Rocket Dog – Girls Shoes For a Change

I’ve been doing a lot of work for Rocket Dog, a juniors shoe brand this year.  They decided to revamp there look a bit and came to me for my technical expertise to help.  The lighting ended up quite simple.  Most is done with a single light source.  Multiple exposures are required to get the proper exposures and lighting angles for the different materials and to create a cohesive shadow to be composed later.  Also, since everything is so last minute (last week we shot on Thursday for a tradeshow starting on Monday) and the customer doesn’t know what color backgrounds are going to be used, we shoot everything on white and I need to put the shadow on a separate layer so they can multiply it onto chosen color background.  A lot of post work…A nice new fresh graphic clean look for them.  They keep coming back for more so I am happy!

These are just screen grabs from the website.  Lifestyle shots are not mine:

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Value of Professional Equipment

I sometimes think potential customers think they can just point their iPhone at their product and get a decent image.  I tried that experiment yesterday on some bow ties.  That hypothesis fell short or proving out.  $80K worth of cameras, lighting and grip equipment helps improve the quality a bit.

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Dragon Alliance

I was over at Dragon the other day picking up some new frames to photograph and my imagery was all over the office.  From the front door to window shades, wall posters, ad blowups etc.  Since stuff was so prominent, I figured I would drop by the website to see what was on there.  My stuff was all over the splash page:

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Cheeky Fly Fishing

I recently reached out to a small fly fishing reel company is Boston called Cheeky Fly Fishing.  I discovered them on Instagram believe it or not.  The product looked like nice quality stuff.  I believed I could help in the way the product photography was done so I contacted them.  It turned out they were releasing all silver versions of their previously very colorful reels and need some photography.  While I had these gorgeous reels at my disposal, I figured I would take advantage a do a shot or two for my portfolio.  Below is the set up sequence for my reel groups shot.

How to build a small pond/stream in the studio…Start with a frame to allow for some water depth.  Cover with plastic sheeting.  Use black if you want a dark stream bottom of clear if you want to light through it from below (would need a shoot of clear plexiglass as will).  Use multiple layers in case of small leaks.  I wanted to use cobbles (as I already had some from another shoot) as my background so I started filling my pond.  I cam up with an arrangement of rocks that allowed an open area that would allow the water to be visible.  Then I needed to place my reels on the rocks in a pretty stable arrangement as I would be spraying water on them and rocks.  Then I had to fill pond to desired depth.

After all the building and composing, all I had to do was make the reels look great.  Easier said than done.  Since every metallic reel was on a different angle, lighting was not easy since they all had a different angle of reflection/incedence.  Fun.  Eventually worked it all out.  One problem was the water in the open areas was disappearing into the black plastic.  I added a softbox out back to create a reflection on the water surface.  Was going in the right direction but it was boring with the flat highlight.  solved that by moving the water around until I got a pleasing  pattern.  One side benefit to the softbox was it added a pleasing highlight to the wet rounded rocks.  Overall I was pleased with final.

My other hero was of a single reel, The Thrash 475.  Since the reels are a machined product, I thought it would look cool if the reel was shot half buried in various metal shavings (that I also had from a shoot that were never used).  This was actually a pretty fairly simple shot to execute but I think I like it better than my involved pond shot.

 

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Envius Denim – Part II

Like I said in my previous post, I felt the final images should be pushed past simple, clean commercial single captures.  There were so many good ones that it seemed a shame to only use one from each look.  I knew I wanted to use one or two looks for my portfolio so I decided to try to combine some of the images into one finished piece.

Since my favorite look was the one were the model was wearing the hat, I took that one on first.  I ended up using the clients choice on the most prominent image within my collage as I didn’t want to do all the retouching on another one and I generally liked their choice.  I then processed out and additional four images from this look a little more contrasty and with generally lighter skin tones.  Once they were processed out I combined them behind the main image.  I wanted to make them subordinate to the main look so I reduced the opacity  of the subordinate looks closest to the hero look and reduced the opacity even more on the next look further away.  Since the person was not clipped out but I still wanted them top overlap I blended them using “multiply” mode so the images would combine as they crossed over.  It took a bit of fiddling to figure out what order to place the individual images and the spacing but in the end I was happy. The client, Envius Denim supplied their logo and I placed that as well.

The other combination was of the “rocker” girl.  Since I didn’t want to do the exact same thing as before, I added a motion blur to the subordinate images as the posing was much more active.  I din’t feel that the decreasing of opacity was called for either.  To differentiate my picks form the clients, I made black and white images and placed behind the client heros (a front and back shot).  Since the posing was more extreme it, it took longer to come up with an arrangement that I was happy with.  It eventually came together though.

To round out my additional images, I picked a few more and did some variety of a bit more creative post processing to give them a slightly different look.

Overall, I was pleased with the “take” on this shoot.  I ended up using the “rocker” look as my facebook cover.  Please feel free to drop on by and have a look.  “Like” me if you want.

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Envius Denim Shoot

I did a somewhat different type of shoot a few weeks back.  A client actually let me photograph something that moves for  change.  I’d like to do this type of work a little more frequently.  A really nice change of pace from my usual day to day small table top product photography.

The shoot was for a new denim company out of LA called Envius.  I have worked for and with both owners in the past.  They have been working on this concept for a few years now and it seems like it is finally coming together.  They are showing at Project in a couple of weeks.  They have a premium denim line with a patented closure system shaped like a V (get it EnVius).  I met one of the owners when she was modeling for a shoot I’ve done and I’ve worked with here a few times.  She introduced me to the other owner and has hired me for a couple of shoot.

The client came down with a full crew from LA.  Wardrobe stylist, Makeup Artist, and Model.  Good working with a full crew.  We never would have gotten done without them.  The client had 5 very distinct looks they were after.  Whole team did an awesome job making the switch from look to look.  Made my job super easy.

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First we shot a couple of small products that are the buckle portion of the closure system.  My usual.  It was a great use of time as first look  hair, makeup and wardrobe always seem to take FOREVER.  The shot on the jeans looks pretty simple but took a long time to get an angle that the client felt it needed to be to show the closure and then rig it in place using fishing line.  Would have liked to massage it a bit more but the model was ready and we had a lot of on figure work to do.

VBuckle_Closure VBuckleThe client wanted model shot on an all white background with a bright open style.  I lit background separately with 2 separate lights in an attempt to blow it out.  Was able to accomplish this but at the expense of a bit of flare.  By bounding so much light off of the white, it flares the lens a bit.  I added to the flare by wanting to rim light the model as well to give the shot some extra shape.  I put up as many flags as I could get around the lens to block light but still needed to account for all that light/flare when processing the files.  The model was super easy to work with.  Needed next to no direction.  Once I got the lighting set, it was just a matter of pushing the shutter.

Clients Choices:

Vbuckle-0581 Vbuckle-0612 Vbuckle-0689 Vbuckle-0719 Vbuckle-0783 Vbuckle-0853 Vbuckle-0864After All that we still needed at accomplish a fit/wash guide and ecommerce shots of all there jean which come in 3 different cuts and 6 different washes.  Since the client was a denim fit model in the past, she took over the modeling and we had the wardrobe stylist on the set adjusting each garment.  It took us a bit to determine what would be the 3 standard poses for each pant but once we were happy with the angles, model and stylist were on it and we finished 16 pairs of pants (I had to make 2 in photoshop as they did not have samples) in about 2 hours.  Was getting pretty late by then.  We were all glad to finish.  The crew had to drive back to LA and I had a previous shoot in the AM and was working on hour 14 in the studio.  I was done!

Here are a few examples of these shots:

Classic_boot Indigo_Straight-1 Saphire_SkinnyEveryone was pleased with final shots but I still felt these were just a starting point.  I ended up doing some additional work to some of the photographs for my own portfolio.  I ended up showing to the client and they loved them and bought usage from me.  Stoked.  Will show them next entry.

 

 

 

 

Second batch of images form FLORIDA.  Hope you like.  Fun snapping away with my iPhone:

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Florida Holiday 2012 Trip – Part 1

I took a camera to Florida for vacation.  Never came out of the case.  Iphone / Instagram only.  After shooting a ton in the studio all year, I never want to do any “serious” photo work.  It is fun taking snap shots with the phone, pushing a couple of buttons and see what comes out.  Sometimes some pretty cool images.  Part 1:IMG_2712 IMG_2713 IMG_2727 IMG_2737 IMG_2763 IMG_2774 IMG_2802 IMG_2804 IMG_2831 IMG_2864 IMG_2865 IMG_2871 IMG_2873 IMG_2882 IMG_2894 IMG_2895

I did a shoot for Flow last fall and recently visited their website to see if  any of the images were on the website.  Below are some of my images put into context as well as one just on a simple black background.  The shoot had a lot of interesting technical aspects.  I had to deal with a lot different types of materials as well as very some very extreme contrast ranges and out of gamut colors.  I was please to see my imagery featured so prominently on the website.

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New Art Prints for Gallery (or fun with ink jet printing)

I did up a couple of new prints for my Gallery in Florida, Earth and Spirit Garden Gallery.  Was a fun exercise creating them (photography and digital manipulation).  I needed some new prints for my living room in Florida as well that I have been promising my wife to create for a couple of years now.  So it was time…

I don’t enjoy the digital printing or wrapping the canvas around stretcher bars part much but that is part of the process.  This batch of printing would have been easy but I ran out of canvas and ink so I had to track that down.  After spending $300 on a roll of canvas and a couple of ink cartridges, I was ready to start.

They stopped making the canvas I have been using for years (and that I have created custom ICC profiles for) so I had to find a new batch.  I went with Epson Premium Canvas in a satin finish.  It is a lot thicker/stiffer/shinier than their Waterproof canvas that I used for years.  Getting it to load into the printer was a bit of an issue as well as the corners curl up in an awkward way causing to catch as it goes into the printer.  After much experimentation, I found that by notching off the corners on a 45 degree angle, it goes through a lot easier.  Next issue was ICC profile.  Since I don’t have the ability to make custom ICC profiles any more (don’t have access to the software), I was hoping Epson had a good off the rack profile.  I hit their website and downloaded their recommended profile and loaded it into my profile library.  I needed to make sure this was going to be to my liking so sized down a print and got ready to run a test off.

Since my printer ink was out in a couple of cartridges.  I got new ones loaded in.  Also, since the printer hadn’t run in a while, I knew some of the inkjets would be clogged.  I ran the software that cleans the ink nozzles (and wastes a bunch of ink) and ran a test patter.  Still clogged.  Did it again (and wasted more ink).  Ran the test pattern and still a bit clogged but better.  Third time was the charm.  Was ready for my test print to check how the ICC profile was working.

Well test print came out fine.  I was finally ready to do some actual printing.  I had a number of prints between the gallery and my living room to run so it took the bulk of the afternoon to get done.  I was pleased with the print quality on the Epson Satin Canvas.  Seemed like color was a bit more vibrant and blacks were definitely a bit richer.  Cool.

I had figured out all the stretcher bar sizing and hit Rhino Art in Encinitas for the bars early in case they didn’t have everything I needed before I left for Florida.  They had plenty of stock.  Stoked!   Everything is now waiting to be packed up and shipped out.  I build them onsite in Florida as it is easier to ship this way.

Like I said, I don’t enjoy the building of the frames (getting them square can sometimes be a pain) and stretching the canvas but they look killer when they are done.  The new canvas is thicker and stiffer.  We’ll see how that affects the final build process.  My guess is it will make the corner folding a bit more difficult but we’ll see.  That will be for another entry.

Here are a couple:

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