March Madness: 16; Photographing a CD Cover

March Madness: 16; Photographing a CD Cover

SHOOTING A CD COVER

By Alex Baker

I was asked by a local string quintet to create some images to be used for their debut cd which they recorded in December. I’ve made a few album covers before and although you can go in pretty much any direction, there are a few things to keep in mind in the process. There are three routes you can take in general:

1. Portraits or group portraits of the musicians. This is very appropriate for a new or starting out musician or ensemble, an individual artist, or one which is establishing a strong brand or identity.

2. Images inspired by the mood of the music, the composer or period of time the music was composed in. This could be a landscape image or piece of art contemporary to the time of composition and is a very common approach with classical music.

3. A more conceptual approach. This is also common in pop or rock music, or contemporary classical and jazz. You can pretty much go anywhere with this one, let the music or lyrics inspire you.

We chose a conceptual approach that would represent the 5 string players through still life images of parts of partially made string instruments and wood (see the bus video below).

The technicalities were very simple: one strobe, shoot through umbrella, a myriad of reflectors and flags. I used a shallow depth of field (f2.8) on a 50mm lens.

The post processing was also very simple as we wanted to retain a very raw natural quality: a small amount of healing out any impurities that were distracting, color correction, slight desaturation and contrast added.

We weren’t given the final dimensions of the cd so I submitted Tiff files to the record label of both a square crop and the uncropped image. The record label has the final decision on which images will be used.

March Madness: 13; Fun with Forks

March Madness: 13; Fun with Forks

The Fork Shot

By Tammy Bogestrand – www.tammybogestrand.com

The assignment (Assignment 27) was to create a shot with a fork (or forks) for a company dealing in ”change”. Food as props were to be avoided. Other props were fine, as long as the Fork was the star.

Originally I was going to shoot the fork in front of a small mirror. I had made a quick sketch on a bit of paper (which I cannot find) with a fork in front of a square mirror looking at its reflection. I would shoot it outside, and there would be grass and clouds…according to my sketch. Due to the weather here in Denmark…I decided for a simpler shot indoors.

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March Madness: 12; Travel Photography Tips

March Madness: 12; Travel Photography Tips

Planning Your Travel Photos

 by Craig Ferguson www.craigfergusonimages.com

With summer coming up a lot of you are probably busy making plans to get away for a well-deserved vacation somewhere. I thought it would be useful to look at a few ways you can plan ahead of time to give yourself a greater chance of capturing some wonderful photos and great memories.It could be said that great travel photographs start long before the airplane is boarded or the camera picked up. What you do at home before you leave goes a long way to ensuring the success of your photography trip. One of the first things to decide is where to go. It sounds simple but it isn’t always. If you have family to consider, you need to choose a place that will appeal to them just as much as it does to you. What do you do when your wife wants to explore museums, daughter wants to go shopping, son wants to go scuba-diving and you want to photograph mountain landscapes? Are there any places that offer all those in the same location? (more…)

March Madness: 11; Still Life with Flower

March Madness: 11; Still Life with Flower

The P52 Assignment Brief: Still Life with Flower.

Bret Doss

“A color, vertical (portrait) oriented still life image with ordinary objects, diffuse main light source, that must contain at least one flower, but the flower(s) must not be the subject of the image. The objects must be simple and not shiny (no chrome or glossy black). The objects should fit within a 20 inch by 20 inch table top space.” 

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March Madness: 10; Photographing Women’s Shoes

March Madness: 10; Photographing Women’s Shoes

Shooting Women’s Shoes

John McAllister

Photograph some high heel shoes? How hard can that be?  I immediately called my fashion-conscious daughter to provide a selection of her favourite heels.  I soon realised the design and construction of shoes present a far more complex subject than I had anticipated.  The intricate combination of shape, line, curves, and material pose a demanding but ultimately fascinating challenge.

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March Madness: 09; Violin Pirate Flag

March Madness: 09; Violin Pirate Flag

Violin Pirate Flag

By David Price

Photographed January 2016

Years ago, some friends and I were messing around, experimenting if you will, with some concept photographic sketches and some writing. We got onto the idea of an extended piratical adventure and ran with it. It was all in fun, and purely expressions of art, and the art of the written word, for our own humor and amusement. For my part, I made a pirate flag out of a violin and two crossed bows. I put them on the ground just so, stood over it, and pressed the button. Bam. Done. We had a laugh over the idea, and moved on.

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March Madness: 07; A Simple Portable Background

March Madness: 07; A Simple Portable Background

A Simple and Easy Background Stand

By Virginia Smith

Every photographer needs a simple portable backdrop for portraits, headshots, product photography.  If we had the budget of Annie Liebowitz then we’d all have Handpainted Oliphant Canvas Backgrounds, only the finest backdrop available to photographers.  But when we’re just starting out or would rather spend the money elsewhere then a simple backdrop can be had for very little money using window shades from Ikea.  Besides being inexpensive, they have a great linen fabric texture and look professional to clients.  You can easily add a texture to look like a handpainted background or as I did for an 70’s yearbook inspired annual report, add a chalkboard background.

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March Madness: 06; One Big Light!

March Madness: 06; One Big Light!

The assignment was to use one very large light source for the shot. Bring it in close, and use the magic of soft, diffused light to present the subject.

The students in the still life workshop also photographed their setups for us. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Take a look at the photo created, and study the setup for a ‘thousand words’ on how it was done.

Cover image by Catherine Vibert.

Charlotte Larson

The Setup

Craig Ohmer

The Setup

David Travis

The Setup

Frank Grieger

The Setup

Greg Pastuzyn

The Setup

Phil Kirchmeir

The Setup

Shavonne Hoyt

The Setup

Ivan Singer

The Setup

March Madness: One Tutorial Per Day – 01

March Madness: One Tutorial Per Day – 01

Choosing a Point of View for a Still Life

Tutorial by Lily Dale, Illinois

For Don’s Still Life Workshop, our class was assigned to photograph objects from three points of view: oblique (shooting from straight on), natural (shooting from a standing position) and vertical (shooting from the top down).

I’m mostly a portrait photographer but I do love making still life images when I get the chance. This assignment, however, was out of my comfort zone.  I find that I tend to shoot still life mostly from the top down and rarely experiment with shooting from different angles. Once the objects are set up, I tend to stay within this comfort zone till I get the shot I want.

Pushing myself to shoot the same setup from three different angles was pretty tough, mostly because I felt the objects I chose to photograph would not look well from these three different angles. Shooting tall objects from the top down is not easy.

This first setup took awhile to get just right. I patterned it after the still life’s you see everywhere, simply because I realized I didn’t have any shots like that and I really wanted to try one so, why not?

lily-dale-1

It was taken with a 35mm lens but only after I had played around with the 50mm and the 60mm macro lenses. I settled on this lens because of the wide angle and because it would let me get in closer while still including all the objects comfortably but I had to compensate for the distortion by pulling more fabric under the bird cage so that it didn’t appear to “lean” outward as much.

The main light is coming from the left hand side and is in very close. I had a white reflector just out of camera on the left-hand side and one that I hand-held just underneath the lens on the right. The background is a large sheet of polystyrene board that I painted a medium blue. I overlayed a texture on this background in Photoshop to add a bit more interest. Those polystyrene boards get very “pebbly” when sidelit. I then switched over to my 60mm lens to get a shot from overhead, thinking I wasn’t going to get anything good. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized after a few shots I could work my camera around the objects, especially the tall ones, to include parts of them and still make an interesting shot.

I had a white reflector just out of camera on the left-hand side and one that I hand-held just underneath the lens on the right. The background is a large sheet of polystyrene board that I painted a medium blue. I overlayed a texture on this background in Photoshop to add a bit more interest. Those polystyrene boards get very “pebbly” when sidelit. I then switched over to my 60mm lens to get a shot from overhead, thinking I wasn’t going to get anything good. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized after a few shots I could work my camera around the objects, especially the tall ones, to include parts of them and still make an interesting shot.

I then switched over to my 60mm lens to get a shot from overhead, thinking I wasn’t going to get anything good. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized after a few shots I could work my camera around the objects, especially the tall ones, to include parts of them and still make an interesting shot.

lily-dale-2
I didn’t change the lighting for this shot. Instead, I stood on a short ladder I keep in my studio for these kinds of shots and held the front reflector in place with my legs.

Here is the lighting setup:

lily-dale-3

This was an eye-opening assignment for me. I learned that I need to rethink my angles when shooting still life and not just stick to the ones in my comfort zone.


More of my work is available for viewing on flickr.com/lolatakespictures.

The Always Challenging “Pour Shot”

The Always Challenging “Pour Shot”

The pour shot may be one of the most challenging of commercial photography’s many challenges. Getting the pour to look right, making sure the liquid is lit so that it looks great, catching the action as it happens… so many things to monitor as the photographer attempts the pour shot.

Again and again and again. Yep – it can get messy as well.

Here are the amazing pour shots the students did last week.

NOTE: the layout was provided as a faux trade magazine cover so they had to shoot to a prescribed layout as best as they could.

How Would You Shoot a Fork?

HOW WOULD YOU SHOOT A FORK?

IMAGES FROM THE P52 FORK ASSIGNMENT

(NOTE: This is a repost of an article that was corrupted and caused the outage of the site last week.)

“How would you shoot a fork?”

That was the question I asked my Project 52 Students for last week’s assignment. Photograph a fork and make it interesting.

Forks are mundane, utilitarian, and ubiquitous. They are simply everywhere, and people are very used to seeing them. So the challenge is to shoot the fork(s) in a way that makes someone stop and look at a picture of a fork.

I think they did a splendid job on this assignment.

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