Sharks In The Studio
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
I've seen some cool anthropomorphic animal portraits before, but nothing quite like this. Photographer Michael Muller photographs sharks in his underwater studio. And that's not a euphemism for "he kinda lights them a little bit underwater." No, he really does treat it like a studio assignment—complete with an assistant holding a "hair light" on a boom over a swimming shark's dorsal fin. (I guess that really makes it a "fin light," huh?) Check out the cool behind the scenes photos of Muller's studio at A Photo Editor, then head over to his web site for a big gallery of beautiful sharks.
Behind The Scenes Fashion Shoot
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Ever wonder what it's like to work with stylists, lighting experts and models to create fashion images for an advertising campaign? There's a lot of details to manage beyond simply composing a create shot and capturing the perfect expression and pose. NYC fashion photographer Laura Rose walks you through the process in this video as she shoots the image campaign for Tamron's SP 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 Di VC USD lens.
Todd Hido On Video
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
I've been hoarding. Not physical objects, per se, but rather videos from some of my favorite photographers. These are folks who are a bit more artistic rather than strictly commercial, and so I'm thinking they might make for a bit of ideal crossover for this audience. Basically, if you don't already know about them, I think you should. I keep thinking I'm going to write a big roundup of them, and give you all the reasons why you should not only watch each respective video, but why each photographer is in his own way a genius. Instead, today I'm going to cop out and just write about one of them. Todd Hido is the photographer's name, and he has a phenomenal aesthetic as it relates not only to houses and structures, but also portraits and landscapes as well. "Art is a lie that tells us the truth," Hido says, quoting Picasso by way of explaining his work. And it makes sense in the context of this American Suburb X interview, which I linked to via the Picbod site. So start with this interview with Mr. Hido, glimpse his stellar photographs, and then visit his own web site to see more of his sublime photographs.
Brian Smith's Book Of Better Portraits
Monday, May 21, 2012
Celebrity portrait photographer Brian Smith is not only skilled at lighting and shooting, but it seems he's pretty good at sharing his expertise with other photographers as well. To that end, his new book aims to help all of us make better portraits, while still providing great behind-the-scenes glimpses into the creation of some of his most recognizable portraits. Everything from pre-production, shoot details to post-production particulars is outlined in detail. Culled from 30 years of celebrity portraits, Smith's book is half coffee table monograph, half how-to instruction manual. And that adds up to a must-read for any portrait photographer.
The Vest-Pocket DSLR
Friday, May 18, 2012
Another heads up courtesy of the awesome DIY Photography blog. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could somehow mate your expensive new D-SLR with a 100-year-old vest pocket camera? Neither have I. But thankfully photographer Rick Nunn did, and he took lots of pictures along the way so we can see how he was able to put his 100-year-old Kodak vest pocket lens on his two-year-old Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR. The approach is actually fairly simple, and calls for only a bit of engineering on the old camera and the use of an adapter on the new one. The resulting picture doesn't look bad at all, but I think I'd want to use this not so much for the images I could create as to see the looks on the faces of the people I'm photographing. If you'd like to give it a try yourself, you're in luck: Mr. Nunn made a video showing exactly how he did it.
Virtual Lighting Studio
Thursday, May 17, 2012
I've always been a fan of the idea that photographers should make good notes. It's because I learned long ago that repeatability is the key to becoming a skilled photographer. The idea being that anybody can stumble across a good photograph, but being able to repeat it takes real skill. To that end I've always tried to make good notes about all sorts of things: darkroom directions, compositional elements, and especially lighting setups. It's the lighting notes that have paid off most in my professional career, because these are the things that really impact how a finished photograph looks. Lighting diagrams are a great way to ensure that when a lighting setup really works, you can repeat it without too much trouble. The problem is that those diagrams don't do the best job of showing exactly what the finished product will look like. Nor do lighting diagrams let you test how subtle changes will affect your subject or your photograph. So I was pretty excited to discover the Virtual Lighting Studio online. It's a surprisingly fun and tool, and one that's immensely useful if you're trying to learn about lighting—or take your lighting to the next level. With a 3D rendering of a subject (albeit not the most photogenic one) on whom you can try any number of exposures, light positions and colored gels to predetermine the affect of your lights on the finished product without the need to have an actual person standing in front of you while you move actual lights. Best of all, the Virtual Lighting Studio creates a lighting diagram for you, so that you can see exactly how to create the result you're after. Take a look via the DIY Photography blog.
Lightroom 4 Is Built For Extreme Contrast Adjustments
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
For those of you Lightroom users who may be holding off on upgrading to the newly released Lightroom 4, this post from DP Review might just make you change your mind. It's an explanation of how to make extreme contrast edits within LR4, but it doesn't just serve as a simple how-to. It also helps to explain how the processing controls work differently within this version of Lightroom as compared to previous versions. In the end, the new processing engine allows for less overlap among lighting adjustments, which means greater control, more fine tuning, and the ability to extract the absolute maximum amount of useful image forming data from today's supersensitive high-dynamic-range digital camera sensors. Lightroom 4 isn't just the next step in the workflow software's evolution, it's a big step forward in editing control. And that means it can help you create much better photographs right out of the box. Read all about it at www.dpreview.com.
A Must-Have For Every Camera Bag
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Carry a trash bag. There, I blew all the mystery about this post right there in the first paragraph. Steve Berardi, the PhotoNaturalist, thinks there's one item everyone who ever sets foot in the out of doors with a camera in hand should be carrying inside their camera bag. It's a simple trash bag, which has a million uses. Most notably, it's the perfect protector in case it starts to rain. But it's also handy to become a makeshift light diffuser for a macro photograph, and it can even become a bit of a softbox for a flash if you're in a pinch—something I've written about on this very web site. Check out PhotoNaturalist to get the scoop straight from the horse's mouth, and then be sure to peruse the plentiful reader comments for a bunch of other great reasons why you should carry this must-have accessory. And in the meantime, just trust me and stuff a trash bag inside your camera bag.