Archive for March, 2011

17
Mar
11

Five Photo Tips

I hear this a lot:  “I have a digital camera, but it’s a bit overwhelming. the camera just sits in the box. What can I do?”

1) Read the Manual. OK, you never read manuals; I don’t either. Well, you really should read the camera manual. Your digital camera likely has an amazing set of features – yes, perhaps way too many. But going through the manual and being aware of the features can help you when you later ask: “Can I do this with my camera?” I know my camera very well, but I carry the manual with me at all times and refer to it often.

2) Venture out of Auto Mode. You’re thinking this is easy, I’ll just set everything up on auto mode and won’t have to make any decisions. Your camera will likely take OK pictures, but just OK. Learn about shutter priority and aperture priority (it’s in the manual!) and try them out. It’s easy to do with a bit of effort, and your pictures will look MUCH better.

3) Get Closer. Pictures of people – and most other subjects – will benefit by getting in closer. Walk in or zoom in. It will simplify the image, add impact and engage the viewer more deeply. In this image, I started with a full body shot. As I kept shooting closer and closer, the picture got better.

4) Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Take lots of pictures. They’re free. Take a shot, change a setting on the camera, and shoot again. Which image works better? Move around and shoot the subject from a different angle. You’ll gradually find out what works – and especially what works for you. Henri Cartier-Bresson, the famous French photographer said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”

5) Enjoy! Little kids can pick up drawing easily and have fun from the very beginning. Adults who take up drawing mostly struggle with a lot of anxiety and critical self-judgment. Photography is the same way. Act like a kid – just relax, let go and shoot. Shoot what you care about, shoot what inspires you. Keep shooting and I know your work will get better by leaps and bounds!

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16
Mar
11

headshots (and more!) for an actor

Does Green on Green work?  It does for me~!

This week I photographed Alisson,  a lovely and experienced actor.  Alisson needed headshots for her acting career and we made a number of fashion images as well. We were joined by Maria Dominici, makeup artist, and Sam, an 8th grader and my fabulous photo assistant for the day.

Normally, actors do not use beauty images for their headshots.  But Alisson really connected with these photographs and will likely use one for her main headshot.  This image certainly would show a casting director what she looks like. And I’m hoping it will lead to lots of gigs for her.

Headshots for models and actors by New York photographers are expensive. More and more, people are coming out to Connecticut to shoot with me – the $20 train fare is covered many times over by the cost savings.  My goal is to make images that are unique, full of energy, creative  and revealing  about the character of the subject.

Faithful readers will recall I often try to put hands into a portrait. Hands can add interest and be very expressive.  Does the hand work for you in this photograph?

You can see more images of my shoot with Alisson on my website, here.  As always, your comments and questions are welcome. Thanks for following my blog!

12
Mar
11

man does not live by bread alone…

This week I had the great pleasure of doing a shoot with my good friend, Lisa, who is a baker extraordinaire.  Lisa is a professionally trainer baker of artisanal breads, scones, biscuits and cookies. If you have not tried any of Lisa’s scrumptious creations, stop by Darien Cheese & Fine Foods (website). You’re in for a real treat!

This shoot was about shapes, textures, colors and depth of field. We purposely kept the compositions very simple. In the image to the left of Irish soda bread, we used a fairly harsh light, to bring out the shine in the glaze on the bread. Also we were emphasizing the contrast between the smooth board and rough texture of the bread.

In the image of the bread in a cooling tent, we wanted to show a bit of the reflection off the glass, but not have it be overwhelming. This is a matter of trial and error as you move lights around. Thank goodness for digital capture – there’s no cost to shooting hundreds of images, if need be.

I love Lisa’s post-modern red bread box.  It looks like it might be something the Jetsons would have in their kitchen. While shooting it, I kept wondering if it might take off and fly around the studio. Luckily, it stayed put.

Lisa and I shot her breads for about three hours. We used just a few props and stayed with the blue paper background. We’d take a shot, move the bread a half-inch to the side and shoot again. There’s a lot to be said for keeping things simple while taking pictures. You can slow down and really concentrate on the shapes and textures.  So many images we see today are too busy and frenetic. I find the photographs Lisa and I created to be somehow calming.  Please see more images from this series on my website, here.

“Man does not live by bread alone.”  This sentence appears three times in the Bible, in Deuteronomy and the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  And to be sure, there is more to life than bread. But I have to say that, when I eat a slice of Lisa’s flax bread (pictured below), all’s right with the world and there’s not much else I long for!

06
Mar
11

beauty headshots plus one fashion image

Today, I’m posting a few images from a recent shoot with a model and friend, Evie, or more formally, Genevieve.  The shoot was mostly about practicing different lighting styles – some worked and some didn’t. We’re showing some that, to my mind, worked well. In the first photograph,  we wanted to show a continuum of light, from the bright light on one side of her face wrapping around to the other side that is in deep shadow.

In the image above, the main light is hitting the back of Evie’s hair and her face is partly in shadow.  We were going for a candid, intimate and unposed look.

In this image, we’re using fairly traditional beauty lighting. I love the spontaneous smile.  We spent most of the shoot doing headshots, but we did a few fashion looks at the end, including the one below. Evie is a natural and classic beauty, with gorgeous eyes. I look forward to shooting her again. As always, your comments and questions are welcome!