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What Is An Editorial Nude?

As I transition more to authoring new books, blogging and participating more on GarageGlamour.com, many photographers have noticed that as part of my “Farewell Photo Workshop Tour,” that we’ve included our editorial nude photography workshops in some locations. This has brought a few emails asking for some clarification.

Simply put, there are various forms (genres) of nude photography, including fine-art nudes (which others fall into also), implied nudes, glamour nude, Playboy nudes, editorial nudes, and just about anything you can add the word “nude” to at the end of it.  You name it, someone is teaching it—the problem lies not in nude photography, but many so-called glamour and nude photography workshops are just gang-bang shooting of cheesecake nude photos—and you wonder why there are some photographers labeled GWC’s, guys with cameras?

Unfortunately nude photography is being diluted daily, so I decided that I’d add editorial nude photography years ago as a different workshop than my “Glamour, Beauty and the Nude” themed workshops—and after conducting almost 500 photography workshops, seminars and lectures around the world in the past 12-years, I think I’ve got a good hand on what is what when it comes to photography.

In the case of editorial nude photography, it’s basically nude images that help convey some meaning, not sex, not porn, but true meaning including sometimes the mood of the subject.  These types of images often tell a story, and sometimes have a great story behind them. It’s about mood, emotion, storytelling, lighting, shadows, and sometimes even controversial, though I tend to avoid the latter.

At my Editorial Nude photography workshops, we work with simple lighting modified normally with 7-inch metal reflectors and metal grids.  The concept is to use shadows in your favor, tell the story, and to get away from marking the treasure map “X” on the floor—in other words, we don’t want you just standing there, we want you moving around the subject so you can see how the “Angle of Incidence Equals the Angle of Reflection” physics law come to play in photography.  We also ask you to turn your camera, not just plain horizontal or vertical images.

These types of images you could sell in art galleries, these are not cheesecake glamour nudes, these photos help you create are artistic but more important, solid and worthy of hanging in art galleries.

Now when we do your “Glamour, Beauty and the Nude” themed workshops, we use larger light modifiers, like 7-foot Chimera Octaboxes, 4-foot by 6-foot softboxes, beauty dishes, ringflash, California Sunbounce Pro reflectors and the list goes on—normally lighting used for editorial nudes is not the type we’d use in glamour photography.  Still not sure, well please visit EditorialNudes.com, my editorial nude photoblog that I just launched—it’s expanding with more images, so please be patient.  For now, since we don’t want to upset Google advertising, we can’t post images here, but you can find them at EditorialNudes.com.  Thanks, Rolando

LensDiaries.com, Let the Stories Be Told

In today’s world of being anyone, including a photographer, we have to constantly evaluate our situation and adapt to the changing times, so I’ve launched LensDiaries.com, my new hybrid photoblog created to spread the gospel of photography as I transition away from an exhaustive, 11-plus years of conducting over 450 photography workshops and seminars to thousands of people around the world. At LensDiaries.com you’ll find the stories and technical specifications of photos I choose for your insight in my photography. This photoblog is an extension of the five photography books I’ve published–so please help me spread the passion of photography.

With your support I will add photography tips and multimedia content along with photo critiques. For the inquiring minds that want to know, I will continue to conduct workshops and seminars, but on a very limited basis starting in the Fall of 2010. This will allow me more time to continue with my writings, future books and my photography. My focus is aimed at smaller, more exotic workshops to provide a more semi-private and a more intimate environment that you sometimes lose in a larger workshop environment. I’m always available for private photography instruction, just contact me here with your contact information and best time to call.

I will still blog on this site and inform you of my schedule and other items that I feel are better left on here, on my personal blog. On occasion, you will see a replication of content on both blogs, but remember, this site is a more personal blog and LensDiaries.com is a hybrid of a photoblog and blog, so both sites will have unique content too. I will also shift my focus from workshops to concentrate on Photographic Therapy, as a concept and the website, PhotographicTherapy.com. I hope you’ll visit all three sites.

Overtime, with your support, LensDiaries.com will transform into a more established photoblog–-this is a photographic journey we can accomplish together. Finally, I close by saying that I need your help to spread the gospel of photography by tweeting all the blog entries both here and on LensDiaries.com. Please tell all your friends and colleagues through all the social media networks—there are Facebook “like” and Twitter “retweet” buttons, please utilize them, every tweet and mention helps. Let’s spread the knowledge together. Let the stories be told! Thanks, Rolando

The Angle of Incidence Equals the Angle of Reflection

Often the Law of Incidence Equals the Law of Reflection is used to fill the "micro pores" of the face using this over/under lighting technique.  In this case, the ringflash fills the pores of the face since the camera is mounted on it.  The main light is slightly higher in power output above the ring flash.

Often the Law of Incidence Equals the Law of Reflection is used to fill the “micro pores” of the face using this over/under lighting technique. In this case, the ringflash fills the pores of the face since the camera is mounted on it.

The main light is slightly higher in power output above the ring flash.  The beauty dish is directly underneath to provide a “kicker” light, or softening of the shadows.  The photographer is shooting through a ring flash between the beauty dish and the main light above.

In physics, the law of reflection states that the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection. This tenet is fundamental to the understanding of light and can be summarized thusly: if light strikes an object at angle A, it will be reflected in the opposite direction, also at angle A, similar to the way a ball bounces off a brick wall. In photography, the law of reflection is rarely discussed; one typically hears more about the Inverse Square Law or that white reflects and black absorbs. While these are indeed important aspects of light, the angle of incidence and the angle of reflection are two components of physics that, once understood, can help photographers improve their images they create in both artificial and natural light.

The easiest way to comprehend this concept is to go into a place that has hard, shiny floors and overhead lighting (grocery stores work great!). Look down while you walk and you’ll see hot spots of light on the floor move with you as you walk. These hot spots are the direct reflection of the overhead lighting, and they evidence the law of reflection. These equal angles of incidence and reflection can cause hot spots on your subject too. Understanding the law of reflection will help you avoid hot spots on your subjects, whether you are photographing models, cars, food, or landscapes. In fact, managing these equal angles of reflection in your photographs allows you to add or eliminate texture and color in your images.

The white spots or highlights in this image of candles is where the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection, thus the hot spots.

The white spots or highlights in this image of candles is where the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection, thus the hot spots.

The law of reflection is also responsible for the red-eye effect that plagues ring flash users when shooting through the ring. Because the camera’s lens is at the same angle to the subject as the flash, the reflection of light against blood vessels in the retina at the rear of the eye produces red-eye. An easy way to eliminate red-eye is to brighten the room; this causes the subject’s pupils to contract, thus greatly reducing any reflection. Another method is to take a monolight with a 7-inch 20 degree grid and point it at your subject’s face with only the modeling lamp powered on (not the flash unit itself). Many flash units, including the Broncolor, Hensel, and Profoto brands have separate switches for the modeling lamp and electronic flashtube, allowing them to be powered separately.

The law of reflection is especially troublesome when glass or mirrors are present in the image. The equal angles of incidence and reflection cause hot spots in glass and mirrors when using a flash. The simple solution is to move the flash away from the camera so that the angles are not identical.

In the studio, you can use the monolight red-eye reduction technique described above in a darkened room. This will allow you to show more of your subject’s iris and less of their dark pupils. The technique works well with light-colored eyes, especially green and blue. Don’t be alarmed by the appearance of harsh shadows on one side of the nose, as the power of the artificial flash will knock this out when it fires

The stars created in the crystal flower are because the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection.

The stars created in the crystal flower are because the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection.

By moving the camera and light source(s) independently, you can use the law of reflection in your favor, almost like an added layer of makeup to smooth your subject’s skin. As you walk around your subject, you will notice that hot and washed out spots will appear and disappear based on the angle of reflection. You may also notice that your model’s face appears smoother from one angle and rougher from another angle, as the valleys of the pores are filled in with shadows. Through positioning your camera and light sources independently, you can eliminate hot spots and create the appearance of a smoother skin texture.

Because the vast majority of what we see is reflected light (as opposed to incidental light), we as photographers live in an illuminated world. Without light, we would have no images to capture, and humans would see nothing but perpetual blackness. Understanding the law of reflection will allow you to outshine your competitors, as your photographs will take advantage of one of the fundamental laws of the universe and stand out from those created by your peers.  Well that’s it for now, please don’t forget our military troops, their families and friends, as they all sacrifice to keep our nation strong and free–God Bless! Rolando

Photo Workshop and Party at the Palms!

Photo of Mari, art direction, Playboy photographer Arny Freytag.  Photo taken after the Phoenix Mansion photography workshop.

Photo of Mari, art direction, Playboy photographer Arny Freytag. Photo taken after the Phoenix Mansion photography workshop.

Note: Just announced, next Phoenix Mansion Shoot with Arny Freytag. (info here)

I just returned from a fabulous photography, semi-private instructional workshop featuring Playboy’s top photographer, Arny Freytag.  On occasion, Arny comes out and guest instructs at some of our photography workshops, most recently the Las Vegas and Los Angeles photography workshops.  Next month he’ll join us for a day as a guest instructor at the Los Angeles (workshop info here) photography workshop held at a 6,000 sq.ft. studio location with six gorgeous models including Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and American Idol star, Amy Davis.

Arny also indicated he’ll make an appearance at our Las Vegas workshop and birthday bash celebration this August at the Palms Casino where we’re alway treated well from the owner and staff. This will be our third photography workshop at the Palms Casino and at our Dec. 2009 glamour photography workshop, Arny spent two days instructing our attendees as we photographed models in the luxurious, 6,200 sq.ft., Sky Villa Penthouse suite—in fact, some of those images are in my new photography lighting book, Rolando Gomez’s Lighting for Glamour Photography: Techniques for Digital Photographers.

The Palms Casino and Palms Place always provide for some great shooting and touring of the clubs for all the attendees, and this photography workshop will be the best as Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and I will be celebrating our birthdays on Saturday evening throughout the casino along with a few other Leos who have their birthdays very close to ours.  The workshop is on Friday and Saturday, then more fun begins Saturday evening as we head out to tour the clubs at the Palms like the Rain, The Lounge, Moon, Ghost Bar, Satellite Bar, and even the Playboy Club.

Playboy photographer Arny Freytag, Palms Casino Owner Gavin Maloof, Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and I at Gavin's house.

Playboy photographer Arny Freytag, Palms Casino Owner Gavin Maloof, Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and I at Gavin's house.

We’ve got a few slots left, so we hope to see you there, so far the guest list is looking great and our models Holley, Amy, Mari, Candice, Eleya and Heather are looking forward to pose for all those digital cameras.  We might even add a few more models to make it fun and exciting for everyone! We’ll even have our top make-up artist, Stephanie Dawn. All attendees get special room rates, so there will be no need to leave the Palms Casino during this weekend workshop and celebration.

Hopefully you’ve signed up before we run out of spaces, but regardless, don’t forget our men and women in uniform who make all our freedoms possible along with the sacrifices of their families and friends, God Bless! Rolando

iPad, iPhone, i’M an iReady Photographer

liveBooks--Build Your Business

liveBooks Built www.rolandogomez.com

As digital photography went from a revolution to an evolution, so has many things in life, from reading books on an Amzon.com Kindle to using a GPS app on your iPhone—and technology isn’t slowing down. You can order pizzas online and even find long, lost friends on Facebook, and if you’re really into technology, you can tweet your whereabouts and let the public inside your head in 140 characters or less. But for photographers, the evolution hasn’t stopped with cameras, technology has changed the way we present our talents, from multiple photography communities to our own personal, talent portfolios.

The New York Times recently ran an article, “For Photographers, the Image of a Shrinking Path,” on how photographers are trying to survive in a world where the commercial assignments are shrinking as publishers and advertisers license online photos from soccer moms, thanks to Flickr and their partnership with Getty Images. As photographers see commercial sales dwindle, they are scrambling for new ways to pay their bills. Digital diversity is one of those tools, though it’s often overlooked. The photographers that will survive the digital trend are those that have learned to understand the power of the great equalizer, the Internet, not just through social media networks, but through their own personal, professional website.

While many photographers join free photography communities to post their web portfolios, this is only one method of exposure and not necessarily the best method to target “the client” markets that professional photographers seek to survive. These are photographer communities, rarely client communities and whether you’re a wedding, architectural, editorial, fashion or portrait photographer, it’s important to maintain a professional website that targets clients specifically.

A website that showcases your talent. A website that isn’t about smoke and mirrors that overshadow your talent. It’s important that your website showcases your skills, crisply, cleanly, and beautifully—to help you build your business. This is why I trust liveBooks.com for both my professional photography and free photography books websites.

And from me to you, start a free trial now and receive 10% off a liveBooks website through 6/1/10 by using the promo code lbrolando.

Unlike the analog world of mail-in and hand carry portfolios, which still exists, photographers have to project professionalism in an up-to-date fashion—a digital fashion. One that delivers not only the photographer’s portfolio, but provides an easy navigation experience for the potential client plus an easy and reliable user interface for the photographer. In addition, to a simple user and client interface, a professional photographer’s website must be up-to-date so it adapts on-the-fly to the viewer’s choice of viewing device, whether it be their home computer, laptop, smart phone or digital tablet. LiveBooks.com provides professional photographer websites that do all the above, regardless if the viewer is utilizing an iPhone, iPad, or iMac.

My professional photography website, www.rolandogomez.com is digitally diverse and compatible—thanks to liveBooks—it’s up-to-date, it adapts to the viewer’s viewing device on-the-fly,  which means my clients know I’m up-to-speed. Well it’s time to hit some social media networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, all part of the surviving in today’s digital evolution, so please remember, don’t forget our military members, their families and friends, God Bless! Rolando.

The Triangles of Photography

Often when you hear a photographer talk about a triangle in photography, they are referencing the correlation of exposure, or how the ISO, lens aperture and camera shutter-speed affect one another to create the correct exposure in a photograph. However, the word “triangle” in photography also applies to posing, specifically the great “three triangle” pose for a single subject, and the triangles formed in posing groups of people.

When posing a single model, three triangles are often seen when a model is standing tall, her body facing the camera, and the legs are close together forming a triangle from the base of the feet to where the knees meet, then from where the knees meet to mid-thigh, then mid-thigh to the bottom of the torso. This is often seen when a beauty pageant contestant stops and faces the judges on the runway too. However as in this photograph of Tess, you can use the arms and legs to form three triangles in the sitting position. (Note: If you look closely, the body itself forms one large triangle and the points of the triangle touch the points formed by the “rule of thirds” used for proper composition and framing.)

Tess uses her arms and legs to form three triangles in the sitting pose resulting in a visually pleasing image.

Tess uses her arms and legs to form three triangles in the sitting pose resulting in a visually pleasing image.

When photographing groups of people, great wedding photographers tend to space the front row so the people in the back row are directly behind each side of the person’s shoulder joint in front of them, thus ensuring that each person’s head forms, from each row, points in the triangle in groups of two or more rows of people. Portrait photographers also utilize this technique when photographing families of three or more.

When posing groups of people, form two rows and position your subjects so they form imaginary triangles with their head position.

When posing groups of people, form two rows and position your subjects so they form imaginary triangles with their head position.

Bill Hurter, editor of Rangefinder magazine states it best in his book, The Portrait Photographer’s Guide To Posing (Amherst 20004), “The triangle is one of the most pleasing and dynamic forms in all of photography. Because the triangle is a series of three lines, two of which are diagonal, it has the result of providing direction and visual movement in a portrait. Creating triangles and exploiting natural triangles in posing is one of the most basic skills of a good composition.”

Triangles in art composition was often practiced by some of the great painters, including Rembrandt, and as photographers, we all know Rembrandt lighting is one of the most popular forms of lighting in which a triangle of light forms below the eye. As a general rule in Rembrandt lighting, the triangle of light should be as long as the nose, but no wider than the eye.

While the triangle is easier to spot when replicating Rembrandt lighting, as it’s visually there surrounded by shadows on all three sides, in posing, it tends to be more perceptual and created by the arms and legs of the body when photographing one subject, or by the heads of bodies when photographing groups of two rows or more. Rembrandt lighting itself obviously is one of the elements in the triangle of exposure, and the triangle of exposure is evident in every correctly exposed photograph.

Finding and capturing triangles in posing is more difficult for photographers because we must direct our subjects in posing, however if we can focus on that direction through proper communication, it gives us the ability to move one step higher toward the top of the pyramid of photographers and our subjects will be pleased with the results.  Well that’s it for today, please don’t forget our men and women in uniform that defend our great nation, along with the sacrifices of their friends and family, God Bless! Rolando

Bring Out the Detail, The Black & White About It

Black cards were used to bring out the detail in Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough's hair.  Black cards were used to bring out the detail in Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough’s hair.

Often photographers are challenged to bring out detail in the clothing their model is wearing, especially black or white fabrics. The solution is to understand the 90-percent physics rule of light and reflection when it comes to black and white tones in digital and conventional photography.

The 90-percent rule simply means, whatever is pure white will reflect 90-percent of the light that hits it, whatever is pure black will absorb the light that hits it—the key word here is “pure,” as blacks and whites come in many shades.  Keeping this concept in mind, we can judge how fabrics and even skin tones reflect light, and since we normally expose for our subject’s skin tone, the camera exposure settings will directly impact our subject’s garments if they lean toward black (underexposed) or white (overexposed) tones.

Basically, normal human skin-tone rests closer to an 18-percent gray tone reflectance and when we expose for the skin tone, darker fabrics will photograph darker and lighter fabrics will photograph lighter when it comes to the final image if the photographer doesn’t take corrective measures. A simple corrective measure is to use V-flats.  V-flats are easily made for studio use by taking two 4- by 8-foot foam core boards and taping them together on their longest side.  The best foam core boards are the ones that come black on one side and white on the other side, thus making them reversible for more efficient use.  These gaffer-taped boards are called “V-flats” because they can be placed and adjusted to form a “V” that allows them to stand up without additional light stands or supports.  The V-flat is placed as close as to the subject as possible, but outside the camera frame.

For example, if a photographer had to photograph a bride in her white-gown, the V-flats, with the black surface facing the subject, would be placed on each side of the bride, thus the photographer would have two sets (four foam core boards total) two on each side of V-flats for the subject.  The black adds black tone into the wedding dress by reflecting at least 10-percent black onto the dress.  Some photographers will call this subtractive lighting.  California Sunbounce makes black on one side and white on the other side fabrics for their Sunbounce Pro (4- by 6-foot) frame, which makes for greater portability than a sturdy foam core board and the Sunbounces can be mounted on C-stands easily.  This is a great solution for on-location photography, especially when working on the beach where sand and water act as an additional reflector and foam core boards will deteriorate with moisture.

If a photographer has to deal with a subject, such as the groom, wearing black, especially when the background is black, then either by using a California Sunbounce Pro, white-side out, or V-flats, white-side out, the white surface would reflect light back into the black garments, thus bringing out more detail in the darker fabric.  While this technique is great for bringing out detail in your subject’s clothes, you can also use this technique when photographing dark or light colored animals, such as dogs or cats, or perhaps even a white rabbit.

This technique, though using smaller foam-core boards, is very helpful when trying to bring out detail in a subject’s hair, like the blonde hair of Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough on my first book cover, “Garage Glamour: Digital Nude and Beauty Photography Made Simple.”  Basically, small black cards were placed around her hair to form a tent of black reflectors to put detail in her much lighter hair since we exposed for her darker skin.  Another concept for using black cards is in jewelry photography.  While most photographers will use a “white tent” to illuminate their diamonds, adding small black cards close to the jewelry will help bring out the diamond facets, thought this is tricky as the photographer must still bring light around the diamond while keeping the miniature black cards out of camera frame.

The key to all these types of photography, bridals, glamour, pet or jewelry is to place your black or white cards as close to your subject as possible, but out of camera frame.  It’s all about the 90-percent rule of reflectance reminding you about what you’re photographing and that the human mind uses brain and psychology perception to help us see differently than a digital camera, as digital cameras capture detail based on physic rules that pertain to light and reflectance, thus the mind compensates while the camera does not.  Well that’s it for now, but please don’t forget our troops, their families and friends as they make the ultimate sacrifices so we can enjoy our freedoms.  God Bless!  Rolando

RAW verses JPG is Not The Problem

Fourth photography book, available for order at Amazon.com. 

 

Fourth photography book, available for order at Amazon.com.

Like most photography forums, the questions always arises, “RAW or JPG?”  Problem is, many participating in the forum threads don’t understand the “RAW” concept itself—but the arguments follow like MAC verses Windows (Notice I didn’t say PC, PC stands for Personal Computer, every home computer is a PC).  If people would first familiarize themselves with what RAW really is, as there is no “single” or “standard” RAW format, (See Wiki def.) then they would understand, RAW has it’s pros and cons.  One of those cons is that there are hundreds of RAW formats, even within camera models made by the same camera company, not all RAW formats are created equal–most use compression, encryption and almost all are proprietary to the camera manufacturer.

I personally shoot what is appropriate for what I’m doing–it all goes back to using the right tool for the right job.  While I’ll shoot the RAW format on my Canon 5D Mark II, most of the time, I shoot JPG, unless the client needs RAW or I feel the image has “evergreen” value.  You only run into problems with JPG’s if you open the original file, make a change, then save it, then open it again, make a change then save it.  That is why workflow is so important.  So if you shoot JPG, it’s always best to open the file and save out as a TIFF original, make your back-ups, then make your working copy as a TIFF too, then you can final out into the format your client prefers. Heck, most people don’t even understand the difference between the “save as JPG” and “save for web JPG” in Adobe Photoshop.

Let’s not forget that the acronym JPEG means Joint Photographic “Experts” Group and it’s a “standard” format that has been around long before RAW. RAW has no standard format, though many have been trying to adopt the DNG (Digital Negative) RAW format, but most camera companies, since they like to sell their own RAW “converter” software ($$$), don’t want to adopt this standard. My advice, do not get caught up in the marketing hype when it comes to RAW.  JPG will be around, just like TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) for a long, long time, though RAW formats change everyday and some RAW formats, may not be supported in the future. I can name at least three camera companies long gone, Minolta, Contax, Bronica and I’m sure others will follow along with their “proprietary” RAW formats.  FYI–a few companies, like Leica, use DNG and DNG is what was started, supported and still pushed by Adobe.  Problem is, camera companies cannot make money off the DNG format anymore than the JPG or TIFF formats.  RAW formats are derivatives of the old workhorse TIFF format.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with private clients at Playboy Studio West this year with their top photographer Arny Freytag (Ken Marcus’s former assistant) and when Arny pulls out “perfect” 8×10 transparencies, not retouched, and shows them to our clients, that says it all.  (Read more here.)  And today, Arny shoots with the Canon 5D Mark II while the 1DS and the HD-39 sits on the shelf along with his wooden 8×10 camera. And for the record he shoots tethered and the files are dropped into Phase One, Capture One software instantly, for minimal post-production–because it’s done right with lighting! (Make-up, styling, posing, the angle of incidence to reflection and a great model help too!)

I recently conducted a glamour photography workshop in Las Vegas (Dec.) and in Los Angeles (Feb.) and Arny was our guest instructor and he demonstrated some great “over and under lighting” to keep the face clean, the eyes bright, but more important, in the LA workshop, we tethered the attendees camera into his assistant’s laptop.  Arny proved to the attendees how to get it right in the camera, RAW vs JPG was not the issue. Getting it right in the camera was the focal point. (Arny will join us at the Phoenix Mansion workshop if you want the experience.)

Bottom line–Get it done right at the shoot, capture it in the right format for your needs (right tool for the right job) with the right white balance, lighting, lens, pose, model, make-up, etc., but more important, it doesn’t matter how you capture it if you can’t capture it correctly the first time.  Don’t use formats, Photoshop, Lightroom, Capture One, or whatever as your crutch–get it right the first time and “spraying and praying” in RAW or JPG is not the answer. Well that’s it, don’t forget our military men and women, their families and friends–God Bless them all!  Thanks, Rolando

Adobe Photoshop Hits 20!

Rhonda, photographed almost 20 years ago!

Rhonda, photographed almost 20 years ago!

 

While many photographers of today were just infants in diapers twenty years ago when Adobe Photoshop version 1.0 was introduce, I still remember, back in my military days, when there were no bells and whistles with Photoshop,, it was merely a software tool targeted more for the graphics crowd.  Today however it’s evolved more toward photographers and with the advent of other Adobe products like Lightroom, and photographers are in hog heaven now that it’s synergized with the evolution of digital photography.

 

Knowing how to use Photoshop today is more of a skill then back in the simplistic days of mere cropping, dodging and burning than anything.  Now we have smart objects, layers, adjustment layers, masks, the magic wand and even the healing brush—but has that made some photographers become more than photographers?  Are we photographers or image makers?  While I’m a big fan of Photoshop and especially Lightroom and I enjoy my Nik Software filters for Photoshop, I’ve seen too many photographers, especially those that are about as old as Photoshop, use Photoshop as a crutch, when in fact, Photoshop for photographers should be more like the old days of a darkroom, which literally means a “room of corrections” in Latin.

Photoshop should be used to tweak an image, for photographers that is, not the ultimate savior, for a photo shoot gone wrong.  In the past six months I’ve been fortunate to work with Playboy’s number one photographer, Arny Freytag, whose resume records a Brooks Institute of Photography degree, former assistant to the famed Playboy photographer Ken Marcus, and 34 years at the big bunny studios amongst numerous other credits.

Eva, photographed 11 years ago, on slide film, no Photoshop!

Eva, photographed 11 years ago, on slide film, no Photoshop!

I’ve been fortunate to have Arny as our guest at the past glamour photography workshops held at the Palms Casino, Sky Villa Penthouse and the Los Angeles Hollywood Castle and there is always a recurring theme with Arny—do it right in the camera.  Use your wih lighting, intermixing of shadows, proper posing, great makeup and styling, and you’ll limit any Photoshop post-production to the bare minimum just like in the old days of Photoshop version 1.0.  It’s not that Arny doesn’t believe in digital photography, it’s just that he’s proven at my workshops and with recent private instruction clients that if a photographer knows what they’re doing, then it’ll be captured in the camera correctly.

I’ve been helping Arny with private instruction clients, for the first time ever offered, where we worked with his crew at Playboy Studio West and it’s an amazing experience. Arny pulls out old 8 x x10-inch transparencies and proves to the client that without retouching or airbrushing, perfection can be achieved in the camera.  There was no Photoshop back in the non-digital days and especially with large format slide film, if there were any imperfections, you’d surely see them but, Arny proves with the right photographic tools, little if any post-production needs to be applied after the shoot.

While some of those secrets, especially with lighting, I’ll reveal in my upcoming lighting book, you can still learn them hands-on, but you have to be at least two years younger than Adobe Photoshop or older.  If you’re ready to tackle this intense training, feel free to contact me for private instruction with Playboy’s top photographer.  While this is no cheap experience, if your budget can’t cope with the world’s finest photographer in glamour and nude photography, we’ll have Arny as our guest for the first part of the Phoenix Mansion workshop later this year. 

While Adobe Photoshop celebrates it’s 20th birthday, one can only tell what Adobe Lightroom will be like on it’s twentieth birthday as it’s beyond the diaper stage but still in it’s infancy as it looks at big brother Photoshop to help it mature for digital photographers today.  Thanks, and don’t forget our military service members, their families, and friends, without them, we’d have no freedom to manipulate any images in Adobe Photoshop.  God Bless, Rolando.

Capture a Headshot Easily!

Tess' headshot from a more glamour shoot in Philadelphia.

Tess' headshot from a more glamour shoot in Philadelphia.

Often you’ll hear photographers or models commenting on their need for a good headshot for their portfolios and indeed, the ability to showcase your talent as a photographer of models needs to include a nice headshot.  Models, especially agency models, have comp cards to showcase their talents to potential clients and the front image of an industry standard comp card is the headshot, though I’ve seen many variations of what people consider a proper headshot.

I’d say first, don’t confuse an actor’s headshot with a model’s headshot, usually those are two different types of headshots and for this quick blog post, my focus will be on capturing a model’s headshot—not so much the technical, but the approach.

Normally when a model comes to me needing a new headshot, I take a simple approach. I set up one of my normal photo shoots with the model and let her know that if I see the headshot I’ll take it, as I don’t want to plan a “headshot shoot.”  I let her know most models, even some experienced ones, will “freeze” up when they know the photographer is focusing on a headshot.  So I educate them with the idea, that the best headshot comes when the model doesn’t know I’m taking one, thus, I push for a regular photo shoot.

Elite agency model Jenni provides a great comp card image from a normal shoot.

Elite agency model Jenni provides a great comp card image from a normal photography session that include full-length poses.

Basically, when a photographer and a model agree only on a shoot to capture a headshot, it becomes too planned and everyone expects it to be done in 30-minutes. Based on my experience, the model becomes a different person and a great headshot is usually harder to capture in this mindset.  Not to mention, the photographer becomes too focused on creating a headshot under a short period of time and tends to lose their creative passion.  It’s this passion along with great communication and rapport with the model that normally creates a marriage of the minds to bring out that perfect smile—when the corners of the model’s eyes are in perfect harmony with the corners of her lips. Normally a great photographer won’t achieve this in 30 minutes.

I prefer to shoot a normal glamour, fashion or flamour photography session and as the shoot evolves and I “see” the headshot, I step up to the plate and capture it—usually the model doesn’t even know what I’ve captured it in my camera and assumes I’m still shooting her entire pose.  One advantage to this approach, if the model is posing for me in sexy clothes, she’s going to feel sexy and usually it’s easier to capture one of the four S’s of glamour photography, sexy, sultry, seductive, sensual or a combination of the four in her looks. This leads to a more alluring image, a more provocative but tasteful image.

Headshots are like portraits and in most people photography, if you don’t have “the face,” you have nothing, no matter what the model is or is not wearing.  It’s always about the face when it comes to a great image of your model, especially the headshot.  So if you or your model needs a great headshot, the best approach, treat it like a normal photo shoot and capture the headshot when it happens, not when it’s planned.

Well that’s it for now and as in all my closing remarks, please remember our men and women serving in the military along with their families and friends, as ultimately they sacrifice many things in life to give us the ability to enjoy our freedoms.  God Bless them all and may they all come home safe!  Thanks, Rolando