One of the most important ways to become a better photographer is to step outside of your comfort zone. Now this is much easier said then done but it is something I am personally working on.
The type of photos I capture generally revolve around candid images. In this case I set up a continuos light studio inside my loft to take portraits of my model. This is the furthest thing away from candid and totally out of my every day comfort zone.
As scary as it may seem to veer out of your normal zone it’s something every photographer should be doing. Sure you may be good at one thing or another but the only way to get better is to experiment. You are shooting digital, you have no film to waste, processing to have done or prints to make. You can simply get out there, shoot, review and shoot some more. That is the leg up you have today over 20 years ago.
When I set up this 5 Min Portrait is Jenna I knew I wanted to do something different than I normally did. I decided I wanted to shoot continuous light portraits using my keno flows. I set them up in a simple pattern which is very similar to what Peter Hurley does for his head-shots.
One thing you have to keep in mind is you can have the exact same lighting set up as Peter or I, the same camera and settings and not get the same results. I wont get the same results as Peter because I don’t talk to the subject the same way he does as well as seeing the world different. This doesn’t mean I wont capture something that is still amazing. You have to remember that we all see the world different, we interact different and pull out different emotions from our subjects. There is no right or wrong way to do this, just some people do it better than others.
My goal with this shoot was to capture a nice little cross section of images of Jenna. Jenna is not a professional model but has posed for a few photographers in the past. I think she is great in front of the camera and takes direction very well.
With any photo shoot I like to come out with three to five solid keepers regardless of how many images I take or don’t take. Generally speaking you wont get to see the non keepers from most photographers but I chose to share every shot from this 5 Min Portrait. I do that so you can see not just the best shots but the ones that just missed or were so far off base that I never should have let them see the light of day.
This is all about learning and becoming a better photographer, the only way you get better is to step outside of your comfort zone and practice. There is not shame in not getting the best results when you are trying something new. The only shame is if you don’t try.
With this 5 Min Portrait I only filmed the first part of the shoot. After the initial head-shots were captured I changed up the lights and the scene to allow me to try some other scenarios before finally doing some natural light portraits around the loft. You can see those images in the editing video below.
Editing the 5 Min Portrait
As I have been doing more often after photo shoots like this, I am going to share with you the editing process I went through to get the final images. It is important to remember that this is my style for editing and not everyone will like what I come up with. It’s very important to formulate your style not only in the images you capture but in the way you process them. With that said, there is a lot of information you can take out of this section so please enjoy.
I also share with you images that I captured after the camera stopped rolling. We kept shooting for another hour or two, trying different lighting setups and poses. One thing I learned from this shoot is that I am not very good with directing the model when it comes to posing. This is something I am not terribly to used to doing. When I am shooting candids I let the model to what they do and capture it. In this setting, I have to tell the model what I am looking for in order to bring that out of them.
On the other hand when you work with a professional model they tend to know how to flow andmove which makes for less work giving direction. That is in no way a knock at Jenna as she did a fantastic job in front of the camera.
If you would like to view all the full res exports please CLICK HERE.Read More »
I am back with another 5 Minute Portrait and this time around my goal was to capture a YouTube Thumbnail for a fitness video with Maria.
Thumbnails on YouTube are very important and can be the difference between getting people to watch your video or not. But a lot of people tend to try and cheat their thumbnail by selecting it to be something that has nothing to do with the video itself.
In this case my goal was to capture a killer thumbnail for an ab workout video with Maria. Maria is looking to create A Fitness YouTube Channel so I helped out by filming a few videos for her. Since we already had her video shoot in the can it only made sense to take photos in the same situations for the thumbnail.
The photo shoot went pretty smoothly as you will see from the photos in the video and below. But I ran into a major issue when I attempted to import the files from the CF card to the computer. Somehow the card ended up getting corrupted and could not be read by any computer. I would think this was mostly my fault for putting the card in the card reader and removing it a bunch of times without ever actually exporting the photos. I exported the video before but not the photos. And yes if you are wondering I did eject the card before removing it from the card reader.
I was pretty bummed that I lost the files but I figured I would try and recover them like I have heard many people have done. I first attempted using the Pro recovery software from Sandisk and that was not able to recover anything. I than found a different one online which I purchased and it had success in pulling hundred of files.
It found all of the photos from Maria’s photo shoot along with hundreds of other photos going back months. Now it did not find any RAW images but it did find jpegs which is better than nothing. If this was a professional shooting I would not have been totally SOL. Sure the files that it recovered would not be good enough for much more than an 8×10 they were perfectly usable for online use.
The reason I use the word “simple” in the title of this post is because this is a very basic setup that just about anyone can do.
Product photography does not have to be overwhelming. You don’t always need fourteen different lights, reflectors and assistants to capture a product shot. Of course in some situations where it is called for, you may need a more intense setup.
If your goal is to simply get a product shot captured and online to help you showcase a something than the tips in this video will come in handy.
When I am shooting photos of products on my kitchen table I like to use the natural light from outside and sometimes some continuos lights inside. In this case my main light was the daylight with a little bit of fill come from a continuous light that was meant to light me for the video.
My goal was to capture a product shot of the Canon lens that could be used for an article, a sales page or just for practice.
Autofocus in DSLRs during video recording has come a long way in the last few years. We all know that DSLRs have not caught up to your standard camcorders but that’s all about to change.
There are a few different cameras on the market from different manufactures that have taken that leap to giving you almost camcorder like autofocus. Thanks to BorrowLenses and AllensCamera I was able to get my hands on a Canon 70d to do a full review. The full review is still on its way but I wanted to share some findings from my first video shoot with it.
As you guys know I like to push cameras to their limits when it comes to testing them. Anyone can test a camera in great light and call it fantastic but I like to shoot in poor light and see how the camera really does. So my test was to determine how well the Canon 70d would autofocus in a concert situation.
My friends in the band Silvertide had a show and I made the decision to test the 70d’s capabilities. During soundcheck I was messing with the new touch autofocus where you touch the lcd and it focus right there. I noticed a bunch of guitar picks on top of an amp and thought this would showcase how well this cameras autofocus system works.
I set up on my video mono-pod, strapped the GoPro to my forehead so you could watch me touch the screen and hit record. I was amazed as soon as I touched the pick on the far left followed by the one on the far right. Not only was the focus accurate to where I wanted it to be, it transitioned smoothly and quickly. I was not expecting what I saw but I sure was happy with it.
When I was out filming the Nikon D7100 REVIEW (which you can find right here) I found myself shooting a baseball game. I used the GoPro Hero 3 to capture the First Person Shooter Perspective and turned it into a 5 Min Portrait for the review.
I know you guys really enjoy these type of videos so I decided to separate it from the review and share it with you.
The gear used with the Nikon D7100, Nikon 70-200 2.8 VRII and the Nikon 300 2.8 AFS.
For the FULL Nikon D7100 Review please click here.Read More »
I am back with my latest 5 Min Portrait and First Person Shooter Project video all in one. I had the chance to Photograph Macklemore of Thrift Shop fame for his three song set. For this video I decided to let you watch all three songs as captured by the First Person Shooter Camera as well as do a commentary track over the video.
Let me set up the gear I was using first before I break into what it was like to photograph this show. I was using the Canon 1D X with the 70-200 2.8II, 24-70 2.8II (thanks BorrowLenses.com) and the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition attached to the hot shoe of the Canon.
If you have never photographed a concert this is the closest you can get to being in the pit without being there. As is normal today we had three songs to capture Macklemore who loves to run around the stage. Beyond how fast he moves (which is great by the way) he had sunglasses on which means you do not get that personal feel from seeing his eyes. Later on in his set he did end up taking his glasses off which allowed me to capture some nice images.
Welcome to another 5 Min Portrait Video. This time around I just wanted to shoot, I didn’t want to turn to the camera to explain what I was doing I just wanted to capture images.
With that said there is so much you can learn from watching me interact with Maria. You get to hear our interactions, you get to see what works and what does not. You have a front row seat to one of my photo shoots.
You will see every image pop up as its taken. You get to see the good with the bad as well as some that are not edited. The reason that some are not edited is they were not keepers to me.
For this photo shoot I used the Nikon D4 with the 300mm F2.8 AFS as well as the Nikon 70-200 2.8 VRII. The camera recording the video is the Nikon D800.
Click Here or the image below to check out all the Photos from this photo shoot.Read More »
In this 5 min portrait I set out to capture some cars and guitars. Like I said in the video these are just test shots as if I was to really set out to shoot these cars and guitars I would bring in a ton of studio lights and modifiers.
In this case I was asked last minute to come down and just grab some quick shots. Isn’t it funny how that tends to happen, people ask for test shots and we as photographers are never fully satisfied? My first response was I really need to bring in some lights and modifiers but I will shoot these this time for you since they are just for a specific need.
Now I want to let you know I know pretty much nothing about cars especially sports cars like these Shelby Ford Mustangs and Cobras. The one thing I can tell you is these cars are beautiful and works of art.
I like to look at all my shoots as if they are assignments. In this case it was my job to capture the cars and the guitars for a made up magazine article. Again my first comment is if I was to capture these images for a magazine I would need to bring in lights and probably take the cars to a studio. Now that that is out of the way and I made the point that these are just test images lets talk about the shoot.Read More »
I took the GigaPan Epic Pro out to Independence Hall in Philadelphia. For those who do not know the significance of Independence Hall, it is where the declaration of Independence was signed.
I thought this would be a great opportunity to test out my first real GigaPan. In this 5 min portrait you get to watch the majority of the process that goes into making a large scale panoramic image using a GigaPan Epic Pro.
This GigaPan tops out at just under a GigaPixel at 930 or so Megapixels.
There was one interesting occurrence that ended up happening when a federal park ranger came up to ask what I was shooting. For the record they did not say I could not do what I was doing. They said nothing about not being aloud to use a tripod or anything negative. They were simply only asking because you do need a permit if what you are photographing is for “Comercial” use. I had a very good discussion about the rules with these guys and they gave me the number to the person to speak with if I had further questions.
I did end up speaking to the person in charge after I finished editing this video. I am in the process of trying to get him to join me back at the park on camera to talk about the rules for photographers and shooting in a federal park.
Below you will find the GigaPan to explore. Like I said during the video there are some minor issues that I saw but all and all I am very happy with the results.
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My long time friend Nick Perri who builds custom electric guitars asked if I would photograph his latest creation “25″.
I thought it would be great to do the shoot up on the Roof of the Loft. This was the first time I walked around up there and I have to say I have a ton of space to capture images.
The Light at the end of the day is just amazing and I would assume that the light at the very beginning of the day is just as nice.
This is the first 5 min portrait where I did not shoot video of the photo shoot. The reason I did not was I was focused on capturing images and did not want to have the distraction of rushing or playing up to the camera.
Like I say in the video I will attempt in the future to capture more video of these 5 min portraits.
To Purchase one of Nicks custom Guitars including this one #25 Please go to PerriInk.comRead More »