As photographers, you’ll often have to deal with the unknown. You won’t always be able to scout locations before the shoot, and sometimes you’ll just have to work with what you have. Photographer Manny Ortiz shares three tips that will help you shoot even in really bad locations. You need to take the most of what you have, and these tips will show you how to do it.
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.
As important as the shoot itself is, as well as post-production, an oft-overlooked aspect of shooting an image is the pre-production. Specifically, the process of creating the set upon which the model will be posing for the entirety of the shoot.
Today though, we get a behind-the-scenes look at what exactly it takes to set up a scene for one of the best in the business, Vogue.
I know, I know, the title of the video says it’s about industrial portraits. It is about that, indeed; however, a lot of the tips and advice J. P. Morgan shares in the seven minute long clip can be applied to a lot of different kinds of photoshoots–especially those where you’re shooting on location.
Outside of discussing his lighting setup and other solid advice to make sure you’re capturing interesting, well-lit portraits, Morgan spends a good amount of time talking about the actual process of the photoshoot, too. For example, he stresses how important it is to be mindful of your client’s time, then Morgan shares with you a few tips on how to go about doing just that.
It rarely rains where I live, sadly (or happily) this is not the case for many. And if you are shooting outdoors in extreme weather there are quite a few things that you can do to help your gear survive.
And it is not just uber extreme conditions that would freeze your camera, even lesser elements can cause your batteries to stop functioning or the LCD significantly drop its refresh rate.
B&H shares quite a useful video on how to improve your chances of getting a good shot. Of course there is a vast array of rain covers, tip-les gloves and silica gels, but there are some more clever tips on that video. Those three tips from the video are priceless:
If you are using a motorized gimbal (like the DJI Ronin or the more expensive MoVI) you’ve probably noticed that setting them up on location can be a drag. In Getting all the cables set up, attaching the camera to the plate and balancing take up precious time and are pretty much simply inconvenient. In the studio, or van you probably have a rack where you can place the Gimbal and set it up, but on location…. usually not.
Videographer Eric Stemen came up with a few clever tips on getting the gimbal up and running pretty quickly while going on location.
If you a long time reader you know that we take backups very seriously. We usually talk about the backups you have to do to your data at home, but it is equally important to backup while on the field.
Of course you can lag a laptop and a card reader and copy everything over, but if you want a small and slick solution, instructables user blorgggg shares a hack that will give you unlimited storage and easy redundancy (i.e. have each memory card backed up to two or three locations and stored in separate bags).
blorgggg went on a month-long trip to Madagascar and needed a solution that is low-power, stores lots of data and can withstand intense jostling. This is what he came up with.
Photographer Tom Barnes shoot on location quite a bit. While he started like most of us using his eye glued to the viewfinder followed by a quick look at the LCD, he has now moved to tethered shooting almost exclusively. And while shooting tethered in the studio is a somewhat familiar and safe territory, shooting tethered on location can prove quite problematic:
When shooting tethered in and outside of the studio it was always a bit of a nightmare, you’d have loose cables, chargers and no stand or case to keep your laptop separate from the ground/surface so if somebody spilt a drink for example it would drown your computer/drives/cables etc.
To solve all the problems and to avoid the accidental spill, Tom build an on-location tethered station that is a hybrid between a Peli case and Optimus Prime.
Who says pulling off an entire photoshoot by yourself needs to be difficult? Not Jay P. Morgan. In the quick video clip below he invites us behind the scenes of photoshoot he did on location in Maine. Morgan wanted to photograph fisherman on his first visit to New England, but he traveled light for this trip, only carrying a single light and softbox along with his camera. Seeing as how he only had two hours to setup and complete the shoot, not having an extensive lighting setup kind of worked as an advantage. He had an assistant along with him, but her job was strictly to film the behind the scenes footage, Morgan handled the photoshoot all on his own.
Curious as to how he pulled it off? Here’s the scoop:
The fact that the depth of field varies depending on focal length seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Matt Granger however says that wide angle lenses don’t necessarily have a smaller depth of field when compared to longer telephoto lenses:
To understand any of this, you have to know what depth of field is: (Yes, this is very basic) Depth of field is basically the depth of your image that is in sharp focus, it is usually about 1/3 in front of your focus and 2/3 behind it.
In his video, Matt conducts a test to prove his point: He takes the same shot with the same framing and only changes the focal length and the position of the camera. The aperture was kept the same – f/2.8 – throughout the shoot. Of course when changing the focal length of your lens you’ll have to physically move the camera if you want your final result to have the same crop.
Here are the results: