad lens. While the extraordinary detail in the garments may not translate here in these web images, seeing them in print and on my large iMac the quality is quite apparent.
LIGHTING – 2 Broncolor Scoro S 1600 Packs, 4 Unilite heads and a RFS Radio Transmitter.
The main “key light”: a Broncolor Unilite with a Para 88 light modifier was placed high above the model tilted down on her at roughly a 45 degree angle. I placed a silk difusser on the Para 88 to “soften” the light.
I placed a second light, my “fill light” also at a 45 degree angle to model. This second light is in what photographers sometimes call position 2 lighting, where the light is slightly lower than the first position light. I placed my fill light quite a bit lower, more at her chest level to fill in any hard shadows. This second light is lower in power to the main key light.
The 2 “Background/Side Lights” are Broncolor Unilites with Umbrellas. These were added to give a little more soft light on the background and also to slightly spill onto the model from either side to make her “pop” and give her seperation from the background. I think these extra lights give the photographs that extra punch.
I chose Broncolor lights for this shoot because I find they give me the best quality of light and I find them to be really simple to use. The assembly of the Para 88 lighting modifier is much quicker and easier to put together than most softboxes and this is the most diversified lighting tool I have ever used. I can focus or defocus the beam to get the exact hardness or softness I want with the light as well as how much spread of light I want.
Behind the scenes iphone shots taken by interns on instagram below:
For more lighting tips and hands on training, come to one of my workshops.”
We featured NYC-based fashion and beauty photographer Franklin Thompson back in 2010, and in the past three years he has taken the photo world by storm. Inspiration and ideas for Franklin’s photography has always come from many sources: “Movies, other photos, travelling in foreign places, strange and unsual people, the way light falls on objects and the shadows it creates, new experiences, old memories, 1920’s, 60’s & 70’s, ancient cultures, broken and abandonned objects, music, childhood fantasies…. I could go on and on forever.” His editorials have been featured in magazines such as: Highlights, Noi.se, And+Men, Vogue Italia (Photo Vogue), Style Mode Magazine, W25 and UCE. He has also shot for most of the top NYC modeling agencies including Ford, IMG, Marilyn, Muse, Q, Supreme, Trump, and Wilhelmina. And now, he’s shooting high fashion at the Jane Hotel.
I’d always been inspired by fashion and thought I’d be a designer. I became serious about fashion and beauty photography after taking an internship with beauty photographer Sarah Silver in 2003. Since then, I’ve practiced, tested and shot editorials for magazines and shot for clients such as Conde Nast and TREsemmé. I’ve also recently signed with an agent, Farimah Milani & Associates.
There have been lots of ‘moments’ that helped move me to the next level. The most significant was probably taking the internship with Sarah Silver. Not only did I learn about studio lighting, but also about the ‘unwritten rules’ of photography and the industry like: how to produce a shoot, how to talk to clients, how to direct models, digital workflow.
I learned my techniques by watching and observing the photographers I’ve worked for, and practice, practice, PRACTICE. There’s nothing like just getting out there and doing it! You can have everything explained to you by the best in the world. But until you put it to practice you’ll never truly know it. In the beginning, even though I knew what I needed to light beautiful images, I didn’t have the kind of gear or money to get what I wanted. I had 2 umbrellas, a beauty dish, some reflectors and black cinefoil. I had to improvise to try to get the results that I wanted.
Also, I ask… other photographers, assistants, directors, friends. Use your resources.
[My dad is] the one who originally inspired me. He would always take pictures of us when my sister and I were kids. He loved taking pictures of flowers, also. If you look him up you won’t find a single one of his images. There all probably still in boxes of negatives somewhere in the house. But my dad is the original photographer (to me).
Of course I’ve also been inspired by Sarah Silver. She has had a huge influence on the way I see and shoot women. I also love Paolo Roversi, Henri Cartier Bresson, Camilla Akrans, Steven Meisel, Solve Sundsbo, Annie Leibovitz and Craig McDean.
The worst part about what I do is competition. There are so many photographers and so-called photographers with high end cameras looking to get into the industry. Anyone with a little bit of money can pick up the latest gear and start calling themselves ‘photographers.’ But there’s so much more to it than just taking pretty pictures. The best part is that I love what I do! I love people, taking pictures, lighting, creating, and combining art and technology – and getting paid for it too!
Learning from the Pro
Just did a fashion editorial at the Jane Hotel in NYC’s meatpacking district. This time I decided I wanted to shoot video as well as stills so I had to choose a lighting setup that would work for both. I wanted something that would give me a similar look and feel across both mediums without having to light them separately. Our hotel room, while comfy, was not very big at all.
Since forever ago, I’ve been shooting with strobes but this situation called for continuous lighting. So I decided to use broncolor’s HMI units, KOBOLD! This was my first time using them and it won’t be my last. I used 2 Kobold 400’s. One with their Litepipe accessory and the other with barn doors. broncolor Kobold 200 and 400 models accept most (if not all) of broncolor’s light shaping tools. I’d grown to know and love broncolor’s strobes and accessories so this was a perfect job to test out broncolor’s Kobold 400’s. The Kobolds could be used for video and just enough power for stills to get a nice cinematic look and feel.
I could shoot video and stills without having to switch lights, power or fixtures. The hotel was old and the rooms were tiny so power was a concern. The Kobolds were low enough in power to plug in two 400’s and still light enough for still and video. The room was extremely small with our entire crew in it. Normally, hot lights would make it unbearable due to heat, but the Kobolds didn’t generate much extra heat. The best thing I like about the 400’s is that they are fully compatible with all of the broncolor modifiers that I use for stills. They’re also water resistant, for those of you that like to shoot in the rain! Before broncolor I’d used Profoto and Alien Bees. When it comes to professional lighting, flash duration, modifiers, consistency and quality, there’s no question… broncolor is it.
I learned [these techniques] through practice. Shoot, shoot, shoot is the name of the game! When I first began shooting I didn’t get the concept of strobes. I wanted to light everything with continuous light. It seemed so much more natural to me. So here we are back at square one almost.