Posts Tagged ‘LA’
When I started to get serious about my photography I took a class/seminar about building a portfolio. This was in 2005. I had been shooting long enough that I had amassed a body of work that I thought was worth showing and wanted someone else’s opinion on how best to present my work in hopes of booking jobs. The class was worthwhile and I left with some good information; I also left with some misinformation. I don’t remember hearing much constructive criticism during my portfolio review. One note was that I was shooting too many landscape images and if I wanted to shoot for magazines I should shoot more portrait shaped images to match the layout of magazines. When I think back to my “skill” level in 2005 and look back at the photos I was making around that time, most of them were shite and it makes me wonder about the validity of her advise during my review. Did she not want to tell me my photos sucked because I payed for the review? Or because I was in a “class” with other photographers on the same level were mine were slightly better than the rest?
The photography industry is rife with people ready to give advise and tips. Some of the advise and education is free and invaluable. Some costs money yet is still a huge value. Look to CreativeLive and Strobist for great and usable photography know-how and education. One is free the not really free but a huge value. Along with an industry of photographers trying to sell me advice there are tons of trade magazines with full of industry “standards” and suggestions…How to show your work, what to put in your portfolio, how much to show.
In that portfolio review in 2005 the photography consultant cautioned about showing more than one image of the same person in my portfolio. Up until recently I adhered to that but as of late I call bullshit. Case in point; Devon. I met and first shot Devon in 2009. In the past four years we’ve shot together six times and every time we’ve worked together we both come away with great images.
There are a handful of other actors and models that I share the same experience with. When I’ve got a relationship with someone and we work well together I tend to work with them over and over since I know the results will be great. Why not show multiple images of the same person in my portfolio or on my website? That rule was dumb.
I bring this up because as I grow and learn about myself and my photography I have begun to make my own rules based on my own experience and information.
As much as I hate updating my websites I’m due for an overhaul. Stay tuned and plan on seeing more than one image of the same person. Especially Devon.
A few years ago I made a slideshow using photos from every assignment I shot during the year. The idea stuck and has become a great way for me to reflect on what I did right and what I did wrong during the year. 2012 was both challenging and incredibly rewarding. All of those experiences brought one theme to the forefront – Family is Everything. And by family I’m not limiting myself to the family I was born into or married into. It’s the people that I have chosen to surround myself with. This year we have had the warm blanket of family wrapped around us when we needed it and we were able to be that same blanket of warmth and strength for others when they needed it. This year was life-changing for so many of our friends and loved ones.
Over the past couple years I’ve skipped using photos of my family in the slideshow, after all they weren’t paid assignments and so many were just snapshots. This year I’ve included them because my wife and kids are my world and are definitely the most photographed subject in my life. I also opted to include more than one image from the assignments. Limiting myself to one single image per shoot didn’t represent the scope and the fruits of my labor.
As with every slide show I always struggle with music. Each year I want to use a song that I fell in love with during the year. This year there were a couple of contenders.
Mumford & Sons – I will wait
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop I dare you to not bounce your head while listening to this song. I was bouncing my head for a couple weeks before I even listened to the words.
Ryan Adams – From The Ashes In January NPR streamed a pre-lease of this entire album. I listened to it over and over until the day it was released. Go buy it directly from his label/website.
Walk the Moon – Anna Sun This is probably my favorite song on the album but I opted for Tightrope becaue it matched the tempo I wanted for the slideshow.
For those of you that supported me and helped me create this year I owe you a world of thanks. Without you I’d be stuck behind some desk.
As a photographer I get to watch and participate in a lot of momentous occasions. Whether it’s a wedding, birthday or birth it’s an incredible feeling to contribute to a family’s history. I love that my images will be cherished for a lifetime. Knowing that the photos I made will outlast me is pretty cool. Earlier this week I was referred to Jordan by a friend. Jordan was planning on proposing to his girlfriend and wanted a photographer to document the occasion. Other than my own proposal this was a first for me.
I met Jordan at Palisades Park about 30 minutes before Suzy was scheduled to arrive. In addition to having flowers ready Jordan had arranged for a car service to pick her up and bring her to the park. We waited. I didn’t want her to see me when she arrived so I stayed about 100 feet from Jordan. Being that this is north Santa Monica I think most of the people thought I was a paparazzi. Jordan would shoot me texts with updates.
Suzy arrived just in time. My heart was racing. I was excited for Jordan and Suzy and needed to make sure I got the shot. It worked out perfectly. When everyone around us figured out what just happened they started clapping and cheering.
The following is a slideshow of the proposal.
Music and photography. Other than my family, these are the two biggest influences in my life. I walked in to the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibit at the Annenberg today and felt the power and weight of those two influences on my life.
I’ve grown up with music and photography. Music more than anything helps me tell time. As a kid whose father was in the Army we moved a lot. I can’t remember 8th grade without trying to figure out where I lived. When I think of where I lived I can remember the music in my life. 8th and 9th Grade was Anchorage Alaska. I was introduced to new wave and was coming off my introduction to heavy metal. I remember being introduced to The Cure, Violent Fems, INXS, REM, and The Beastie Boys. This is also the time in my life when I picked up my first camera.
The amazing thing about the exhibit was that in a lot of cases the photos weren’t made of rock gods and superstars. They were made by kids of other kids. Friends taking photos of their friends that happened to be in a band. In most of the images in the exhibit many of those friends went on to rock & roll greatness.
Don’t take my word for it. Go see it. Now. It closes in four days.
As I looked at the photos and read stories about how the photos were made I started to reflect on my music photography. Sometimes shooting music is great. It’s exciting, it’s loud, it’s fun. Other times it’s all wrong; they handcuff us together so that it makes it hard to get original and great images.
This was shot at the Bamboozle Left Festival a couple years ago. Here’s the reality of shooting most shows; you get to shoot the first three songs and then they kick you out. So basically there are a handful of us looking up the nostrils of the artist trying to get something cool and unique.
The key to so many of the great images showcased at the exhibit is access. Either being friends with the band or the band having enough faith in your work and vision that they trust you. They need to know that you aren’t going to make them look bad. In the case of this shot of Darrin Pfeiffer, the drummer from Goldfinger, I had access. I was on the stage a few feet away. Why did I have access? I know the lead singer.
Here’s another shot I love and it was made because I had access. Ever been to the Viper Room? It’s the size of a large walk-in closet. This shot of Run Run Run was made during a private showcase the band was putting on for a record exec. That shot would have been impossible to make had their been a crowd.
So many musicians I’ve shot know a lot about marketing and they want to look a certain way in their photos. With the case of The Josephine Collective they were in town living their dream, recording an album, looking cool was the farthest thing in their head. The producer invited me to his home where they were recording. As much as a Bel Air mansion screams success it doesn’t register well with a pop-punk band from Tennessee. So while all around me is a gorgeous pool and backyard I laid down on the ground and had them huddle up. There was no request for smiles or to say cheese. They (we) were just having fun.
Most recently I was contacted by The Rossetti quartet. They are a string quartet that has played around the world. They hired me to take shots that wouldn’t look like they were a “string quartet”. I treated them as I would any other band. I wanted them to look cohesive and cool.
This week I had Devon in for another shoot. This is the sixth time I’ve worked with Devon over the past three years. I love working with her because she’s amazing at what she does. When someone is that good in front of my camera it makes me look great. For all our previous shoots Devon did her own hair and makeup. Most models have enough exerience that they know what’s needed to get a certain look on camera.
A few months ago I saw some dramatic before and after glamour photos from photographer Sue Bryce. Sue’s business is a bit different than mine in that she is a modern-day version of glamour shots. Remember the store in the mall that your mom or aunt went to? Sue’s take is modern and beautiful. Real women + great hair and makeup + an amazing photographer and her clients leave with amazing and timless glamour portraits. Hearing Sue speak and seeing her photos sparked enough interest in me that I wanted to do something similar. I wanted to see a transformation. My starting place is quite a bit different than Sue’s “average woman” client. I chose Devon because she is amazing in front of the camera. She epitomizes what I want from every model I work with; confidence, beauty, emotion and sex-appeal; and she’s got all that without the fancy hair and makeup.
I enlisted the help of Sura Radcliffe to help with hair and she recruited her friend and colleague Stacey Ellis to help with makeup. My reference point and inspiration was the glamorous portraits of both modern-day and past film starlets like Scarlett Johansson and Bridget Bardot. We wanted a vintage feel to start with; knowing that we could build on the hair and makeup and bring it to a modern day glamour look. The following images reflect the progression of the day.
During the 45 miinutes that Devon was getting her hair and makeup done I shot some behind the scenes video. The following shows the progression from start to finish.