By Graham Burns
So what the heck is InstaCamp? Well, if you’re anything like me and thought it had to do with rapidly inflatable tents and/or sleeping bags, you’d be wrong. InstaCamp is actually an event for marketers, brand managers, social strategists and photographers to come together and discuss the art of successfully using Instagram for marketing.
On March 3, Flashstock held its first-ever U.S. InstaCamp event at Irving Plaza in New York. Here’s what we learned.
Under all of the buzz words, industry jargon and a secret contest to see who could say the word “millennials” the most, InstaCamp provided some pretty powerful insights for companies and brands that are looking to efficiently and effectively engage with the Instagram community. The presenters who provided these insights were diverse in their experience and areas of expertise. From Matthew Wurst, VP and head of social at the blazing hot digital agency 360i, who discussed how his team achieved success with campaigns like “#snackhacks” for Oreo to crowd favorite 17-year-old IG influencer Humza Deas, who instantly captured the audience’s attention with his infamous “roof-topping” shots and stories of trespassing.
We’re caffeinated thanks to @standcoffee and well on our way with #instacampNYC at @irvingplaza! A photo posted by FlashStock (@flashstock) on
For most companies and brands, their first step is to say to their teams, “we need to be on Instagram”. They then start posting random superficial content with no rhyme, reason or game plan. Unsurprisingly, this is a big no-no according to Michael Scissons, co-founder/chairman of Flashstock. Instead, he suggests examining the trends and data and coming up with a strategic, focused and consistent approach to the platform that takes full advantage Instagram’s biggest strengths. Grant Munro, co-founder and CEO of FlashStock, and Edlynne Laryea, consultant at Global Digital Center of Excellence at Johnson & Johnson, asked the audience to think before you post and ask the question “would I hang this on my wall.”
The most honest and insightful presentation of the day came from Gian Carlo Pitocco in his presentation on the Future of Instagram. The main take away being if you want to succeed on Instagram you need to “know thy audience” and “be authentic.” Instagram, as with each individual social platform, has its own unspoken set of aesthetics that hold value in the community. In order to break through all the other marketing white noise, you need to have a deep understanding of the established style of the community. In other words, you have to learn the rules before you can play the game.
It’s no secret that Instagram has rapidly become one of the most popular social networks, with about 300 million active users per month (as of December 2014), and that kind of traffic is sure to bing more and more marketing dollars in the very near future. The only question is, will that money be turned into effective statements that engage their intended audiences, or will they simply cause users to unfollow?
[featured image via Flashstock]
The World Press Organization has revoked the first-prize winner of their contemporary issues photo contest, after an investigation into whether a photo in the series was intentionally misleading. Giovanni Troilo’s winning series “The Dark Heart of Europe” had come under scrutiny after claims that a photo of a painter was shot in Molenbeek, Brussels, and not in the town of Charleroi, where the rest of the series was claimed to have been shot. After an investigation, the WPO confirmed with Troilo that the the location of the photo was falsified during the submission process, and the work was therefore disqualified.
In a press release yesterday, the WPO’s Photo Managing Director Lars Boering said that while there were strict controls in place, their contests rely on the trust and ethics of the photographers who submit their work.
“Based on the mixture of reactions we’ve received over the past week, it is clear to me that the debate taking place about the definitions of press photography, photojournalism and documentary photography is necessary, and it will have implications for the professional ethics of practitioners. We find ourselves right in the middle of this debate, and we aim to use this as a learning experience, to give focus to the discussion and bring it to the next level. In order to do this, we are organizing a discussion about image integrity that will take place during the Awards Days in Amsterdam and we also plan to hold a debate about ethics in the profession during the same event at the end of April.”
This decision has sparked a huge conversation about ethics in photojournalism and the standards in which photography contests are judged. Although the issue in this case was a misleading location in one of the photos, it draws into question the integrity of the rest of the series, and this entire form of photojournalism in general. Where do you draw the line between real storytelling and artistic liberty?
Bruno Stevens, a Belgium photojournalist and a former World Press winner, was the one who had initially contacted the awards’ body about an incorrect caption on the disqualifying photo. In an article by The Guardian, he stated that this particular incident brought up many larger issues, saying the photos in the series were a “clear breach of normal journalistic behavior,” and that the entire series only blurred the boundaries of fiction and non fiction in photojournalism. He didn’t question the abilities of the photographer in this case, but instead, questioned the methods that were used to portray “truth” in the series.
“While his working methods are perfectly alright in commercial or fine art circles, they are not remotely adequate for journalistic work.”
The lines in the current ethical debate are anything buy clear, but the WPO had made clear its rules with this contest. It’s goal was to seek out a visual form of “truth” that can only be captured by real authentic photojournalism. This comes with strict rules and a zero tolerance policy for any forms of photo alteration or misrepresentation. The urge seems to be to keep the realm of photojournalism separate from art, but examples such as this most recent disqualification blur the lines between truth and art. Where should we distinguish between telling a true compelling narrative through visuals, and painting pictures for people with photos?
As the WPO reasserts its strict adherence to ethics and “truth” in its contests, it will be interesting to see if other contests begin to come under increased scrutiny in the future.
From a discussion about photo manipulation, hosted by the World Photography Organization, here’s what a few Facebook and Linked in members had to say on it:
“Photojournalism should depict the truth through the image at the moment it was taken. In this digital age the truth seems to be enhanced quite a bit, leaving much doubt as to the “real” truth. This doesn’t make sense to me. The job of the photojournalist is to report via photography what they actually saw happen and if they are good at what they do that image will convey it all at one glance, no doctoring needed.”
“As long as photography is considered art, no laws or regulations may be applied. There certainly should be barriers between numerous categories of photographs, from documentary ones, i.e. described by EXIFs or RAW files, to non-documentary, depending on the amount of involvement of graphic software. However, such sets of limitations are quite reasonable for theme competitions of any kind to make the jury’s job easier and more objective.”
“I do believe that the original content and composition should be presented without post edit alteration. That said is it is a matter of contrast, brightness, sharpening, or minor color adjustment, I don’t see those as material to the content. If of course it is specifically stated that no photojournalist entry may be edited in anyway whats so ever, but straight from camera, then so be it.”
“Today the competition is tougher than it’s ever been, there is a lot of good photographers out there and they are looking to stand out from others. I personally think a little “enhancing” is good if the photo is looking dull (due to circumstances) which is sometimes needed or if we made an error during taking the picture taking process.”
Phase One (http://www.phaseone.com) came along when renowned portrait photographer Jason Bell (http://www.jasonbellphoto.com/) went to London’s Hampstead Heath to shoot actor and Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch for Vanity Fair magazine’s Hollywood Portfolio.
Go behind the scenes with Jason Bell and experience Benedict Cumberbatch handle dogs, climb a tree, and dive backwards into a lake:
On the first shooting location Jason set out to turn a day lit forest into night. To accomplish this task, a variety of lighting equipment, two guys with moveable smoke machines, and the actual photographing had to come together as one.
The shoot became even more elaborate when two lively giant hounds were added to the mix.
“I like to have a sort of narrative in my head which you don’t necessarily get when you look at the picture, but it informs the mood of the picture. On this occasion I am imagining that he has been at a ball, he is probably drunk, and he is going home with his dog. That is the story in my head for the picture. It helps me decide where light should be and even how I print. And it helps him to think about something rather than just: ‘I’m having my photograph taken.’”
Jason Bell emphasizes the team effort it takes to make a shoot like this happen: “It is a collaboration with all the guys doing the lights and the smoke. I’m not doing it on my own. I’m the captain of the ship.”
While Jason directed his crew, he also made sure to include Benedict Cumberbatch in the creative process. “He got very involved and there were things he wanted to do which I always really like”. Benedict’s creative ideas included a suggestion to jump into the lake – fully clothed – rather than being photographed next to it. Jason went along with the idea immediately.
“We plan a lot of it and set it up but always when the person is in camera and I start shooting is when I really decide”.
Jason Bell came up with the idea to shoot an all-U.K. edition of Vanity Fair’s annual Hollywood Portfolio issue. The shoot featuring Benedict Cumberbatch is just one of the 44 British icons portrayed in the issue.
Jason Bell: “My favorite thing about working for Vanity Fair is the creative freedom. They are fantastic at saying: “What do you want to do? Okay, do it.” That is obviously an exciting thing as a photographer to be allowed to do what you want.”
Check out the rest of the Vanity Fair Hollywood Portfolio images shot entirely by Jason Bell with Phase One here.
Let’s face it, film is expensive… but film shooters will happily pay the price because the look and mindset of shooting film are worth it to them. Transitioning into film from wholly digital is a hurdle though, thanks to that price wall. So figuring out how exactly you transition from digital to film is key. You can do it without losing your mind (and your profit).
I started film after I started digital. Traditionally speaking, it’s backwards, I know. I wanted to hone my photography skills so I decided that the best way for me to do that would be to go back to basics and learn film. But once I started to shoot it, I couldn’t stop. I never intended to shoot film professionally, but it filled the creative hole I had in me and I was hooked right from the start: I knew I wanted to be a film shooter, but I had to figure out how to incorporate film into my workflow without losing all my profit.
I made a lot of errors along my way to becoming a film photographer. I overshot, lost profit and had too many duplicate images that I didn’t need. I am still not fully film for weddings. I choose to switch to digital in low light situations. When you have a dark candlelit church ceremony at night, film just isn’t the best medium (unless your clients are okay with all black and white – which I would LOVE by the way). So for dark churches and the “party” of the reception, I fall back on digital photography. But for the rest, including elements of the receptions such as details, entrances, first dance and cake cutting, I shoot film.
When I first started I tried to shoot both film and digital simultaneously. Unless you like undue stress and wasting your money and time, I wouldn’t recommend this. There is absolutely no point in getting a shot both on film and on digital. If you don’t trust yourself to get a solid shot on film yet, then you aren’t ready to use film in a wedding situation. Keep at it with personal work and portrait sessions until you are confident enough to shoot a setup on only film. I spent way too much time and money editing digital photos to look like my film and trying to make it work. I had so many weddings where I threw out digital after digital image once the film came back in. Why did I waste my time doing both? I wasn’t confident and that was my mistake.
When I’m mentoring photographers and they ask me about going hybrid, I tell them what I would have done instead of what I did. I suggest starting with shooting film and digital but making the film unique. Shoot black and white only and your digital will be your color. Once you gain more confidence and are ready to transition more, shoot entire sections in film only. Start with details, add in portraits (because you can control the lighting better) and then add in getting ready and lower light situations where you need additional light sources (video lights and flash). By shooting film in smaller pieces, it allows you to transition slowly and be confident that your wedding film will be amazing.
Another benefit of this slow transition is cost. When you start your hybrid photography journey you most likely did not account for film in your pricing. Going forward it is important to add in the cost of film and development, but no one wants to wait a year to shoot film once they are bitten by the film bug. Starting with only black and white means you are only shooting a few rolls at a time. Try limiting yourself to a set number of rolls per wedding as you are transitioning. It’s important to show film if you want to shoot film, but you shouldn’t break the bank doing so. Setting a budget per wedding can be hard, but it’s a great way to ensure that you are getting what you need for your portfolio while still earning money to stay in business.
So what do you do with your second shooter’s images? For me, I will now either hire a film second or I make all my second shooter’s images black and white. My film lab edits my digital files to match my film, but I tend to still prefer the real deal, so all my second shooter images go black and white. I like consistency and I can see the minor differences in both color and feel of the image. This allows me to have the seamless feel that I prefer and that my clients expect.
Finally, as you add in more film, start showing just film on your social media and blog posts. It will help define you as a film shooter. And remember… there is absolutely nothing wrong with being hybrid. Just be smart hybrid. Choose the areas you want to shoot film and stick to it. It is possible to be a hybrid shooter and earn a killer profit!
If you want to learn something in Photoshop, odds are it’s covered in a packed schedule of incredible instructors at this year’s CreativeLive Photoshop week. Two of my best friends are teaching courses: Mike Kelley and Julia Kuzmenko, and both of them are absolute masters of their craft.
I’ve personally worked with both Mike and Julia, and each of them are really good at explaining exactly what they are doing, how they are doing it and most importantly, why they are doing it. Mike’s techniques are self described as taking an image that is “plausible, but unlikely.” It creates a look that is dreamy and perfect, yet still realistic. Creating an image that has those characteristics takes a bit of finesse, but Mike is great at explaining how to get it done. Julia is absolutely amazing when it comes to skin work. If you’re a portrait photographer who wants to get into high-end beauty, there are few instructors better than Julia (actually I can’t think of any).
Over the course of six days, CreativeLive will stream 49 live classes presented by the industry’s leading Photoshop experts including Dave Cross, Tim Grey, Jason Hoppe, Matt Kloskowski, Julieanne Kost, Jared Platt, Aaron Nace, Chris Orwig, Colin Smith, Paul Trani and Ben Willmore and the aforementioned Mike Kelley and Julia Kuzmenko. Each 90 minute class provides a detailed look at the hottest topics for a comprehensive learning experience that can be applied to your graphics and photography.
You will also have an opportunity to purchase and download any of the 49 classes to create an on-demand personal library of Photoshop and Lightroom tutorials from the very best in the business. The cost for downloading the entire course curriculum is $299. Individual classes can be downloaded and archived for on-demand viewing for $19 each.
From beginner to advanced users, photographers who tune into Photoshop Week will find what they learn to be an invaluable asset to their day-to-day workflow actions. Whether it’s a new feature or technique such as Introduction to 3D in Photoshop or a refresher course on Layer Effects, the viewers will listen and learn from the very best in the business. Visit the CreativeLive website to review the entire schedule of classes and build your personal calendar for Photoshop Week.
In any business what you produce must have, or more accurately, be perceived to have value. Without that belief by your client you will fail to garner business and future clients. How does this translate into the photography world? Most people, especially newer photographers, place their value in their portfolio, in the quality of the work. While this is true in some sense I would say there is another place that holds more weight to the client… you.
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”- Warren Buffet
Often times as photographers we come across clients that ask or passively imply they would like a discount. Most of the time we stick to our guns and will not budge on pricing. I think that is great, and appropriate if the discount they are asking for is significant, but what if it is minimal? What if it is only $150? What do you do then? I read comments in a thread that ranged from tell them you are booked, to tell them you are not the right fit, to suggesting they don’t eat out at their favorite restaurant next month. Seriously?! All this over $150 dollars? This is a perfect example of the client not seeing the value of one over the other. Somewhere in the consultation process the value got barreled down to one photographer’s photos over another. To the client, the perceived value was in the quality of work. The client is thinking “Hey this photographer does really good work as well and they are $150 less!” That is not how we as business owners want them to make their decision.
“You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.” -Jim Rohn
From the moment we first respond to a client inquiry our value is being measured. They have already made the decision they like your photos otherwise they would not be contacting you. As soon you hit the send button your value, your ability to give them something no other photographer can, is being evaluated. If they email you back later haggling over $150, maybe she doesn’t see the value in you. We need to educate them as to why we are more and why going with us will be worth it. Somewhere along the line, the value of your service got lost. Guys, I completely understand sticking by your prices believe me I do. But we can’t stand on the quality of our work alone because there are others whose quality is just as good. Using the reason that your portfolio alone should be enough cannot be the reason for non-education of clients. Your value is in you and how you make the client feel from the very beginning.
“If you create incredible value and information for others that can change their lives – and you always stay focused on that service – the financial success will follow.” -Brendon Burchard
“Its not my job to educate the client,” is a phrase I hear applied to this and many other situations with tough somewhat high maintenance clients. So if it’s not ours, whose job is it? Should the client really have to find the time to explore the ins and outs of why we charge what we do on top of trying to plan for their own wedding? Plus, I doubt the client would ever really understand the ins and outs anyway. So why shouldn’t we help them? I am not saying we need to do this all the time.I am saying that if we set it up so that the very first email we send makes them feel wanted, we wont ever even have to broach the subject. The foundation of our perceived value will be won and lost on that first correspondence. Do you send your prices in that first inquiry, or do you congratulate them and ask for more info about how they met? Do you wait for them to reply or do you take initiative and call them to personally thank you for inquiring with you? When the time comes to make the decision to go with you or the photographer that is $150 cheaper, these things could very well be the weight that tips the scales. This is upon what we want the client to base their decision.
“It seems like photographers are so quick to just say “RED FLAGS, LET THEM GO!” and walk away from what could be a good business relationship. If you take the time to talk to her, educate her as to why your rates come with more experience and talent, and what the higher price tag will entail, maybe you can convert her. It’s happened to me more times than I can count.”- Susan Stripling
Now let me clarify: I fully believe in getting paid what you are worth and that we should not give into clients trying to book us for less, especially if that request is significant. I also fully believe that if a client is having a hard time booking you over $150 dollars that we should not automatically apply the red flag or problem client tag to them either. Maybe in this situation we need to step back, breathe and re-evaluate where we went wrong in presenting our value to the client. Never assume your process is perfect, always be willing to learn and serve, your business and your clients will thank you for it.
Checking your Instagram on an empty stomach might be a bad idea if you chanced upon Michael Zee and boyfriend Mark van Beek’s @symmetrybreakfast account. But if you are a foodie, then be prepared to spend time salivating on the visual feasts that their photography offers. The couple started documenting their symmetrical breakfast after they moved in together. Using only a rustic wooden table as platform, they carefully laid out the meticulously prepared dishes for their camera to devour. “I made Mark breakfast, stuck it all on a tray to carry it, and noticed it was symmetrical. And that’s how it started,” says Michael whose penchant for all things artistic extends from his day job at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. It also helps a lot when his partner Mark is also a known creative person working as a Design Director.
Together, the two is now feeding Instagram with breakfasts of champions to die for. Who wouldn’t want to wake up with these sumptuous morning meals waiting at the kitchen table? Part of the couple’s intention is to show their audience that breakfast should also offer a manifold of choices “I have learned that anything can be breakfast,” Michael says. “Not everyone eats toast or cereal, and I really want to reflect that.”
Using only an iPhone 5s camera, Michael and Mark share their shooting and food preparation methods. In charge of the cooking is Michael, who also basically does the rest; like photographing and plating the food, while Mark is in charge of the ‘toughest’ task, of being served breakfast (but to be fair to him, he also helps research new recipe ideas). Having the same breakfast everyday doesn’t present any problems as both men admits they like the same kind of foods and only differs in coffee preference. “Mark likes sugar in his coffee and I’ve been trying to wean him off. Lunch and dinner are almost always eaten asymmetrically!”
Traveling together also helps them create more variety in their breakfast, as they are continuously learning new recipes and get exposed to new methods of food preparation. “When we travel, we still do it every day. Italy is always a tricky place for breakfast because so much emphasis is on lunch — breakfast is normally small, sweet and express. Sometimes it is a bit stressful waiting for a table with the right light but we’ve managed so far!”
“Lighting for me is everything. Real daylight is beautiful, and it’s very hard to replicate. I have some studio lights in my dining room for the winter, as we have to leave before sunrise on some days. For backgrounds, it’s about having a texture that enhances and frames the food and the plates. Ultimately I want to focus on the food, not the background.”
Michael likes have the photograph ready for upload on their Instagram account while their breakfast is still hot. “For a very long time it was just the Instagram editing tools and nothing else. About three months ago, someone told me about VSCO Cam, and only last week did I download SKRWT, which is super handy, as more than most I need to try to achieve consistency across all the posts.”
The couple started garnering followers after a few dozen Instagram pictures, remaining anonymous to the point that some followers would assume the account is managed by a woman. “I guess because they think it’s the mother, girlfriend or wife who provides. One person I met said they had thought I was a young Asian girl. That was weird.” Michael tells the Guardian.
In this age where social media including Instagram is filled with images of food and of people eating food, Michael have an answer as to why theirs is more than unique “I think people like it because their own breakfasts are so boring. Every day they have porridge. People say they love breakfast, but they only make an effort at the weekend. I hope we might inspire them.” I guess he was right, I’ll probably start exerting more effort in preparing my breakfast tomorrow.
Make sure to follow Mark and Michael’s in Instragram @symmetrybreakfast for more mouth watering breakfast photographs.
Phase One and duPont have teamed up to put together a rather ridiculous (in a good way) workshop in St. Petersburg, Florida on February 21. The two companies are providing you access to the most exclusive cars and camera systems in the world as well as providing you with an exclusive tear sheet from the highest regarded luxury publication.
Join Phase One, Capture Integration, photographer Chris Garrison and his team at the duPont Publishing headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida on February 21st 2015.
During the first part of the workshop, Chris will guide you through his photographic process from capture to post production. In the afternoon, participants will break into groups of three. Each group will be given a Phase One IQ250 camera system and access to one of the luxury cars provided by the duPont REGISTRY and Autofluence. Cars available for workshop attendees will include the in-house duPont Supercars and Nascar race cars actually used by the top drivers.
You’ll get a chance to meet Steven Chapman, Editor and Chief of The duPont REGISTRY, over cocktails. Steven will talk with you about what he looks for in images and give you some insight on how to break into the commercial and editorial of high end Supercar and classic car photography.
At the end of the workshop, Steven will select a set of images to be published in an upcoming edition of the duPont REGISTRY. All other attendees will have their photos featured on the Autofluence blog and duPont REGISTRY Facebook sites (4,805,875 likes and growing!)
Chimera Lighting, one of the most trusted and well-loved lighting companies around, is on the search for their next Visionary Photographer, and it could be you. If selected, you would become a sponsored Chimera shooter and be asked to photograph their 2015/16 ad campaign with a top creative team in Miami Beach. The Visionary Photographer Search is open for digital submissions until the end of the WPPI 2015 expo in Las Vegas on March 5th. As the winner you will join the Chimera Visionaries and supercharge your career by getting published. Images must be lit with flash or continuous light. The judges are Visionaries Jarmo Pohjaniemi, Adrien Broom and Lucas Gilman.
There are few opportunities to go from unknown to powerhouse, and this is one of them. You can submit your entry at Chimeralighting.com.
Yesterday, Feb. 11, pioneers of light field photography Lytro showcased the capabilities of their flagship camera, the Illum, in wedding photography at their “Love and Weddings in a Different Light” event. The demo was held at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station, featuring designer dresses, a 20-foot Godiva chocolate sculpture, as well as a workshop with wedding photographer Charles Maring.
Despite having yet to shoot with the Illum myself, I’ve always been critical of light field photography. Perhaps it’s because I assume there’s a catch associated with any product promising unlimited focus. Or maybe I’m just a cynic—but maybe not: After yesterday’s demo I’ve found there are certainly limitations with this camera. However, it’s not to say that mostly all of them aren’t manageable if you know what you’re doing. And despite the multitude of negative reviews, it seems like the Illum has yet to tap into its core market. Could wedding photography be the answer?
After speaking with Maring, it was difficult to ignore the advantages of shooting a wedding with the Illum. First off, there’s the obvious interactive aspect: Who wouldn’t want turn their wedding photos into an interactive 3D experience? Second, it creates new selling points to set you apart from your competition. Sure, Uncle Bob can shoot smooth, balanced photos with his full-frame DSLR. With the Illum, however, you can not only shoot “living photographs,” but present them in 3D and 2D slideshow animations as you capture the most endearing moments of the day.
And yet, my biggest concern isn’t so much the camera’s capability of rendering immersive imagery, but rather its lack of versatility. With a fixed aperture of f/2 (which can be modified when uploaded to Lytro’s desktop software), I asked Maring how it handles in low light. He said: “I find that it can function well up to a 800 ISO before you begin to see a decrease in quality.” So that’s not too bad, but it does mean you shouldn’t leave home without a tripod, lighting and a flash. Another concern of mine is speed. At a wedding you need to be quick—it’s almost too easy to miss a once in a lifetime moment. Maring told me that it can shoot up to 3 fps. I’ve seen bouquets fall faster than that.
Lytro claims to be changing the way everyone takes and experiences pictures. Even yesterday, a representative explained to me that “there was film, then digital and now there’s Lytro.” Do I believe it’s a plausible replacement for a DSLR? No. But I think it could potentially become a particularly worthy added bonus—although I can’t say for sure until I hold one in my hands.
This smiley face was actually a pair of galaxies making up the eyes and a mouth, caused by an effect known as “strong gravitational lensing.”
On NASA’s website, they describe how this effect is created:
A ring — known as an Einstein Ring — is produced from this bending of light, a consequence of the exact and symmetrical alignment of the source, lens and observer and resulting in the ring-like structure we see here.
But enough of the science. It’s best to just think of this as the Universe shooting us a quick and friendly smile.
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!