I met a man called James, he showed me a flash adapter called the orbis® ring flash, I got my grubby hands on one and its been love ever since. I was asked to do an interview for the website and blog, This is shown below. If you know me or have seen me shooting, you will kn0w how much love and use my Orbis. I am not just trying to sell the thingy or be a promo spokes person. It’s something I actually enjoy using and suits my style very well. It also just happens that the Orbis people are uber cool people too.
When you get a man like Dave Piper to sit down and answer questions for you, what do you ask him for an exclusive orbis® ring flash interview? Perhaps, something about his equipment? Or maybe the work he did at The Cannes Film Festival? Or perhaps instead, like us, you’d ask him what he thinks about before he presses the shutter button (and read quite possibly the most eloquent answer to that question we’ve heard in a long time…).
We chat about his muse Chloe-Jasmine Wichello, shooting in London the day after The British Music Awards and how he thinks photography holds up against the heavyweights of digital media. Ladies and gentlemen, Dave Piper…
Q: How long have you been a photographer?
All my life I have had a love for art and story. I have spent my last four years shooting weddings, bands, portraits and fashion editorials. My time is balanced out with many other things. Most photographers have a number of incomes and I am no different. Much of my time is spent split between my re-touching service and bespoke one-to one workshops.
Q: Are you a pro or amateur? What was your breakthrough, either when you knew you were in love with photography or when you became pro?
Well, I have had a romantic link with photography in all its shapes and forms for as long as I can remember. People like Tim Burton have had an untold influence on the way I see the world, it’s all about the artistic vision for me. How could someone not love the world of photography, it shapes and drives everything around us?
I remember during a photo shoot at Cannes Film Festival this year, pausing and thinking, am I really here?… This year alone I have been to more places than I ever thought possible, all of it due to photography. One of my first breakthrough shoots was…. … a shoot with celebrity Aussie designer, Joe Challita. We took three beautiful models in these amazing dresses and did a shoot in the middle of London the day after the British Music Awards.
Teaching with Bryon Pa ul McCartney on his Tuscan based workshops was a good step forward. Bryon was the first person to show big trust and faith in my work, both shooting and teaching. Another big turning point was meeting my partner and muse, Chloe-Jasmine Whichello. 90% of my best work is with Chloe and a constant source of inspiration.
In 2009, I was walking around the Focus on Photography (Birmingham, UK) event thinking how amazing it would be to have a portfolio made by Epoca. Last year I got a phone call. It was from a lady called Terri Romolo; she works for Album Epoca. Terri had called me to ask if they could use some of my photography for the books on display at the exact show I was at the year previous. Terri and Epoca have been amazing to me since and continue to produce the most stunning wedding and portfolio books. My Epoca portfolio goes everywhere with me.
Q: Tell us a bit about the setup for your photo shoot(s) – lighting, equipment, post processing?
“Content is King”, Sir Cecil Beaton showed us this. Simplicity is the key for me and I shoot with Nikon cameras and fast prime lenses. Very simple kit and lets me be super mobile. A lot of the time I shoot with reflector or the orbis® ring flash on a tripod.
There is a clear difference between digitally editing photos and digitally developing them. I work to an Adobe workflow system. Bridge > Lightroom > Photoshop. Over the last year or so, I have started to implement a system using a Duotone and Tritone colour palette and have found some inte resting colour effects. There are many great plug-in’s perfect for weddings and such; I’m using the Nik Software plug-ins. Although a lot of people might think so, I don’t actually use a Mac set up. I use Dell workstations, Wacom Tablets and Dual Dell screens. Lighting wise, I love to try and be as natural as I can, but when shooting in a studio or working with flash, I currently use the new Trinity Lights from Elemental, very nice lights indeed.
Q: How did your orbis® help?
I do love the orbis®, I might use it in a strange way though. My orbis® pretty much lives mounted via my frio™ (on Eddie, the 3 Legged Thing tripod). I use it to provide back lighting and extra light to shape and illuminate people. I find the orbis® is great at creating mixed lighting (natural & flash). With a quick flick of a button you can have an instant soft box. Stand behind it and shoot through it, you have a ring flash, stand someone in front of it, you have a backlight. Kids love it too as it doesn’t get hot. I’m about to start taking two orbis® flash units with me to instantly create fast simple lighting solutions. It’s comforting to know that the orbis® will bail you out of tricky low light problems. The orbis® is perfect for those close up macro photography shots too.
Q: The orbis® is designed to give photographers an edge. It’s very challenging to make a living as a professional photographer, what are your tips for staying competitive in the industry?
Produce things that people need and want. Be in the right place at the right time. I guess it’s just that simple. Which is why it’s so challenging at the same time. It’s about getting the job done. Get the job done in the most stylish way possible.
Q: Your photos have a particular quality to them, how would you describe your personal style?
My work has started to develop a style that is both colourful and playful while keeping a high impact and vintage ethic. I like to give an element of story and drama. As a designer, this concept of story and narrative is always close by. I want to be entertained. Many of my artistic influences are film makers and musicians.
My Dave Piper photography website has the tag line :
“detail and clarity, fused with narrative form and function”.
Q: Are you a self-taught photographer, did you go to college or university, or did you have a mentor?
Fully self taught, sitting down and learning things does not come naturally to me. I learn best by observation. I cut my teeth with a wedding company called Prestige Photography. One day I walked in and asked for a job. A year later I was asked to assist on a wedding with them. Darren Rudge was the man that took that gamble. He looked after me for a while until I turned to the fashion world. Most of my awareness has come from the pages of Vogue, 125 Magazine, Love Magazine, Hollywood and MTV.
Creative minds like Tim Walker, Robert Voltaire, Sylvie Blum, David LaChapelle, Sally Mann, Jerry Uelsmann, Sir Cecil Beaton, Rankin and Woland continue to teach me.
I have never had a mentor as such, but lots of people have looked out for me. Bryon Paul McCartney would be one person who went out of his way to give me a break, I owe a lot to him.
Photo © Dave Kai-Piper. Model: Chloe-Jasmine Whichello
Q: Is there something you always ask yourself/think just before you press the shutter button?
It’s usually “Is this photo going to sit on my hard drive forever, untouched and just wasting space?”. With the Digital Age, its very easy to shoot 1000`s of frames. This is a pet hate of mine. If I shoot 50 frames, it would be nice to have 30 usable photos and 10 great frames. 80% of photography is done before you press the shutter. The thing I tend to think about before pressing the shutter is “Am I ready to press the shutter?”.
Q: What is one last impression you want to leave in your photos?
That’s an interesting question. Many people these days just see photography as something that is used to paparazzi celebrities. I want to leave the idea that, with all the many forms of digital media today, the still photograph is still king.
Q: Do you have any tips for those looking for advice from recognised photographers?
Have a vision, have an idea and have respect for the people around you.
Follow photographers’ blogs, send them questions, and ask to help, ask to assist. I love to get questions via e-mail and my blog. Many photographers will take the time to get back to you, as long as you ask sensible questions. Ask the normal, what brand camera do you use, and don’t sit about waiting for a reply. Be open and interesting, ask those questions that get people engaged. Above all, be confident in yourself.
Q: Where can we hear more from you or see more of your work?
Email |email@example.com? 500px | http://500px.com/DaveKaiPiper
Dave Piper is but one of the many amazing photographers that we’ll bring to the forefront through a series of orbis® blog interviews. We’re stoked to have a diverse range of photographers equipped with the orbis® and even more so that we can share their tips and insights, because sharing is caring!
It’s a question of Models.
Written at 10,936ft over Greenland headed to the Northern Canadian Border – 612mph I am told.
This article is not to explain what a model is but to look into the ways that models can be sourced.
We photographers tend to be sensitive souls at times. Our art is personally linked to us and we see it in a unique way. We build up hopes and aspirations with our shoots, we name them and place them in places in our lives. We spend hard earned money chasing mega pixels and finally cut glass. We spend hours in our homes and work places editing photos stored on hard drives and more countless hours sharing them with the world. Why do some people give the least attention to the models that we choose to shoot with. This is something that has been cropping up again and again when giving portfolio critique. When asked why a certain model was selected, a very common answer is, “she just replied to my online casting”. If you are looking to really push your photography, this is just not good enough.
Before I start, I should make it very clear that this article is in no way meant to tarnish the reputation of anyone or any company. Any website offering a means of networking to models or photographers to find work, are no way responsible for the actions of the people using it. It is clear these sites and networks have a place and a role in the modern photographic community.
Back in 2009, I was a newbie photographer, working with other photographers shooting weddings I had just finished working for a family portrait studio. Wanting to push forward but I still very unaware of the ways and means to get what I wanted, I had non-existent portfolio and just an idea of what I wanted to shoot. Model Mayhem was my first port of call. Account made, photos uploaded and casting placed, I waited and planned my shoots. A couple of days later, I had a couple of replies, ‘e-mail – ping pong’ started. The date of the shoot had come round, make up artist and I arrived at the pre-booked studio, we made some coffee and waited. To cut a long story short, the model never turned up despite lots of prior contact and confirmation e-mails. A day booked off work, lots of money wasted. A couple of days later I rang the model, she explained she had car trouble and that she tried to call, but I never picked up. We re-arranged the shoot, to which she never came to either. Another model booked off model mayhem turned up with her Mum and Dad, and brother and boyfriend, nightmare.
I blamed my self. I thought, If I was a better photographer, I would have amazing models to work with and every thing I shot would be amazing. I was trying to work out the balance, how much of a portrait is the photographer and how much is the model. I began to wonder, if I had of booked Kate Moss or some super top model how different would the shoot be ? How much would a professional model be? Yes, she might have been late, but I doubt she would of brought her mum along. Yes, I would have had some amazing photos, but, at what price, at what cost. It got me thinking. How much do proper models cost? What do you get for your money? What is the difference between professional models and amateur models? Where is my hard earned money best spent? Well, it turns out, it’s pretty simple really. Work with a good model and get a good photo, work with a better one and get a better photo.
What is a good model then? Well, this is is either simple or tough to answer. I like to say, a good model is someone who will enable your shoot to go the way you planned. There does need to be good clear communication, before and during the shoot, a level of expected trust and professional manner. I like to have a girl who is willing to work with me rather than against me on my shoot and someone collaborate on ideas during the shoot. I want someone to bring a certain aspect of theatre to the camera. Being clean and polite is always going to be good. Things like being late, drunk, dirty or moaning will end a with a model being sent away. This does happen. You get what you pay for in life, booking models is no exception to this golden rule.
Before we come to online methods of booking models, I spoke to John Hodgett about life before internet modelling sites.
“There were a lot fewer photographers out there back then, so the community of models, hairdressers, make up artists, set builders, scenic artists, etc., was pretty tiny, so you tended to know who was out there, and what they were doing. Comp Cards ruled the day, and the agencies would send the cards of the guys that might meet the spec of the job, plus any promising new models they had signed. If I knew the agency personally I would be happy to take their advice, so often there was no need for a casting. Some of my clients already had models they regularly worked with, so again I didn’t get involved in the selection process….we were shooting on Ektachrome, there was little or no opportunity for retouching as the client got the film and not a print, and retouchers cost a fortune. An excellent make up artist meant you could save a fortune on models, but I seem to remember that folk like Celia Hunter that we used to use were charging about £300 a day in the seventies.”
Little or no re-touching !! Shocking !! That alone is should provoke some thoughts for photographers today. To sum up Johns point, the quality of model was and is critical. He used professional agency’s to find and supply models. Out sourcing this to a dedicated team of bookers and agents to ensure the shoot was success. The right model for the right shoot. Before the introduction of the internet, agencies had it all their own way, however, even today its the best way to get great hard working models. In a complete change to John, Thorsten Jankowski explains his methods when booking for Art Nude shoots in Germany.
‘I am sourcing my models 100% over the internet from platforms like Facebook or Model Mayhem. It takes more time for me, but on the other hand its cheaper and more flexible for me to cast a model myself. and I can see a models qualities on only a few images. Nude photography needs the direct contact to the model, I have to talk to the model and find out if she or he understands my concept’
I can understand his need and methods. Most good modelling agencies are vague or unsure at best about sending girls out for Art Nude shoots, for reasons discussed later. But for now, to say that for high end nude photography, a good personal understanding between photographer and model is extremely important. Brett Harkness hits the nail on the head here for me, you get what you pay for. Brett also raises two more valid points:
“Most of our test models come from online sites such as , Net Portfolio or Model Mayhem. You can get some great girls and we usually always try and pay something for time and travel. The down side of using girls from such places can be that sometimes you will get a no show or a girl that doesn’t want to work on the day. This has happened a couple of times. If you are doing a shoot where the client us paying then often we will sit down and look for the appropriate face through an agency listing. You will pay more, of course and the agency fees will have to be taken care of but normally this cost should be passed off to the client. I don’t see anything wrong with going with girls and guys from online model sites if you are testing I would always try and offer some money if you can, that way you will get a better calibre of model. If the shoot is pro then go for the agency girls, you are guaranteed they will show up, act professionally at all times and work with you because that is their main profession. Expect to pay, but ultimately you get what you pay for!’ -
He mentions Testing and Clients. It’s good to make a clear judgement about the purpose of the shoot and understand how important the role of the model is going to be. Fashion Photographer Bruce Christopher Smith sums this up quite well.
“… I get the main agencies to provide models for courses for my clients 99.9% of the time… working on the cheap for a client is too risky… model mayhem type portals serve a purpose to experiment and for this they are great i.e.: Purestorm etc. can be fantastic. If your serious about shooting fashion, testing with agency models from top agencies is a must, its part of the networking process to get your work exposed to commissioners of fashion photography.”
To expand on from Bruce’s point, If you are really into your photography, the models you cast should reflect this. If you can not grasp this more simple element, how is anyone really going to take you seriously in one of the most competitive genres of photography. Think of it like a ladder. Work with great models and take a step up above the rest of the people, each shoot, try and take another step up, but never step down. In the UK, Purestorm and Model Mayhem are the two major sites that are used for online castings. There are a few others such as net.model, Germany has Model Kartei for example. Neither Woland or Jay McLaughlin explain why agencies are the way to go every time
‘I only work through agencies, as this is the only way to guarantee my work and my clients. they select the best models, sometimes train them and they are a support and a legal subject if any accident or delay occurs’ – Woland
‘I always prefer an agency, because not only do you generally get a higher standard of model, but you also get more professionalism if you book through an agency and the model can’t make it for some reason (illness etc.), then it’s the agency’s responsibility to find a replacement. I don’t need that sort of stress right before a shoot, so knowing it’s not going to be my problem is always a winner., Also, agency models go to way more castings and show your images to far more of your potential clients… which can only be a good thing’ – Jay McLaughlin
Wedding supremo turned Teacher, Damien Lovegrove explains his approach.
‘Gingersnap model agency, Model Mayhem and recommendation from other models or photographers. Blaise my PA deals with all the correspondence and the fees. We rarely ‘test’ so virtually every shoot is a paid shoot for the model. I do get asked to ‘test’ by models and if their look is fab I’ll occasionally do a ‘free’ shoot. Our studio is always staffed by at least 2 women as well as a couple of us guys and I always shoot in office hours. If I’m on location it is always a well known hotel etc. Every shoot has a mood-board showing the type and scope of the images to be taken and any nudity, implied or otherwise is agreed on before the shoot.’
Why spend lots of money on top end models for simple beginner days or workshops which focus on camera work or technical aspects of photography. On the other hand, some of Damien s courses are pretty advanced and demand a model to match. Having the right model for the right shoot is key.
I spoke to Chloe-Jasmine for her thoughts, I asked her to explain the difference between internet based bookings and Agency bookings. Chloe-Jasmine is with Gingersnap.
As a professional model , agency bookings will always take priority. They are your employer. It would be near impossible to source the “big brand” clients independently.
You have been selected from a sea of faces, by the company, on your measurements and “look” and will be paid the appropriate fee for your time ,thus immediately eliminating the GWC, “photographers” attempting to haggle down the standard day rate or those with underlying motives and time wasters; Your booker won’t allow their feet through the door.
It’s quick, clean and simple and it’s been my chosen method for bookings since the age of 16, when I first began .
I’m not by any means saying it isn’t possible to be an agency represented model or a renowned professional photographer to obtain work through other methods (Model Mayhem/ Networking sites such as Facebook/Personal websites )although they will be essentially self managing themselves in this scenario.
You are taking a risk as a “ self employed freelancer”, perhaps spending more time filtering through the “Spam”, the test shoots and occasional truly bizarre requests. The proposed shoots which never quite get arranged and attempts to slash my typical day rate are the most frustrating in my case. And as for Photographers.. How many times has a shoot been a rearranged for the model to “flake”…
That is not to say that many haven’t had successful and enjoyable shoots through Model Mayhem/Facebook , I have been fortunate enough to have worked as a freelancer with some extremely talented people , and financially speaking, the payment being typically given on the day is very preferable as opposed to the 90 day minimum agency rate. It’s always beneficial for both parties to discuss rates, hours , levels and model releases beforehand to avoid any confusion.
Like any profession there are professionals, there are great amateurs and there are sharks.
- Chloe-Jasmine Whichello
There is a wide selection of agencies catering for a wide and diverse market. All the way from top fashion agencies IMG and Next Model Management, Elite and Storm to more commercial agencies like MOT, BMA and Sandra Reynolds. All agencies have lovely staff and wonderful bookers that will ensure the highest of standards. I spoke to GingerSnap about the rise of internet castings.
I believe that there is a role for sites like model mayhem. They create a forum for people who are keen to get involved in the industry to meet and gain experience. However, I believe that model agencies will always have an important place in the industry. They nurture talent, giving models crucial feedback and advice, keeping them on the right track. They also save crucial time for clients who can’t always go through the hundreds of options on Model Mayhem or similar sites. Moreover, there are models of a range of ages in the industry, all working regularly and sites like Model Mayhem don’t appeal to all of them. Bookings for models can vary from a high street fashion store to trade clothing companies, fittings departments, film production companies, promotional events, photographic workshops and of course, photographers By working with an agency, you are certain of a skilled model who has a professional attitude and strong work ethic, after all, this is their day job and they need to represent themselves and their agency to the highest standard. The right model will raise the standard of the photograph in the same way as a top of the range SLR or a carefully scouted location! – Gingersnap Modelling Agency
Fashion photographers tend to go the agency route. Portrait Photographers tend to do a mixture, Art Nude photographers tend to book models themselves and hobbyists tend to shoot anyone they can get there hands on. I do think that agency’s can do more work to remove elitist stigma that attached and do more work for a wider selection of models. These companies maybe should a wider sense that there is a growing market for the amateur photographer. This in-turn would support the photographic community and thus the models that try and make a living out of it. Just to make things super clear here. I am not calling modelling agency’s elitist, I am saying that a lot of people who are slightly unaware of industry see them that way.
Karl also has a very impressive portfolio of clients and personal work. We had a good phone call about the whole “booking model” issue.
“I’m OK booking independently and had accounts with most of the networks until pretty recently.
That said, if projects and or /budgets allow, I’d rather deal with a booker, especially for a client gig. If I’m testing, I’m far more open to booking independently, unless I need something really specific.
The advantage of booking independents is the close communication and the fact it’s just between you and the team as regards what happens and what’s needed. If a booker is involved, necessarily you are working with a third party in mind. The obvious advantage of agencies is the single contact point with someone who knows what you do and need, the package of suitable talent in minutes rather than days and none of the bullshit. you’ve also got the fall back of someone bailing last minute will be replaced. If my work was all agency friendly, I’d never do it any other way, but by the same token, I won’t compromise a project for the sake of a booker or a specific model. To me, the talent is an easier compromise than the creative. Most agencies have far more flexible approaches than they did in the 90s.. I guess that’s the doing of the Internet . From a model perspective, it’s opened things a lot, the same for amateur photographers. Overall, in all aspects of the business, independents, much like the microstock industry has diluted quality and reduced expectations, but if you’re working to exacting standards and briefs, then the old way is still the best way. Having said all that, I’ve worked with some great freelancers on commercial projects, but those people (if they read this, they’ll know who they are) are the exception, not the rule.” – Karl Baxter
If you are investing time effort and money in portrait photography of any kind, don’t allow that time and money go to waste on someone who is not giving you the desired outcome . It wont help your progress in any way. It will only serve as a negative feeling after you don’t obtain the photographs you are trying to create. The right model can make or break a shoot. Keeping motived is a tough challenge, find the models that inspire you and find a way to work with them.
Research time. We contacted a selection of agencies to see how hard it was to book a great model and what sort of costings we are looking at. With quotes as low as £200 for a model to £600 for a main board top model, many of the agencies had a very predictable response,. One thing all the agencies did say, was they they wanted to see ideas and concepts for shoots and previous work. Many wanted to see a portfolio before talking money or taking questions. I guess this is good in the sense that they are vetting the people working with the models, but there was the over riding feeling that the price was going to only go up in response to a lack of experience of a photographer who is making the booking. This is both wrong and right. I can see both sides to this to this practice.
As a professional photographer, it can be very possible to find an agency models to work with for free. This does come with a certain agreement that photos can be used for all round use. Agency and photographer should be in a place to benefit from the shoot. Its very rare to get super experienced models for free unless the shoot is for publication or big publicity. (refer to my blog about testing and TFP shoots).
The only problems start to come in when you want to shoot nudes and more exotic genres of photography. I would love to support the idea, that if the market demanded more variety from the agencies , they would soon play-ball and supply the demand that is clearly there. Amazing photographers like Karl Baxter should be able to work though agencies to source his models for all his shoot.
To sum up, you get what you pay for, and the lower-ends of the modelling world should be supported and protected. To ensure safety issues are addressed by keeping things professional at every level. Agencies can support the amateur market, and you can build that amazing portfolio you deserve by working with well trained and professional models. Don’t waste your hard earned money.
I would also like recommend to check each photographers website. (below) Many people have contributed to this article and I thank you all. A big thank you to Chloe-Jasmine for your help and contributions, you can order her coffee table book “Chloe-Jasmine Whichello – by Damien Lovegrove” from Amazon, WH Smith and via Damien’s website. A big thank you to GingerSnap. A big thank you to all the models that I personally have worked with too.
I have been meaning to write this blog for a long time, it’s a bit over due, but never the less, it’s here. It’s about the digital side of how the Winter 2010 Cover Shot was edited up. I really don’t want to get into detail about how, in a detailed technical way anything was really done here. It would take a long time if I were to do so. If you do want a closer break down, mail me !!
I have to be honest, the cover did end up a little different to how I wanted it. I really wanted to not have to use a digital composite photo for the cover, the original plan was to shot the cover super low @ f1.2 and to use a digital projected background that I had pre-made in Photoshop. In the version of the photo that was used, F8 was used , shot on a white background and the background is fully digital. This was because the f1.2 version gave a much darker feeling, although, I prefer the photo ( which can be seen here ), it was not suitable for the cover of a make up magazine. So another photo was selected. During the shoot a few “safety” shots were taken at the higher F-stop as I knew the F1.2 shots were going to be a risky move.
Photoshop was the starting point, I made up an image to be used as my projected background. On the cover photo, this was just added in as a background layer and composited in. I guess this was step one, joining my background and model.
As with all my editing work, I like to keep to a similar flow, starting with the Skin, Sharpen, Colour, Stamp Clone and repeat. Using about a million layers in the process. By the end of this photo, there are actually two PSD files, each with about 30/35 layers each. I could have used a PSB file which would have be better I think, but, next time maybe. A PSB file is the same as a PSD file, but designed to look after much bigger files. So the photo. had a good going over with the Stamp and clone tool, but, due to the amazing make up, the skin was pretty much flawless to start with. To begin with I was very worried about how the background would interact with my model, so some colour blending layers are added to even out any tonal problems with the layers. I needed them to match perfectly. Levels and photo filters are used controlled by layer masks.
To begin with, all my focus is on the background, then I turn my attention to the darker tones , bringing them into the tones and colour I want to use. more adjustment layers are used for this. My main focus was to get a nice punchy blue and contrast. Once I have them where I want for now, I pull the middle tones in then followed by the higher tones. Using a combination of Saturation and Hue changes with the paint brush tool, the make was lifted and enhanced. I am not a big fan of the dodge or burn tools, instead i prefer to use levels and control them using layer masks. Colour work has begun on the eyes
At this point I have my full colour adjusted photo pretty much where I want it, with the background nicely placed and good place to start really finishing off this photo. If you look close, you should notice bits of the dress have been repaired, bits of hair placed to improve the balance, lips and jaw line lifted. The main change in this layer is the grey overtone that has been applied. This was done using a Duotone Layer made up from shades of Gray.
Skin Colour work has really begun to take form. Using layer masks, lighter colours are painted over the skin in Screen mode to help build the matt shine. Work on the finger nails and hands has begun. The whole frame is being duplicated and re-layered over the existing photo , then blended back down to start to give the soft transparent shine. A few more areas are targeted for the unsharp mask tool. A few of the gems are lifted off the skin to create more balance. The stones that are left are sharpened one by one and have the glue behind them removed. Shape of the eye is enhanced.
The whole photo is level corrected (duplicated, placed on top then merged down using layer blending modes, controlled with layer masks) , converted into CYMK, cropped into the cover ratio, logos added and printed. Simple !! ish !!
Photographer | Dave Kai Piper
Model & Make Up | Liv Free
Styling | Krishan Parmar
Dress | Joe Challita
Rings | Fei Lui
TF ?? Its working for free right ?
TF, TFP, Testing, Tear Sheets, getting paid or just helping someone out. Everyone has there reasons for being part of a shoot, be it models or photographers. There seems to be a growing trend of people not being happy with the arrangements they make with other people. Until the last few months I have been pretty lucky in working with people who have been professional and understanding of the complex pit falls that TF shoots can throw up. So I have decided to write this blog.
TF, a term used to describe a shoot in which all parties of some of the parties in a shoot work for free, The TF stands for Time For… anything but money in 99% of cases. This explains TFP too, Time for Prints or Photos, or in these modern times, digital versions of the photos. Higher up the food chain, when professional photographers are working with professional models, shooting for tears is more a common place. Or you can just get paid, or pay for the service your using. I guess there is also the ” Muse” thing too, where photographer and model just really go town and creatively work looking at common areas of interest, I would not say this is TFP, this is more common interest shooting. When expecting digital versions of photos, I am going to skip the , what is high res thing.. and leave that for another day. Just make sure you understand what you are getting and what you are asking for.
Lets break this down a little.
Why shoot for free, as in, why do TFP? Well, as most people who read this post will have their own insight to this, I shall just say, that I would never have been able to create my portfolio with out the trust of some amazing people working TF or testing , with me. Testing is all about trying things, shooting new things to create and reshape your portfolio to ensure your right at the cutting edge of what you’re trying to do. It’s there to ensure good ideas get shot and creative ideas form and blossom. I think all of my best work has come from tests.
Get a good group of like-minded people, a model, a make-up artist and stylist then go play. TF shoots are great training grounds for learning the skills needed in real world shoots. Finding those models you trust and understand, finding the make-up artist you can trust to work quickly and not chat for hours and hours. Try and find stylists that don’t kill your shoot by trying to make everything look like what Gok Wan did on the TV last night.
Testing is a great way to network, get noticed and create your dream portfolio without spending mega money.
When first starting out, yes, its hard to find good people to test with. You have to prove that you’re not going to waste peoples time, energies and ideas. Its hard when you first start out, I know !! After a couple of shootings with your friends, approach people on sites like Purestorm and Model Mayhem, remember to ensure you do your homework on people. Check out their work, get active on the sites, find out who is worth working with and who to stay very clear from. Be understanding of your own level and where your own work , and who you’re talking to. Expect bad and good things to be said. Not everyone is going to play nice and come running to work with you for free, get some amazing shoots under your belt first. Give people a reason to want to shoot with you. If you not offering money, what are you offering them that they can not get elsewhere ? How much work are you putting in to the shoot. Show people you are willing and serious in shooting. Find great locations, show them great ideas, show them that they are not going to be wasting their time. Start slow and build up to the bigger models or photographers. Be willing to listen, talk and be part of a team for tests or TF shoots, remember both people are giving up their time. If you don’t like this.. pay them. Talking of money, When you ask people to come on a TF or a Test, if your asking them, do offer to pay their travel or something to sweeten the deal.
[note: don't just look after the models, all people involved should be looked after, if you ring them, you should look after them.]
Models, Photographers and every0ne in the creative sector tests, if they say they don’t, what they really mean is… they won’t test with you. Its nothing personal, so don’t let it be.
Don’t let ego get in the way
So what is this “shooting for tear sheets”, in fact, what is a tear sheet ?
Well, after you have your great portfolio, you may be wanting to shoot a front cover for Vogue. Easy !! Just shoot the best models in the world with the best creative team for year after year. After your portfolio is brimming with tear sheets from Prada, Gucci, Elle, Cosmo, Rolling Stone and Time. Vogue might let you e-mail them. Easy – right ? Nooope.
Tear Sheets , I guess, are the pro-level “TF” way method of working for free. Shooting amazing things and submitting them to magazines and getting published works for free. Think of this as a TF shoot with the magazines and creative teams. You give them content, they give you PR. This is the standard way that magazines get their content. Very very few photographers get paid for editorial magazine spreads. In many cases, Photographer/ model/ MUA/ designer/ stylist work on amazing shoots, no one getting paid, then the work being submitted to a magazine. The compensation in this manor comes, if and when, the magazine use them. There are two types. Online and Print. Online tear sheets are a little easier to come by than printed tear sheets. Tear sheets are called so, because, you can tear the page out the magazine and add this to your portfolio. If you really want a powerful portfolio, it should be full of impressive tear sheets, not just pretty photos from test shoots. Think of it as a points system. The better the magazine, the more points, the bigger the spread, the more points, and covers are worth their weight in gold when you get the right magazine. I would very often turn down money for a good tear sheet. If you want to get ahead in the photography world, even more relevant in the Fashion world, tear sheets are a magic key to open some doors. But.. its high risk, and a long hard road to get those inch’s of printed glory. I guess tear sheets so that you really know your stuff and know your industry. It can be used as a way that the industry can use to judge a creative person. A GWC ( guy with camera) would not be looking for tear sheets.
There are many downsides with these routes of getting people to work for free, in many cases it can feel like signing a deal with the devil. Unhappy models, photographers getting stressed about use of photos, miss-understanding of copyright, photos taking years to be released back to models and MUA’s. It’s all about trust and communication. There is one thing that never changes though. The photographer owns the photos, model release or not. Unless he has signed a deal to hand over copyright (I have never seen this) Even, when someone pays him for his time, he still owns the copyright unless this is signed to say not. This is the main place where frictions starts.
If after a shoot, the photographer decides to never release the photos, that’s up to him or her. Unless there is a contract in place (I have never seen this in a TF shoot) there is nothing the other parties that took part in the shoot can do. (I should point out, this is why I say, do your home work on who you’re working with) If I did a test shoot and the model had an off day, or the make up was rubbish or I messed up, those photos would never see the light of day. I would just say they are not coming out, this is why its called testing. It’s why testing is so important.
For me, I like to keep a very control of who has my work on show. I know that people judge me on who I work with just as much on as how good my work is, this can also have an impact on when and why photos are released into the world. It’s why I kept a tight control of when I shoot and who I shoot with. This is one negative aspect about working in the creative sector.
The system works for people who want it to work, it fails and breaks down when a lack of trust is created after the shoots, or when people start thinking they have ownership of the photos that they don’t have. If you didn’t take it, it’s not yours, it’s really simple. There can be very long times from the date of shoot to when or if a photo might get published, so sometimes extra care is needed to ensure photos and used and shown in their best light. Some magazines won’t take photos or stories if they are on display in places ? The photos being on display on a photographers portfolio is one thing, the photos being plastered thought Flickr, Facebook, Model Mayhem and Purestorm is another thing completely. This can cause more problems when Models are waiting for work to use in their portfolios. Problems like these are very easy to solve. Just be clear upfront about why you are shooting and understand who you are shooting with. When I shoot with a model, I like to try to get published works from the shoots, so my teams can expect long waits before photos are released, however, if a model came to me wanting to shoot some new photos to update her look, she would get these back very quickly, because that was the purpose of the shoot. I guess the message here is, be clear and ask if you’re not sure.
Anyway.. testing is the best way to network, create amazing works of art and practice your choose skill. It’s a great way to get creative. If your going to give your time up for free, make sure you know who you are giving your time to and how much they expect back.
Be nice to people, play the game and don’t piss people off. Now go forth and create !!
May introduce you to the SESSION 88 DH /09
The Session 88 platform features all of Trek’s recent full suspension development efforts including the one piece of technology responsible for creating the most active suspension system under braking, ABP. The Session 88 platform also combines Trek’s Full Floater shock mount with a custom-tuned Fox DHX 5 coil shock, delivering the small bump compliance, good mid-stroke control and bottomless feel associated with all of Trek’s full suspension offerings.
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Stiffness and strength, balanced with light frame weight, were a major concern for the Trek team. To that extent, Trek’s industrial designers used hydroforming and extensive frame shaping to achieve project goals. Also of note in the frame construction is the one-piece EVO rocker link and E2 tapered steerer/head tube technology.
“Our goal with developing a new Freeride and DH bike is in line with Trek’s guiding principle to have the best in class product for every category we pursue,” said Joe Vadeboncouer, Trek’s product manager. “The new Session products are my personal favourites of all the full suspension bikes we build at Trek.”
PRODUCT MODEL YEAR: 2009
PRODUCT OPTIONS: Small, Medium, Large
Frame: Alpha Red Aluminum with ABP, Full Floater, Aluminum EVO Link, E2 tapered head tube, oversized sealed bearings, 200mm rear wheel travel
Forks: Fox 40 RC2, 203mm
Rear Derailleur: SRAM X-0 short cage
Front Derailleur: MRP G2 Chainguide
Shifters: SRAM X-0, 9 speed
Chainset: Shimano New Saint, 38T chainring
Freewheel: SRAM PG970 12-26, 9 speed
Headset: Custom Cane Creek; 1.125? top, 1.5? bottom with 1.125? reducer
Stem: Bontrager Big Earl, 10 degree, 31.8mm
Handlebars: Bontrager Big Earl, 50mm rise, 31.8mm
Front Brake: Avid Juicy Elixir CR; 203mm front
Rear Brake: Avid Juicy Elixir CR; 185mm rear rotor
Brake Levers: Avid Juicy Elixir CR
Rims: Bontrager Big Earl
Front Hub: Bontrager Big Earl
Rear Hub: Bontrager Big Earl
Spokes: Bontrager Big Earl
Tyres: Bontrager Big Earl, Kevlar bead, 26×2.5?; 60 tpi
Saddle: Bontrager Big Earl
Seatpost: Bontrager Big Earl
Pedals: Bontrager Big Earl platform
Infomation regarding the session 88DH was lifted from http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/sea-otter-trek-introduces-session-88-downhill-and-freeride-15860
This how RAG MAG introduce Joe , below is the 10 page exclusive spread. These photos were shot over a 3 shoots, credits are on the photos.
JOE CHALLITA, 31 year old Australian-Lebanese designer, adorest women. RAGMAG knows this because only a self professed “dreamer and a helpless romantic” could create gowns that virtually sing. We decided on JOE for our ROYAL ISSUE because the man brings out our love affair with fashion on a grand scale. Graduating with a double degree in Arts and Law and becoming a qualified solicitor, he then transitioned into fashion. We spoke to JOE about celebrity, geographical influences of the Commonwealth and Lebanon, Khalil Gibran, and WHAT MAKES HIM FIT TO DRESS THE QUEEN.
Joe is by far and away my favourite designer on the planet, every time I shoot a CHALLITA dress is such an honour.
RAGMAG – http://www.ragmaglive.com/
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Ciaran Whyte posted a question on Facebook that did get me thinking a little. I have been meaning to write about for a while.
I’ve been shooting 6 years now and to date I have avoided adding watermarks to my images. But given the recent theft of one my images and due a strange increase in requests for higher resolution versions of my images for wall papers, I have been revisiting the whole idea of watermarking. I’m not sure of the best way to add them… is this too much? Any suggestions?
I will be fair and balanced (ish) as I think out loud on to this blog. My things is… If your photography is in the public domain, do expect them to be used by other people, legal or not. Just look at Pintrest! If your not watermarking your work its like leaving the keys in the car, and the motor running, you are asking for problems. End of story in my head….. However.. the eagle eyed among you will notice I don’t water my on my website ?? So.. Maybe this is more complex.. and yes..
Sometimes I like to use a magazine style credit for all members of the creative team, Its a nice simple way to give access and information to the other people while at the same time as showing ownership to solve and prevent any simple faux pas. Its fine for me and my style of work, I can use it to show who does what and when, use it provide a background. Using this style of watermark is perfect for me to show my relationship to a photo. The other thing I like to do is add my signature. Sometimes the content of a photo is less editorial or a big water mark is way to distracting… Sometimes I like to use a mix… and on my portfolio site I have no watermarks any more at all, but lay my photos out in sets. I then use a little bit of code to have a message that pops up when people try and right click to save as. I know this is really easy to get around, but this is me trying to at least do the right thing. In a perfect world if the photos are not on my website I mark them to let people know how to find me. I guess that if they are on my site they have already found me.
If the photos are being taken of a website that you can control, there are many many ways of preventing this by using software to remove the option to save the photo direct of the site. Taking away the , Save As function can solve many problems. This is a very simple thing to solve. If the photos are being taken from a third party site like Facebook, Model Mayhem Purestorm or any others, its very simple to solve also. Just don’t use them. But, this is just not practical, so, most of us just except the trade off and get the benefit. Use a watermark. Make it easy for people to find you and ask you about the work.
If you have been lucky enough to shoot a brand or advert, I would never add back any watermarks of my own. Another great way to show your photos if you want to keep an editorial style is to lay them up as you would have them in a magazine. here I have cropped to a 5×4 ratio similar to a magazine.
Everyone is going to have there own reasons for tagging a photo, but it does shock me when people don’t I have to think, Do they really not want to claim credit to there work ? do they not want people to trace the photo back to its creator ? If they don’t, can they really complain when it is used for something beyond there means to proven ? As a photographer that’s why I am putting the photos out into the public eye in the first place, the more times they are reposted the harder they become to track and find the end user. As a Photo Editor for a magazine, this is very annoying, having to try and trace owners of lovely photos.
As Photographer Jay McLaughlin says:
“mostly self promotion, my theory is that if someone wants to steal your image, they will… it’s a sad fact of the internet. So I figure it’s better to let them advertise me in the process”
“so what if someone moves it ? just out of intrest? Would you confront them ?” I asked back.“I’d do what I’ve done to a photographer recently send him an invoice then when he doesn’t pay… take him to court. I won’t watermark over the middle of an image it ruins it”
“I use watermarks so people can find their way back to my own archive of images on the internet. Direct links can become unclear after the second or third reblogging of an image. I think they should be subtle and added to the image in a way that does not spoil the viewers experience of the image”
Clear and very vaild reasons to use them, Its a good way to keep tabs and track of your photos.
The message here is, protect yourself and be sensible. Use a nice small credit or watermark, avoid problems by claiming ownership early on. Anyway… What are your thoughts ??
FOCUS ON IMAGING is Europe’s biggest annual imaging show, covering all your needs from image capture through to output and beyond. Whether you are a professional image maker or processor, a buyer of image making equipment or materials, a manufacturer or distributor of products or a keen hobbyist, a visit to FOCUS ON IMAGING is a must.
Over 200 exhibitors and product launches galore – - So the Website says.
So, Was it all worth it ?
Well. its free (if you sign up before the event) So its off to a good start at least. For me personally, I had an amazing few days, running about meeting people, making deals, seeing new toys, shaking hands, seeing demo’s and having a bit of a geeky time.
Canon deemed the event unworthy of there attendance, the word on the street was that since they do not have a new product to show, what’s the point in coming. Maybe to save face with your current clients who spend hard earned money with you ? Its like Cadburys not being at a Chocolate Show. Canon lose points. Hasselblad did not attend either, it was a shame, but more understandable. It would of been nice to see Apple there too. Sony had a HUGE stand with a very over the top runway event. Sony seem to think they were still in Japan. Sony still don’t have a camera to make me think of shooting with one, but give it a couple of years. The cameras have some impressive functions and toys, they just need refining a little for me. Pentex had a whole range of new cameras and the new digital back camera, but I never stopped to check them out, sorry ! i was really busy !! I did check out the great new range from Lumix, very nice indeed!!
so who did turn up and brought cool things? Well, Nikon had another new camera aimed in the middle of the range, the D7000. I would still put my money in the D90 , D700 or D3 though. Anything smaller than the D90 would see me going to see the chaps at the Lumix stand. One of the coolest new things I was shown was not even on show. While taking to the chaps on the Orbis stand (please do check them out - http://www.orbisflash.com/ ) I was introduced to Eddie. Eddie is part of the new Tripod range from the 3 LEGGED THING company.
I am awaiting my very own Eddie very soon. There are two others in the new carbon fibre range, Jimmy and Brian. Jimmy is the bigger brother and Brain a smaller more compact and lighter version, check the site our for more info. http://www.3leggedthing.com . I really should say a very big thank you to the very lovely Album Epoca team. This year I was asked to supply some photos for there new range of books. I designed the books and sent them off to be printed and never saw them until they were on display at the trade show, so I was very keen to how they printed up. I have to be honest and, yes.. even though they are my photos, I was taken back a little by the quality of the books and the print. Even the other printing companies were a little interested in seeing the quality of the print. They have over 400 styles of covers and the best print quality I have seen in a wedding book. No, there not the cheapest, but you can see where your money is going. Seeing Flavio Bandiera’s work in these books is a joy, but, seeing my work next to his, well, is a slightly bigger joy to say the least. Do check out the Album Epcoa website and check out there amazing work.
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I had a very long chat with the people at the Royal Photographic Society and the BIPPm trying to work out which is best for me, I have a feeling the RPS are much more suited for my needs and we have been talking workshops amongst other things.
Topaz Labs and Portrait Professional were there showing some cool new plug in software for quick easy edits, I did stop and have a chat with the guys. Topaz were very impressive and very busy, they must be very happy with there results from the show. They have some clever software and slick demo’s to show it off. Lovely guys and best of luck to them. NIK software were there too, I had a long chat with there Marketing Manager and hope to bring you some very good news very soon, for me NIK have the edge with there stunning, well made range of products. After a couple more meetings I am sure there will be some amazing news!! Its safe to say I think they had the edge on all the other “plug in” type products on display. The Topaz Masking tools (Masking 3) are very very nice though. The Topaz Labs programs seem more for creative style then NIK Software.
Inside Focus, an exhibitor’s Perspective, from James Madelin, inventor of the orbis® ringflash and frio™ hotshoe adapter:
“Focus 2011 was a big step up from last year… with many more photographers dropping by our stand to catch up, watch orbis® and frio™ demos and generally hang out and talk about all things lighting, tweeting and more (not forgetting the all-important topic “cake.”)
Tradeshows are great fun from the perspective of an exhibitor. It’s massively exciting to have a chance to hang out with such a diverse range of photographers in one place over a few days, and the atmosphere from our demo team was almost like I’d imagine a music tour might be, with everyone sharing nicknames and in-jokes by the last evening. Exhausting and energising in equal measure. I got to shoot some photos too, which is something I never feel I do enough.
Bring on Focus 2012 !
Damien Lovegrove had his new coffee table book on display of the extremely gorgeous Chloe Jasmine Whichello. Chloe came down on the Tuesday to hang out and say hello, we caught up a little and had a look around , it didn’t take us long to find Starbucks.
Damien :- My first art or coffee table book will be officially launched at the end of March. The book titled ‘Chloe-Jasmine Whichello’ was shot over four and a half months in the second half of 2010. There are punchy street portraits, high class fashion shots and delicate art nudes among the 160 or so photographs of the fabulous C-J. The first 1000 copies of this lavish edition will contain one of five signed and numbered archival prints each in a limited edition of 200. The first 1000 books will also be numbered themselves and signed by Chloe and I.
Standard Edition Price: £49.95 (Pre-order)
Special Edition: Available from FloppyChicken.com
Another little highlight was meeting the incredibly talented Steve Kraitt. He was not at the show, but myself and Chloe bumped into him at the Lovegrove stand. If you not know Steve’s work, I urge you to go and check his work out. Have a look at http://www.kraitt.com/
To sum up, Its just like walking around a very large Calumet store to be honest, but, its also a fantastic chance to see more products in a great way to compare them. It is also, a fantastic chance to network. As you might well guess if you did come to the event. Its set up to sell, and sell alot. Calumet, Jessops and Jacobs were all there with a whole host of the smaller trade show sales shops. You could lose lots of money very quickly indeed. Especially if you went to the Phase One or Fuji stands. The Colour correction and printer company were there in force with Fuji and Epson taking the Key spots. The event is set up to sell and provide to wedding photographers, this means that the wedding album printers are all there and all have very busy stands. (Album Epoca are the best – because they use my work in the demo books ! I have to say it !!)
I would love to see Focus really focus on photography and photographers a little bit more, it would be fantastic to see the Arts world a little bit more represented at these sorts of shows, I say get some local artists to show work !! A nice gallery would not go a-miss at a photography event !! I shall leave you with a the very lovley Vicki Blatchley modelling a Brian the tripod from 3 Legged thing.
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Joe & the Yellow Dress | Fashion Shoot
MUA: OscarAlexander @ http://www.oscaralexander.co.uk/
M: Beth Webb @ Storm
Dress: Joe Challita @ http://joechallita.com
Thanks to Linda Friis @
London | UK
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Sometimes it takes a while to get the time to finish up editing shoots. These photos were shot early last summer, a set was edited up for 8 page spread in Haute Magazine, A Peter Lang Jewellery campaign was created and some other smaller magazine work.
I shall try and edit up some more over the Christmas break.
These photos were lit with a single 500 bulb with a reflector, the light was direct onto the model, a Multi Layer Duotone was used to finish them in the Post Production stage .
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9107 Schwägalp, Hinterland, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Switzerland.
During my trip to see Bryon and Kellie (www.viewfindercenter.com), it would not of been a full trip to Switzerland without seeing some proper snow. I have many more photographs coming soon of my whole trip with all the shoots and info regarding the Tuscany workshops, the Zurich based Viewfinder workshops next year and some other details. But , for now I can show you this amazing photograph that I took while at the top of Säntis. We all have Lisa to thank for taking me and looking after me in the cold, and yes.. it was cold.
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This photo was is a section of a much bigger 20 photo panorama that I have to still stitch together. This is just an 6 photo sample using every second photo or so. The bigger photo will be a higher res and a wider view.
Taken with a Nikon D90 @ 18mm in the cold.
Thank you to Bryon & Kellie for looking after me.