Les étoiles dans les yeux

Voici déjà un certain temps que je souhaitais refaire quelques portraits mais il me manquait un concept porteur dans le sens où photographier une jolie fille en soi est joli, sympathique, etc… mais que cela manque un peu de contenant si je peux m’exprimer ainsi. Ce qui finalement donne du plaisir est autant la conception que le résultat. Et sans commencer ici un débat philosophique, je crois que cette affirmation est vraie pour beaucoup de choses dans la vie.

Alors j’ai cherché un concept. C’est ainsi que, après un certain temps, mettre les étoiles dans le regard a surgi dans mon esprit. J’ai un peu recherché comment faire et très vite tout est clair dans mon esprit pour faire le shooting. Il neme restait plus qu’à demander à une de mes collègues de participer. L’idée lui plu et une semaine plus tard nous étions dans le studio pour ce TFP.

Le matériel : des lampes LED, un grillage pour les fixer et… c’est tout.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-06-26 um 12.09.59

Pour le fond, j’ai posé une plaque de plastique transparente que l’on utilise normalement comme un toit pour les cabanes ou les maisons de jardin. J’ai utilisé un flash rouge dans ce set up.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-06-26 um 11.53.58

Sur la photo ci-dessus, pas de flash. Les nuances bleues proviennent de la lumière ambiante du studio dont la chaleur est celle de la lumière du jour. Mes LED ayant une lumière de 32ooK (donc plus chaude), mon réglage calé sur celle-ci fait que la lumière du jour devient froide.

Voilà voilà…

(Wien, TFP, Juni 2016)

 

Who’s Got The Credit ?

Hi Gang!

This question might sound silly at first, but in some cases the answer is not so easy.

Let’s take this portrait of me as an example.

Me

I did not press the shutter so, I did not take this picture. But still, I think I have the credit for this picture. The reason being is that I set up the light. Here an Elinchrom Portalite camera right. I decided to use  a reflector to get some rim light  on my right side (for it’s the left side of the face). I also selected the lens and the camera. And I edited the picture in Light Room. So basically, I made the picture, I did not take it.

But, shooting is also about catching the moment… So 90% of this shot is from me, 10% from my wife.

Now, if I was to sell this picture (I know guys, stop smiling : I know nobody is going to by my portrait), who should get the money and have the rights ? How do you make sure who gets the % of the credit? Not easy.

But let’s go even more deeper… and lets take an other example :

 

ICE AGE

This picture was shot back in 2012 or so. Sophie, a very nice looking colleague accepted to be a model for this shooting. Alizee is a Make Up Artist who needed pictures for a championship in NYC. So we built a portfolio together : she was happy to have a photog for free, I was happy to have a model and Sophie was happy to have a nice picture for free.

The idea of the Ice Queen was mine (1-0). But all the look was hers (1-1). The background had to look as if the model was in an Iceberg and I came up with a working solution (2-1). A friend of mine helped me a lot to postprocess the picture. Not easy to tell who’s got the credit: she? me? Both ?… My friend? And shouldn’t the make up count for 3 points? What do you think?

 

 

X-Mas

And 2016…

Another year has gone and a new one is here, like start line marked on the ground.

I have made the decision to shoot more studio stuff this year. The obvious reason is that you need less pre-work : no places to scout, no model to transfer,…

I also will carry on shooting self portraiture. Not that I am a narcissist guy, it’s just I can do it whenever I want, as long as I want and nobody except me is expecting good results. It takes some pressure away.

I have also made the decision to take part to a 52 assignments / year thing which are very popular out there in the internet world. I have heard about it in an petapixel’s article. I see that as a way to keep creative. Because this what I am : a creative guy, not an artist.

And in order to catch up : I hope you had a merry X-Mas and and an happy new year (do you hear the bells jingle behind your screen?)

 

:-)

Here the link to the Petapixel’s assignment !

http://petapixel.com/2015/12/30/do-this-52-week-photography-challenge-to-improve-your-skills-in-2016/

More to come

It’s about flowers and what it takes to make a great shot.

Flowers are not my thing!//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsShort post today. This is the story of guy who loves taking pictures who suddenly experiences the emptiness of its creativity. When no idea crosses my mind, I just take pictures of nice looking subjects in the hope to deliver their beauty to the viewers. Like this one. This leads me to my next question : what does make a great shot? We are literally bombed with perfect pictures. But which are the ones which are great ? My opinion is that sharpness, colors, gear, contrasts, etc… are, at the end of the day not important. What matters it emotion. But who am I ? A nothing in the photog’s world and there are so many gifted guys out there like… Frank Doorhof, Regina Pagels, Raphael Hainaut, Carmen Kronspiess, and Joe McNally. Joe is a worldwide photog, so I thought I ask him. And, he mailed back : check yourself guys and have a nice weekend: Bildschirmfoto 2015-08-21 um 17.39.20

More to come…

 

 

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Breaking the news: GUEST BLOG is coming up !

Hi guys !

Along the way I got lucky enough to get to know photographers from all over the world. Internet in a very great tool for that. In flickr, I have met my buddy  Pete Glogiewicz. I love his pictures, they are funny, original, I love the ideas behind the shots… So, I kindly asked him if he would accept to write a few words about him and his work on this blog, and he said yes ! So stay tuned, it will be online Sunday evening !

 

more to come…   🙂

Mini Spot lite from Elinchrom

For years I have bought this piece of gear, a Mini Spot Lite from Elinchrom. To be honest, I might used only once or twice since I have been quite disapointed by the result. And, I can remember I had to use some editing in Photoshop to make the expected effect noticeable. Check the shadow of window behind the lady here to understand what I mean.

So I wanted to give it another try.

I wanted to shoot those flowers in a vase on our livingroom. And I thought I would give myself an assignement : Use the MSL again.

Not an easy thing to do and seeing the result, I would say I failed. Again. But failures are build the roads to success. It’s not that I don’t like the shot. It’s just, it is simply something 100% from what I was expecting. It’s very contrasty, very moody, very dramatic. I actually was going for a kind of wet-plate-shot style. As always, walking leads you to unknown places.

Dead Flowers II

So this light modifier is not a piece of gear I might use every day, but but when I go for something experimental, I think it makes sense to take it out of its box and make the shots.

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…

 

What camera should I buy?

My friends always ask me : Marc, what camera should I buy?

I see them expecting me to provide just a name with 2 lenses and that’s it. As I take a little moment to think, their look changes and turns from  “come-on-tell-me!” to “what-is-wrong-with-my-question?”.
And then I tell them:” Why do you want to buy a camera?”

It’s an old salesman trick : answer a question with a question. It provoques a little introspection. But what am I supposed to say ? It really depends on what you want to shoot.

You like to click every time you see something you like: go for a smartphone
You like composition in Architecture but it has to go fast : go for a smartphone
You like some quick macro : go for a smartphone
You love the polaroid feel : go for a smartphone (or get a polaroid !)

Now if you like to take control over your camera, your composition and make decision about how light should be caught in the picture, get a real camera (fuji, sony, nikon, canon…).

A this point, my friends ask me: “And how many pixels?”
This when you see how powerful marketing is.
I ask them again something :” Mate, will you print your pictures, and if yes will you make posters?”
Usually they say no.

And here is my point : “buddy, what you want is a point and shoot that make some great pictures. Use the smartphone you already have in your pocket. Get Snapseed, it’s free and edit your pics with it!”
They are very surprised.
They were all expecting me to tell them to break their savings and to run to Mediamarkt, Saturne, B&H, Darty… And I advice them not to. Well, although it was good news because they will save a lot, they look a little disappointed. They will get over it.

Fuji EX1

 

The shot above was shot last weekend. My Fuji was on the table. We were outside in the shade. Don’t ask me for F-stops or shutter speed. This was shot with a cheap smartphone (Medion P-5001 ; I bet you never heard of it). In this case, I uploaded the pictures and edited this one with TOPAZ-Filters. Now, take a calculator :

$ 300,–  (Topaz Bundle when you use coupons)
$ 170,– (Medion P-5001)
= $ 470,– !

Now, I could have done an equivalent shot with:

$ 2.000,– (D700, now discontinued)
$ 1.793,– (100mm Zeiss, Macro)
$ 300,– (Topaz as written below)
= $ 3.093,–  (D700 can be found at € 1.8700,– in Austria, other rates taken from Topaz website and from B&H online shop)

Equivalent does not mean “the same”. The thing is I am much more versatile with the second kit. But my purpose here is just to show you may be not versatile, but still you can nail the shot with a a low budget smartphone.

.

Shot in Vienna 2 weeks ago. Again with my Medion Smartphone. This time I only used snapseed to edit the shot. Is it a great picture? Well, it’s more than OK. Now, honestly, could you say wether it was shot with a d700, d90, d80, Sony a99 or Fuji Ex1 ?

Your eye matters, and what you do with it.

But let’s come back to the non-answered question above: “No, pixels don’t matter.”
My smartphone only has 5MP. Which is obviously more than enough.

This post is, from now on, my best answer to my friends : you matter, not your cam.

More to come…

Do I Need This?

Do I need this ?

One of life’s rule is : do your best with what you’ve got.
And this applies to photography as well.

So what does that mean exactly?
It is like playing poker: your cards are not so important. What matters is what you do with them. My camera is not important, what I do with it is important.

Do I need high ISO like the DS4? : no
Do I need 15 frames per seconds? : no
Do I need 8000th of a second as shutter speed: no

What I need is to make shots that suit my gears.

To be honest, I love my d700. But I am almost sure I could do the same pictures with my d40x (which is now owned by my brother-in-law).
I love to shoot in studio. I shoot at 1/125s, iso 200, mainly at f/8-f16

And the technical stuff about the colors of the sensor? I don’t get the talks around this topic since as soon as we get the shot, we manipulate everything with filters and Photoshop…

I shoot manly manual. Do I need all the electronic on board since I use my light meter from Sekonic anyway???

So what do I need?

I need a small cam I can take with me most of the time.
I need a sharp lens, the quality is now affordable for most of us
I need a friend, a real one who tells me when my pics suck. And the ones which don’t.
I need inspiration.
I need an idea.
A message…
A story…
An emotion…

More to come…

 

Bildschirmfoto 2014-08-27 um 19.27.45