A Conversation with Matt Dutile, Travel and Portrait Photographer

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Free and open to the public.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 6PM PST.

Registration at this link. Please do not register if you cannot make the show. We have limited availability.

From Matt:

“Hi, I’m Matt Dutile. I’m a professional travel and portrait photographer living in New York City. For the past few years I’ve been fortunate enough to travel around the globe creating images for a variety of great magazines, agencies and companies. You can find some of those images from a recent excursion through Asia as examples of my style on this page.

I have a personal connection with traditional cultures around the world, and am particularly passionate about Asian traditions and cultures. How these individuals and societies survive and thrive under extremely difficult conditions is a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit.”

Matt Dutile’s Website.

Vintage Clothing Expo, Malmo by Flora Cusi

Vintage Clothing Expo, Malmo by Flora Cusi

Vintagemässan i Malmö, 25th of May 2013

http://vintagemalmo.se
photographer: Flora Cusi
floramc@floramc.se

Project: I decided to visit the vintage expo in Malmö for my event project. My main interests are colors and patterns and less documenting the presence of people, although I did not exclude this second part. I just used part of the expo, like the catwalk to put the two things together. I made an effort to photograph the whole exposition but I had several problems with people as many were not willing to be photographed.

Difficulties: the main difficulty was to control the light. It was extremely bad lights almost everywhere, and a cloudy dark day not letting in a lot from the big windows.
Another problem was the lack of glamour. I expected something more styled and pompous, and surely there were a lot of inspired pin-ups walking around. But the whole presentation was quite shabby and I had to work on my own to isolate my subjects and make them look good.
Also, the quality was really varied. Some clothes were coming from Hollywood and had a real style, others were of the worst quality. It was hard to vary, much harder than I expected.

Intentions: I am not quite the person who document facts. I use photoshop and I reorganize my pictures. I don’t aim to become a press photographer or work with documentary. I suppose part of my pictures would still fit on a fashion magazine, but I don’t mind letting photoshop being quite evident in my work.

Creating unity was a challenge and I was not out to show clothes and clothes, although that was the main thing out. I wanted to catch a bit of variety and I suppose I managed, but I had to sort out a lot as as said they really were showing things in a real shabby way.

Thanks Flora… very interesting project.

Flora is a Project 52 PRO member and lives in Sweden.

Still Life Breakdown: Corn in Virginia

Still Life Breakdown: Corn in Virginia

This past weekend I was privileged to hang out with a bunch of photographers in Virginia. It was not a workshop, it was a hangout-and-shoot-your-ass-off weekend. Stephen and Michele were the gracious hosts who put it all together, and we had a blast.

Saturday had us shooting a wide variety of talent they had booked, and we shot in a very nice little studio in downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia. The weather cooperated and we had a couple of lovely days to shoot outside and in the studio.

More of those images on this Sunday’s dispatch “In The Frame” which you can sign up for free right over there on the right. We don’t spam you and we let you know if there is something for sale. Most of the time it is just a lot of fun, and stuff you will not find on this site.

One of the attendees, Bob Knill, wanted to step up his game in the still life / food arena, so he came prepared with two fresh ears of corn snapped up at the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market. (If you live near Fredericksburg, you really should check it out – Saturday mornings near downtown.)

We are going to take a look at this image from a different perspective… we are going to deconstruct it from finished to start. Instead of starting with the corn and adding in what we did, we will look at what happens when we take things away.

(I should mention that these are straight out of the camera with zero adjustments or modifications. They were processed from Raw in LR5, and exported to PS for JPEG.)

First let’s set the stage:

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You can see all the major players here.

  • The main lighting is the scrim placed just above the set. That is lit by a small softbox about 4 inches from the scrim to make the light have shape. Backing it off fills the scrim, but moving it in close creates a hot spot on the scrim and lets Bob focus the main part of his light wherever he wants.
  • The second light is an unmodified speedlight on the left, passing through a glass block placed very close to the set.
  • Notice the glass block has a black card on the speedlight side and one on the corn side. Those small cards are helping to shape the light as it comes through the glass block. It also keeps unwanted light from spilling around the edges.
  • There are two small white cards propped up in front of the corn. They are adding a bit of fill, and something for the glistening corn to reflect on the shadow side.
  • Bob is shooting tethered here so he can see the nuances of his lighting.

The set is quite small – less than the coffee table we were shooting on. He set his shutter and aperture on a setting that assured no extraneous light would be added by the ambient.

ISO 200, f4.5, 1/60th of a second with a 50MM lens were the chosen tools and settings.

The first shot is with all the gear set as in the BTS above. Click on the images for a much larger experience.

Notice the smooth light, with delicate fill all around the corn. That is the combination of small speedlight and diffuser providing a nice ambient feel. The speedlight to camera right coming through the glass block gives the image some depth and interest, as well as shaping the top ear of corn with light and shadow. Notice how subtle the light is from the left.

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In this shot we removed the black cards that were on the glass block. The light is less nuanced, but still interesting. It is your shot – make it your way. With the cards no longer shaping the light, the fill cards in front are now brighter and providing more fill than when they were not receiving so much of the speedlight from the left.

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Now we remove the cards from in front of the corn and it goes much darker in front of the corn.

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This shot is with the light to camera right shut off. Now the only light is from the diffuser and the small softbox above the corn. This has a very soft, natural light look to it as well.

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On this shot we removed the scrim and just used the speedlight in the small softbox. You can see the entire feel of the ambient is now gone. This has a very point-source feel to it.

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Interestingly enough, you may like any one of these for your work. There is no one way or right way to do this stuff. Experiment and have fun creating your own versions of how you want to light.

Bob spent a couple of hours on this, working out exactly what he wanted to do, and doing some cool variations. I hope he shares those on his blog when he is ready.

This shot shows how the little shelf blocked some light behind the set so it would create a shadow and some fall off for the background.

Paying attention to the smallest details is what this type of photography is all about.

BTW, it is a blast to work with subjects and light like this. Try a couple ears of corn or a head of broccoli or whatever you like. Blend the light, make the light do what you want it to do and don’t give up at the first shot. Keep working it till you get what you want.

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Another shot of the set.

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Sort of a ‘spy-cam’ feel, eh?

OK – see you next time.

BTW, if you would like to see more posts like this, please let me know. I am happy to do them.

 

Project 52 PRO’s: Summer to Summer

Project 52 PRO’s: Summer to Summer

We are starting a new class for Project 52 PRO – Summer to Summer…

And at this point we have 5 openings left. You can sign up or get more information at the Project 52 site.

I thought I may share these images with you. A recent assignment from the current Project 52 PROS. The assignment was to shoot something to fit this catalog page. The page was furnished, along with information on the products we were needing. As you can see, the photographers stepped up pretty well.

This is not the usual “shoot something pretty” online photo class. We give you real world assignments, and expect only the highest quality images be submitted for our weekly critiques.

Some of these photographers had never shot to a layout before, nor had ever been given a ‘brief’ for shooting a photograph to specific requirements before Project 52.

It is hard to break into this business, and many of the old ‘mentored through assisting’ paths are not easily available. Project 52 tries to fill a bit of that gap by working with assignments that are similar to the type of work a commercial photographer may get in the course of a year.

We are also mixing in a lot of business information… again this is reality based client work, and not silly marketing tactics.

We shoot people, product, location, catalog, still life, food and more. A taste of it all with real world learning in each assignment.

If you are interested in this sort of continuous learning, check out the Project 52 page – and remember that we have a free version as well.

Images from a recent assignment at Project 52 PRO. The layout was furnished in a layered PSD, and the photographers had to choose from a small selection of subject genres.