READY FOR YOUR CLOSEUP?


How do I prepare for a shoot? "The readiness is all” as Hamlet

once stated. One word: Preproduction. With quite the colorful

array of cameras on the market capable of the unthinkable, one

thing they are not is a magic wand. Quite on the contrary, with

the high-resolution capabilities of today’s digital cameras, there

is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Seen the news lately? The

young, skin-perfect news anchor caked in makeup who was not

there twenty years ago is now on every channel. Light bulb…

Preproduction is essential. Great photographs are not accidents!


Be in the physical shape you want to be in: skin, hair, under-eyes

and so on and so forth. Rest is essential. Thought-out wardrobe.

Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the studio.


What should I wear?


Wardrobe is more than just a V-neck shirt or a silk blouse. The

clothes you put on say a mouthful and in a still image speak

volumes. Ask yourself this: “What am I looking to achieve with

my photographs?” “What adjectives do I want to conjure up in

people’s minds?” and go from there. No pattern or color should

outshine you, the subject and keep Moiré at home. What is

Moiré? It is a pattern artifact created by two patterns too close

to each other for the sensor to decipher between them thus the

camera creates a third maze-like, criss-cross pattern. Rule of

thumb: bring more, not less – at least three options for every

‘look’ you are trying to achieve.


Makeup?


As important as your wardrobe is, the gravity of makeup takes

the cake – for men, women and children. Attention is not

concentrated on lashes or eye shadow but rather the evenness

and tone of the skin. Even if a subject is free of blemishes or red

patches, color variations are almost always present and it only

takes a still frame to intensify them. Complexions may have

varying undertones of greys, greens, yellows or reds – colors

the camera records and that can be a hastle in post to correct.

There is a reason that even supermodels boasting flawless

porcelain skin never step in front of a camera without the help

of a makeup brush.


Do you shoot digital or film?


We shoot both. Film is a lengthier more complex process and

requires additional steps for the client (lab work, processing,

digitizing etc.). For more info please take a look at the

‘Digital vs. Film’ section of the website.


How long are the photo sessions?


For headshots, roughly thirty minutes of shooting time per

look. Makeup and hair – from one to one and a half hours.

More extensive shoots and on-location shoots vary depending

on project. But regardless of type, it’s best not to have

anything else scheduled on the day of your shoot specifically

prior to.


How many images per ‘look’?


We shoot until we get ‘the shot’ but as a generality:

Digital - 50 to 100 exposures and Film - 1 roll (36 exposures).


Retouching?


In a world of pixels, putting an image through post has become

second nature. Most of us assume that pictures, regardless of

quality, have been ‘worked on’ to a certain degree. But how

far is too far? How perfect is too perfect? And what is the

quality of work being produced? Post-work should always be

done by a professional. The goal - to achieve realistic results

while enhancing the overall impact of an image.


Depending on our workload retouching can take up to four

weeks but generally within one. For digital, images are selected

by the client and corresponding numbers are emailed. Images

are retouched and emailed back as high-res files ready for print.

Film rolls must be processed and scanned by a professional lab

(Normal color processing and high-res scans preferably TIFF

files). The client brings the scanned images on CD, the files are

copied, the images retouched and emailed back as high res jpeg

files ready for print.


When do I receive my pictures?


When shooting digitally, images are received immediately

after shooting. The client must bring a hard drive, flash drive

or USB stick (with a minimum 8 GB free space per ‘look’).

Hard drive must be formatted for a MAC. If a drive is not

available on the day of the shoot, the client must schedule a

time to come back on another day. We do not use online

galleries, iPhones or Dropbox. If the pictures were taken

on film the client will receive the film rolls immediately after

the shoot however they must be processed.   


NATURAL VS STUDIO.


“Let there be light!”


A scientist would most likely describe light in terms of energy

called electromagnetic radiation, how light travels through space

in tiny bundles called photons and how the magnetic field around

these photons fluctuates from its maximum positive to its

maximum negative strength; but the photographer describes

light in terms of brightness, color and contrast. Lighting is the

language of photography.


Natural light: God-given, beautiful and, as he intended, very

forgiving. The bigger the light source relative to the subject

the softer the quality of the light. And you can’t get much

larger than the sun! But in truth, the sun, because of its distance

from the earth, appears as a very small circle in the sky and

thus can create bright highlights and dark, hard-edged shadows.

Unless looking to achieve this specific affect, diffused light,

such as the light created from an overcast day, will result in a

much more flattering light for the subject – soft and revealing.

Similarly, open shade created by, for example the shade of a

building or a tree, has similar results. The light wrapping

around the subject enables the photographer to shoot from

almost any position without the light on the subject changing.

This “wrap-around” affect however makes the light

non-directional. Thus while illuminating your natural radiance,

us mortals, specifically the photographer is at the mercy of the

big guy in the sky and has limited leverage to control, bounce,

redirect and shape the available light.  


Studio Light: While the science of light is always the same

whether working with natural or artificial light, a

photographer’s level of control is greatly increased when

working inside a studio. Harnessing the power of the sun in a

controlled environment allows a photographer to become a

painter. Using light as his paint and the subject as his canvass

he/she can define, chisel, soften, accentuate, manipulate color

and create mood. What does this mean for the client? In the end,

studio images have a finished, magazine-worthy quality that can

be easily manipulated in post to create the results the artist has

envisioned.