I’ve spent the last three days here in Washington, DC on business. Meetings with the FAA, HHS and the WAAS office. Long times between meetings and I’ve been done pretty early in the day. So, I placed a casting call on ModelMayhem to see if I could pass the time doing what I like to do, take pictures. 5 or 6 TFCD models responded and I set up sessions with two of them. As my luck would have it – both at the same time. That wasn’t a problem for me (read assistant) or them though so we met at my hotel and headed for the National Mall to shoot. The plan was to use the monuments as the background. Sounded way cool.
We chose the new WW II monument because it had a nice water fountain. We got there around 7pm, good light, not huge crowds. As one model was getting her ticket from the Park Police (wrong way on a One Way street) the other model (Emily) and I set off to set up and shoot along the granite outside wall of the monument. I used 2 SB800s, at first to fill then to light her. Nikon CLS is so cool. So far so good. I get about a dozen shots off when the other model, Danielle walked up. She dismissed the ticket as part of life in DC and we starting posing her along the same wall Emily had used. About 10 minutes later I hear:
Sir – Sir:
This is my on ‘location’ kit. 2xSB-800s, SB-600, PhotoFlex LiteDome Q3 9, a Wescott 32″ umbrella and two or three stands.
I have replaced the SB600 with a SB900 since this article was written.
Flashes controlled with the D300′s Commander mode.
Taken with my ‘location’ kit. In this case, the location was my media room.
A couple of weeks ago as I was watching television my 14 year old daughter popped in and asked if she could borrow some of my clothes. I actually did ask “Why?” All she said was she wanted to play a trick on her sister so I said sure but don’t get them messed up.
15 minutes later I looked up and saw her walking through the house carrying an ax. Okay, so that got my attention.
Turns out they had watched a move called “The Strangers”. Her 17 year old sister had gone upstairs to take a nap and Alex decided wake her up.
Never a dull moment around here.
Most every time I work with a new model I get asked the same question: What should I bring to wear?
There is no doubt that clothing, makeup and the ability to ‘strike a pose’ are important to a successful portrait/modeling session. However, the most essential asset a model can bring to the studio or location is the ability to interact with the camera.
My job at a shoot is to make them look as best I am able given my limited skills with lighting and equipment. I cannot, however, do it alone. You have seen that cell phone snapshot that drew you in; you have also seen a professional portrait that, although technically sound, just leaves you feeling that something misfired. A model must have an understanding they are not trying to tease/seduce/influence me as the photographer: They must make the connection with the viewer of the photograph.
They must make the connection with the viewer of the photograph.
My answer to the outfit question: Bring something soft & sexy, something mean and something in-between.
A test of my D700 on the hotel deck: downtown Minneapolis. Camera set to Aperture priority mode, Auto WB, Auto ISO, AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 IF-D at f1.4. The photograph to the right is ISO 11200.
See additional photographs and the “More Properties” information on D700 high ISO Flickr set for additional details.
No post processing in Photoshop CS3 other than to resize for here. All noise reduction software applied at default setting.
See gallery below to see the effect of Noise Ninja, Neat Image and Topaz Denoise.
I did not speak to the result intentionally, each should reach his own conclusion.
larrygerbrandt on Flickr had a good idea on post noise reduction sharpening so I gave it a shot.
Added: Topaz Denoise then Nik Sharpener Pro 2.0 applied to the image.
Noise reduction applied to whole photograph added to the Flickr set here.
- 100%-crop and noise reduction test
I have photographed many young females with massive tattoo displays recently. Most all of them were strikingly colorful; both the young lady and her tattoos. They have held all sorts of jobs, been from various backgrounds and nearly all under 21.
Examples: Nathalie and Emily.
The young never see themselves growing old or their bodies wearing out and loosing its youthful firmness. Although I do not have tattoos, almost got inked one night in Army boot camp back in ’72 though, I can understand one, two or a few tats to mark an occasion, person or event. To have massive, highly visible sleeves at 18 or 19 is not looking beyond the rebellious moment of youthful freedom.
I did encounter a young woman about 2 years ago, she was in her late twenties, who realized life, to include her body, moves on. She asked if I would photograph her tattoos, after a short discussion we agreed on date, time and place. During the session she explained to me her body was ‘failing her’, her words and she wanted to memorialize them as her body is now and not as her children and grandkids would eventually see them.
I am not against tattoos, I enjoy the photographic challenge of lighting them and posing the model to achieve the best effect. I never mention my thoughts about the years to come and how I have learned life and bodies change. I simply take the photographs for their grandkids.
Incoming search terms:
This photograph was taken using a Nikon D-300, the Nikkor 28-70 f2.8 and 2 SB800s. One SB800 was placed high picture right behind Emily the other was hand held slightly high picture left above her head. Although I have the equipment to mount the flashes to either an umbrella or softbox, this session was done with only the Nikon defusser on one of the strobes.
I am becoming a real fan of the Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) and the ability to control the SB-800s using the Commander mode on the D300. I’ve now used them in studio sessions as fill or hair lights, outdoors from as far as 30 feet away or the sole source of light as in this photograph.
The two cautions when using the system is to remember to have the sensor facing toward the camera and don’t step to far in front of the flashes. I spent nearly 10 minutes on one outdoor shoot trying to figure out why the flash wouldn’t fire, gave up and realized, the next day, that I had the IR receiver facing away from the camera.
CLS is a great tool, take the time to learn it.
Read about us being hassled by the Park Rangers in Washington, DC during this shoot.
Also see Damien Franco’s expansion of my photo tip about Seeing the Shadows over at www.yourphototips.com.
There is something I love about a mature woman. Their sense of presence, their no bullshit approach to life in general and men in particular.
Diane was simply a joy to work with yesterday. A classy woman with ideas about classic poses. Her eyes shared a lifetime of glances, sultry come-ons and femaleness in just the couple of hours we worked together.
This entry is not about the model shown.
In the last three or four months I have allowed several models to bring their husband to the shoot. I set clear guidelines with the model, I spoke with the husband when they arrived at the studio about not getting in the way; please don’t distract me or the wife. If it became a problem I would ask them to step out of the studio and/or stop the session. Of course they agreed.
Most went very well. In two cases the husband, during a set change or a break, started talking about nudes, implied and full. Neither model appeared to really want to do full nudity and both agreed to do some implied. Although the session wasn’t booked that way, we would start doing mild implied shots.
Both times the husband continued to suggest/ask his wife to take more clothing off; undercover more. I never witnessed a real argument but could sense the tension between them. The model would exchange a look with me that I read as seeking a little intervention.
The first time I simply reminded the fellow of our agreement not to interfere. He said ‘Oh, okay, sorry’ and we finished the shoot.
The other guy just floored me. Pretty much the same scenario as above. Except during my second reminder that I would stop the session if he continued to disrupt me, he politely asked me to step out of the room to talk to him. I gave his wife a puzzled look and followed him out the door. In the hall he basically asked me to help him get his wife naked so I could get the photographs for him. When I expressed my puzzlement about his request he said, and I quote; “But she won’t let me take these kind of pictures of her at home.“
I really don’t remember my exact reply except for something about I’d see what I could do. The session came to ‘routine’ conclusion about 10 minutes later.
Lesson learned: No more husbands or significant others allowed.
A few months ago it was the Carnival season in North Texas. I went out one evening with my trusty D300 and tripod. The intent was to do some motion photographs, ya know, blurred images of the ferris wheels and such. I got those alright but found it an interesting experience to spend time with the folks working the booths.
The carnies were friendly, curious and very willing to talk about their lives. There was a run-a-way and a fella who had a master’s degree in business running a snack stand. He said he’d had it with the pressures of ‘the real world’.
I can relate.