It’s I Love Colors !

Hi Everyone !

Still trying to shoot ways to shoot I haven’t followed before using saturated colors and movements !
Miss D

Diana is a very kind model who loves modeling. Although this shot is all about her hair and movement, we did not have any music playing. She preferred it this way and it was good for me too so I could not get so easily distracted. You know : focussing on ƒ stops and strobes… First I did not like the fact you don’t see both eyes. But somehow I prefer it like this for now.

What do you think ?

More to come…

Why I Love My Vacations

Needless to say it’s because I spend time with my wife and my daughter.

I don’t need to go very far away from home to have fun and to enjoy not being from 8am to 5pm behind my desk. In fact, I am so much on business trips that I almost feel the need to stay home just to remember where my base is so to say. Of course, my wife feels different so we have made a gentle agreement : we go where she wants to (as long I have nothing special against the chosen destination) but once we are there, we just enjoy the day, we don’t spend too much time on driving around and we make pictures.

This last week in the south of Austria was a wedding’s present from my parents in law. It was a nice time and the weather was ok, which is important when you shoot on locations.

Photographically, I used this week to see the Bryan Adams series EXPOSED and WOUNDED. I know Bryan Adams for its music and I was very surprised to hear he is shooting for 19 years already. Like Karl Lagerfeld for DIOR, he started to shoot for his own needs, in his case to get nice shots for his CDs. On the way he became a celebrity photographer. I guess being one of them helped him to get in touch with those guys. Anyway, I like what he does. And I was pleased to notice that light-wise his setups are efficient and quiet simple. Less is more. And this lets me remember what Frank Doorhof once said : “First you pay attention to the lights, after a while you look for TFP-models, then you care about the background. then, you learn to care about MUA and hairstyle.” He says that with other words but I guess you get the idea.

I think, the next step is the story-telling, the message you want to share. And that’s the thing, you know how to make pictures, but where should this lead to?

And when I look at Bryan Adams pictures, I get the story, the message, the feeling. The technic is well achieved and is not the main point. It’s not that you say “Wow the lights are so well set!” But you see the pictures and you feel connected to them. I have posted a video about his work in a previous post.

The other thing I love to do on vacation is to read and/or surf to get knowledges on a special subject. I love biographies of famous photographers, I mean you can learn a lot about pictures, the life of a star photog, and sometimes you see them in action and I can get an idea how they light a set. Patrick Demarchelier is a world-class photographer who shot most of the top-of-the-top models, HM the Queen Elisabeth II, Lady Die, and many others… is to be found, for instance, in youtube. Why him? Well, he is one of the bests, he is French (the videos are in English, don’t run away!) and this is “the Patrick” who is called in “The Evil Wears Prada” as the assistent says “I have Patrick!”.

🙂 Stop at second 28 and at second 40. Here he shoots with ambiant lights placed very close to the model, maybe an arm away. I guess this is for the fall off.

In my search I have found this one too.

At second 25, we learn a lot of things : He shoots with a softbox from Elinchrom set on a boom. The light aims at her chest but her head is also covered by the light. Angle of the SB to the model is 45°, its distance ≈ 1,5m or 1,7m. Patrick is seating 3m from the model. Background is a white seamless. The paper will reflect some light hitting from the ground and will act as a reflector. Note that the SB is straight in front of her. I see that because of the shadow by her foot. I think a strip light is aiming at the background. But I am not sure. In order to get a difference in terms of fall off or little contrast, Patrick has set a black reflector to kill some light (right to camera). As Frank Doorhof, he uses a light-meter to get a perfect exposure (and to get it quick). Well actually one of his assistants does. By the way, the light-meter aims toward the light while metering.

OK, I won’t describe all I have watched and learned by observing how Masters do shoot, but this is a thing I love to do when I am on vacation.

And, of course, on vacation, I LOVE to shoot. My favorite model is my wife. She is an angel of kindness and patience as well.
So we made a deal : a little shoot every day. BUT, I have to get things ready as much as it gets before we start so she does not get bored by “Euuuh, Darling, I have to figure out where I… hum… Maybe this light should be on the right and not on the left… okay, now let’s make some test-shots”. If I were doing like this, she wouldn’t accept to model. As she now is pregnant, she would just stand up and say “Darling, figure out what you want and then how you get it before you call me, my time is as precious as yours. Let’s try again tomorrow!” This forces me to think a lot before the shoot and this is where metering the light is a big help since, when she appears, it’s all set and I don’t have to think about the technic but only about composition and expressions : the set up is ready. I love to mix natural light with strobe-light. One strobe light mostly. Which makes 2 light’s sources (yes mates, the sun is  light source!)

Most of the time, I am disappointed with my results. But this is how you learn. It’s not that the pictures are bad, but they are almost always different from what I was expecting actually. At this point I would like to thank Scott Kelby for the online classes, Joe McNally, Dave Black and Frank Doorhof for being such inspiring and good teachers. I still have a lot to learn, but when I look back, I see all the way I went and this would have not been possible without these classes and these guys !

Bildschirmfoto 2014-09-28 um 13.43.22

 

Winter is coming and I will shoot more and more in the studio.

More to come…

Flowers

Expressions are everything in a portrait.

It can be a sad expression, a dream-uish expression, a joy, etc…
But you got a catch a moment or the personality to make it work.

What photography is for me is flower and gardening for Ulli.

So I had in mind for a long to shoot her with and among flowers.
Early this summer we shot on location, but the conditions were bad : wind + mosquitos + heat (almost 35°C) made this shot really turn to hell ! But we managed a few shots. We have to make a few as we, photogs, never go home without a game!

DSC_2919-Bearbeitet Kopie
(I had to remove some mosquitos out of the frame)
DSC_2871-Bearbeitet Kopie

This time, I wanted to make something less sophisticated. Ulli, a white background, nice DOF, flowers, done.
It was shot on sunday in our living room. How? Well, I metered the light on her pull-over aiming at the camera. Direct light coming from the window is of course much more stronger so it turned to a huge white softbox. Actually you can see down left a blue strip which happens to be our curtain! I got something like ISO 800; f/4 or f/5,6 ; 1/60 or 1/125.
Many of the shots went a little blurred, but the best pics, just like magic were all sharp enough. And keep in mind, a good one does not always have to be sharp. We had fun, and guess you guys can sense that too. You can click on the pics to see them larger.

.More to come…

 

Today just a shot from the other side!

Looking at stars and stribes !

 

I could not resist to give it a grungy touch !

Some may say it’s way too much retouched and I almost agree. Is this still a picture or a “paint” ?
Well normally I don’t go so far, but this times I break MY rules.

Jeee, it’s good !

 

More to come…

Playing with long exposure

Playing with long exposure creates ghosts. And this can make a lot of fun. It’s also a way to create something interesting in a, well, let’s say not so interesting spot.

Depending on their motion, below 1/8 of a seconde, subjects tend to fade away.
Play with this!
For best results, use a tripod or just breath out and when the air is all gone, shoot. That’s how I shot the picture below.

Going to the bathroom

(shot in Les Andelys, Normandy, France)

More to come…

Woman in Flowers: small processing in LR 5

RED

Today just a few shots I have edited right now from the shooting of yesterday.

I love the mood and I have to say I really love to combine strobe’s light with natural light.
Again, if you want to see the behind the scene shot, go to the last article. I have made 30 shots, 3 haven’t been rejected and edited, this one of them.
I would have shot more, turning around the model to play with contrasts and backlight, but the mosquitos were so agressive that :

1) This shoot made no fun
2) The expression of the model became a kind of “Ehhh… I have to smile, but I want to run to the car as fast as I can!”

 

A few words about the processing, mostly done in LR5:

The skin was cleaned with the skin cleaning tool of LR5.
The temperature has been raised up a touch to get this yellowish touch.
In CC, I just made the black borders.
Done in 10 minutes max.

Click here and here to see the other selected pics!

More to come…

Use One Light and Play With It

Miss BlueI love classics. I love them because they are good and survive the filter of time. Which is why the become classics.

They may get out of fashion, but they never disappear. When I shout women, I love to use a big light source because it’s soft and and wraps the subject perfectly well. And still, you can easily create contrasts like on the picture above: Just place a huge softbox at 9 o’clock (you are at 6), grab a reflector and place it at 3 and you’re done.

Miss Blue

 

Almost the same setup : the main light, this time is set at 8 o’clock !

This second shot was some kind of tricky to shoot. Tricky in the sense that the gold reflector was just a few centimeters away from her shoulder. Note how the reflection on her neck is stronger.

My TIP :  Learn to use one light, to talk to it, to modify it, to reflect it, to move it… Just play with it and enjoy the results. Frank Doorhof (www.frankdoorhof.com) who is a fashion photographer and Kelbyone trainer always says it : if you want to do it with 2 lights, do it with one… ! I always do it in my TFP Shoots I do mainly in Vienna.

Here an interesting link : http://www.frankdoorhof.com/site/tag/one-light/

More to come…

 

 

 

French Post Of The Week – Le Post Du Dimanche

IMG_00000391_edit.jpg

Bonjour à tous pour ce post du Dimanche en français.

Le thème de ce post concerne une des démotivations premières que l’on rencontre de temps en temps. Nous connaissons tous cela. L’envie de sortir son appareil photo est là, mais sans que l’on sache réellement pourquoi on ressent une flemme ou une paresse qui finit par prendre le dessus.

Je fais ici allusion au mauvais temps. Ces formes sont variées, neige, vent, pluie, manque de lumière, brouillard… Je ne vais pas tous les aborder ici mais seulement la pluie, à titre d’exemple, mais la logique vaut pour tous.

Selon que vous soyez un portraitiste ou un paysagiste, les besoins de lumières vont être différents. Le paysagiste va se lever tôt le matin pour profiter des rayons rasant du lever du soleil.

Le portraitiste va attendre un minimum de lumière, pourra donc se lever plus tard, et préferrera sans doute un temps couvert à un soleil joyeux au zénith.

En fait, il ne faut pas raisonner en météo, mais en qualité de lumière.

Je reviens à mon exemple, la pluie, et je vous propose de dresser la liste des + et des – qu’offre un contexte pluvieux.

L e s m o i n s
1) la pluie peut ruiner mon appareil.
2) mais aussi mes flash
3) Si je shoote au quadra ou avec une batterie externe, je risque le court-circuit
4) Le froid pour le photographe
5) Le modele grelotte (si portrait)
6) Manque de contrastes (si paysage)
7) Parfois un manque de lumière.

L e s p l u s
1) Une ambiance particulière
2) Une lumière trés douce
3) Des reflets qui permettent des couleurs saturées (reflets de feux rouges ou de vitrines)
4) Utilisation de ces reflets comme sources de lumières. Depuis que l’on peut shooter à 6400 ISO avec moins de bruits que les films 400 ASA n’en avaient, il serait dommage de se priver.
5) Utiliser les déformation que l’eau peut procurer.

La stratégie est en fait, et peu importe la difficulté étudiée, de faire la liste des “plus” et de voir comment les atteindre dans le contexte précis où nous sommmes. En, si possible,minimisant les moins.

La photo ci-dessus en est un bon exemple. Elle est simple. Il s’agit d’une photo faite avec un smartphone, ici un Blackberry Z10 qui dispose d’une bonne caméra. Je n’avais donc aucun contrôle de la lumière ni de la vitesse d’obturation. Je suis assis dans ma voiture, derrière le volant. Pour la petite histoire, j’attendais un client avec qui j’allais dîner. Et soudain la pluie est tombée assez violement. La vitrine offrait un motif pas désagréable, mais le plus de la photo est évidemment la déformation que créee la pluie sur le parre-brise. Il m’a ensuite suffi d’attendre le bon passant avec  le bon parapluie.

Voilà, je vous souhaite à tous une bonne semaine.

A suivre…

Shooting Spiderman in my room !

Spiderman

I have to admit, I am a little photo addicted. But I don’t see that as being bad. It’s just the way it is. When I see an interesting face or person, I just start to think where I would put my main light. Would it be a soft light, a wrapping one or a hard light? A strip from behind?… Hum, I really have to think to look at somewhere else because I don’t want to bother anyone and I agree my way to stare at people may be quite insistent. Way too much, and this can be interpreted in an other way. A not so convenient for me at the end of the day. And of course nobody will trust me and believe my (real) version of facts.

This is to explain that I am always thinking about new ideas or subjects. In a previous post I have written about self-assignements. Here is one. As I travel quite a lot, those periods away from home are most of the time periods with no picture taken. And I don’t like that. I have read an article about a french photog who made a great serial about Batman. He was on business-trip and he bought a BATMAN toy for his son. As his planes would not take off because of heavy storms  he spent a night at the Hotel and started to shoot Batman in different stories. His work became famous in France.

I don’t aim to become famous the same way, but the idea to create interesting stories in tiny spaces interests me. And Spiderman is small so I can take him anywhere with me.

The picture was shot with my new FUJI Ex1 at ISO 6400. Nik-Software define2 made a great job. The result was way too warm and I had to cold the WB. I applied a vignette + high pass filter and I was done. Now, The shot is interesting because of the drama of the light set up. But what was the light? Well a lightbulb behind a cheap white light diffuser you find in every hotel room. As I could not take the light out of the wall, I had to but my buddy where I needed him to be. I put him on the right side of the light source. I just paid attention to still have details on the left side of his head.

 

There is a super hero in each of us !

Here to get to the Batman thing mentioned above : bring me to him, Robin! 🙂

more to come…