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Its all about the eyes………

16 Mar

People who know me probably get sick of me rambling on about the most important ingredient in a portrait.

With all due respect to the make up artists ( who by the way, are indeed artists), and the hair stylists, and even the fashion stylists, if you don’t capture the subjects eyes then the portrait will never attain the impact you desire.

Obviously some models aside from being blessed with great body genes also were handed dramatic, scene stealing eyes, but not all were so lucky.

So then the photographer steps in, good lighting, great connection with the subject and an understanding of composition will still allow you to capture an image which draws the viewer in.

Portraits for me…………….

5 Feb

After a great shoot with Kendall ( which I posted about yesterday ) I spent the day getting the post production done. I like to give the subjects their images while the memories of the shoot are still fresh.

I believe that it enhances the good times we have shooting and people can then share their excitement with family and friends.

I went thru about one hundred and thirty shots and ended up with about thirty for the model to show to agencies and the like.

There were all the great fashionable backlit dress shoots, bikinis and beach wear, but my favourite is this portrait.

I love the expression, and Kendalls eyes draw you in, wondering about the story behind the shot.

Let your mind wander, and image a shipwreck, a jilted lover out for a beach walk or even a James Bond Femme Fatale.

That is the great thing about the art of portraiture, it doesn’t tell the story it just opens the book .

Stepping outside the box……………..

14 Nov

Those of you that have read this blog before know that I shoot people..mostly. Models, kids, everyday Joes’, this is the genre for me. I have even started taking an interest in weddings #@!%#@ !!!!!..yep, now that a more editorial style is becoming popular and moving away from the 5 or 6 standard poses, its starting to be a bit creative. People like Sue Bryce, Paul Mac and JM Tran are really pushing into new and fun territory. Even Nathan and the guys from Dreamspace productions are getting involved.

So from what you have just read you are now expecting to see an image from a wedding, a cake, shoes or a cutesy wedding ring with heart shadow..wrong, what this post is about is stepping out of the comfort zone, trying something new. From my last post you will see that I have also played with seascapes (arrgh, harder than I thought). Well today folks I will present a faux HDR of a construction project, faux because I haven’t invested in the program as yet. I have shown this image and others like it to a few commercial would be clients recently and almost to a man they have expressed interest in having at least some of this style in their commercial advertising material. I haven’t signed anybody up for it yet, but I strongly believe in perseverance , bug them enough and they will give in just to shut me up. If nothing else it made me look at a pile of steel in a different way. I wonder what an ebony model in a silver catsuit would look like in this, umm……………

Real Glamour……

22 Oct

Those of us in the photography game (and it truly is a game), see advertisements for glamour shoots all the time. Heavily discounted, some as low as $50.00 including make up and simple hair styling. Targeted at a certain demographic usually, these studios in the main have 5 or 6 poses and styles, use the same lighting every time and then charge huge amounts for the finished product weeks later. If this is what your heart desires then great, however I truly believe that most women given correct lighting, creative direction, costuming that doesn’t make them feeling uncomfortable to the point of being embarrassed have the ability to be glamorous. Hollywood got it right in the thirties and forties, great lighting is the key and then add a little softness and you have real glamour. Copious amounts of bare flesh is not glamour, although in the right setting it can be glamorous but that is a whole different genre.

 

Any light you can find…..

9 Sep

those of you that know me realise that I follow the K.I.S.S. principle  as much as possible. Probably because I can relate to simple. Last night I was lucky enough to be asked to shoot a function in Brisbane at the beautiful Gambaros restaurant, and whilst doing some portfolio shots for some of the performers I realised that the lighting equipment I had (speedlights) just weren’t achieving the look I wanted. So remembering words from the awesome Joe McNally, use what you got !. So by positioning these fantastic artists under a downlight and positioning a speakers lectern with a white table-cloth draped over it as a reflector, the desired look jumped off the cameras LCD screen and with very little PP some great images were achieved.

It just goes to show, think outside the square, use up some digital film (its free) and try something new.

Things are not always what they seem….

1 Sep

I was in my sons’ room this afternoon helping him clean up and the afternoon sun was streaming through the window, which happens a lot here on Queenslands’ sunny Gold Coast. As we moved clothes and other random ( his word, not mine) stuff around we both noticed that dust particles were being captured by the stream of sunlight. My son grabbed his iPod and tried to capture the scene but he got reflections from the walls and furniture, and the there was too much light coming through the window which was causing the image to blow out. We quickly rigged two black panels, one to camera right and one reducing the area of light at the bottom of the window and grabbed the Nikon D5000. Bingo, first frame at about 85mm,f5.6 iso 200 and all we had was particles reflecting light and a pure black background. The boy took a couple and I took a couple and then downloaded to the iMac, fiddled for a minute in iPhoto printed to the Epson 1410, framed in an Ikea frame and onto the wall in his room as an artwork. I positive that no one will guess what the image is of…… Great fun, quick project and a bit of bonding. Photography just has so much going for it. Thanks to Sylights free iPad app for the lighting diagrams…easy to use and makes explaining image capture so much simpler.   

Playing with Photoshop

31 Aug

Today was not a day for taking photos. The weather was great, I had time but life jumped up and said “time to attend to the mundane stuff, Andrew”, bills, shopping and washing even ironing got priority over image making. Never mind, these jobs are all part of the family lifestyle and I try to tackle them with the mindset that once they are completed I will have free reign to produce images. I know, I too can detect optimism laced with a hint of desperation. I did manage to skulk away to the iMac for a few moments and read a great piece on edgy image conversion in Adobe camera raw (see link attached:  http://www.lightroomkillertips.com/2007/video-surreal-edgy-effect/ ). I quickly found an image that I thought may benefit from some digital manipulation and had a go. Now this sort of result is certainly not to everyone’s taste, it’s really not my thing either, however it elicited a wow from my daughter and two almost decipherable grunts from my not quite teenage son and therefore I have concluded that this form of our art does indeed have an audience. Truthfully for me a classic one light, crisp monochrome is the stuff dreams are made of…….once again, each to their own.

When the sun doesn’t shine……

24 Aug

As photographers, light is both our friend and nemesis, giving us moments of pure joy and hours of utter despair. Its raining here on the usually sunny Gold Coast, in fact its bucketing down and there is no way that I am going to expose either the Nikon D700 or myself to the vertical flood hammering down onto the roof. This of course means looking for other photographic outlets to play and practice with. Firstly an art style shot from inside the house taken while I was cleaning the camera gear

Of course this dragged me over to the other wonderful part of this photography thing, the computer, iMac of course, and Photoshop. Now those that know me well will tell you that I am no computer guru and also that I believe strongly in getting the image capture right in the camera. This doesn’t always produce the result you or equally important the client requires, so then computer manipulation plays it part. Learning this process is ……… at best time-consuming, at worse, bloody frustrating but when something works and you get the result you were aiming for or you simply amaze  yourself, then you realize why people get addicted to this digital art form. The ability to transform images in something quirky, strange or just recover a mistake of ISO, shutter speed or white balance is kinda’ cool.

Having said all this nothing beats setting up, composing, metering light and receiving the exact image you had in your mind.

Burlesque !!!!!

20 Aug

If all entertainment was able to combine so many facets of our basic make-up, the world would be a better place in my opinion. I was lucky enough to shoot a show put on at Temple”www.mytemple.com.au” on the sunny Gold Coast by the wonderful talent from Multiplay Entertainment “www.multiplayentertainment.com.au” . What a fantastic time I had, pre show shots for the cast in full costume and then on to images taken throughout the incredibly fast paced, saucy and sexy show. Great dancing, singing that was of the highest quality, and without sounding creepy some of the most beautiful girls you are ever likely to see all clothed in traditional burlesque style. The great low light capability of the Nikon D700 sensor was put to the test and came through brilliantly. Shooting with 24-70 and 70-200 f2.8 lenses at an average ISO of 1600 most of the images came out with little noise. This was the first time I used the recently obtained Black Rapid strap and I swear I will never go out to sports or event shooting without it again, just great!! Do yourself a favour (thanks Molly for the great aussie saying) and catch a Burlesque show soon and if your lucky enough to see one put on by Multiplay Entertainment you will have the best night you have had for a long time.

Eating my words………

17 Aug

“You know mate, I just don’t enjoy taking pictures without people in them !”. Only yesterday I made this rather grandiose statement, and now I am looking like a complete muppet because just this morning after the school run, I took the Nikon D7oo with 24 – 70/ 2.8 attached and went for a walk along the iconic Burleigh beach. Far to late for imposing sunrises, it was just a case of point and shoot and enjoy the day, weather and the fact that there was no expectation to provide the next Ansel Adams masterpiece in fact I really thought it would just be a nice walk, the chance to say G’day to some now familiar locals and play with the camera. But guess what, the abstract creative juices flowed and I found myself looking at shells and pebbles, driftwood and even clouds. Framing, composing, rule of thirds, the magic ratio, white balance, yep it was all just there and the thunderbolt struck, when you love doing this it becomes ingrained and even when you don’t plan to shoot anything in particular the artist inside is always seeing life through a viewfinder trying to capture a slice of this very special world. In effect we, the photographers of the world are also historical artists. Cool isn’t it and you thought you were taking happy snaps.

I also learnt a second lesson today whilst browsing one of the local e-papers entertainment sections, two upcoming events were advertised, so bold as brass I emailed to see if they had event photographers squared away or not, and guess what ?, yours truly has secured both positions, one this week, one the week after, and have since been contacted and asked to shoot at the rehearsals and do the VIP pics…who dares clicks…not quite as catchy is it.