Are you embarrassed by your old yearbook photos? You shouldn’t be, because those young and awkward picture of you can be amazing, it just depends on how you look at them.
Photographer Jeffrey Vanhoutte set out to capture the nostalgia of yearbook photos and combined it with his sleek modern tone for his series “Yearbook.” This collection captures both the awkwardness and beauty wonderfully, and it makes for some very interesting contrast.
Vanhoutte is a photographer that currently works with mostly Belgian and international clients. He has a degree in professional photography from Coloma School in Mechelen and began working as a freelance photographer at the age of 21. Although he started by shooting food and other still life photography, he eventually moved on to working with models.
The series “Yearbook” was a collaboration with Van Loenhout Salon that aimed to show off contemporary hairstyles with a retro and nostalgic tone. It works great, and really highlights the style by contrasting it with the aged and awkward feeling of the rest of the model’s body and their environments.
“‘Yearbook’ reflects a number of fashions and fads from the last decennia, drenched in the atmosphere of American College where yearbooks have long predated Facebook.” says the caption of the series in the book: Hair by Loenhout
“These awkward yearly reports were filled with pictures of boys and girls with unflattering hairdos, glasses and other nerdy accessories, oblivious to the shame they would feel in years to come.”
(All images ©Jeffrey Vanhoutte)
Check out more of Jeffrey Vanhoutte’s work here on his website.
On March 5th, 2015 Kevin Kubota is starting off the WPPI Expo in Las Vegas with his Photographers Ignite event, and if you’re seeking some amazing inspiration, this is the place to be. Every year since 2010, Kubota’s been gathering some of the most innovative and creative photographers in the industry, for an evening of inspirational and thought provoking presentations. It has been called the “TED Talks” of photography and consists of 12 different presenters each giving 5 minute presentations on a wide range of topics. You’ll laugh, you may even cry, but you will definitely learn something!
Watch Sarah shoot and learn why Capture One Pro 8 is her RAW converter of choice and see just how invaluable a tool Capture One Pro is in an industry where efficiency and consistency are the keys to success.
“Capture One Pro 8 is stable, it’s faster! There is a smoothness to it. That coupled with the IQ250 – it’s like the dream team!”- Sarah Silver
Mixing her fascination with Renaissance paintings and U.S. Fast Food Culture, German photographer Rebecca Rütten came up with her Contemporary Pieces series. The series highlights our unhealthy habits, as visually presented in a canvas filled with humor and the added ingredient of Renaissance eroticism.
”I became enamored with the eroticism, presentation and charisma of paintings from the Renaissance Period. In the Late Renaissance, Italian and Dutch painters dealt with the middle and lower classes. In my opinion, Fast Food Culture represents these two social classes in the U.S. today. To eat healthy is expensive. However, one can buy large amounts of food at a fast food restaurant for a comparatively low price.” explains Rebecca on her website.
After spending time leafing through various reading materials about the Renaissance at the University Library, Rebecca became riveted with the works of Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, who uses the services of ‘laborers, gypsies and prostitutes’ to model for his portraits, thus combining a “realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting.”
All of these elements of Caravaggio’s style and the Renaissance influence gave Rebecca a creative juice to conceptualize her own twist and come up with this inventive idea for a photography series. “I asked friends to model for me and recreate the poses of the people in the paintings, with the new touches that I added. I like the fact that my friends in these photographs have tattoos and piercings. It underlines the concept that they are ‘Children of the Modern Age,’ having been brought up in the changing America, often defined by the culture of Fast Food.”
For more about the Renaissance period and its influence to modern photography, check out the latest print issue of Resource Magazine—available online and in Barnes and Noble.
View more of Rebecca Rütten’s work on her website.
My destination Location Lighting Workshop held at the Societies Photographic Convention, aka SWPP in London resulted in some wonderful images and was an event teeming with an abundant source of gear and creative alternatives. The workshop was held at the Asylum, at Caroline Gardens Chapel in Peckham, London.. The Asylum was built between 1827 and 1833, bombed during WWII and semi restored. This provided an incredible place to hold a lighting workshop as it afforded us endless possibilities to create moods and scenes depicting a variety of situations. We had two great models and masses of equipment courtesy of The Flash Center, Rosco and Chimera Lighting.
The lighting on this image was an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra strobe with a Chimera Strip Light on the right side of the model. On the left side of the model and slightly behind her was another strobe with a Rosco #83 Blue gel. Placed in front of the blue gel was a grid made out of Rosco CineFoil to control the light direction and break up the light beam. The smoke was created using a Rosco Vapour fog machine.
If you back light your smoke, it will have a greater effect. This is true when using a fog machine or when photographing smoke from a cigarette or cigar. This photograph was shot on a Nikon D-800 with a 24-70 Nikon lens at 35mm, 1/100 of a second at f5, ISO 100.
The photograph below is a mixture of strobe and ambient light. The light on the models face is from a strobe through a Chimera 30″ beauty dish. The light on the left side of the background is ambient light and the colors were from the bright sunlight shining through the stained glass windows about 20 feet above the floor. This was shot on a Nikon D800 with the lens at 24mm , 1/125 of a second, at f 4 ISO 1000.
Here are a few more images from the Asylum workshop.
At every “Location Lighting Workshop™” we create our “silly group photo.” Above is the Asylum image. Thank you to Canna Gray of Rosco and Ian Pack of The Light Side for all their help during the workshop.
Please join me at one of my upcoming “Location Lighting Workshops™”. Click here for the schedule.
[header image via Flickr ©Reading Tom]
By Michelle Park – Photos by Melissa Rodwell
An accident led Melissa Rodwell to fashion photography—literally. “I had a job as a studio manager and I hated it,” recalled Rodwell. When she received 5,000 dollars of insurance money from a car accident, she bought a ticket to Europe. During her stay, she landed her first photography gig. “I came back with some tear sheets and money.” Back in her self-described “hell” years as a young fashion photographer, Rodwell made her living from paid testings. It wasn’t until three years after her graduation that she got her first big break, working with Sassy Magazine. “Network as much as you can,” advised Rodwell. “It was a tough industry 25 years ago when I started, and it’s even tougher now, because every kid has a DSLR, a pirated version of Photoshop and Instagram.”
Wanting to put her hard-learned experience to good use, she started in 2008 the aptly named Fashion Photography Blog, in which she gave advice to aspiring and up and coming photographers. She is now expanding her educational effort, partnering with Marius Troy, the Creative Director behind Ben Trovato, a blog dedicated to finding new talents in fashion photography. Together they are launching Breed, a blog and workshop series that cover all aspects of fashion photography, from technical know-how to effective networking.
What made you pick up a camera at 17?
I knew from a pretty young age that I wanted to do something in the fashion industry. I went to Paris when I was seventeen, and I saw there a Helmut Newton exhibit that just blew my mind—I realized then that I wanted to be a photographer. I was interested in taking a garment and putting it in a situation and a fantasy, rather than creating a dress from scratch. Where would this dress be seen and how would it be worn? Who would wear it?
Let’s start with Fashion Photography Blog, your first blog. I love that it had a voice of an intimate and honest narrator, opposed to of a stark reporter or a journalist. How did you come up with the idea for this rather “personal” blog?
When the idea came up, I was kind of against it at first, because the industry is pretty guarded. I thought I would get slammed by my peers, but I eventually gave it a try. I just write how I speak. I started out writing “personalized posts” to talk about my opinions, feelings and the truth of who I am. My sincerity did make a difference—the readers were really happy to hear somebody be honest for once.
You’re about to launch a new blog called Breed. How did it come about?
I met Marius Troy at New York Fashion Week last fall. The minute I met him, I knew that we were meant to do something together. Over the next couple of months, we decided that we were going to expand on the Fashion Photography Blog. Breed is an education website for aspiring and emerging fashion photographers. It’s going to have videos, downloadable tutorials and interviews with people like Peter Lindberg.
Do you think that a blog can replace going to a photo school and teach people enough that they can succeed in the industry?
I didn’t used to think so, because I went to Art Center College of Design in 1984, which was very difficult to get into at the time. It took me three times to get into the school, and it was even harder to stay in, finish and graduate! Back in the early ‘80s, there were only four photography colleges in the United States, but nowadays, it’s a circus. Students are spending anywhere from 40,000 to 120,000 dollars on education, and they come out with mediocre portfolios that can’t compete in the market. What they really should have done was go out, assist, test and build up their career that way—I don’t think it’s important to have a diploma.
What is your word of advice for emerging photographers?
First, you have to be super passionate about it. One girl asked me couple days ago, “Should I get a night job?” I said, “Yes.” It’s tougher for girls to get assisting work, because photographers feel bad about making them carry heavy shit, but keep at it. Work at a bar as a waitress—you have to be willing to make sacrifices. There’s a really rare case in which you test for a year and get discovered by an amazing agency that starts developing your career, but I haven’t heard of that recently.
“How do I get published and how do I make it in the business?” Rodwell receives hundreds of emails with those kinds of questions every week. For those who are seeking similar advice, Breed is offering 3-day workshops on lighting, retouching and pep talks on the fashion photography industry—their first one took place in New York in September.
This story first appeared in the fall 2013 issue of Resource Magazine. Visit the Resource Shop to pick up the latest copy.
If there’s one thing you should know about Resource it’s that we know how to party, which is why we couldn’t be more excited to co-host the black and white themed WPPI Expo After Party with RGG EDU, and sponsored by Lensrentals.com, Chimera, BH Photo, Hasselblad, The Headshot Crew, ROSCO, F-Stop Gear Bags, Lost in PrintBlack and BlackRapid.
The party will kick off at 10 p.m. on March 2 at Studio West Photography. You can expect photo booths, entertainment and, of course, plenty of great (stiff) drinks, along with a ton of awesome giveaways, swag, coupons and a chance to win a brand new iPad.
The first 50 people to arrive will be awarded an exclusive SWAG BAG containing a ton of epic gifts from the sponsors. At 10:30 p.m., mad man Peter Hurley will be hosting the Rock Paper SHABANG contest—an RGG EDU party tradition—for the first 100 people to enter. The winner will receive a brand new iPad and the runner up will receive a TBD prize.
Tickets are limited and pre-registration is required. General Admission tickets are free with valid e-mail address. Reserve your tickets here.
If you need any consolation that this will be a night for the books, recap our 2014 Halloween Extravaganza and RGG EDU’s B&W after party during PPE 2014 below.
For our 2014 Halloween Extravaganza with Scheimpflug Rentals and Hasselblad Bron, we made it rain throughout the famed Bathhouse Studios with a stripper pole and an epic Bullet-Time Rig engineered by Scheimpflug.
Remember the naked caveman from RGG EDU’s B&W party during PPE 2014? Maybe it’s not the last you’ve seen of him..
What better place to join forces like these than Vegas? Reserve your spot today!
Start-up has been a hot word recently, and there are many new companies out their looking to lead the next big revolution in their industry. The photography world has been teaming with new start-up recently, and here are a few you may want to keep your eye on.
Rinse is all about taking the time to tell the story that goes with your images. This site is invitation-only and every photographer’s work is reviewed for quality before going up. This leads to some amazing photo essays and stories being portrayed in a very clean and elegant fashion. If you have a story to tell with your work, this is a great place to do so.
This seems like a silly idea, but it’s actually pretty cool. This mobile photo studio unfolds and gives you a professional looking backdrop for quickly shooting small products anywhere. The Folio even includes a battery operated LED light.
This website is a simple source of free high-res creative commons photos. Every ten days they upload ten new photos, that anyone can do anything with. A simple solution if you simply need a quick image and don’t want to worry about infringing on someones copy-right.
4. NYC Type
If you’re a typography nerd and totally obsessed with design, you’ll love this site. NYC Type is a collection of typography designs around New York City that the site’s creators find unique or inspiring. An interesting idea, and a good place to go when seeking inspiration.
This is a great all in one app to help manage a photography business. with just one login, you can manage your entire workflow, portfolio, and marketing.
Feedback is critical to any creative person, (although not always fun or pleasant.) Dribble is a place where you can crowd source feedback on your creative works from peers. Think of it as a place to crowdsource your critical feedback, and share your knowledge with others as well.
These are a cheap and clever solution to video stabilization. This Kickstarted product features a simple adjustable tripod that rolls on skateboard style wheels. they’re a cheap alternative to expensive and bulky traditional stabilizers.
This site allows for anyone to request a photo of something, and photographers from around the world can submit their shots, with the winner gets paid for their image. It’s a simple and fast way for companies to crowdsource stock images.
Photographer Will Ellis has released his newest collection of photographs from his exploration of New York’s most remote and forgotten places, and his images are breathtaking and haunting. His new book “Abandoned NYC” captures a New York that is quickly disappearing.
Ellis has been faithfully documenting forgotten corners of the city since 2012, and has been sharing his discoveries through his blog abandonedNYC.com. Ellis does his homework on the places he visits and writes extensively about each location’s unique and fascinating history. His shots range from ruins of Coney Island to abandoned schools in Harlem.
Ellis’ new book has 150 color photos of lost places across the five Boroughs, and each location includes detailed information on the history of these forgotten places. “Abandoned NYC” is currently available on his website and Amazon. He will also be having a presentation and book signing at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn on February 18. You can get tickets to this event here.
It came as no surprise that the 2014 best in “HD Video – Travel Shorts” category of the Travel Photography of the Year Award went to this jaw dropping time-lapse photography of the Kumbh Mela festival in Varanasi, India. The event billed as the ‘greatest gathering on Earth’, was captured perfectly in various magical angles by photographer and visual artist Rufus Blackwell.
Held last February 2013 in the holy waters of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers, the momentous gathering was referred as the Maha Kumbh Mela, a religious festival held once in every 144 years. So if you missed this one, you probably have to knock yourself out for missing out on such eye candy gathering of photography subjects. Because of its rarity, the festival pulled an estimated 100 million people from all over the world with most of them Hindus from all corners of India and other cultural junkies, travelers and photographers.
Over a period of few days, the site becomes a holy congregation of peace loving people from all over, reciting prayers, bathing and fulfilling a vow of pilgrimage to their faith. This amazing display of unique culture and religion on this part of the world already elicits an awesome vision just imagining it, but for Rufus Blackwell, seeing is believing – so he went the extra mile to photograph it in various angles to properly document the grand scope of the Kumbh Mela.
Rufus describes his finished work as “an animated painting of the immense kaleidoscopic teeming movements of the crowds and the patterns they make as they move.” Using one of the best cameras in the market today, the Canon 5D Mark III, Rufus took advantage of its shooting power by using a 16-35mm f/2.8L and a 70-200 f/4L lenses, Rufus labored for two weeks at many hours each day to compile more than 80,000 images that gives a perfect visual narrative to this amazing event.
Check out the other time-lapse photography work of Rufus Blackwell here.
This generation’s unwanted materials is one photographer’s treasure. British artist and photographer Nick Gentry (@nickgentryart) makes works of art composed of obsolete objects such as film negatives, x-rays, VCR tapes and computer disks which he collects from other people and use it to re-imagine human portraits.
As one of the most popular artists who relies heavily on contributed artifacts and materials, Nick is also becoming popular in Instagram with his highly intriguing image series “I can see some kind of haunting beauty in these forgotten items,” Nick says about his art series which will surely please environment friendly folks who are preaching for use of recycled resources.
Assembling these pieces and photographing it gives Nick an avenue to present this human-like forms as a bridge to our past. “These materials combine to form a composition of interconnected histories. In a sense none of us has a singular identity because who we are is purely the result of who we have connected with.”
Already an established artist in his own right, it is not surprise that everywhere he showcases his art, a series of rave reviews usually follows “What happens to floppy discs, music cassettes and other outdated storage media once they’ve outlived their usefulness? Nick Gentry uses them as a canvas for his paintings.” writes a review of his works in The Daily Telegraph.
Connecting all these forgotten materials produces an array of inter-connecting yet contradicting sum of all parts, to which Nick uses to the hilt to create a unique effect to the viewers. “There’s a certain vulnerability to being human,” he says. “We are entirely dependent on the objects we create around us, increasingly so with regard to technology. The fascinating and possibly scary part for me is that it’s almost like we are building this machine that we don’t know how to stop.”
The sky is the limit for Gentry’s art especially coming in the heels of his successful exhibition alongside other well known street artists, like Bansky, Blek Le Rat and Shepard Fairey. Because of this, many art and photography enthusiasts have linked him to the sudden rise of interest in London’s urban art scene.
Tying the knot this year will not only usher a new chapter in the lives of two loving people through richness and poor, sickness and in health, good wedding photography or bad. It is also a chance for each marrying couple to cement their marital vows to posterity by starring, along with their family and friends, in top-quality, memorable photographs. Doing so, they might earn a shot at eclipsing these award winning wedding photographs selected by The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers.
Since it has been a tradition of the ISPWP to hold quarterly wedding photograph competition, it didn’t come as a surprise that at the end of 2014, an impressive set of images encompassing 20 categories like this winner for ‘All About Light’ category, becomes the barometer of wedding photographs to come.
These images presents a bouquet of good news for anyone planning to get hitched this year, as these pictures should serve as an inspiration and motivation to hire a talented wedding photographer. So for the singles out there, you have until Valentines day to start the ball of romance rolling, or else you need to answer to the annoying “when will you get married?” question from your mom.
Until the big day arrives, you can just drool at these romantic pictures that best captured the genuine moments starting from the bridal shower and bachelor’s party to the preparation to the ceremony itself and culminating at the reception. All the real essence of love shared between two persons who are on their way to a blissful life together, and the family and friends who shares the wonderful day are perfectly documented by these beautiful images.
Ah parties. Just think, you could have a moment like this image that won first place for the Reception category:
Check out the rest of the ISPWP’s best wedding photographs of 2014 here
In February, Broncolor will be hosting three lighting workshops, a unique opportunity to learn lighting techniques from the pros. Led by Broncolor’s world-famous staff photographer, Nadia Winzenreid, they workshops will lighting techniques for high-end commercial and fashion photography using Broncolor’s lighting gear, while exploring the ways you can leverage this equipment to maximize your own creativity .
New York City – Feb. 16
Atlanta, GA – Feb. 18
Dallas, TX – Feb. 19
Tickets will be available on the day of each workshop for $100. If you pre register today by clicking the above links on your respective city, you can secure your tickets for only $75.
A well executed portrait has the ability to stir incredibly strong emotions deep inside of us. It can sum up a mood, environment, and sometimes an entire person’s being in a single image. The criteria for what makes a portrait “good” is completely subjective of course, but there are many photographers who are pushing the boundaries of this art like it’s never been pushed before. Here are 12 portrait photographers working today, who are leading the way in exploring this art form.
1. Erik Almas
Almas hails from Norway, and has made a name for himself with his beautiful composite landscapes and portrait work. He utilizes his lighting wonderfully and draws out some very intense moods.
Probably best known for his extensive shooting throughout India, McCurry has an incredibly colorful and vivid style. He’s been honing his craft for over three decades and has published over a dozen books.
“What is important to my work is the individual picture. I photograph stories on assignment, and of course they have to be put together coherently. But what matters most is that each picture stands on its own, with its own place and feeling.”– Steve McCurry
This French photographer has traveled the world, and his photos tell beautiful stories of the many far off places he’s explored. Looking through his collection gives you real perspective of the vast amount of differences and similarities humans express all over the planet.
4. Joe McNally
He was described by American Photo as “Perhaps one of the most versatile photojournalists working today.” McNally has been a long time contributor for Nation Geographic and has shot in over 50 countries around the world.
5. Peter Hurley
Hurley started his career working on the other side of the camera as a model. He eventually picked up a camera and never looked back. He is now one of the best-known headshot photographers in the world.
Leibovitz is one of the best known portrait photographers working in the United States today. She has worked with many celebrities, and has a knack for getting very personal and emotional shots from her subjects.
This 36 year old French photographer traveled to Vietnam and fell in love with the country. His collections document the people and lifestyles he’s witnessed both in Vietnam and the many other places he’s explored.
8. Dmitri Ageev
This young Russian photographer is a quickly rising star in the portrait world. His shots are all about the eyes, and his lighting techniques create some stunningly expressive faces.
Kristine is working to change the world through her art. This acclaimed humanitarian and has traveled the world, exposing the beauty of indigenous cultures and sparking many new discussions about human rights and dignity. She is probably best known for her work exposing modern slavery around the world.
10. Martin Schoeller
Schoeller’s signature portrait style is very simple, yet profoundly moving. He likes to shoot closeups of his subjects, capturing the bare essence of their faces and letting the lines and tiny details of their skin tell the story.
11. Lee Jeffries
Jeffries made a name for himself with a stunning collection of black and white shots of homeless people. His images drew out the raw humanity of his subjects in a way that few other have been able to match.
12. Manny Librodo
Manny Librodo is a storyteller first and foremost. With his surreal scenarios, and a mastery of post production, he takes you through fascinating tales with his images, and allows your imagination to fill in the details of the stories.
Is there a portrait photographer you look up to that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
Polaroid is well aware of the nostalgia that surrounds its old instant film cameras and is doing their best to capitalize on it with a set of products offering different types of mobile printing. This month they unveiled a new device that will try and recapture that classic experience of snapping a shot ant instantly being able to share a physical copy with friends. The Zip Mobile Printer is Polaroid’s new solution to the instant gratification they made their name on. It turns any Android or iOS device into a Polaroid Instant Camera by printing any of your shots on the spot via a bluetooth connection and a free app.
Approximately the size of a smartphone, the Polaroid Zip mobile printer weighs just 186g (.41lbs) and measures 2.91” x 4.72”, just less than one inch thick. Clearly designed to be small so as not to interfere with your current lifestyle. That aforementioned mobile app allows for a few other options and is the only way to control the printer, as the printer has only one physical button (on/off). Those options include:
– Enhancements to brightness, contrast, saturation and tint as well as 12 color filters including sepia, retro and HDR.
– A collage mode that allows users to feature up to 9 images on one single print.
– The ability to draw in various colors using the paint mode as well as the use of frames, stickers, stamps, emojis and animations to make the image stand out.
– A unique business card creator allows users to choose from several templates and add in their image and personal info for a creative leave behind.
– The option to make edits private and only viewable using the app’s secret view mode. Secret view will print the original photo with an individual QR code that, when scanned, will reveal the final image complete with add-ons and creative effects.
The device can print 2″x3″ photos in about a minute and is set to be released this spring for around $130.00.
These Winning Images from the 2014 Travel Photographer of the Year Award Will Kickstart Your Wanderlust
“I will travel more this year” is one of the most common New Year’s resolution made by most of us who have been plotting to escape the monotony of daily life. But as the first few weeks of the new year roll in, we kind of forget about it when we encounter some hiccups along the way that make us shelve our travel plans behind. A huge part of it stems from doubting our capabilities to withstand the rigors of traveling. Doing so, we forgot that traveling provides us with more meaningful ways of satisfying our worldly curiosities we could ever imagine. Traveling with a camera in hand provides some of the most amazing high – in terms of summoning the inner creativity for any photographer. The term ‘wanderlust’ was coined to describe the addicting pull of the road ahead. So to kick-start your travel photography endeavors in 2015 and in the name of adventure, exploration and discovery, we present you some of the amazing winning images from the 2014 Travel Photographer of the Year Awards (TPOTY).
Rufus Blackwell from the United Kingdom won the HD Video – Travel Shorts category for his time-lapse photography of the Khumb Mela Festival in Varanasi, India. It is said to be the largest gathering in the whole planet Earth with more than one hundred million participants.
The winning images from Travel Photographer of the Year 2014 will be on display at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London starting from July 24 until September 5, 2015. To view the rest of the winning travel photographs, check out the TPOTY Gallery here.
I recently saw an image on my Facebook feed that was shared from a professional photographer buddy of mine. He often will post photos from past projects, in addition to his latest images. The shot I saw on this day took me completely by surprise. Not because it was amazing, but because it was terrible.
I’ve seen lots of this particular photographers work, and it’s generally very good. They have plenty of print credits, make a sustainable income with their skill, and by all means are a professional at their craft. What I saw in the image is something I’d have expected from a recent college graduate, assistant, or otherwise non-professional shooter.
(I had hoped to share the photo I had seen, but I was not able to secure permission to do so. Hopefully my other examples will illustrate my point further)
When I was learning about photography some years ago, I played around with wide angle lenses enough to see what kind of images I got. I thought the distortion created was actually really interesting to look at and therefore, I thought it was desirable. It didn’t take long for the designers and directors who oversaw my work to point out how much I was distorting my wide angle images. I should clarify to say that the issue wasn’t the distortion itself, but the subject matter. I was distorting people. And the people I worked with saw this as a serious faux-pas.
As soon as this was pointed out to me, it was as if a veil was lifted.
From then on, I couldn’t NOT notice when people in photographs had skewed proportions in wide angle images. I knew for traditional portraiture that a longer focal length was ideal, but I found myself taking environmental portraits much of the time. Including a background and context to an image, in addition to the person, often meant a wider focal length for me. The more images I created like this, the more I was in a situation of creating an image with skewed proportions, so at first it was hard to avoid.
In the image below, I was on assignment in Turkey, documenting a group of traveling photographers. I was trying to include the environment as well as the subjects in most of my images. Look at the size of his hands and head relative to the rest of his body.
Eventually I figured out that when used specifically for the effect, it’s very useful. Purposely exaggerating features or objects can make them look bigger (or smaller) in the frame, and some clients love that effect. Now I’m able to use it to my advantage to call attention to certain areas in a composition or manipulate a particular object in the frame.
In the below shot, I wanted to capture this uniquely formed tree out in Rocky Mountain National Park. I used a 10mm lens to stretch the tree even further and include more of the landscape. I think this works fine, but if a person had been standing near the edge of my frame it would look obviously distorted.
That said, I still find that when people are the primary subject and they clearly are stretched, there doesn’t seem to be for any effect at all. It looks like an unflattering error on the part of the photographer. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at 2 examples that were straight up portraits shot with a wide angle lens.
About the above photos: A few years ago I was the video/photo dude for the marketing department at a college in the Midwest. Every year there was a formal fundraising event, and they always hired an outside portrait photographer to come in and take portraits of all of the attendees. This contract shooter would set up a backdrop, lights, and have couples smile for the camera. It was part of my job to post the images onto social media, so I got to seem them before anyone else.
Some of the images looked fine, but more than a few had something very strange going on. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but I could tell there was a problem. And then I saw it. I noticed the hands on a few of the people. The ogre-like, massive palm stretching down to the bottom of the frame told me that it was likely that the images were shot with a wide angle lens. Not only did it seem to stretch features near the frame edges, it appeared to make objects in the center and slightly further away get very small. The result to me looks like a case of shrunken heads.
Here’s another example I found recently.
So how do I deal with this now that I’m aware of it? Let’s look at some images from a recent shoot I had in Utah. I wanted to take some outdoor/adventure photos of a hiker and her dog around some amazing desert rock formations. I made a point to shoot with a wide angle, and talk about some of the final images in this article.
My first shot was too close, and it makes the arm look fat and her body as a whole feels squished down. An image like this is definitely not a keeper IMO.
I took a few steps backs, changed none of my camera settings and captured what I felt worked much better. Additionally, any stretching outward of the clouds I think helps, as it makes them look more dynamic.
In another location, I used the wide angle lens to shrink and fit a rock tower into my frame. I had to be careful though, as her legs were leading towards the camera. As a result they were coming close to stretching so much that they might start to look unnatural.
In my last shot, I made a point to place the backpack the woman is wearing near the edge of the frame, so it becomes a bit larger and noticeable. Something an outfitter or brand might want (I see them do this ALL the time) so in this case, I used the lens effects to my advantage while keeping the person in somewhat natural proportions.
If you’re reading this and think you’re guilty of this, don’t sweat it. I’ve come to realize that most people don’t and won’t notice. I asked several groups of photographers (who have much more of a picky eye than I do) and most didn’t see a problem. Does that make it ok, or something that is a non-issue? I’d like you to tell me.
What it boils down to is this: Did your client like your photo? Were you happy with your effort in crafting the final image? If the answer to both of those is yes, then go ahead and set your focal lengths to 14mm, position your subject off to the side of the frame, and give them legs that are long and heads that are small. I will continue to think it looks weird, but as long as I’m not the one paying you, it doesn’t really matter now does it?
So what do you think?
Broncolor is on the search for the best young and talented photographers to be its new Gen NEXT ambassadors. They’ve kicked off a contest in which five winners will be selected to receive a brancolor sponsorship that includes $25,000 worth of new gear to play with.
They’re looking for photographers between the ages of eighteen and thirty to submit their best images. Applicants are encouraged to submit up to three images from any field of photography for consideration. The contest opened on Jan 15th and Broncolor will be accepting submissions until March 2nd. Click here to submit your application and learn more about this exciting opportunity.
This is a pretty crazy opportunity, so don’t miss out on it! Something like this is liable to launch your career skyward fast, so there is a lot at stake if you win.
Do you feel like you need a Netflix binge day, but you also want to stimulate your creativity? We’ve put together a list of the top 10 documentaries for photographers currently streaming on Netflix. These movies get into the heart of how pictures tell stories and they explore the passionate artists who create them.
In 1958, Swiss photographer Robert Frank created a landmark work of photography titled “The Americans.” This collection of 83 black and white photographs captured candid moments in the American experience during a journey across the U.S. In this documentary, film maker Philippe Séclier retraces this route and recaptures on digital video camera what Frank captured on film.
In 2007, three boxes arrived at the International Center of Photopraphy from Mexico City. Inside were the legendary lost Spanish Civil War negatives by photographer Robert Capa. This film tells the story of their recovery and the power of the tragic story they told.
3) Men at Lunch
In 1932, an iconic photograph was taken of a group of construction workers enjoying a very dangerous lunch above the New York skyline. This photograph came to represent the American immigrant story and the Great depression. Director Seán Ó Cualáin set out to figure out the identities of these workers who came to represent so much.
New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham has been obsessively documenting the fashion world of New York City for decades. This film tells the story of both the work and character of a photographer driven by his passion.
A single picture can have a huge cultural impact, and one of the greatest examples of this is the iconic image of Ernesto “Che” Guevara. This film examines how Cuban photographer Alberto Korda’s single shot of the revolutionary rose to become a social and political icon.
As digital photography began to take over the world, the Polaroid Camera began to fade into history. In 2008, Polaroid announced that it would stop making its instant film and this documentary details the memories and emotions of Polaroid employees and photographers during the films final year of production.
This is a great profile of the controversial superstar paparazzo Ron Galella. It digs into the ethics of invasive Paparazzi and examines America’s absolute obsession with celebrity.
This acclaimed documentary focuses on Emad Burnat, a Palestinian farmer recording his life with various hand held video cameras. It offers a very unique view of life and non-violent resistance in a West Bank village during Israeli Occupation.
Bob Guccione created a publishing empire and made millions with what was considered “smut.” The creator of Penthouse magazine created a First Amendment uproar that eventually went to the Supreme court. This biography examines his life, his rise to fame and his eventual downfall.
Every photographer has a keen eye for aesthetic and design and this film explores what makes every day items pleasing to the eye.
We all expect that not too long from now the declaration of “I love the smell of books” will meet puzzled looks from the new generation of ebook readers, as the days of leafing through the pages of literary works comes to an end, an inevitable fact which Dutch photographer Reinier Gerritsen firmly believes. This is the chief reason why his latest photography series “The Last Book”, which now occupies the gallery at New York City’s Julie Saul Gallery until February 7, will resonate more to viewers and ask if we really want to see the end of books as we know it – or are we all willing to trade it to the more convenient and easily stored digital books? until you see these images then hold on to your answer.
Known for his earlier work “Wall Street Stop” which also takes place in the vast underbelly of the New York Subway system, Reinier this time documented train passengers who instead of being consumed by their mobile phones or ebook readers, are deeply engrossed in the pages of the book they are reading. “This is how it goes. Everything is always changing, but there’s a beautiful phenomenon that’s vanishing. That’s why I wanted to document it,” he tells Slate.
The images in his “The Last Book” series were mostly taken candidly, he shares to Slate that he never encountered any problem in taking pictures of his subjects “I’m 60. When I was a young guy, a lot of things were not allowed, but when you’re older people are more accepting,” he said. “It’s one of the few advantages of being older.”
For some who are more worried about their privacy to be photographed, Renier hands them a short note explaining of his intentions. “With my little slip of paper, I explained that books are vanishing and are being replaced by characterless iPads and Kindles. They would read this and I always got a smile back,” he said.
Because of this, the photographs he took provides a natural peek at the diminishing population of old-school book readers as compared to the growing legions of Kindle and iPhone readers. “The Last Book” series really explores the joy of reading even in the most crowded environment and the very limited space of a packed subway car.
Beginning as a series shaped by modest observations that morphed into a stunning documentary about our relationship with books that encompasses a diverse genre from romance, to thrillers, to detective novels or any other kind of printed books, whose pages more people still prefer to leaf through over the swiping of a LED screen.
The Julie Saul Gallery is currently having its first solo exhibition with Dutch photographer Reinier Gerritsen until February 7. His photography series “The Last Book” was published by Aperture in September. You can order the book online here.
It’s officially arrived, people. The Belfie Stick, a selfie device specifically configured for behind-the-back photo ops, is taking us by storm. Once the creators of social media website On.com realized their network was being infiltrated with a plethora of viewers posting butt-selfies, they scrambled to fill a wide-open niche in the selfie-technology sector.
— Shane-Michael (@SMTuchs) January 13, 2015
On.com CTO Kevin Deegan spoke with Business Insider about the origin of the Belfie Stick. “We’ve noticed a huge spike in users taking butt selfies in recent months so the natural next step was for us to develop a device to assist our users in taking one,” he said.
— John Colucci (@johncolucci) January 8, 2015
To say the Belfie Stick has been an instant hit with selfie-photogs everywhere is an understatement. Out of sheer curiosity—we’re professionals, after all—one of our editors called up the product’s PR department for a loaner and discovered that the company has completely sold out of merchandise. No loaners in stock. “They’re on backorder from our manufacturer,” they said. “We’re unsure when we’ll be getting them back in.”
Typical selfie sticks are around the $15 mark. The Belfie Stick sells for $79.99, and it’s SELLING OUT.
— news.com.au (@newscomauHQ) January 8, 2015
Honestly though, has the human race become that narcissistic? Is it all just a cry for help? Has our butt really become more important than our face? Perhaps it’s an evolutionary bump in the road—and a mentality that we need to be shaken drastically out of. Whatever it is, the fragrant success of the Belfie Stick is proof that people need to seriously chill out and keep their heads from being wrapped around their own asses.
The atmosphere and texture that comes from imagery that has rain pouring is definitely unique. It can add that next level of drama or intensity to a scene, and in this video from Tom Antos, he shows us how to do that for less than $20.
Tom shows that with a trip to the local hardware store and access to running water, this cool effect can be created with relative ease. Add some backlight to the rain, edit in some storm sound effects in post, and you’re in business.
If you found this informative, check out some more of Tom’s tutorials on lighting and film production.
Consider your rights as an American citizen: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
By now, I’m sure mostly everyone has read an article or watched a video of a photojournalist or photographer being arrested, receiving a ticket or, in other words, getting harassed. That said, I think we can all agree that photographers should be granted a bit sanctuary in the eyes of the law.
This is why on Jan. 2, Texas Republican Steve Stockman—who left office after the session ended—attempted to introduce the Ansel Adams Act, also known as HR 5893. The bill would essentially end restrictions on photographers, explicitly stating that “still and motion photographs are speech.” So any threats against this would thereby violate the First Amendment.
Of course, the statute also acknowledges the pioneering work of Ansel Adams. It brings into question the increasingly strict limitations on photographing in U.S. National Parks, public spaces and government buildings, while referencing Adams’ iconic photographic documentation of Yosemite National Park.
Currently, the bill is being reviewed by several committees, including the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. However, it was, in fact, strangely introduced at the very end of the 113th Congress by a member who has since left office. Hopefully we’ll see it’s resurgence as 2015 takes way.
When cinematographer and director Benjamin Dowie traveled to Europe earlier this year with an unknown agenda, he eventually crossed paths with Mathieu Le Lay—a spectacular filmmaker and adventurer whose work Dowie had admired from a distance for some time. They hit it off and Le Lay extended him an invitation to explore some of France’s most beautiful scenery in the French Alps. It was an offer Dowie couldn’t refuse; he kept his camera rolling and eventually produced an intimate, visceral short film that focused on Le Lay’s connection with mother nature.
Stillness Arises, a Vimeo Staff Pick this week, uses beautiful imagery to convey man’s relationship with the world around him—the very theme of Le Lay’s own film work. The camera follows Le Lay hiking up mountains in the French Alps, running his hands along moss-covered trees, biking along a meadow in his home town of Brittany and staring out into the sea, contemplating its vast possibilities. The film is narrated with Le Lay’s own words that were inspired by the works of Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer and Albert Espinosa.
This collaboration between Dowie and Le Lay evokes a strong sense of connection to a large and wild world, filled with beauty and danger and grand elements that we could never hope to control. Simply put, Stillness Arises is the type of film that inspires people to leave their computers behind and start exploring mother nature on their own.
Benjamin Dowie’s additional Vimeo Staff Picks include Oceans and Castles, Oh, Summer, This is Africa, and Seacave, among others. Check out the expanse of his beautiful and evocative films here.
This past fall, we teamed up with leading camera manufacturer, Fujifilm U.S., to create a super-exclusive, hands-on experience for 12 amazing students in three U.S. cities: New York, Boston and San Francisco. It’s known as the FujiFilm Photo Tours—a contest in which students raced to sign up and get some hands on shooting time with the awesome Fujifilm X-T1 mirrorless camera and an 18-135mm lens. After a day of shooting, lead by one of our fantastic instructors, 1 winner would be chosen from each city to not only score a feature in 1 of 3 Fujifilm ads in the winter 2015 issue of Resource Magazine (visit the Resource Shop to pick up a copy later this week) but to also win a Fujifilm X-T1 and 18-135mm of their very own!
Each tour was led by one of our badass local photographers/instructors in each city. New York offered up author and night photographer extraordinaire, Gabriel Biderman, Boston was lead by legendary photojournalist Rick Friedman while San Francisco was headed by photographic explorer and preservationist Amy Heiden. Each instructor is not only a leader in their perspective expertise, they’re also hella-fun!
Winning images were chosen by our crack team of photography pundits! These judges included Fujifilm’s very own X-Series marketing manager, and leading lighting and technical field expert, photographer Justin Stailey; photographer, educator and author of Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots, Nicole S. Young. You should also check out Nicloe’s blog for some great photo tips and stories. Finally…. last, but not least, one of our favorites around Resource HQ, the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the very popular photography site Featureshoot.com, Alison Zavos. After weeks of deliberations the winners were chosen and the artwork for the new Fujifilm X-T1 ads was completed. We’re here to tell you that the magazine is hot off the press and on its way to distributors and retailers right now! We thought all of you loyal Resource junkies might enjoy a sneak peek. You can view the winning photographs below and find out what students had to say about this unique contest and opportunity. If you want to see more BTS photos from each stop on the tour, check them out here: New York, Boston and San Francisco.
Fujifilm Photo Tour – New York Winner: Reva Aisha Do Espirito Santo
“The Fujifilm photo tour through Brooklyn was a lovely experience. As a group we had a great time interacting with the environment, and Gabe was a charismatic and knowledgable instructor. The camera itself was easy to maneuver—at the same time it gave me a lot of manual freedom to feel in control of my shot. Having shot with much heavier DSLR cameras in the past, I love going mirrorless. Having shot with other mirrorless cameras in the past, I love that the X-T1 still feels and looks like a professional camera without all the extra weight.
As a student it can be difficult to get off campus, so participating in this photo tour with a group of great people was just the creative release that I needed. Now I have an excuse to keep getting out there with my new camera! Thanks to everyone at Fujifilm, at Resource Mag, to Gabe, and to my peers who kept me in good photo company during the tour!”
Fujifilm Photo Tour – Boston Winner: Dan Mccarthy
“My first reaction to the Fuji X-T1 was to think how different it felt than the DSLR I am used to having in my hand. When I began using it though, I quickly realized it to be just as powerful. The camera incorporates a list of very interesting features, including double exposure, that instantly inspire creativity.
Having the obviously portable machine in my hand was all the motivation I needed to have fun and play with what can capture in impressive quality. I easily found myself in the zone of exploring the world around me for images while also being enthralled in exploring the extensive capabilities of the camera.”
Fujifilm Photo Tour – San Francisco Winner: Nico Padayhag
“As a photographer rooted in documentary imagery, speed and precision are two qualities that are a must-have in my equipment. When compositions line up and the perfect moment enters my lens, I need to be able to rely on my camera to successfully capture it. I can truly say that the Fujifilm X-T1 captures images with that rapid speed and explicit precision, and more.
Traditionally I shoot with film, however, the built-in presets in the X-T1 allow me to explore scenarios with Provia Velvia, or Monochrome settings—a throwback feature film photographers like myself can really appreciate. Lightweight and compact, the X-T1 still holds its own against the larger DSLR cameras on the market, but with sleekness and style.”
We’d like to thank everyone at Fujifilm U.S., the awesome students and schools that participated, our fabulous instructors and judges that helped make this year’s Fujifilm Photo Tours a huge success. If you want to pick up a copy of the Winter 2015 issue of Resource Magazine and see these stunning ads, visit the Resource Shop to pick one up.