Why & How Some Fashion Photographers are Returning to Natural Light

Why & How Some Fashion Photographers are Returning to Natural Light

Fashion photographers are frequently criticized for their high-gloss magazine shoots that look overly posed, overly produced and overly photoshopped. It feels like every other day major magazines are being scrutinized (and often rightfully so) for completely removing a model’s hair in post-production or using photoshop to shave inches off a model’s thighs. The practice creates dangerous and unrealistic beauty standards.

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5 Tips for Capturing those Studio-Quality Holiday Portraits using Natural Light

5 Tips for Capturing those Studio-Quality Holiday Portraits using Natural Light

Let’s talk about using natural light to capture those high-quality portraits. Now that the holidays are here, families are scrambling to get that one large group shot or studio portraits of their kids. There’s been a lot of talk recently about portrait mode on our smart phones. In particular, photographers and tech enthusiasts like to compare Google Pixel’s portrait mode and the new iPhone’s portrait mode. But DSLR cameras are still the best when it comes to taking studio-quality portraits because they are more nuanced. With a DSLR, photographers can make several minor adjustments to their settings that will amplify any portrait and outdo any smartphone technology currently on the market.

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The Best Cameras for Natural Light Photographers

The Best Cameras for Natural Light Photographers

Cameras are very personal. They’re like learning styles. What might resonate with one photographer may feel completely foreign to the next. There is no one camera that can do everything a photographer needs or wants it to do. Instead, photographers consider their own capabilities and shortcomings as a photographer and choose a camera that will compliment their personal shooting style. Then they learn to compensate and fill in where they’re missing.

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Explore & Expand Your Creativity With These 7 Photo Shoots

Explore & Expand Your Creativity With These 7 Photo Shoots

Many photographers just starting out can quickly find themselves in a creative rut. They’ve mimicked every self-portrait and subject matter and landscape, and they suddenly find themselves taking the same picture over and over again. They know how to stick to the science and capture the one iconic image from each scene, but they miss everything else that is happening around them.

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Professional Photographers Don’t Just Take Pictures. They Compose Them.

Professional Photographers Don’t Just Take Pictures. They Compose Them.

Think about it. Professional musicians don’t simply make music. They compose it. They are actively thinking about what it means to shape a song, what it means to frame a song in a way that draws listeners into the music. They are constructing the music, in that they are providing the song with structure through a combination of choruses and refrains. If you know how to play an instrument, you can make music. But it takes talent and dedication to your craft to compose it.

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So You Were Gifted a Camera. Now What? These Six Simple Photo Shoots Will Teach You How to Navigate a New Camera.

So You Were Gifted a Camera. Now What? These Six Simple Photo Shoots Will Teach You How to Navigate a New Camera.

As technology gets easier, more and more people see the value in picking up a camera to capture their own personal or professional images. But while professional photographers may make it look simple, it is easy to get discouraged. There are still many factors that go into capturing a good photo and if you don’t learn the intricacies of your camera, you may be quick to put it away.

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How to Create Catch Light in Natural Light

How to Create Catch Light in Natural Light

If you are a portrait photographer you know that the difference between shooting people and inanimate objects is that people are living, breathing beings and it’s your job to capture that life in your images. One of the most challenging aspects of portrait photography, and working in a one-dimensional medium in general, is making sure your subject matter does not appear flat, dull and inanimate. 

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7 L.A.-based Photographers to Follow

7 L.A.-based Photographers to Follow

It’s no secret that Los Angeles is teeming with on-screen talent. But for every person in front of the camera, there are another three behind the camera. And the concentration of photographers, videographers and artists in close proximity has created a hotbed for talent. Through competition and collaboration, the ways we capture still and video is always growing and evolving, and that near-constant evolution in art begins in L.A.

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Become a Better Location Scout with these 7 Tips

 PHOTO:  Ryan Tauss

PHOTO: Ryan Tauss

Whether you’re shooting head shots for a portfolio or a music video for an up-and-coming artist, location is always key.  No matter how good the natural lighting is your image won’t be effective if the backdrop isn’t compatible with your subject. Similarly, no matter how compelling your backdrop is, your image won’t be effective if there isn’t adequate light source.

Location scouting can be a job all on its own. Photographers spend hours looking for the perfect place to shoot. There are several factors that go into finding the perfect location. No two projects are the same, and your shooting locations should reflect that. When you’re location scouting for a new shoot, keep these seven tips in mind to make the best choice for you and your client(s).

1. Visit the location prior to shooting, at the same time of day you plan to shoot:

Just like everything else, research will make you more efficient in the long run. By scoping out the space before hand, you will be able to get a feel for the amount and direction of natural light a space provides, what tools you should bring with you and how long you have before the sun leaves the space.

2. Make sure you know where your power is coming from:

When scouting a new location, always check to see where your power source is. If you are shooting inside a fully equipped set, there is likely nothing an extension cord can’t solve. But a growing trend has sent photographers out to shoot in abandon warehouses and buildings. If this is the case, you should check to see if there are any working power sources. If not, you may want to consider a different location.

3. Listen:

Listen to your surroundings.  This is particularly the case if you are shooting a video. You may have found a space that seems perfect, but the camera will pick up subtle nuances from the band practicing next door, or traffic rushing by outside. Noise can play a role in still photography, too. If your subject can’t hear the direction you’re giving, there will be a noticeable drop in the quality of the images you capture.

Videographers can affix foam sheets to the walls to make their own semi-soundproof room. These foam sheets will absorb the reverb and prevent an unwanted echo.

4. Seek permission:

Remember, while shooting in public parks and various outdoor venues looks appealing, many times you need permission. And getting permission usually means paying some sort of hourly fee. But it’s best to get permission up front. Shoots that seem the most cost effective can become expensive quickly, if you are hit with a fine for shooting in a space that is off limits.

5. Consider a location with multiple unique shots:

No matter what you are shooting, one space that offers several unique shots will allow you to be more efficient with your time. A rehabbed space that offers multiple, different looking locations will allow you to change the vibe of your shoot by simply turning around. You will save time and energy by not having to trek your equipment across town.

6. Keep a photo library of all the sites you visit:

Whenever you go to scout a new location, take photos of the space so that you can return to them later.  Even if the location is not the right fit for your upcoming shoot, it may be perfect for a shoot in the future. The next time a client comes to you requesting a specific backdrop, you will have a library of potential locations already at your fingertips.

7. Consider the length of your shoot, and nearby amenities:

It sounds silly, but if you are planning on being on set for an extended period of time, it will help if your location has amenities such as bathrooms and a kitchen. If you are shooting in a remote field, you may want to consider renting a trailer. If you don’t, you could end up wasting valuable time waiting for your subject(s) and crew to make trips back and forth. 

Natural Light Still Shoot with Chicago rapper/singer Jean Deaux

Natural Light Still Shoot with Chicago rapper/singer Jean Deaux

This shoot with Jean Deaux (a singer/rapper out of Chicago) was inspired by images of a young Diana Ross. The wardrobe was a combination of a few treasured pieces from my own closet and a solid Goodwill haul.

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All the Light We Can See- 7 Ways Photographers on a Budget, Capitalize on Natural Light

All the Light We Can See-  7 Ways Photographers on a Budget, Capitalize on Natural Light

If there’s one thing to remember about photography, it’s that it’s a balancing act. Hundreds of variables go into the art of photography. Adjustments to your shooting method will inevitably affect post-production, and adjustments in post-production will inevitably affect the final image, whether it’s digital or print. That’s why it’s called an art, and not a science.

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How to use Natural Light to Alter the Mood and Quality of an Image

How to use Natural Light to Alter the Mood and Quality of an Image

Professional photographers, as well as anyone who has ever had their portrait taken, know how natural light can completely transform the image that is captured. While natural light is continuously changing throughout the day, a photographer who knows how to adjust for its nuances can significantly alter the quality and mood of his or her photography or cinematography. 

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