Minimal lighting setup on these quick grab shots at the park (Nikon SB900 on camera iTTL, bounced). Things don’t always need to be overproduced, just well done. The most difficult thing is getting people who are not models to agree to be photographed. Many people now prefer self-portraits or “selfies.” My guess is that they want to have more control over how the world views them when putting it all out there for the world to see. The problem with that is that for the average cell phone photographer most of the time the effort fails.
Don’t get me wrong, I think of a snapshot taken in the moment as the pinnacle of photography. There is nothing more real or engaging than a good snapshot. Fashion photographers often use a technique emulating a familiar looking sloppy snapshot to draw us into an editorial storyline. The models still have porcelain skin but the edges are blurry and the sun dazzles by seeming to shine directly in our eyes. The point is if there is one that photography is a complete fabrication. It tells us what the photographer wants us to hear. Some people think that is a bad thing but not me. I want to tell you a story but only the first chapter. I want you to pick it up from there and use the frame to let your imagination go forward (or backwards) to the next scene.
I have never been popular or in demand except by people who wanted to sell me something. It seems like the question I get asked most often is, “Will you be my friend… for a few dollars?” Usually the offer of “friendship” ends up being for many dollars. Come and join the party. You can’t miss this and it only costs $$$. Where else can you get this sort of inspiration (and friendship) for less? Well, it turns out you can get it just about anywhere. Inspiration and friendship are available all around you at no cost. The tricky part is choosing friends and inspiration wisely and then acting on it instead of constantly looking for more of the same.
Don’t be scared… just do it. Don’t expect instant success either. Just keep doing it and growing. The simple act of doing something will teach you much more than all the endless hours of watching someone else explain what will become obvious as soon as you start doing things yourself. Instruction is fine but at some point you have to put into practice what you have been taught. You may think you are not ready but you can never be completely ready. Things just don’t work that way.
The act of creating something is good for the spirit and you shouldn’t necessarily have to pay someone else for the privilege of doing it. Yes, cameras, art supplies and fabric are expensive but there are ways around that as well. Find yourself a real friend who doesn’t demand payment for their company and share costs and resources. You can often borrow things you need, you just have to summon the courage to ask. Most of the time people will be more than willing to help you out or even join in the fun. Now get moving.
Lulu is positive, reliable and loves to play, always knowing instinctively what the role calls for.
Just a couple of quick shots from Father’s Day in Chicago. The city is a treat even in small bites but it always makes me wish for more time to spend there wandering and watching.
On Sunday my friend Steve and I met over in Midtown to take some photos loosely based on old television shows about spies and secret agents. Just about everything we work on together is loosely based or loosely made because we never really have a budget for these things, just overactive imaginations.
This is the most complex shot of the day and by that I mean I used the most lights. This was done with four Nikon hot shoe flashes. The main light (camera right) is in an umbrella soft-box and the other lights are gelled and used for fill. I only brought one stand so I have all the fill flashes setting on tables. All flashes were fired with Yongnuo RF-602 radio triggers.
Setting up a secret meeting. After a quick breakfast we were able to borrow this location for our interior shots. Model: Haley Marie Horton
Your mission… is to look fabulous (should you choose to accept it). Model: Nicole Parmentier-Jones.
Stopping traffic. Everyone loves a photo shoot. We had a lot of appreciative drivers going past our shoot, some drove by more than once.
“I’m watching you… watching me.” All these outdoor shots were done with a single mono-light powered by a battery pack.
Keeping an eye on the competition.
Setting the trap, laying the bait. We tried this a few times, mostly a comedy of errors. I thought it was hilarious and could have gone on all day. Steve eventually gave me his don’t be a turd speech, which is short and to the point.
“Congratulations… You found me.” It’s called, chase me catch me. The idea is to make someone follow you so you can catch them instead of them catching you.
This is just a small sample of the photos we took. Thanks to Steve for putting it together and to our models. Congratulations to the newly engaged couple. I didn’t show them here so they could properly inform all their family and friends.
Actually I just wanted to add some more photos from the Petite Tea Party photo shoot so here they are. These are all shot with Nikon flashes in manual mode.