- How to Choose a Location for Your Photo Shoot
- 29 Amazing Historical Photos Seen in Color
- Three Light Studio Photography Setup (Video)
Posted: 18 Dec 2013 04:46 PM PST
If you are the type of photographer, that like me, prefers to work outdoor rather then in a studio, the effort in choosing the right locations is quite challenging. Needless to say, the choice of location will determine the success of your photo shoot. I am laying out a few basic principals that one has to keep in mind when considering a particular location.
Timing your photo shoot is tricky, particularly in those areas that are frequented by numerous people. Determine if you are working in the morning, mid day, evening or night. Apart the quality of light that you are looking for, it is suggested that you find a time frame when the place you have mind is the least busy. Both you and the models can easily be distracted by activities in the background, thus not giving your best.
Also, no matter how hard you try to avoid people in the background while shooting, back at the office you will find that occasionally a head would pop up in your background. With a little care and attention the amount of work needed to edit you photographs later on can be greatly reduced.
Depending on the type of photo shoots you have in mind, it will influence the degree of privacy that is expected from a particular site. Since most of the sites are public places, the level of privacy is limited. Still, if you search and probe the various spots available, you are sure to find a couple of secluded scenes adapted to your specific photo shoot themes.
As a side note, it is of the utmost importance that you offer your models an adequate place where they can change their clothes between different sets.
Adjust clothing for the terrain
A good friend of mine had his whole photo shoot spoiled because his model had strained her ankle, while walking on high heels on a pebbled coast. Though it might be common sense for some, for many it is not.
You have to assess the area properly and advice your models accordingly. If on your way to the beach, you have to pass through a spiny low shrubby belt, make sure that the models are properly clothed to protect themselves from any possible bruises. Like wise, if you have to cross a watercourse, make sure that both you and the models are wearing non slip runners. Furthermore, a basic first aid kit can turn out to be very useful.
Is the area accessible by walk, car or plane? This is vital since it will determine the type of gear needed. One has to keep in mind, that the more difficult it is to access an area, the more the expenses tend to shoot up.
An important point to keep in mind is that certain areas are protected by copyright or need special permits in order to do your photo shoot. In both cases, you need to get your permits in order before planning any further. Some would be quite easy to get, others can be more demanding.
To sum it all up, in order to get the best out of your location you have to assess the area accurately weeks and months beforehand. In planning ahead you avoid waste of time and disappointments.
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Posted: 18 Dec 2013 01:32 PM PST
It’s almost like time-travel. Photos from the past have the ability to offer a glimpse of what life was like in another time, another place. Precursors to film photography were being experimented with as early as the 1790s, and ever since then, we’ve had visual records of life — both candid and posed, from everyday events to historic occasions. There’s something intriguing about the dramatic tones of black-and-white, the texture of the film grain. But some artists and photographers have started to breath new life into black-and-white film photography by realistically colorizing vintage photos. You can see some examples from the album below, which includes famous (and infamous) figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Joseph Goebbels, Elizabeth Taylor, and Audrey Hepburn in living color (for those of you reading this by email, the photo album can be seen here):
Posted: 18 Dec 2013 11:50 AM PST
Not all photographers find it fitting to shoot with an assistant. Street photography, for example, requires a certain element of stealth, which means that traveling in a group can drastically affect a shot by making subjects more likely to notice the photographer and more likely to respond negatively at being outnumbered.
However, studio and portrait shoots involving special effects and extra lighting will often require the photographer to employ an assistant—and even two or three.
In this video, photographer Jay P. Morgan and his assistants enjoy the rewards of teamwork and demonstrate how to use two duvetyne panels, three lights, a cookaloris, Rosco smoke, and fishing line to shoot a superhero-themed commercial button:
Below is a quick breakdown of the key elements Morgan and his team used in the shot:
The black backdrop behind the subject was built from two 12×12 sheets of duvetyne fabric hung side by side. To eliminate the seam in the middle, the team turned the seams away from the camera and clipped them together; this created a soft seam that completely disappeared once they added smoke into the equation.
Morgan and team lit the scene using three different light sources. First, they placed a 1K rim light directly behind the subject and aimed it directly at the subject's back to create a halo of backlighting.
Second, they used a Photoflex medium softbox equipped with a Starlite tungsten bulb to the front left of the subject as one of two key lights in the setup, "booming" it overhead and feathering it up slightly to illuminate the subject's face and eliminate rim shadow from the subject's hat.
Finally, the team placed a 39×72-inch litepanel to the right of the model as a fill light and charged it with the task of boosting the image's look by opening up the shadows a bit more.
Often humorously referred to as a "cookie," a cookaloris is a tool used to cast patterned shadows or add streaks of light to an image, depending on its position. "Hard" cookies are made with plywood or poster board, while "soft" cookies are created out of plastic or screen materials. In both cases, irregular shapes are carved out of the material to allow some light to pass through.
Morgan's team used foam board for their cookaloris and cut out triangle shapes to achieve long shafts of light in a sort of starburst. They placed the cookie directly behind the subject, between the subject and the light source, so that the light streaks made the subject look like a superhero straight out of a comic book.
Morgan and his team tested out three different types of Rosco fog fluids to determine which smoke worked best with their cookaloris and lighting setup. To test each type of smoke, they ran the fog generator for 1 minute and shot a 10-minute timelapse to demonstrate how long each type hung in the air and how the smoke looked on camera.
Rosco Light Fog Fluid is the subtle solution for photographers who want a bit of atmospheric haze.
Rosco Stage & Studio Fog Fluid is thicker and hangs around longer than the Light smoke, but it still dissipates rather quickly.
Rosco Fog Fluid is the company's original formula. Smoke produced with this fluid is thicker and much more billowy than smoke from the other two formulas, and it lingers for a long time. Morgan and his team chose this type of smoke for their shoot, but only used short bursts and periodically fanned the smoke away from the subject's face.
V. Fishing Line
Morgan and his team also used fishing line on three different areas of the subject's cape to make it flap in the wind like a sail and to seamlessly pull it from the subject during his transformation from superhero to plumber.
To create the sail effect, they attached one strand of fishing line to the side of the cape and pulled it up so that it caught the wind just right and billowed over the subject's left shoulder. They also pulled the back end of the cape down slightly with yet another strand of fishing wire to keep the cape from flapping too high.
To achieve that seamless cape shedding effect, the team clipped the cape's ties off and instead secured the cape onto the subject with a straight pin, pointed downward. They attached a final strand of fishing line to the end of the straight pin so that when one of Morgan's assistants pulled the line, the cape gracefully fell out of the frame.
All in all, this seemingly-simple commercial shot required four people: one person to release the pin on the cape, one person to hold the cape up with fishing line, one to pull the cape down in the back with fishing line, and another to roll the cameras and turn on the light.
So, while soloing is arguably better for many genres of photography, teamwork thrives in a well-organized studio—especially when you need a super cool flying cape effect.
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