I’m really excited to tell you that this month’s Guest Photographer is Wisconsin, USA based Editorial & Portrait Photographer David E. Jackson…
I’ve been a huge fan of Dave and his work ever since I saw him featured over on Zack Arias‘ blog, so finally getting the chance to catch up and speak at length was a real privilege. We chatted for quite some time covering all manner of things from equipment, your style, the importance of personal projects and so much more…
Dave really is one of the good guys; a great photographer who believes in sharing his knowledge and expertise to help others and I just know you’re going to love what he shared during our chat.
In the mean time, here’s one of Dave’s ‘Behind the Scenes’ videos; some images from which I’m sure we’ll be including in his Guest Post.
There’s no question that with Scott Kelby introducing his Worldwide Photo Walk nearly 4 years ago, the whole concept of ‘street’ photography has been introduced into alot more photographers’ lives.
Just you and your camera walking at a leisurely pace and photographing the world as it goes by can be incredibly fulfilling but also as Photographer Scott Schuman shows in this short documentary, incredibly important to your craft.
It’s very easy to get wrapped up in wanting the latest piece of electronic wizardry but when all is said and done…that is all it is; it’s the photographer’s vision and creativity that are ultimately responsible for making a great photograph.
In 2011 one of my ‘New Year Resolutions’ is to make time to get out more with just my camera and one lens and just walk and really take time to see what’s around me. I did this a few times last year in places like Brighton and Bournemouth and I was overwhelmed at how much I learned from doing it.
So what do you think…Is this kind of stuff important? Do you already make the time to get out on Photo Walks of your own? Sure the thought approaching a total stranger and asking to take their photograph can be quite daunting if not scary for some but there are ways to go about it and undoubtedly a common sense approach does play a big part.
It’d be great to ‘hear’ any thoughts you have on this subject and maybe even a few tips that you’ve picked up along the way for getting the most out of it, so please as always feel free to make use of the comments section below.
Incidentally, if you haven’t checked it out already I’d highly recommend that you head over to Scott Schuman’s Blog ‘The Sartorialist‘…Word of warning though…you may find you’re there for quite some time!
Regular readers of this blog will have noticed that I’ve been shooting in the studio alot more over the past couple of months and that’s been great for a whole host of reasons; not least being the fact that despite the weather the shoot always goes ahead plus there’s the added comfort factor.
Now although I thoroughly enjoy shooting in the studio and working with what is in effect a blank canvas, where I really get a kick is shooting ‘on location’. Working outside on location though does bring with it, it’s own challenges and as any photographer knows it’s very much hit or miss whether the shoot actually goes ahead because of the weather. However, that being said there’s nothing I like more than scouting out a location and then changing the feel / mood of it by the use of location lighting. In fact talking of the weather, Advertising Photographer of the Year Tim Wallace would tell you to embrace the bad weather when it happens; turn it into a positive and use it to your advantage to create some really quite dramatic images.
So, for a recent portfolio shoot I decided to step out of the studio and go out on location but at the same time for one of the shots have a bit of a play and make the outdoors look as though I was still in the studio.
What do I mean?
The intention of the photo at the beginning of this post was to make our male model look as though he was standing on a stage with lights/flashes going off behind him but rather than being shot in the studio it was taken in the middle of the day in the car park of a local supermarket as the iPhone Photo below shows (note: by the time I took this ‘Behind the Scenes’ shot with my iPhone the male model had gone through a wardrobe change)…
So how was it done? The principle behind this shot was exactly the same as a technique I call the ‘Invisible Black Backdrop‘ where you use the camera to set the scene i.e. make the location completely black and then once you’ve done that, introduce some light into the scene to light your subject. (You can read a complete walk-through of the Invisible Black Backdrop technique by clicking on this link).
Part 1: Lighting the subject The first part was to light our subject and knowing that in the final image I was going to be placing extra lights behind him, he would need to have a rim light hitting him which would give the impression that it came from those extra lights. Of course had I had a bag full of lights with me at the time then it’s likely I would have done this shot in one take but that would have required about 10 speedlights; and I only had half that amount with me.
Part 2: The Stage Lights/Flashes
To create the stage/flash lights I placed 3 speedlights on separate stands at varying heights and positions into the frame aimed back towards the camera and took a few shots with an aperture of around the f/11 mark; any wider and I wouldn’t have gotten the desired starbust look from the light, and this I did a couple of times…
Part 3: Putting it all together
Back at the computer, having edited the first shot of our model it was then a simple case of placing the extra lights that I’d shot around him. To do this meant that I had to ‘extend the canvas’ of the photo of our model because each time I shoot a portrait using the Invisible Black Backdrop technique I always do it with the camera in portrait orientation and virtually fill the frame with the subject. To explain the how and why, here’s a short Photoshop tutorial I recorded last year:
So, there you have it…an image that looks like it was possibly shot in a studio but was taken in the great outdoors; a free studio offering endless creative possibilities.
If you have any questions or comments then as always please feel free to make use of the comments section below. Oh and just for extra proof that we were in a car park here’s a final shot of our model sitting in what could possibly be the transport of the future; or at least it could be if fuel prices keep going up the way they are
And here’s an iPhone photo showing the lighting set up which couldn’t have been simpler; a single Nikon Speedlight and Shoot-Thru umbrella…
Well for the first official post of the year I thought I’d kick off with a Photoshop Tutorial showing a technique I used in one of the ‘Karate Kid’ images a couple of weeks ago…
The technique I’m talking about is how I added the flag onto the wall in the image above and gave it the gunge/weathered look so that it looked like it had been there for some time.
Now I did consider recording a short video to show the technique but to be honest there’s hardly anything to it so I decided on a written walkthough…
In Photoshop the background ‘Wall Layer’ was opened then on top of this the flag was sized and positioned …
The blend mode of the ‘flag’ layer is then changed to Soft Light. This allows for texture from the wall below to show through and gives the impression that the flag has been painted onto it. To increase the ‘aged’ effect the opacity of the flag layer was then reduced to around 30% …
The next stage is to increase the overall weathered look to the flag so first of all select a Brush by pressing ‘B’ on the keyboard and then using the menus, selecting a rough/patterned brush. When selecting a brush in the top menu one of the options is ‘Opacity’ and this will come handy in a moment…
A white layer mask was added to the flag layer and then using the brush tool already selected and the foreground colour set to black, paint/dab randomly over the flag. This will remove parts of the flag in patches giving the overall ‘weathered’ look where over time paint would fade and disappear. To add just a touch more realism, when using the brush vary it’s size and also lower the opacity occasionally so that there are varying degrees of ‘faded’ patches…
And that is all there is to it. Of course you don’t have to use the Soft Light blend mode; choosing ‘Overlay’ for example would give the flag a more ‘contrasty’ look but that’s the great thing about blend modes; just by playing around with them you can come up with all manner of effects.
Hope you found this useful and as always, if you have any questions/comments then please feel free to make use of the comments section below.