In case you missed the announcement buzzing around photo sites a couple months ago, Adorama and photographer Nigel Barker put out a casting call looking for photographers to compete in a new reality series/competition called “Top Photographer with Nigel Barker”. In this five part web series, each episode revolves around a specific photo genre that challenges the photographers to shoot for the winning image. The show is hosted by Nigel and also has internationally known, award-winning photographers as guest judges. Of the five finalists chosen, the winner of the grand prize gets a photography equipment package valued at $50k as well as a photo exhibition in New York City hosted by Nigel after the finale airs. That sounded like an amazing opportunity and some pretty sweet prizes to me!
I think one of the most important aspects of a successful photo is what happens before you ever click the shutter. Pre-visualization of what you want the photo to look like can happen quickly where you immediately envision the final photo, or it can develop over time where you build on your original concept, adding or subtracting elements, re-thinking your take on it before finally deciding on exactly what to shoot. Then after you’ve ironed out what that photo should look like, you actually then go backwards, by reverse engineering the elements of what you’ll need to pull it off.
So this is happening more and more… I’m talking with a client who wants me to shoot a creative portrait of them, and they say, “I like your blurry photos, I want that look.” My blurry photos? Most of the time that’s not something a photographer wants to hear, but I know they’re referring to the shots I’ve done over the years with the Lensbaby creative effects lenses.
I’ve been shooting studio portraits with them for a long time now and there’s nothing quite like them. It takes practice, some trial and error to learn the idiosyncrasies. And with lots of lens kits, focal options, etc., their product line now has a very comprehensive set of tools and it continues to grow (yay, more toys! err…I mean tools).
I just finished up a handful of promotional shots with actor Levi Fiehler and it went well. One of our shots was an odd editorial photo with a him sitting next to a head in a box.. because hey, why not?! I used a hand painted backdrop and a faux wood floor and I lit it dark and moody. I was happy with the way it turned out except for one factor. I wish it didn’t look like it was shot with a studio backdrop. If it looked like it was on location, the shot might work better. The only “giveaway” that it was done in a studio was the roll at the bottom of the backdrop. So I realized if I put a piece of wood molding along the bottom of the backdrop, it would look like a wall and a floor instead of a backdrop and a floor.
I’ve always had a lot of fun challenging myself with creative and/or technical limitations. Like giving myself a photo assignment to spend the day or even an entire vacation with a certain camera/lens combination and a limited shooting style, like to shoot only macro or only black and white, etc. It usually makes me work harder to get the shots, but more importantly, I often come home with photos I probably wouldn’t have if I had taken my best equipment and approached shooting in my usual way. And who knows, what if through an exercise of self-imposed creative or technical limitations, I accidentally “stumble on a style”?! Which is exactly what happened to me and why I’m suggesting you try it yourself!
Our friends at MagMod are launching their 3rd Kickstarter campaign for a new lighting modifier and if you use speedlites, it’s something to get excited about! It’s called the MagBeam and it’s based on the refractive Fresnel lens used in Hollywood style constant lights, spotlights, and even lighthouses!
Cindy Crawford in without a doubt one of the most famous and photographed models of the past 30 years. In the 80’s, Cindy along with Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington and Kate Moss became known as the original “Supermodels”. I think it’s a safe bet to say that she’s worked with the best of the best photographers over that time.