Posts Tagged ‘Canon 50mm F1.2’
I’ve know Matt for years and I was honored when he asked if I would be interested in shooting their wedding. It was an intimate wedding held at Ramsey’s at the Toluca Lake sport’s Center. For this wedding I enlisted the help of Deney, whom I met as a groomsman in the last wedding I shot.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I’ve started to scratch out a couple blog posts over the past month but each time I start a job comes up and takes precedence. This week I vowed to shoot for me. Shooting personal work keeps me sane. When I end up working on shoots for other people for weeks at a time I can feel the itch to go out and shoot a concept I have control over. Family portraits, TV commercials, architecture, Galas, receptions and pretty much every other paid job means my client is running the show. I often have creative input on my jobs but photographing people giving speeches and shaking hands doesn’t give me the satisfaction of going out and making great photographs.
This week the stars lined up and I got to shoot with three of my favorite models. I enjoy working with them because I know we’ll get great results and I’ve developed friendships with them over the years.
Eva was in town visiting from Germany. We’ve tried getting together for a shoot every time she’s in LA, but it’s only worked out once since she moved away a few years ago. I met Eva in July 2004. To put the history into perspective; I got my first DSLR in August of 2003. I looked back at my archives and she was the 17th model I worked with. Needless to say in the summer of 2004 I was green. Despite being a novice we got some great shots that still stand today. Since 2004 we’ve worked together a handful of times and I’ve always been happy with the results.
This week I wanted to shoot and I knew if we got together the concept for the shoot would work itself out. We ended up with some great fashion images and my style of a beauty portrait. If you call it a head shot and I take offense. I tend to think most head shots aren’t true representations of the person. Head shots are sales tools, portraits are personal. I want my photos to be true to the subject.
I also got to work with Tiffany Selby this week. We met in April 2009 after spending months trying to get together to shoot. When the day finally came it proved to be challenging. We were scheduled to start with swimsuits on the beach and then head to my place to work on fashion and portraits. We were blessed with beautiful blue skies but the temps had dropped down into the 50s. We figured since we were there we’d give it a shoot. I got my first shot off at 8:20 AM and by 8:44 we had shot two looks and were packing up. One of those shots ended up as a centerfold in a magazine.
This week we made the same plans. Start on the beach and then head to my studio (read my garage) for fashion and portraits. After our shoot she did makeup for a friend’s niece, an aspiring model.
I also managed to shoot with Neyla. She is in town visiting from London and, like Eva, we’ve tried to get together when she’s in LA. This week our schedules matched. I met Neyla in April 2007; at the time her name was Stephanie but that’s her story. In 2007 I shot a friend of hers who referred me to Neyla. We had a great shoot and vowed to do it again. A few months later she saved my ass. I had scheduled a shoot in Pasadena and enlisted the help of a makeup artist and a wardrobe stylist. The model flaked. A complete no-show. I didn’t want our efforts to go to waste so I called Neyla early that morning and asked her help me out. She rallied and the results were amazing. Like Eva and Tiffany the images from that day still stand.
Neyla’s trying to get a new portfolio together and when she showed me her concepts they were in-line with what I wanted to shoot. We had a great time and came away with a lot of amazing photos.
Relationships make for great photos. It’s one thing to meet a perfect stranger and work together as professionals with the same goal of great photos. But when there’s history and a relationship between the model and the photographer the level of comfort and trust help to make the images even better. Add the fact that all three of these women are great models and I had a great week.
I love music and in-turn love shooting bands. I don’t do it as often as I used to but last week I noticed on Army Navy’s facebook page that they were playing locally and I didn’t have anything planned for thursday night or friday morning. I contacted the band and they said the venue would most likely be pretty lax in regards to photography and that I was welcome to come by. I have shot at the Silverlake Lounge on one other occasion and I remembered it being small. I had forgotten just how small. I’ve found that the best band pictures I shoot (the ones I like the most) are the shots that have great stage lighting and the shots where I have access that photographer’s don’t usually have. I also tend to favor shots that I have a personal relationship with the band. Be it that they are friends of mine, or in the case of Army Navy a band I really enjoy.
I’ve found that the two most important items when shooting live bands are – ear plugs and fast lenses. Luckily I had some ear plugs and a F1.2 lens. With my 50mm I was shooting at ISO 2000 and 2500. I swapped out for my 70-2000 F2.8 IS and had to crank the ISO 4000 to get anything usable. In other words it was dark in their.
I also shot video during the last song of their set. The audio quality in an environment like that on my 5D is shite so i dubbed in the album track. It worked out that the band sang pretty close to the album version. So if you want to hear what I saw, check it out.
It’s been a crazy couple weeks. I don’t typically share a lot of personal family stuff on my blog, but with all that’s going on it’s hard to ignore. A few months ago our landlord informed us he needed to move back into his house. At the time Robin was about seven months pregnant and the idea of finding a new home and moving while pregnant, or with a newborn, sounded like a death sentence. We poked around the south bay for a new rental and came up short. There wasn’t a lot available at the time and what we saw didn’t measure up to the great house we had lived in for the past couple years.
Despite the fact that I left the investment banking industry years ago, I’m still attuned to economics and the market. Buying a house after the past couple years coupled with my feeling that we will most likely see Southern California real estate prices at or below these levels for another year didn’t add up to us buying. I was wrong and we found a great house in our neighborhood that made sense for us (I figure I just locked in my rent for the next 30 years). We closed on the house on Monday November 19th and moved in the weekend after Thanksgiving. Robin was due with our son December 4th.
On Saturday November 27th the movers drove off around 4 PM and left us with a house full of boxes. We went to bed exhausted but grateful we made it into the new house before the baby arrived. We woke up the next morning and Robin was in labor. Six hours later, at 12:21 PM we had our son Charlie. We named him Charles Marc after our dads.
Grace had been at the grandparents all day. When she woke up from her nap it was time to meet her baby brother for the first time. She was ecstatic, loving and proud, just like we were.
Every spring Photo District News announces their 30 photographers to watch. It’s a great time to see what the commercial photography industry is taking notice of and because of the respect and reach of the magazine it’s a pretty big deal to make the list. Each year when I view the PDN30 I see a lot of what I am not. Which is both a good thing and a bad thing.
Knowing what I am not helps me to figure out what I am. Being able to wander around shooting ideas helps me find out what’s for me and what’s not for me. In college my goal was to be a sell-side analyst. For those unfamiliar with the investment banking chain of command, a sell-side analyst is the person responsible for writing research reports on sectors and companies and making buy, sell or hold recommendation to the investment community. I achieved my goal and eventually hated the job. With photography I have taken a different approach – try different things to see if what’s a good fit. In 2006 some friends suggested I look into children’s photography. I booked a couple test shoots with friend’s kids, had fun and a new business was born. The following was a shot from one of those test shoots.
A few years ago I started working with small battery powered strobes and wanted to set up some test shoots to find their limitations and see what I could pull out of them. I asked everyone who came in for a shoot to wear the same thing; a white wife-beater. Despite all the different faces, shapes, colors and moods the wife-beater helped bring everything together. It was a great exercise and I learned a lot. Recently I was looking over the series and appreciated how real they were. I was able to capture great images of people without fancy lights, locations, makeup or wardrobe. I also noticed that through that series I made some great friends and continue to have relationships with quite a few people I photographed.
I saw the value in the exercise and my current project was born. It’s a similar portrait project although a bit more stripped down. Back in November I had a model sit for a very close up portrait before our fashion shoot. It was the spark for the current series. It’s ongoing and I welcome everyone who’s willing to come in for a shoot. Click on the photo to check out the project’s website.
The goal of the shoot wasn’t to shoot this type of portrait but I felt inspired enough to shoot a few frames before we went with the shoot as we had planned it. I started with a giant softbox but didn’t think being that close with that much in focus was flattering. I ditched the strobes and just used the light coming through the garage door with a sheet of foam core to bounce some light back. These shots were made at F1.2 so the depth of field is super shallow. The dept is so shallow that with her eyes in focus her eyebrow is already soft and out of focus. I liked them enough that I felt inspired to share. I’ll post more from the shoot later.