Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Todays Shoot - Summer

Back in middle school, I had a friend named Summer, and she ended up moving away before high school, but we periodically kept in touch, and then via the magic of facebook, we re-connected and started catching up again.

Summer had just endured and overcome a battle with thyroid cancer, in which her thyroid was actually removed. She was disheartened by the scar left on her body, which to me, if anything, is a badge of victory for her strength to overcome a battle that most dont generally come out of in victory.

Anyway, for as long as I have known her, Summer has been one of the most beautiful people i've ever seen, both outer beauty as well as a genuinely kind, warm, glowing personality.

I really wanted to show her, that despite her battle, her victory, she shouldnt be disheartened with ANYTHING about herself, as she even more of a beautiful person today, then before. So I convinced her to come out to catch up and do a photo shoot.

Our styles are nothing alike, what shes into and what im into, in terms of shooting/modeling, so I tried to blend our styles a bit.

We started with a bunch of in studio stuff, which neither of us were really feeling, as we were just getting used to shooting a different style, and she was just coming out of her shell, so to speak. Here is one of the images I liked, it was shot wiht two 3x4 soft boxes, the mark 2 1ds - and the 79-200 at F14 ISO100 at a 160th

After shooting in studio we went outside and did all natural light stuff, which ended up being so much more awesome for both of us. I took her into a few different spots around the studio, some industrial and nature type of spots, some that are a mix of the two. What I really liked about all of these spots is Summer just seemed to GLOW in every spot we hit. I did some darker areas where it really brought out how much she separates from her surroundings by just glowing... youll see what i mean.. - these were shot with the 25-70 - generally around 2.8 at iso 400 - and the shutter speed went from 250-2000 depending on if we were in shadow or sunlight.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Todays Shoot - Fit For An Autopsy

So Im writing this four days short of a month late. things have been extremely busy, and as you can imagine, this is a labor of love, so when I dont have time this blog seems to suffer, but for those holding on... thanks for following.

So! if you remember I did a seminar in Jersey with Gage Young, which was at the syndicate building, which is also where Machine has his studio (hes a well known producer) - as I was walking in the hallway I ran into my good friend Nate Johnson! you might know him from since the flood, or turmoil.... or through the eyes of the dead... and now youll known him from fit for an autopsy! and god DAMN! do they rule. br00tul death metal! now, not only is Nate the vocalist of the band, but Will (who works with machine) is also in the band! so I asked them to come by and be a guest band at the seminar.

Below is the photo shoot I did with them that day, and please keep in mind this was not a legit shoot as much as it was different types of lighting, locations, and situations for the students to learn from.

I started in the hallway by an old freight elevator, using just a boomed beauty dish - I was shooting at F18 at a 160th at ISO100 - with the dynalite jackrabbit uni400 - canon 1ds mark 2 and the 24-70 2.8 - I really wanted to show the different things you could do with minimal lighting, such as one light, two lights, three lights... what most start off with

After that we rolled outside and I did some natural light shots in front of a silver drop gate garage. What I tend to do when shooting natural is to try to have a very solid background, one pattern, etc. because it doesnt take too much focus off of the band. these are 2.8 at 1000th - again iso100

We then hit under the bridge, where just a month or so earlier I was shooting Iron Thrones - I wouldnt have used this location in a real shoot because I had used it VERY recently, but again, this was to show students.. I shot these with alllmost split lighting - id say they were turned in just a bit more then split - and i shot this TOO SLOW! i was at a 10th-15th and should have really upped my ISO in order to get what I needed. but, i was in a bit of a rush as I had two more quick sets I wanted to do. Luckily i have extremely steady hands and for the two images with too much movement - i have 15 usable images

Next set we did was a big open shot with three lights - using the CAT that was in the lot across the street. I put two umbrellas up REAL high - and used a beauty dish in the middle trying to get solid light in all areas I needed - this was shot at F8 as the lights were spread so thin, I had to shoot at a 250th to make sure the sky didnt white out - and in all I have about 4 solid shots from this set (which is good cause all you really need is one!)

After this the group moved on to Gage but I decided to do some more photos of the guys, and in turn got my favorite little lighting trick of the day - I took them into a hallway - and shot with just the boomed beauty dish... I wasnt a fan, so I did this nifty trick... i used two bares behind them - one pointed toward them and down to give cast shadows underneath them, toward the lens, and the other pointed away from them, pointed up to add light to the hallway and give them more depth/seperation. - this was shot at a 10th at F18 to bring in the natural light as fill, even did some photos of pats new born baby with the same set. - i have two set up shots here - with and with out the lights going off so you can really see what it does - and no - the baby isnt crying - he was yawning - awwww.

After doing a bit of that - i did some photos of nate doing vocal tracking cause the dudes needed them for in studio reports and such - I shot these at 2.8 iso800 - and went between a 30th and 60th - i had to really aim and wait for steadiness and of the 40-50 images i took about 2 have blur in them, so sometimes its worth the risk to really get the natural lighting in there.

All in all jersey was a pretty big bust aside from getting to do this shoot with friends, see ray chaos, and teach a very small intimate group - the most weve ever taught anyone before.

The next seminar is back in Mass - sept 11/12 - should be good times!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Todays Shoot - Silent Bob (Saffer)

So I was in Jersey to do a workshop, I rolled in a day early to check out the spot and prep.

FUCK NEW JERSEY/NEW YORK! its all traffic all the time, and everyone drives like a kamikaze terrorist all tryin to kill me.

Anyway we were an hour or so from Red Bank, NJ. which is where the infamous CLERKS was filmed.

I went to the quick stop about 3 years ago with all that remains, when on a mini tour in a van, but wanted to go again and be nerdy.

Gage and I rolled up and took some natural light photos of each other in front of the quick stop, if we had a third person it woulda been a perfect Gage and Silent Saff photo - but alas, it was just us.

Anyway - it was shot at an 800th ISO100 at 2.8 - tadaaa

After doing the shoot we went to jay and silent bobs secret stash, I got some stuff, we went back to jersey and did our seminar... which will be my next post!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Todays Shoot - All That Remains

Sometimes some of my really good friends end up in really good bands that I get to work with on a semi-consistent basis. This is pretty much the epitome of that situation, being that I've known most of the people in this band for 10+ years, or longer... makes me feel old.

Anyway, working with friends is sometimes difficult, because some bands dont take the shoot as seriously or as professional as they would with someone they dont know - however this is NOT the case with All That Remains, they are always 100% on point anytime we need to get a job done.

So I basically hit up the guys a week before to set it up - and we all worked it out around everyones schedule which was fairly open for the week, so its super simple.

We met up and started with some studio stuff

I went with triangular lighting to start with, because its something I havent really used that with all that remains before, so I figured somehting different would be cool. We shot on white with two rims at 25% power pointed about shoulder area of phil, and a 3x4 softbox boomed directly above him at 50% power. These were shot with the 70-200 at ISO100 at a 160th. We did some group shots and solos, some standard stuff the magazine likes.

After that set we did a second in studio set with just a boomed beauty dish - which is somewhat interesting to use when Oli is about 100 feet tall and Jeanne is about 2 inches tall. so the light hits them differently, and you have to set them at different distances from the dish in order to get somewhat even lighting on them. No two members of this band are the same shape, size, or height. I shot this at F16 - I brought jeanne up front a bit, and threw oli toward the back, the other dudes are much closer in size and stature, and bled much easier together, but you also dont want to make the image look like someones out of the pictures. Anyway, when I shoot with a beauty dish i want it so it bleeds onto the background and gives them some back lighting to seperate them from the paper, but also set them at least by the edge NOT the middle - of the beauty dish (at this angle) so no one gets megaharsh shadows on their face.

Oh LOOK! All That Remains fuels up for the rest of the shoot with some MONSTER!

After doing in studio stuff - we went a few blocks over to their practice space, and started by shooting against a very stormy looking sky. I shot this with a boomed beauty dish and two rims, which is the whole triangular lighting thing, which to me, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt, For me, this time, I wasnt into it, but it was way too windy and too time crunchy to use softboxes or umbrellas. I got some nasty lens flare, and the lighting wasnt exactly how I wanted it, but at this point I knew time was very short as Phil had to do some studio stuff for the new record, so, I got a few shots I liked then moved on. And when doing a photoshoot, your goal for each set is to get 1-2 SOLID photos per set. so... mission accomplished, but I like to try to get at least 10 solid photos per set. anyhoo, see below

We then went inside and did a few sets in the giant open area of the warehouse which only had two windows way in the back where light was pouring in at a strong 45 degree angle - kind of like a prison cell type of photo - i dug it.

For the first set i used a beauty dish main and hid two bare bulbs just to throw some more light in the area behind them I shot this at F 18 at ISO400 - as it was super dark in there with the storm coming in. I shot these at a half a second 1/2 to get as much bleed as possible but ended up with a bit of ghosting, nothing so strong that it ruins the image, but a bit with background light - shoulda used a tripod - but again - time-crunch.

Next set we did was closer to the back of the room where the light was - I shot these with two umrellas split and a beauty dish main so there would be no shadow. For these i was at ISO250 at F16 but shot at a SUPER open speed - 2-3 seconds to really bring in the lighting and I really got ALOT of ghosting in some photos - while other photos were more solid. I got about 12 usable images out of 16. so thats a solid percentage for that type of drag.

I finished up with some solos of phil which i used two rims to purposefully get ALOT of lens flare and beauty dish main, I wanted the flare to give a very solid body cut rather than a face-flare obviously - and to me it enhances the image - again at F16 ISO250 at a half a second.

We finished up, phil went on to do some vocals, and Mike Martin and I went back to the studio to do some shots for PRS guitars. I've done about 12 guitar shoots with all that remains, so this is like me ordering food at on the boarder - i know exactly what i want - i know exactly what they want - quick and painless. I did this with two 3x4 soft boxes for side lighting, and either a boomed beauty dish or 1x4 - i forget what i used for front lighting *shrug* - anyway these were with the 70-200 at F16 at ISO100

Shooting all that remains is kind of like, cool, i get to hang out with my friends, get a job done, get paid for it, and then get to eat terribly fat food later on. Its awesome.

When working with bands who have various heights, shapes and sizes, the most important thing is knowing where to place everyone in relation to the light that is hitting them, especially lighting placement, and direction. Photographing this band is no simple task when trying to light them evenly and make oli/jeanne look like they arent dr evil and mini me, aside from the fact they dont look alike, obviously. When you take calculated risks like dragging the shutter for a half a second, even 2 or 3 seconds, you really need to make sure you stay solid and the band stays solid. because an unusable blurry image isnt going to help anyone. Luckily ATR knows how to be 110% pro, they are the BEST band to work with (and to work for), and we always get multiple sets of solid images to use.