Today I want to talk about communication in the digital age. I been working full time in Photography for 35 years now, so yes I'm getting old, but I started early. It's been so fun to watch the changes in the photographic profession over the years from hiding under some black material years ago to how we today hide behind our DSLR's.
I know it's exceptions to every thing, that some people have worked with Leica and 135 SLR's their whole life, but the main new thing is that curious little fascinating screen we now got on the back of our cameras.
What is the great news is creativity is up with todays technology, bust sadly expression is down, let's talk about it.
This is my friend and great photographer Devin, sporty to model this illustration pictures for me.
The way most portrait and wedding photographers worked for decades was with medium format cameras. I loved how they had the view finder where you could just look straight down and be right back at communicating with your client like with this Hasselblad. Photographers also took most of their pictures on a tripod, I often call tripod creativity destroyers, but it's absolutely some great things about them. For portrait sessions in the studio and often on location I like to use a tripod to be more free to communicate with my clients, also love a release cord, wireless or not.
Try to imagine yourself being photographed by Devin here for a minute. He is now SHOOTING you with a Canon haha. He is in full hiding from you and any eye to eye communication.
Turning the camera gives you a great view of him and the camera, love his expression BTW :-)
But here comes one of the BIG NO NO's which is one of the main points of this blog post. He goes straight to looking at the screen on the back of the camera after taking the pictures. Does he think you look funny? Well this is what almost every photographer I been observing in the digital age is doing, I been studying a lot of them working.
Start by telling your clients to not worry how they look as you are doing some test shots, making sure the light is great etc etc, get them relaxed and when your exposure color etc is right, get done with the screen for a while. Then give your main attention to the client, communicate with them, help create moments, get strong good contact.
See how much better it is when Devin is looking at you taking interest and focus on you rather then the screen on the back. What is more important then making people look good with GREAT expressions which is of course not necessary a smile which to many people measure the success of a photograph by.
PS. Let me ask you a favor, I love comments on my blog post, but I am a bit sick of people correcting my english when it got nothing with making it more understandable. English is my 2nd language and I'm sure if you don't happen to be Norwegian you rather read my bad english. I hate to write about any thing negative, but...
The owner of the company One on One Marketing, Nick Greer, really wanted employees involved in the photo shoot. I still wanted the attention to be on 1 person on the cover. I decided to have a bunch of employees play basketball in the background and use a long exposure. I had to make sure Nick didn't move and that the people in the back ALL moved. It took a few attempts to nail it just the way I wanted, but I think it went well. The magazine got him on the cover, he got lots of employes in the shot :-) The basketball court is on the top floor of their building.
Equipment: Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III with a 50mm 1.4 @ f4.0. 1/12 sec. ISO 100 on a Manfrotto tripod. Main light Elinchrom strobe with a white reflective umbrella + a California Sun Bounce reflector with it's white side as a fill on his rigth side.
Here is a short video clip the editor Briana Stewart shot during one of our attempts.
In this shot we let Nick Greer blend with the crowd and show some if his great staff.
It was used as a 2-page spread to open the article. We knew this when we shot it and made sure nobody would end up in the crease, etc. Existing light + 1 LED 900 lamp to add more light to the room and especially to the people. Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds M III with a Canon 20-35mm f 2.8 L lens @ 5.0. 1/85sec. ISO 800.
I loved photographing (no, I did not SHOOT him:-) Nick in his office with great window light. We added a LED 160 lamp to get the light more around his face and give us freedom to have him not have to turn towards the window light as much. Lately I have been using daylight LED lamps and use a warm filter if necessary. I can dim them without color change which is one thing I love. I made sure to have peace around Nick's head and added the water bottle to get the company logo in the shot. LED is such an amazing light source to have added to our choices of light. Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark III with a 50mm f1.4 at 2.8 and 1/60 sec. ISO 800.
PS. I know you would love more overviews from these shots, but it was such a fast pace job with so many people involved I didn't feel I could justify using their time on it. Maybe I will have to start bringing an extra person just to do overviews...Let me think about that one.
Today I want to bring you through a magazine cover shoot and some inside photographs for an article we shot on Monday, April 11th. We had about 30 minutes to shoot: the cover with logo, bar code, etc. in mind, one picture for the editors letter, a table of contents shot, and an opening shot for the story inside (full page or spread). I also shot two individual shots that were used to go with their BIO's in the story.
Things to keep in mind: it's for the May/June issue of Utah Valley Magazine, so they want it to look summery and the mountains were full of snow as you can see in one of the overviews. We wanted green grass, with a little piece of baseball markings showing and the stadium providing the atmosphere and the BYU team colors. The time for the shoot was set to 12:30 pm with sunshine, and due to baseball practice, we had to follow their time schedule.
I said it before and I'll say it again: I love to photograph in midday sun! Remember that NOON (or the sun at its highest peak) is almost never 12 pm. That day it was at 1:28 pm in Provo, Utah, USA where the shoot took place. The appointment to shoot this cover was at 12:30 pm, (as I said, not my choice) but that is when it's useful to know something about light. I was early, like I always like to be, so I could set up and be ready to shoot at the time of the appointment.
This table of contents picture was shot before the scheduled shooting time of 12:30 while we are testing light for the cover.
We started by doing the cover shot (see underneath) using a California Sunbounce Sun-Swatter on a solid Manfrotto 007bu tripod to diffuse the bright sun hitting them. The tripod is sand bagged and also features a "lazy leg" adjustment for leveling the stand on uneven terrain. I also picked a shaded area mostly as a background, the magazine wanted the shot to show some grass and stadium. In the overview underneath you can see the California Sunbounce Mini Zebra and how we bounce with a in on them. A very simple and very effective method for midday sun.
The two spreads underneath are also shot about 30 min from midday which is perfect down in the dugout. There is so much light bouncing in to the dugout since the sun is so close to it. In some of the shots we added a little soft/gold called Zebra in the CSB language. (Sun-Bounce to give the directional light a little more punch and add a little warmth on the subject so they would pop out even more from the blue background (which is a complimentary color to their skin and a color that creates distance).
Underneath you can see the full size file as shot. I composed this shot for a 2-page spread to start the story inside the magazine, the crease in the middle of the magazine is what I always have to keep in mind when I do that.
When I first had them sitting there, I also made sure to get some pictures of them individually. It was fun to see how much more comfortable they were sitting in the dugout than standing out on the field posing, they were in their right element. We could easily have used this for cover, but the magazine wanted some summer and the local stadium look. In the overview underneath, see how close the dugout is to being in the sun which gives it a nice tunnel effect of light with the roof making a perfect block overhead. I'm so in the zone when I shoot and I try to respect my clients time, so the overview is shot right after the we shots used. That was a wrap for the shoot, total time shooting with subjects on hand 30 min. I have a lot of respect of people's busy life and schedules and find it very important to be ready on time, and use no more time than necessary.
Vernon Sanders Law (born March 12, 1930 in Meridian, Idaho) is a retired Major League Baseball pitcher. He played 16 seasons (1950-1951and 1954-1967) for the Pittsburgh Pirates. World Series Champion with The Pirates in 1960. Law was a member of the National League All Star Team in 1960. He won the Cy Young Award, and led the National League in complete games that year.
Vance Aaron Law (born October 1, 1956 in Boise, Idaho) is a former third baseman in Major League Baseball. From 1980 through 1991, he played for thePittsburgh Pirates (1980–81), Chicago White Sox (1982–84), Montreal Expos (1985–87), Chicago Cubs (1988–89), and Oakland Athletics (1991). He was an All-Star (NL) in: 1988. He also played one season in Japan for the Chunichi Dragons in 1990. Law batted and threw right-handed. He is the son of Cy Young Award winner Vern Law. He is currently the head baseball coachat Brigham Young University
The biggest problem with most candids is that people don't look as good as they could in them, often bad light, background etc. Often it's well worth compromising to get a real moment. The alternative on a shoot where you can control things is choreographed candids, of course you are not going to interfere with something like a wedding ceremony.
Here is some samples with comments underneath each image.
This picture is taken right outside my studio in Norway, I loved the cobble stones. It was hard to get a true candid without getting buildings and power cords through their faces. I think it is very important to have peace around their faces when they look at each other. Also wanted to incorporate the beautiful antique Mercedes so I planned the shot to be right there, but then have them start walking a bit before where I want my shot.
A beautiful wedding in Santa Barbara, the brides home is right up from the beach so the location is meaningful to her. It was hard light so a good time for interacting. So yes, I asked him to do what he is doing, choreographed again, but have a candid feeling.
The family picture is taken on one of Salt Lake City's busiest streets with lots of people around. using my favorite lens Canon 70-200mm 2.8 L. Going in a bit low angel getting some old pillars from a store entry as a background, a bit busy but work fine when blurred. It is all choreographed telling her to play with the baby and him turning back towards her.
I think some of the most beautiful things I see in life are pregnant women. Christina got married to Trevor in September 2001 and we have been so fortunate to Photograph them and their additions ever since. We usually shoot 4 times a year, InStudio, at their beautiful home in Park City and at many different locations. It's been so great to be able to watch them over the years, great parents, great kids.
Today I want to show you just 3 of the images we have done. One from each of Christina's pregnancies. These 3 images were never shot thinking of them hanging in a group of 3 which they now do in their home. I think it is fun how we had Trevor the first time and then have added the kids as they come. I love modern photography but I try to make sure I always shoot some classic timeless pieces which was good in this case, hope you enjoy?