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.

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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)

 

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Things I have learned yesterday

My wife and I have decided to make a few shots in a totally different direction we use to do.

I call it, the “Emily Soto”. Stop. I don’t pretend to be as good as she is. What I mean by that is only the kind of dream-uish girls with flowers and kind of vintage victorian clothes. You get the idea (hopefully). Anyway, if you want to check on her gallery, click here.

She is a master of this style. Which is not what I am drawn to but it’s kind interesting and women seam to love that. So OK, let’S give it a try. I loaded my car and off we go. After a minute or two, my back let me remember I am 45 and it hurt. Not the best thing for a shoot. No position did help. The good thing about this is you have to be effective since you don’t want to suffer for nuts.

I took 3 cameras to see if there are differences. A nikon DF, a Fuji EX1 and a Sony Alpha700. And yes there are and will be a subject of a future post. We made 2 setups. The one below was shot with a Nikon Dƒ, 70-200mm 2,8G, S1/125 ƒ5, ISO 100. It’s lighted by 3 strobes.

  1. My Keylight is a beautydish. I now think a big SB would have been more appropriate. It aims down at her at a 45° angle.
  2. My backlight is 1/3 of my key light. It’s a bare head of my quadra, B plug. It’s gelled with a CTO.
  3. My third light is a fill. It’s 40cm above the ground aiming straight at a silver reflector

I made just on measurement with my light-meter and I was done and ready to shoot.

woman with flowers in her hair sitting on a chair

My postproduction is only about the skin + background smoothing. No vignette or any kind of other adjustments. I hope this kind of picture will interest new models based in Vienna who want to build their portfolio for free (TFP).

Have a nice Sunday, 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…

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…

 

 

 

Glamrock

Here a photography made last week. Glamrock, that’s the way you could name this style.

I followed a recommendation of Frank Doorhof : Shoot with one light!

Miss K

Glamrock is cool for you make sexy pics your models can show her grandmother. I used a big softbox and set the power quiet low so I could get a shot depth of field.

I know the realized the way i have done, and i want to thank Frank doorhof for being such a good online teacher. I hope to grab a beer or two with him and finally getting to know him.

I still have to learn a lot, and to practice a lot. The time behind the camera is so important, this when you make mistake and have to think how to get the shot. This process is a learn process.

How You Build A Shot !

Along the way of being a JAGWAC, Just A Guy With A Cam,  you can allow yourself something a pro never can : you can take your time since there is no client to satisfy, no delay to respect, no requirements to meet…

Its a real cool breeze blowing on my head by 95°F on a summer afternoon at the so called golden hour time.

There are many ways to photography. One waits for the decisive moment, one shoots anything what happens to be in front of his lens, and there’s also the guy who shoots everything in a technical correct way but with no… soul? Feel? Just like a pic you think : Well, nice. But, why the hell did he shoot that?

Now, I think I have to be totally honest. And confess that I did that way. Add the reflection’s boring step and the pseudo cool street shots which are actually not interesting and you know the way I’ve been thru. Looking back, I now realize that my best shots are the one which have been turning in my head long before I got to held the camera in my hands. Maybe I did need all these steps to get there where I am now. Who knows. Maybe I did lose a lot of time on my learning process, but, actually, as I don’t  shoot to pay my bills, it doesn’t matter.

I thought it may interest some of you to hear what was the creative process of this shot :

DSC_1205-Bearbeitet kopieren

 

At this point I have to say that this shot is not my final shot. But, ok let’s go down to the topic now. It has all started the day I went back home from work after a rainy day. To my very surprise, the workers were finished with building the hedge and  for some reason I cannot explain, I just felt in love with it. I love its pattern. And it is so white it just pops to your eyes, it’s really cool. That day, I promised myself to use it as a prop one of these shootings.  Well, time flies and one sunday afternoon, I noticed how the sun felt on the grass with the shadows of the hedge. And this when I had the idea of the shoot. During our honeymoon in Portugal last year we bought this cheap red dress in a Chinese shop for 10 EUR. Red is always an eye catcher in photography. We used it several times in Lagos last summer :

 

.

and here :

20130625-DSC_5283 Kopie

 

So I already knew I would get nice contrasts. And what is the complementary color of red? Yes, green. So I knew I could not go wrong and I was now ready to think seriously about the lighting, which is the most important thing. No light, no shot.

The nice thing in this idea was sunlight + shadows on the grass which meant backlight. So how to light her face and still have nice contrasts on the grass?

I first thought about using a strobe. The other thing was the background. The only place which a nice background, or let’s say not too bad background was just in front of one of the white walls of our house. So I knew the place where my model should seat. This is when I realized I had a huge reflector called house. 🙂

And when needed, I could bounce a strobe on the wall. Well, so far so good. I was almost ready, but guess what happened next? Not much. It rained almost every following weekends. This is one of the joys of shooting on location. But, three weeks later, the sun appeared and within 30 minutes, all in all, the shooting was set and done. The funny thing was the dog. Her name’s Gina, it’s my daughter’s dog. She was not supposed to be a part of the all thing but, okay, she was so happy to be with us that I said, OK, let’s see how it works. As she does not move so much, it was not such a problem to compose the shot with her. Voilà. 30 Minutes. Or better said : 3 months and 30 minutes.

Now, do you remember what I wrote before about the process? This shot is not achieved. I need another dog. Just look at the picture again, and imagine this dog being a dalmatian…

I need a dalmatian.

🙂

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DSC_1274

 

More to come !

Weekly French Post : le post du dimanche en Français

KELBYONE.COM

Kelbyone.com est une platteforme en ligne de cours de photographie et graphisme. Elle est issue de la fusion des formations de NAPP et Kelbytraings.com. Le premier étant entièrement dédié à la formation sur Photoshop et va bien au delà de la retouche photographique, Kelbytraings.com traitait de tout ce qui affaire à la photographie, photoshop inclu mais uniquement dans la perpective du photographe.

 

Du coup, tout a changé et je profite de cette (r)évolution pour refaire un tour d’horizon sur ce site de formation en ligne. Pourquoi refaire ? Et bien par ce que j’ai déjà rédigé un article sur kelbytraining.com il y a environ 6 mois, en anglais. Pour les amoureux de la langue des Beatles, c’est par là : One Year At Kelbytraining.com.

 

Je ne vais pas refaire une actualisation pure et simple mon article précédent, mais plutôt une rédaction sous la forme d’une sorte de Questions / Réponses:

 

Question 1
Qu’est-ce que Kelbyone.com? Kelbyone.com est un site payant de formation en ligne qui a pour objectif de former les étudiants à la photographie mais aussi aux programmes tels que Lightroom, Photoshop, et autres programmes dérivés d’Adobe. La formation s’adresse au débutant tout comme aux pros. Il y en a pour tout les niveaux.

 

Question 2
Mon anglais est nul, est-ce un problème? Oui, les cours sont tous en anglais et s’adressent à des personnes ayant un niveau d’anglais “fluent” qui maîtrise les termes techniques. Cela étant dit, c’est en forgeant que l’on devient forgeron, et mon anglais a fortement progressé depuis que je m’y suis inscrit. Pourquoi ne pas faire un test? Voici une vidéo d’un séminaire de Monsieur Scott Kelby disponible gratuitement ligne qui dure 1 heure. Si vous comprenez assez pour y apprendre une ou deux choses en passant, alors c’est OK.

 

Question 3
Il y a des tonnes de videos en ligne sur youtube et compagnie, pourquoi m’inscrire sur Kelbyone? C’est vrai. Il y a des milliers de videos en ligne sur internet sur les “how to?”. Ces videos sont postées par des gens que ni vous ni moi ne connaissons. Dés lors il est difficile de savoir si la vidéo est de qualité ou non. En clair, vous trouvez des milliers de “je-veux-être-une-star-de-la-voie-lactée-des-meilleurs-photographes-du-monde” mais rien ne vous garantit qu’ils sachent quitter le mode P dés que la vidéo est éteinte. Un grand nombre de ces types ne font que du copiage et reprennent les vidéos des autres. Il devient alors compliqué de savoir quels photographes croire et qui détient l’information correcte. Sur Kelbyone.com, les cours sont tous dispensés par des photographes ou graphistes connus, mondialement ou plus spécifiquement dans la sphère anglophone. C’est donc un gage de qualité.

 

Question 4
Bon, mais à quoi cela ressemble ces cours en ligne? Une fois inscrit (cours à l’unité, abo mensuel ou annuel), on a accès à des centaines de cours. Il s’agit exclusivement de video. Pas de texte, de manuscrit, etc… que des vidéos disponibles en ligne. Certains cours sont accessibles gratuitement pour motiver les inscriptions.

 

Question 5
Quels sont les sujets abordés? Houla! La liste est très très longue: disons que cela passe du comment faire des photos par mauvais temps, aux heures pourries de la journée, les techniques élémentaires d’éclairage de studio, techniques poussées en studio, comment tirer le meilleurs parti des speedlights, comment diriger son model, comment photographier le sport, les quadras, comment retoucher un portrait, comment utiliser photoshop (j’ai trouvé des cours pour CS4 –> CC). Comment photographier la bouffe, les scènes de rue, en noir et blanc, etc… Quelles sont les techniques utilisées dans les studios de Hollywood?… Comment être efficace sur son blog, Facebook, les questions juridiques, comment se faire connaitre dans l’édition, etc… Ah, j’allais oublier les interviews…

 

Question 6
J’ai peu de temps. A quoi ressemble un cours? Chaque cours traite d’un sujet principal, lequel est abordé sous différents angles et aspects qui chacun forment un chapitre. Chaque chapitre est une vidéo. Un cours est donc composé de 5 à 10 vidéos (=leçons) selon la structure du cours. Les cours sont disponibles 24h sur 24 et chaque leçon du cours est accessible indépendamment des autres. En clair, on peut sauter une leçon d’un même cours, la revisionner autant de fois que l’on veut, sans avoir à regarder les leçons précédentes. Aucun délai n’est imposé pour finir un cours. Chacun va à son rythme.

 

Question 7
Je voyage beaucoup, je n’ai que mon iPad, est-ce un problème? Non. Les cours sont depuis peu non seulement accessibles en streaming mais aussi en téléchargement. C’est pour moi la meilleure évolution du passage de Kelbytraining à Kelbyone. Je suis souvent dans les avions et le wifi des hotels en France est en général d’une lenteur calamiteuse. Cette difficulté est maintenant contournée.
Question 8
Et les profs? Tu les trouves comment? La question est intéressante. Après un temps de reflexion, je pense que leur dénominateur commun est qu’ils sont de bons pédagogues, qu’ils ont tous réussis et ont du succés dans leurs créneaux. Donc ils savent de quoi ils parlent et je trouve donc qu’ils sont bons. Maintenant, je ne suis pas branché par les photos qui font commercial, mon approche personnelle est celle du plaisir et si mes photos plaisent, c’est bien. Mais si elle ne plaisent pas, c’est très bien également. Je lui le créateur et le destinataire de la création. Elle doivent me plaire. C’est mon seul impératif. Les cours s’adressent à des gens qui souhaitent devenir pro ou qui, comme moi, veulent obtenir un niveau technique professionnel pour l’inclure de façon organique dans la pratique.

Les profs sont des grands noms dans leurs domaines : Frank Doorhof (mode, éclairage de studio), Scott Kelby (Sports, LR et CC), Erik Valind (Lifestyle), Bill Fortney (paysages), Dave Black (Sports), Joe McNally (Photoreportage, mode, portraits), Lindsay Adler (mode), Zack Arias (Street, mode), etc… pour n’en citer que quelques uns pris au hasard parmi ceux que j’ai dans mes favoris.

 

Question 9
Que n’aimes tu pas, ou que n’y trouves tu pas? J’aime tout ce qui est en ligne si j’envisage le contenu sous l’angle de l’apprentissage. Ce qui manque est la dimension artistique. Les cours sont axés business. On ne va trouver de vidéos de photographes dans la lignée d’un Michel Comte, d’un JL Sieff, d’un Andreas Bitesnich… Aucune info sur le nu académique ou artistique. Bref, le “fine art” de façon générale est le grand absent. Je suppose que cela est un choix des fondateurs du site.

 

Question 10
Et… As tu appris quelques choses? OUI, énormément, dans la limite évoquée dans ma réponse précédente.

 

 

Faites vous une idée, il y a un cours gratuit accessible score pour quelques jours”

 

 

 

 

 

3 tips for better shots with smoke

Miss U

The challenge with the fog is the machine. The remote control’s wire is not long enough to be proceeded by you since it is mostly behind the model. So you need an assistant or to run very fast (that’s what I did). But since technic becomes a pain in the ass, it also becomes harder to focus, to compose so quick, that the smoke is still being nice and the model natural…

So, here my 20 cents tips :
1) get a longer wire/cable (dunno the right name).
2) shoot at f8 or f11 to get a bright depth of field.
3) prefocuse and lock the focus. Normally  you get it done by switching the AF on M.
then you can concentrate yourself on the interaction with your model to get more than a woman with fog.

more to come…

Are some people easier to shoot?

Miss J

This question may sound hard somehow. But along the way, I have to say the answer is yes. Well MY answer is definitely a YES : some people look nicer in front of the camera than others (like me). I don’t want to be rude but that’s simply the way it is. Miss J (above) looks nice, she is full of joy, always ready to laugh and it provides this tiny little thing which is magic and you feel in a picture. Her face catches the light in a pleasant way and… although this was her first shooting, she just felt alright and had fun. And this makes the all difference. She’s 19 and her skin is not perfect. Age is not everything. Her body shape is nice, and she has a lovely smile.

Would you trust me if I were saying it does not help to get a nice picture ?

Now, all this brings nothing if the model looks good but looks tired (well, if it is for a commercial for Valium, maybe then it’s OK) or bored or not self-confident.

So yes it helps, but this is no guaranty for a WOW shot!

More to come…

MY TIP FOR 2014 : Kick My Ass & I will Never Give Up !

Kick Your Ass !

Looking back is always a good thing when it comes down to make a break and see what you have learned and determinate where you want to go to.

2013 has definitely a key-year in my photographical life. It all started thanks to Frank Doorhof (www.frankdoorhof.com). As I was surfing the web, I found a video at the B&H homepage (www.bhphotovideo.com), the biggest shop for photographers worldwide. The video showed me all the way to go and also where to look for information : that path led me to Kelbytrainings (www.kelbytrainings.com). Then it all went fast. I joined a photo-club and a quickly realized that I needed to learn the studio technics and photoshop. Thanks God and my Dad who took me to museums as I was a kid, I have an eye.

Next step was to find models, knowing that they might be not satisfied with the result. That has been several times the case, and looking back, I guess I was overestimating me. Well, and it was ok, since if not I would not have given it a shot. I tried, I failed, I learned, I retried, re-failed (a little less)…. The learn process was on the way. I now am where I wanted. I can make great shots, meaning by that pictures I love to look and look again. I do not have to make a living of it – I have a 8a-5p job – and models now start to contact me.

I still learn every day, by every single shooting. And I stick to it because I love what I am doing.

So, do like me : stick to your dream and practice, practice, practice again and again and never give up.

And sometimes I need someone to kick my ass when I am feeling blue, when I think the dream is too big.
2013 I have learned to “socialnetwork” : Facebook, G+, this blog, twitter…

2014 will be the year I will try to get a name. A little, I do not need a big one. It’s just, I secretly shoot nice pictures, and, maybe, if I don’t move my ass, I will stay the best kept secret. It will be something to learn : how and where do I knock at the right door…

We stay in touch.

more to come…