Mette Bundgaard who is a teacher at a makeup school in Copenhagen contacted me to pitch this idea - a photoshoot with 50's mafia theme and her students as makeup artists and stylists for the shoot. They had full control of picking models, outfits and styling them to this shoot - all they needed was a photographer.
Mette had already pitched an idea for location, which we scouted before the shoot. It was the restaurant Fabio in Copenhagen, which had a very authentic wine cellar, but very small rooms and quite low ceiling. We decided to have a go at it anyways, and here's what we ended up with.
Styling and makeup
Michelle Sun Voigt
Lena Steinicken Jensen
Jannie Rostkjær Brender
When people see my photos, I often get quite good response - they are impressed by the photoshop work in some of the photos, and a couple of them are quite big setups. These photos have commercial value of some sort - at least, that's what I think. So why don't the big commercial agencies call me 8 times a day to book me to the world wide campaigns for Coca Cola and Sony?
And what about my portraits? They are pretty good - shouldn't everyone call me when they want a creative portrait done?
Do any of this sound famillar? Are you wondering why people aren't filling up your mail box with job offers? Maybe you should have a second look at your portfolio, and evaluate not only if the images are good, but if they really SELL.
This post is gonna focus on a couple of different genres - portraits, commercial and fashion - This is because I have experience with these genres, but also because there is more to this that just a good photo. I'm not trying to devaluate product and architectual photography, but if you make good photos of either, then you have what you need - a good photo of a model, doesn't nescecarily sell clothes.
So lets dive right into it - I'm gonna use a bunch of my own photos to illustrate and discuss, so tag along.
Above are two portraits (of some sort at least). The one on the left is quite simple 2 light setup, shot straight on with a grey background (toned a bit in post production). It's simple, and neither lighting or background steals too much from the portraited person.
The image on the right has seen a bit more extensive photoshop. A background has been added, 3 lights were used and it's a bit more flashy in general. But there is no contact with the person - the effects steal some of the attention, and it becomes an effect based image rather than a portrait of a person.
While the image on the right has more initial wow factor, it doesn't do the person just as a portrait - it simply does not tell the story about that specific person, and people sees that. If I wanted to sell myself as a portrait photographer, choosing images like the one on the right wouldn't serve me very good - at least not filling up a portfolio with them.
Here we see 2 fashion potraits of the same model and designer. Once again, the image on the left is a simple shot with 2 lamps, a white(ish) background and a model showing clothing. On the right, the same model in similar clothing is being bathed in photoshopped smoke and light, which has an effect - it makes for an interesting photo which might strike some as pretty cool. What it fails to do however, is to sell the clothing, and since this is fashion, it kinda defeats it's own purpose.
In a case like this, You have to, as the photographer (and retoucher) think of what the client want - in this case the designer or magazine. Let's say your website has 20 images on it, you should only need 5-7 images that shows what you're capable of in post production, unless that of course is your main focus.
Above is two different group portraits. Let's say that these are both family portraits of some sort. The top one actually is, while the bottom one is a group of dancers.
Which one of the two images work better? Probably the latter, right? Simplicity allows us to focus on the persons which it is all about. We wanna see the people in the photo, not hide them behind effects.
At this point, I've actually been harping on my own style. I tend to exaggerate on the post processing, but hopefully this can serve as an example to others. I do like when things gets pushed to the limit when it comes to post production, but it's not always the better thing to do - especially when it comes to portraits and fashion, which both have their own purposes.
The last two photos I'll have a look at, are the ones of the spartan in the streets of Copenhagen. The photo on the left has become one of my signature photos, and I count it amongst one of my all time favourites. In my eyes, these are both categorized as commercial photography, and while the photo on the left doesn't have a clear signal or purpose, the photo on the right shows our spartan in a very specific act - reading the newspaper, which easily translates into something with commercial value - this image should be easy to use in a commercial for the newspaper right?
In the genre of commercial photography, every trick in the book is allowed, especially when it comes to post production. I'm not saying you should exaggerate everything, but if it is done well, a heavily post processed image speaks very well with this genre. While the image on the right has a very clear message and is easily understandable, the image on the right has more of a wow factor - you tend to wanna stare at that longer, and when it comes to commercial photography, that's a very vital quality. Had it been a portrait, It would have been somewhat off, but as a commercial photo, it does what it does well.
I hope this has given an insight in some of the thoughts behind the different genres of photograhy that I work in, and what we all need to have in mind when planning, shooting and editing.
This year, I had been invited to do a workshop, so knowing how the setup usually was, and what a sweet location we had to work with, I focused on action, superheroes and movie poster inspiration.
Trine and Eric helped me as badass superheroes (superhero and sidekick actually) which ended up as seen below.
During the workshop, I demonstrated how color gels helped change the scene drastically and add drama to a shoot. Without gels, the shot looked like this:
I started out with red gels in front of the rim light in the right hand corner (from our point of view) which looked like this
I changed it to yellow for balance purposes and... I have a thing for teal orange, but I guess I'm not the only one.
Wanna see what I mean, check out these movie posters
Here's another shot followed by a closeup of the sidekick in background
Check out the epicness of that shit - yellow and blue gels will get you far my friends.
Video resumés, ways to show your work and skills is a new path that more and more creative people travel.
How do you present yourself as a photographer? Or designer - or accountant? Now that Video dslr is a reality, showing yourself through video has become something that most of us can do - here's an example I made.
Before doing the video, I researched, and stumbled upon a few creative videos - there were not many, but those I found had something:
Michael Bang afholder for 3. år i træk Copenhagen Photomeetup, og jeg har endnu engang fået fornøjelsen af at lave en workshop for de deltagere, der måtte finde det interessant.
Læs meget mere om hvad der kommer til at foregå på photomeetups blog.
I samarbejde med Frank Visler, er det lykkedes at skaffe nogle fede lokaler til undervisning i Photoshop. Vi starter ud med begyndere den første mandag i April.
Første mandag i hver måned vil byde på Photoshop-undervisning for begyndere. Kurset vil køre fra 17.30 til 21.00 .
Anden mandag i hver måned vil byde på Photoshop-undervisning for øvede. Kurset vil køre fra 17.30 til 21.00.
Tredje mandag i hver måned vil byde på Photoshop-undervisning for eksperter. Kurset vil køre fra 17.30 til 21.00.
Fjerde mandag i hver måned vil være åben for specialkurser med gæstelærere, lysworkshops eller kursisternes ønsker og behov.
d. 23 April vil Thomas Løvring stå for undervisning: (Min 10 deltagere - max 20) - 500 DKK
Indtrodution til beauty/portræt fotografering. Forskellen på en octabank, softboks, paraply, striplight og beauty dish - Hvad grid gør og hvordan man kan feather lyset.
Hvordan man kan forme lys og hvor blødt/hårdt man vil have det.
En gennemgang af de forskellige ting man kan ændre (lukkertid, blænde, lys, afstand) alt efter hvad man vil frem til og hvilket udtryk man vil have.
Vi vil afprøve det hele på en model og vi finder frem til et godt billede som skal bruges til næste tema aften, hvor det bliver retoucheret.
Tilmeldning på firstname.lastname@example.org
Der vil til kurserne være en sandwich, the og kaffe samt mulighed for at købe sodavand, hvis man ikke selv medbringer. Alle kursister vil derudover få et dokument med en række huskeværdige genveje samt tricks til Photoshop, der er blevet gennemgået den pågældende aften.
På hvert kursus vil der være én ”studenter”plads, som får kurset til halv pris – til gengæld skal denne person sørge for at der er the og kaffe til deltagerne i løbet af aftenen.
Det hele foregår i dejligt rummelige kursuslokaler på amager, 800m fra Amagerbro station og Lergravsparken.
Begynder (Min. 7 deltagere – max 15) - 450 DKK
Kurset er for de helt nye, der gerne vil lære hvad photoshop egentlig kan. Der vil være en introduktion til programmets funktioner, værktøjer og mest grundlæggende features. Nøgleord er: Lag (layers) lagmasker (layer masks) clone, crop, healing brush, contrast, sort/hvid konvertering og farvekorrektion. Derudover vil vi se nærmere på Raw og Jpeg. Samt rawkonvertering af billedfiler. Der vil blive gennemgået keyboardgenveje og hjælp til opsætning af dette samt Photoshop.
Kurset forudsætter en bærbar pc eller mac med Photoshop cs installeret (der undervises i cs5). Har du ikke Photoshop CS kan en gratis 30-dages version downloades her.
Øvet (Min. 7 deltagere – max 20) - 500 DKK
Kurset for dem der allerede har et kendskab til programmet og en håndfuld af dets features, men ikke helt kan huske hvad der der layer masks egentlig er. I forlængelse af begynderkurset vil der også her blive set nærmere på rawkonvertering – vi stifter bekendtskab med farverum og hvad det kan betyde for din redigering. Blending modes vil blive præsenteret, og filtre som sharpen, bliver set efter i kanterne. Vi vil se nærmere på hud, crossprocessing, og 3 sikre måder at redigere dine billeder på, når ideerne er væk.
Kurset forudsætter en bærbar pc eller mac med Photoshop cs installeret (der undervises i cs5).
Ekspert (Min. 7 deltagere – max 20) - 600 DKK
Ekspertkurset er for dem, der kender sit Photoshop, og er tryg ved det, men måske sidder fast i de samme faste rutiner, og trænger til at blive rystet lidt rundt. Der vil blive kigget nærmere på at sætte billeder sammen, den kreative proces bag netop det, fonte og layout (blending options), fritlægning, vejen til de perfekte hudtoner, kontrolleret brug af clone, og værktøjet content-aware scale, som folk måske har hørt om, men aldrig rigtig brugt.
Kurset forudsætter en bærbar pc eller mac med Photoshop cs installeret (der undervises i cs5).
Tilmelding foregår ved at sende mail til een af tre følgende emails alt afhængigt af hvilket kursus du vil tilmelde dig.
Tilmelder du dig alle tre (i løbet af et år) får du sidste kursus til halv pris.
email@example.com (læg mærke til at det er ovet og ikke øvet i mailadressen)
Tilmeldingen er først endelig når betaling registreres på den konto, der sendes i svarmail.
A colleague of mine showed me an investment he had made via Ebay - a "home-made" camera slider that he had bought for less than 900 DKK. Considering the price range that these bastards normally are to be found in, 900 DKK sounded like a bargain.
I went ahead and ordered one myself, and I've made this small video review in Danish showing what it does, along with a few test shots.
Jeg har arbejdet med flashlamperne Dison og Oubau, begge 600W, og tænkte at det med noget erfaring i baggagen var på sin plads at lave en forhåbentlig brugbar anmeldelse, hvis du går og overvejer køb af flashudstyr.
Det er ikke smukt, og lyden er kun lige på den gode side af forfærdelig, men indhold burde der være noget af.
Anmeldelsen tager sit udgangspunkt i de billige lamper, og jeg kan kun tale ud fra hvad jeg selv har erfaringer med, der bla. tæller Interfit, Boling, Triopo, Walimex, Profoto, Oubau og Dison.
Every once in a while, online magazines contact me in order for them to feature some of my photos. This is a product of having your work available around different websites - some have seen my work at deviantart.com, others on modelmayhem and such. I have learned that you can never have your images too many places - all it takes is a little bit of work, but brewing a full pot of coffee and spending a late evening working on it, should do the trick.
This time, Uptempo magazine were the ones to feature 4 of my icy photos, which can be seen here on page 42-44 if I'm not mistaken: uptempomagazine.com
Last time was in Klassik magazine issue nr 9 and 2 other magazines have my images featured soon.
I've decided to add a list of places you can have your images showcased other than your private gallery on facebook. Not all of them are equally as good, but they all serve the purpose somehow - I'll leave you to decide which ones to visit.
Deviantart.com - the biggest art site world wide to my knowledge and therefore easiest to drown in.
modelmayhem.com - huge site with models, photoshop wizards, makeup-artists, stylists and photographs sharing and caring.
model.se - mostly used by danish models, photographers and stylists - somewhat less professional than the other sites.
findfotografen.dk - a list of photographers in Denmark. No reason not to be in here.
fotostart.dk - once the biggest forum for photography in Denmark - it still has a puls I think.
1x.com - Submit your images and let the other photographers decide if you're hot enough for their exclusive club.
flickr.com - create your own webgalleries with good old flickr.
500px.com - Thank you Frank
Now get to it!