Friday, July 13, 2012

On Location Photography - Outdoors

garden by helios00
garden, a photo by helios00 on Flickr.
With this weather, any chance to get outdoors and do those back log of outdoor fashion portrait photos I'm taking it.

On-location photography is as exhausting as it rewarding. Although I normally prefer the ultimate control a studio environment gives, nothing beats natural backdrops and picturesque settings as given by the outdoors. You simply can't buy (or afford to buy) every single color backdrop that you would find in nature.

But it's not without its challenges. Nature is what nature does; it's often unpredictable. It gets cold, hot, rainy, humid, too bright and too dark. Then there are bugs, and ants and sweat (I hate sweating). But if that's not the worst of it it's the lugging your equipment around for what are literally miles on foot. You have to pack it all up and hope you don't forget anything when you leave. Then double and triple check to make sure you didn't leave anything behind.

This is what has compelled me to alter my photography shooting style as well as what equipment I now utilize. Shoot more, pack lighter and buy better. In short, buy less equipment, buy lighter equipment for mobility but buy better equipment. You need stuff that can hold up to being banged around a bit. But when the sun is just right, you also don't want to be caught still struggling trying to setup huge pieces of equipment when your moment comes and passes you by.

But now that I'm starting to get a handle on what I need and what I don't need, I'm finding that outdoor on-location shoots are all worth it. Images take on a depth and a more dynamic characteristic you simply can't get indoors.

All things being equal, you are limitless in what you can do provided that you have the right location, the know how and of course a perfect subject.

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Road Trip" by heliosimaging

"Road Trip"
Registered © 2012 heliosimaging
All Rights Reserved

This image is part of an editorial series by Helios inspired by a commercial ad by Armani X I discovered a few months ago. Surprisingly, I believe the ad to be several months if not a year older. To say that I was wowed would be an understatement when I saw the ad trailer. 
I will be featuring the full editorial on the site at as soon as time allows. It was major inspiration but as with all things I generally do, I took my own creative route as the shoot unfolded. 
Born out of desperation spawned from a last minute shoot cancellation I decided to move forward with the shoot anyway. With that many resources, time and expenses at play I simply couldn’t abandon the entire exercise albeit still inconvenient in the worst way. We cut the shoot time in half, changed the general flow of the theme, and tweaked the angles to produce something we thought was even more compelling. It ended up being a much shorter shoot than originally planned but with that unexpected wrinkle what could you expect. 
It was a huge success by any measure. I can’t say what the motivations were beyond what I was told for the cancellation but I can say that the original model seriously missed out. The shoot was a real back bender in the real sense of the word so the stand-in model who claimed to be of advanced age and retired from such modeling stunts clearly came out ahead and may have been the better choice all along. Professionalism, communication, common courtesy and a willingness to go above and beyond is what makes all this stuff worthwhile. I love working with dependable people. 
Beyond that I was a bit sore myself from the climbing, bending, leaning and twisting  and more so without the help of my assistant. That being said, it was my assistant that became my stand-in and boy was I wrong to pass her up. I should have insisted on her shooting the series when I first mapped out the idea. I was lucky she agreed with only two hours to prepare before the shoot. But hey, I’m a sucker for newbies and really wanted to give an upstart a shot. Maybe someday when I get past the huge disappointment this time, and with TFs in general that I understandably seldom do, a time will come again.
In any event, look out for it. At least a half dozen more images are being refined right now. I will keep you posted as to when it will be featured on the primary site at

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mojo Spirits 1

Mojo Spirits 1 by Coco rococo
Mojo Spirits 1, a photo by Coco rococo on Flickr.
Seeing these images made me realize just how important a wardrobe stylist, an mua, and a hair stylist really are. See the full series by Coco rococo on Flickr.

As a photographer, your job is vast enough. You're coordinating, directing, composing and employing your mastery of light and composition. The last thing you need to worry about are shoes, loose hairs, and wardrobe malfunctions.

As the photographer, you have to know a bit about it all. But your focus is mastering the shot and capturing the essence of the moment in every detail. That requires a keen eye and often not just yours.

I have a deep appreciation for the process which is why I always search for images to encourage and inspire me like this one. The entire set is spectacular and even invokes a sense of pride in seeing how such goddesses are portrayed with the dignity, beauty and grace they are worthy of.

Monday, July 2, 2012

2012 Olympic Team Horrible Photo Failure

Check out this horrible photo failure of the 2012 Olympic Team...

An inside joke or not these athletes represent what is the United States' best in terms of performance, discipline, training, physical prowess and conditioning. They should be represented in a fashion representative of those achievements. These images are horrible and if they were a PR stunt then that PR person should be fired. If they were test shots then the person that authorized their release should be fired or at least disciplined. 
In response to someone that commented earlier on this article that the amateurship looking studio shots are a new trend and even purposely lit badly or poorly edited; that's simply because there are so many wannabes calling themselves photographers. It's not a trend. It's a symptom of a market overcrowded with people that own cameras and call themselves photographers. The fact that you see it as a trend is because there is so much of it. High end well established photographers are still doing high end work. These shots are a travesty.