dawn m. wayand

11 Ways to Overcome Creative Blocks in Your Photography

11 Ways to Overcome Creative Blocks in Your Photography

Many artists sometimes face a lull in their production of new works or continuation of existing works due to a “creative block”. They often will find it difficult to conjure up an idea to work on a new piece or to even finish a piece they’ve already started. Photographers are not immune to the dilemma of a creative block either. You may oftentimes feel like you have photographed everything or you’re just not motivated to even pick up your camera because you feel like you’re out of ideas on what to shoot.

Trying a new perspective.

 

It can feel like the end of the world (or at the very least, your art career) when this occurs, but alas, there is hope! Below are ten tips that have worked for me in the past – both, as an artist and as photographer – to help overcome a creative block and to help get you back on track to create more new and extraordinary images.

 

  1. Assign Yourself a Photo Project. There are numerous books as well as articles on the web that are devoted to daily, weekly and monthly photography project ideas for photographers to aid them in getting their creative juices flowing again.

A few photo project books that have gotten me through some creative blocks.

 

Some examples might be:

 

  • Shooting a monochromatic theme for one week straight. This helps you to become more aware of your surroundings by looking for things that are one specific color.

 

  • Taking a photo walk and shooting with only one prime lens (a 50mm is a good example). This also helps you learn to zoom with your feet and experiment with different angles to capture a subject.

 

  • Shooting one self-portrait a day. Each self-portrait has to be different, which forces you to dig into the deep crevices of your mind to come up with a new way to shoot a portrait of yourself every day for a week, month or even a year.

 

  1. Shooting the Same Subject 100 Different Ways. Lock yourself in a room for an hour or two and assign yourself an object in the room to shoot 100 different ways. You do not necessarily have to restrict yourself to just a room, so long as you do restrict yourself to one object.

Just 5 ways I shot the same subject in a 10 minute period.

 

  1. Photograph Something Previously Captured From a New Perspective. You may feel like you already captured a great image of an object or place, but a good exercise to get the juices flowing again is to photograph something you photographed previously, but from a completely different perspective.

The Colosseum in Rome the traditional way (left) and captured from a different perspective (right).

 

Monet spent much of his life painting the Notre Dame over and over, at different times of the day, with different lighting circumstances and from different perspectives.

The Atomium photographed the typical way (left) and at a different perspective (right).

 

Photographing an object or scene in the same manner can be just as therapeutic and  rewarding and might just be what you need to get through a creative block.

 

  1. Shoot Anything. Take a photo walk and shoot anything, even if it doesn’t interest you. You don’t even need to leave the house, if you choose. Shoot random things around your home. As long as you are shooting something, you are getting your juices flowing and this is a great first step on the road to recovery.

Shoot anything, whether it does or doesn’t interest you.

 

  1. Experiment with new media. Try drawing or painting one of your photographs. I very often will take my charcoal pencils out and draw one of my photographs.

My photograph of the pelican on the pier (left) and my drawing from that photograph (right).

 

Even if you feel like you can’t draw, attempting to draw or paint a still object or scene from a photograph is a great way to try to beat a creative block.

My photograph of a scene in Eze, France (left) and my drawing from that photograph (right).

 

Flirting with other art mediums can not only assist in getting the creative juices flowing again, but you may find you like practicing in a new type of art!

 

  1. Study the Great Masters and Try to Emulate Their Work Adding Your Own Twist. Research the great masters of photography and study their works as well as other photographers’ works. Try shooting in their style and form, possibly even trying to replicate one of their photographs, but adding your own twist. By emulating the works of photographers that are of interest to you, you find yourself newly inspired and developing and/or practicing new techniques that you didn’t  know before.

 

  1. Look To Magazines, Books and Other Media for Inspiration. Along the lines of studying the masters and other photographers’ works, look through your favorite magazines for inspiration and new ideas. Other forms of art can also be just as inspiring and motivating to cause a boost in your creative juices.

Look through magazines and other media for inspiration.

 

Things such as a good song, a movie, a tv show, a work of art or even a good book can help generate new ideas for things such as still life sets or portrait or fashion sets to create and shoot, destinations for photo walks, interesting lighting techniques and much more.

 

  1. Start an Art Journal. An art journal can be a great tool to start not only for artists, but for photographers as well. Keeping a small notebook with you at all times can come in handy for jotting down that fleeting idea that you might have during the day (or night) that you may forget after 10 minutes otherwise. Art journals can also serve as a place to create sketches of things like wardrobe ideas you would like to shoot, recording lists and descriptions of things and/or places to shoot and much more.

An art journal can be a great tool and record to save you when you goes through those times of a creative block.

 

An art journal can serve as a record of your thoughts and ideas – something you can refer back to during those times when you might have a creative block.

 

  1. Take a Photography Class. There’s nothing more motivating to get you shooting again than taking a photography workshop. Taking a workshop can force you to shoot, to learn new techniques and to share different visions with fellow photography students. A photography class also forces you to produce work in a more structured environment. You might find that the exercises and assignments that a photography instructor might give you helps to open that creative door again.

 

  1. Participate in a Photo Contest. Sometimes a photo contest can be all it takes to get your head back in the creative game when shooting, especially when there is some type of incentive involved.

Competing in a photo contest can help get you motivated to produce, especially when there’s a theme.

 

Many photo contests and competitions are based on a theme, such as “best travel destination” photo or a “show us your pet” photo contest. Since the actual “what” to shoot is already decided for you, it’s only up to you to determine how to shoot it. Any time you pick up your camera, you are allowing yourself a chance to jumpstart your creative juices. Participating in a photo competition can not only get you shooting again, but may also yield you some type of reward!

 

  1. Have patience. Creative blocks are not the end of the world. They are just a small bump in the road to becoming a better, more creative photographer. Creative blocks can provide you with opportunities to look at other works and try new techniques granting you continued education, practice and production. Have patience. Don’t look at a creative block as an obstacle, but as part of the creative journey.
Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
The Nikon Guide Mode: Guiding You Toward The Perfect Shot

The Nikon Guide Mode: Guiding You Toward The Perfect Shot

Nikon goes above and beyond in assisting new photographers in creating better images and proper exposures with its Guide Mode. The Guide Mode allows you to easily take, view, delete and to adjust settings to your most frequently used functions of your camera. Geared toward the budding beginner photographer, the Guide Mode is a more intuitive way of creating an image, taking the guesswork out of settings to allow the user to focus more on framing the shot.


Image courtesy of Imaging Resource.

 

What’s the difference between Scene Modes on the camera and the Guide Mode? Guide Mode settings allow you to adjust the settings whereas the Scene Mode settings are set for you by the camera making a judgment call on the scene. It’s like shooting in Auto but for a given scene situation.

Guide Mode Operations on the Nikon D3300 to include a Retouch Operation.

Image courtesy of Google.

 

VIEW/DELETE OPERATION

The View/Delete operation allows you to choose how you view your images during playback and to delete your images when you need to.

 

SET UP OPERATION

In the Setup menu, you can set up a multitude of things such as image quality, size, auto off timers, print date, display and sound settings, movie settings, playback folder, playback display options, DPOF print order, clock and language, format memory card, output settings, wireless mobile adapter and slot empty release lock.

Image courtesy of the Nikon website.

 

SHOOT OPERATIONS

You can choose between two Shoot operations using the Guide Mode: Easy Operation or Advanced Operation.

Image courtesy of Google.

 

Easy Operation

The Easy Operation Mode allows you to easily choose and set some of the following shooting scenarios: Auto, Moving Subjects, Landscapes, Portraits, Night Portraits, Night Landscapes, No Flash, Distant Subjects Closeups and Sleeping Faces.

Images courtesy of Google.

 

Advanced Operation

Some of the Advanced Operation modes include Soften Backgrounds, Bring More Into Focus, Freeze Motion (People), Freeze Motion (Vehicles), Show Water Flowing, Capture Reds in Sunsets, Take Bright Photos, Take Dark (low-key) Photos and Reduce Blur.

Image courtesy of Google.

 

Soften Backgrounds. This mode allows you to bring your subject into focus while making your background and foreground out of focus to put more emphasis on your subject.

Images courtesy of Google.

 

Bring More Into Focus. Opposite of the Soften Backgrounds mode, if you want everything in your image to be sharp, select Bring More Into Focus mode. This will make your subject, as well as your foreground and background sharper.

 

Freeze Motion (People). This option is perfect for shooting a subject moving at an average pace, such as someone walking or playing an instrument.

 

Freeze Motion (Vehicles). Select the Freeze Motion (Vehicles) option when you want to freeze the motion of something moving at a fast pace like a runner, a moving car or a high speed boat.

 

Show Water Flowing. Opposite of freezing motion, the Show Water Flowing mode slows the shutter speed down and allows you to capture movement such as the movement found in flowing water. As with any long exposure captures, its optimal to use a tripod to stabilize the camera otherwise images just turn out blurry instead of soft and flowy.

Images courtesy of Google.

 

Capture Reds in Sunsets. This setting ensures that you obtain the truest colors found in sunsets by using the White Balance settings to emphasize the red hues of a sunset.

 

Take Bright Photos. This setting is great for capturing high key images, which are images that are bright, white and pure. Nikon recommends this setting for photographing small objects and food.

 

Take Dark (low-key) Photos. This setting uses exposure compensation to take an underexposed image and is used for taking photos of darker objects.

 

Reduce Blur. This mode is best used in low-light situations where you may not have a tripod and you want to reduce camera shake by increasing ISO to allow for a faster shutter speed.

Screen once you make your selections.

Image courtesy of Imaging Resource.

 

USING THE GUIDE MODE

  1. Switch your dial to GUIDE.

Image courtesy of Google.

 

  1. Select an operation such as Shoot, View/Delete or Set up. (We’ll use Shoot for purposes of this tutorial…)

 

  1. Select Easy Operation or Advanced Operation. (We’ll go with Advanced Operation for purposes of this tutorial…)

 

  1. Select an effect that you want to adjust, such as Soften Backgrounds.

 

  1. Read the description of the Mode and click OK.

 

  1. For Softening Backgrounds, use the multi-selector to adjust the aperture using the assist image as a guide to determine how much you want to soften the background. How much a mode affects an image is determined by how much you change the values.

 

  1. Select whether you want to shoot using the viewfinder, the Live View or to create a movie.

 

  1. Select OK and you’re ready to shoot!

Image courtesy of the Nikon website.

 

A Little Guidance Never Hurts…

I found the Guide Mode to be a great educational tool for new photographers to learn what settings make good options in particular shooting scenarios. I think it’s a great confidence builder for new photographers as photos come out properly exposed without the photographer needing a bunch of technical knowledge. I wouldn’t use this as a permanent substitute for learning how to operate a DSLR camera as it’s invaluable to be able to fully control your camera, but a great start for budding photographers!

 

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
Creativity & Awareness: Learning to See Before the Capture

Creativity & Awareness: Learning to See Before the Capture

“You don’t take a photograph – you make it”   – Ansel Adams

 

Seeing is the very essence of photography as much so as the light that is needed for a photograph to exist. It’s a consistent and continuous mental activity that we do everyday as we go to school, go to work, go out for a night on the town, traveling and so forth.


While this image has been digitally enhanced, there are several elements of composition here lending to an interesting image.

The Adirondacks, Upstate New York

 

Remember when you were younger, the game of “Punch Bug” that you might have played with a friend or family member(s) where you called out “punch bug” and the color, whenever you saw a Volkswagen Beetle? You then begin to notice Beetles a lot more often after making it a practice to find them in the game. Perhaps you buy a new car and it’s not until you own the drive the car that you notice how many other people are on the road drive the same type of car. It’s only when you practice looking for something or when you are involved in or with a certain thing that you start to see it everywhere when you never really noticed that thing before. This is a form of “awareness” as you become more aware of something because you’ve been exposed to it in some way.

When you become more aware of your surroundings, the more photographic opportunities will arise for you. Below are various elements and techniques to help you train your eye to create more interesting images.

 

THE ART OF COMPOSITION

 

Lines

I never really formally studied art until I was 33 years old, living in St. Petersburg and attending Eckerd College after having already acquired a bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies. I decided to major in Visual Arts and in the very first class I took, I spent the entire semester working with lines. The first exercise I had was to use sharpie only and create faces using a certain number of straight and curved lines.

By week 5, the faces became more character-like as I was released more and more from line restrictions.

 

As the semester progressed, the exercises built upon the exercise from before until I had gone from being a realistic artist to an abstract artist. It was a terrific exercise to creativity. While that was drawing and painting, photographing has a use for lines as well in the form of the S-Curve, leading lines and patterns.

 

The S-Curve

Some of you may somehow find an image of a winding road through a scene to be very interesting to look at and there is a pretty good reason for this. It’s generally called an S-Curve and it helps to take a viewer’s eyes throughout an image from bottom to top and left to right (and vice-versa).

The S-Curve of the flowerbed here takes your eyes from the bottom of the image to the top.

Toronto, Canada

 

Leading Lines

Leading lines help to connect the foreground to the background of an image and they also create a sense of depth and dimension, bringing the viewer into the image. They give a sense of an infinite beyond. Some good examples of a leading lines are straight roadways and paths or even a river or creek.

The leading line of the path here creates a sense of infinite distance.

Madrid, Spain

The little creek connects the foreground to the background here.

Near Mont Tremblant, Canada

 

Patterns

Patterns give way to be an interesting element to photograph. Symmetry and repetitive things in an image are good examples of types of patterns to try to capture. In the image below, not only is there a sort of C-Curve in this image taking the viewers eyes from one side to the other, but there is a repetition of shadows, windows and arches that pulls attention into the image.

Also a good example of a leading line, there’s several repetitive aspects in this image.

Sevilla, Spain

 

Complementary Colors for a Pop Factor

If you remember the color wheel in grade school and learning about primary, secondary and tertiary colors as well as complimentary colors. Balance and harmony of an image not to mention a nice pop can be created using color contrast, which is why the use of complementary colors can be effective in composition.

 

The use of red and green complementary colors.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

 

Orange and blue…

The use of orange and blue complementary colors.

Munich, Germany

 

and purple and yellow…

The use of purple and yellow complementary colors.

New York Botanical Gardens Annual Orchid Show

 

Texture

Another element of composition that makes for an interesting capture is the element of texture. Photographing fur, wool or even in the case below, the macro capture of a flower petal conveying the feeling of a velvet-like touch appeals to a viewer’s sense of touch.

The detail conveys a velvet-like feel of the petal stimulating a viewer’s sense of touch.

New York Botanical Gardens Annual Orchid Show

 

Negative Space

Negative space is the area surrounding your main subject with your main subject known as “positive space”. Negative space is a natural relief for a viewer’s eyes to rest and prevents your image from appearing too cluttered.

I like using negative space in my headshots and portraits (and here, a self-portrait…)

 

Negative space also places more emphasis and bring the viewer’s attention more clearly to the main subject of your image.


The negative space of the sky, though textured, brings the viewers attention to the main subject, this statue.

Iwo Jima Monument, Arlington, Virginia

 

Close Crop

The opposite of negative space really is cropping in close, used mainly to eliminate distractions around a main subject, but also to capture detail and/or for artistic purposes. It also works well when your subject is stuck in broad daylight.

Capturing a tight crop of a tiger in harsh daylight works.

Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa, Florida

 

Motion

An interesting way of grabbing a viewer’s attention is through a capture of motion. In the image below I focused on the center guitarist’s face, allowing the movement to show throughout the rest of the image, which brings the image to life.

Amongst the crowd watching a mariachi band I capture motion to bring my image to life.

Madrid, Spain

 

Light & Shadows

Light and shadows are what make up photography, after all, the word photography literally means “to draw with light”. Light and shadows can create patterns on surfaces, which we’ve already determined is appeasing to the viewer’s eye. It can also create lightest and darkest areas of an image whereas the lightest part of an image generally will attract a viewer’s eye before anything else.

Here we not only have repetition with the columns, but the

light and shadows cast patterns on the wall and ground.

Sevilla, Spain

 

As you can see here, the brightest part of this image draws your eye inward first

Central Park, New York

 

RULE OF THIRDS AND POINTS OF IMPACT

Almost all of us has heard of the Rule of Thirds. Using an off-center composition has been known to be more appeasing to the viewer’s eye. This composition also tends to appears more natural when taking in an image rather than an image with a subject dead center.

The boat falls on the top left intersecting point of the grid.

Niagara Falls, Canada

 

The Rule of Thirds is when you divide your frame into a grid of three equal rows and three equal columns = nine equal sections total with the object being to place your main subject on one of the four guidelines, preferably at one of the four intersection points.

 

FRAMING

Another useful tool in creating a more creative capture is the use of framing your your subject. You can do this using a crook in the arm of a tree, a windowpane an arch of a doorway and so on and so forth – you get the picture. Framing your subject helps to bring focus on your subject, much like literally putting your image in a photo frame.

I used the curving arm of a tree to frame the serene lake with its beaming sunlight cast upon it.

Near the Adirondacks in Upstate New York at Fall

 

Here I used an arch in the foreground to frame the gentleman relaxing on the stone wall in the background.

Malaga, Spain

 

PERSPECTIVES AND ANGLES

Someone once taught me, “If you want to make your photography better than 80% of other photography out there in the world, change your perspective.” This was probably some of the best advice I had ever heard. If you just stand there, put the camera to your eye and take the image, anyone can do that and your images may appear to be more snapshot-like. We don’t want just snapshots – we want interesting and captivating images!

I kneeled down to capture the tulips at a level of their own height.

Battery Park City in the Spring.

 

Move about a scene and try different levels: get up on the wall or bench and shoot down. Lie on the ground and shoot your subject from below (a “bug’s eye view”). Or get at the subject’s level for a more realistic impact, which works especially well for photographing animals and children.


Shooting from above.

Madrid, Spain

 

I entitled the image above, “I Am Here” as the pants and shoes are dusty and worn. Most people know that I am a traveller and this was my expression of my journeys. While you can lay down and shoot upward, in the image below, I placed my camera lens up on the ground and shot the tulips from a bug’s eye view.

Shooting from below.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden

 

CREATIVE LENS USE

Sometimes you can get more creative with your images just by lens choice. A wide angle or fisheye lens is a fun lens to capture a little bit of distortion in your images, giving them a bit more powerful grip on the viewer. In the image below I had borrowed a Canon 7D Mark II Camera used a Canon EF8-15mm F/4L Fisheye Zoom Lens to capture the children running through the Fall leaves.

Timing and a fun lens made this image a bit more dynamic.

Storm King Art Center, Upstate New York

 

TIMING

Other times it can come down to the perfect moment. Sometimes life just happens before you and you get lucky enough to pull your camera to your face, set your settings and capture the moment before it disappears forever. There is also the trick of anticipating the moment. Oftentimes this works well with photographing sports as well as animals. I once sat at the window of a polar bear exhibit at a zoo for almost an hour studying the swimming pattern of the polar bear – trying to figure out how I was not only going to capture the image, but to do so in a way getting the image as sharp as possible and without glare. The image didn’t turn out half bad minus the abundance of breathing bubbles, but there is certainly something to be said about predicting the actions of your subject.

As I walked past this alleyway, I saw this duo and rushed quickly to take the shot as knew it was a fleeting moment.

Malaga, Spain

 

Whether it’s your lucky moment, like for me in the image above, or if you sit perched and waiting for the perfect moment to happen, such as what I did in the image below – timing can be everything to creating a beautiful image.

For this image I actually sat and waited for someone to walk through

the archway and found this to be an authentic shot of daily life in Sevilla.

Sevilla, Spain

 

EXERCISES TO HELP TRAIN THE EYE

There are many ways to develop a better awareness of photographic opportunities around you using the composition elements and techniques above as guidance for end results. A few starter exercises could be:

  1. Study the works of the Masters and how they used composition, color, light, etc. for inspiration in your own photographs.
  2. Lock yourself in a room and commit to taking 100-150 photos of various things in a room. You will definitely find that you are looking at something a different way for the first time after this exercise.
  3. Commit to photographing only objects of one color or monochromatic only.

 

There are many books with 365 Projects that can also be a great tool to help you train your eye, but if nothing else, the more you get out and shoot, the more practice you’ll have in finding creative ways to shoot even the most ordinary of an object.

 

LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP!

You’ve probably been told to get it right in camera in the first place and quit thinking about post-production. Yes, post-production can enhance an image and can sometimes also create a whole new image depending on your skill but the bottom line is that you need to have a strong image to begin with, so practicing with the goal of a creative capture in camera is the best way to do just that.

 

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
Spotlight on Art Start

Spotlight on Art Start

In March 2016, I organized, hosted and curated a group exhibition for my photography group, NYC Digital Photography Workshops at the Caelum Gallery near the The High Line in the Meatpacking District and I decided to create an optional “entry fee ticket” to collect money to support a local nonprofit organization.

Chromatic Visions exhibition on March 12, 2016

Image courtesy of Caelum Gallery

 

The Arts tend to be a bit of a neglected area in the way of support. It took me only a moment to figure out who I wanted to be the beneficiary of 100% of the optional entry fee ticket proceeds. I invited an organization called Art Start to not only receive the proceeds from any optional ticket sales, but to also use two (2) six-foot walls in the gallery for the organization to hang two of their largest pieces on exhibit.

Creating confidence in underprivileged youth.

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

I recently had the pleasure of formally sitting down with Art Start’s Co-Executive Director, Hannah Immerman, to ask her a few questions on the organization, to shred some light on what it does, its programs and its exhibits.

 

What is Art Start?

Art Start provides a creative outlet for homeless and court-involved youth.

Image courtesy of Art Start

DMW: What is Art Start?

HI: Art Start is a New York City based nonprofit that engages homeless and court-involved youth in the creative process.

 

DMW: How did the idea of Art Start come about?

HI: Over the past 25 years we have engaged over 23,000 NYC youth. We currently provide programing in 4 out of the 5 boroughs, in 10 different locations. The purpose of it all is to use the creative process to achieve personal development. Our workshops are student centered and consistent. Through the creative projects we focus on the process and not the finished result.

 

Art Start has become a nationally recognized organization that uses creative art programs to nurture at-risk children that currently live in shelters, on the streets, are involved in court cases and are living with parents in crisis. Well-known figures and celebrities such as Bruce Willis, Oprah Winfrey, Alexander Wang and Former President Bill Clinton have given high praise to Art Start’s program for kids.

 

The Art Start Community

Art Start works with underserved youth that currently live in shelters, on the streets,

are involved in court cases and are living with parents in crisis.

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: How many people do you typically help in a year?

HI: Last year we served over 700 youths.

 

DMW: What is the age range for these youths that you typically work with?

HI: We serve youth and young adults, ages 5-21.


Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: What other organizations do you work with?

HI: We work with YOSOS, Urban Art Beat and a network of nonprofits that run the shelters.

 

Art Start partners with nonprofits such as the Covenant House, Inwood House, Volunteers of America, Bronxworks, SoBro and Sheltering Arms Safe Horizons.

 

The Services Art-Start Provides

Art Start’s Music Programs

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: What types of programs do you offer?

HI: Art Start offers creative arts workshops that take place on-site in partnering homeless shelters as well as secure and non-secure detention centers. We also offer mentoring, portfolio development, coursework sponsorship and professional development opportunities in our Emerging Artists Program.

 

DMW: What types of workshops do you offer?

HI: We offer workshops in visual arts, music, dance, theater, Food Justice/cooking, gardening and music production.

Teaching the youth: photography.

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: How long are the workshops?

HI: They are typically 60-90 minutes.

 

DMW: How do you go about working with the Homeless Youth Outreach?

HI: We partner with family shelters and shelters for young mothers. We bring in staff and volunteers who facilitate different types of creative projects each week.

 

DMW: How do you go about working with the Youth Offender Outreach?

HI: We partner with secure detention facilities, non secure detention facilities as well as alternative sentencing programs and provide weekly creative workshops.

The Family Portrait Project

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: Do you go to these facilities to provide your services?

HI: Yes, we provide almost all of our workshops on-site to make it as accessible as possible to the youth.

 

DMW: Tell me more about the Emerging Artists Program.

HI: We work with about 10 youth per year. The youth sometimes are recruited from our other programs or they are referred by partnering organizations. The program is for about 6 months. We sponsor coursework for youth (art classes, voice lessons, music production courses, photography and more…) We partner youth with a mentor, meet weekly, visit creative industries, go on cultural outings and work on professional development skills.

 

DMW: That sounds amazing. Have you ever considered developing a program for homeless or offender adults? Possibly an emerging artist program for adults?

HI: Our focus is on youth but we do engage parents in the shelters with monthly family nights.

 

Art Start provides an outlet for creative youths who are struggling and lack resources to provide them with opportunities for their inner artistic being and help them to see and feel a bright and creative future through participation in the arts and music.

 

Its Projects and Exhibitions


The Seaport Culture District Project

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: What are some of the projects Art Start has done with these youth programs?

HI: In 2012 we started an annual photography project that engages the youth and families from our various programs. The Family Portrait Project presents the images, voices and stories of NYC families experiencing homelessness. The The Portrait Project offers homeless and court-involved teenagers the opportunity to create empowering dreams of their future and show the world how they want to be seen. With support from world-class photographers, retouchers and stylists, those visions come to life in a large-format photographic print.

 

DMW: What is this year’s project?

HI: This year, we are celebrating our 25th anniversary and with an event in May. It will also be the opening exhibition of the 2017 Portrait Project. The project features 10 of our youth from the Emerging Artists Program and Homeless Youth outreach Program. Participating photographers include: Chris Randall, Matt Hoyle, Natalie Brasington, Zach Stertz, Andrew Eccles, Heidi Gutman, Mary Ellen Matthews and David Johnson. For the fourth year, Fast Ashleys Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn returns to The Portrait Project as a presenting sponsor of photo equipment and studio space for the shoot locations. DCOY Studios also returns as a sponsor, donating all digital retouching for the project. This year, Canon joins the project as the exclusive printing sponsor, making the public exhibition and book possible for this project.


“Fleur” Print by Natalie Brasington

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: Where have you exhibited in the past?

HI: It is helpful when spaces are donated of course but we had been lucky to exhibit in our building on 26th street which is a great place to be. Full of artists and galleries. We have also exhibited the projects at the High Line Loft in the West Chelsea Arts Building.

 

DMW: Where can people see the works completed through these programs on exhibit?

HI: Many of the images are can be found on our website and we are working on a complete online gallery. A few of the prints and one of the books can be purchased on our website. Our goal is to have the photo projects travel the city and country. We have been fortunate to have some of the images exhibited in group shows around NYC.

 

In 2015, Art Start proudly participated in the Seaport Culture District, which was presented by the Howard Hughes Corporation, with support from the engineering firm, Arup, whereas Art Start present The Portrait Project as outdoor light-and-sound installation in Cannon’s Walk at the South Street Seaport.

 

Funding and How You Can Get Involved

Funding through these great sponsors is not enough. Let’s keep a good thing going.

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: How are you funded to be able to provide all of these wonderful programs?

HI: We received government funding from the city and state, corporate donations, fees for service, individual donations, foundations and community giving.

 

DMW: How can people contribute to this worthy cause?

HI: Donate! Becoming a monthly donor is especially helpful because it is reliable, consistent support. We also have a great peer to peer fundraising platform that allows people to Crowdfund for their birthday party, events, etc.

 

You can help support Art Start by your generous monetary donation of any amount and/or your donation of time by volunteering! Photographers and Artists, this is a great organization to get involved with as they are doing great things for the youth in our community. Art Start workshops are approximately 1.5 hours long and are located in Bushwick Brooklyn, South Bronx, and Harlem. Workshops for kids age 5-21 include visual arts, music, dance, theatre, photography, gardening, and music recording.   

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

You can also hold fundraisers to help raise money for the organization. Work in a large company? Scheduled for a marathon? Art Start will help you create a fundraising page to help support their organization.

 

You’ve Got This!

Folks, Art Start has a great idea that should be spread like wildfire around the country. They are helping to shape our youth for the better. Imagine growing the organization to other cities around the country? Give them a helping hand with a donation, by volunteering and/or by fundraising. You’ve got this!

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
Shooting The Model Portfolio Part II: The Shoot

Shooting The Model Portfolio Part II: The Shoot

Alright! Everyone has arrived. They have been briefed on the photo shoot ideas, goals and the wardrobe. The model is now in the chair getting his/her initial hair and makeup ready for the first set. In the first article, How to Plan a Model Portfolio Shoot, I went over all the preparations on my checklist that I perform whether it’s over the course of a few weeks or a few days. In the last article, Shooting the Model Portfolio: Part I, I covered everything I do the morning of a photo shoot. In this article, I’m going to tell you my checklist of what I look for during my shoot – as I am shooting.

Initial makeup being completed by my makeup artist, Gil Aldrin.

Model: Shoko Fujita

 

While hair and makeup are in process, my photo assistant(s) and I are putting together the sets and as we do so, I go over any lighting setups that I want to use for a particular set, and why, as I try to also educate my assistants throughout the course of a TFP model portfolio photo shoot as well.

On one of the fun sets I’ve shot, my assistant Yann,

steps in to help me determine lighting placement.

 

About an hour to an hour and a half later, depending on the detail of the hair and makeup I want, we are ready to shoot. Let’s go!

 

DURING THE PHOTO SHOOT

As a studio photographer, you are in control of everything during a shoot. From hair and makeup direction to having the last say on wardrobe placement and from set design and its lighting to actually shooting the images, there is plenty that I look for so as to not spend a lot of time in post-production fixing things that could have easily been avoided. Then there are those preventable mistakes that are so big the image is unsalvageable. Below is a checklist of many of the things I look for within my frame before pressing the shutter button.

 

The Model’s Hair/Makeup

Your model’s appearance is the point of the portfolio shoot. Analyzing every part of him/her prior to pressing the shutter is a must. I have a checklist of things that I’ve learned to look for before taking a shot. Some of these things are hard to prevent, but I do my best to avoid additional work in post.

 

Hair. Stray hair is difficult to avoid but not only do I look for unruly hairs, I usually have my hair/makeup artist constantly check during the shoot to make sure the hair is as it was originally styled. The big thing for me is making sure the hair is as I originally envisioned it to look.

Here we were outdoors and I loved how the wind naturally whisped through her hair.

Model/Actress: Valery Lessard

 

Makeup. I usually try to include a swatch of colors for my makeup artist that I’m interested in seeing for a set so I check to make sure the end result was also as I envisioned. I look for eyelashes out of place and when using face jewels, that they are placed as I wanted. Does the makeup work with the design of the hair?

On this nautical set, we were aiming for everything some tone of purple.

Model: Deeksha Chawla

 

The Model’s Wardrobe

 

Wrinkles. Wrinkles are an easy fix during a photoshoot, but kind of pain to work with in post-production. Be sure to press any wardrobe prior to the photo shoot and keep it guarded! There are products out there to take some wrinkles out in a pinch without an iron, but major wrinkles need to be ironed.

Missed ironing the dress before the shoot!

Model: Katie Buell

 

Tags. Scarves have these (as seen below) as do any wardrobe piece. They can be easy to miss but it’s good to do a quick once-over with each wardrobe change to make sure no tags are showing.

A missed tag on the scarf around her head blended in, yet it didn’t. Rookie mistake.

Model: Maria Iodice

 

Loose Strings. I once shot an entire set on one of my first few fashion portrait shoots and did not notice there was a stray clothing string on her sleeve until I was working on the images in post-production. It’s also good to do an initial once-over for loose strings stuck to the clothing.

Always check for random clothing strings attached to clothing, hair or shoes.

Model: Sietzka Wiersma

 

Clothing Fit. Does the wardrobe fit and hang right? On occasion wardrobe pieces might be a bit too big on a model and that’s where those nifty spring clamps, also called “A-Clamps”, come in handy. If the clothing is too big, just clamp the wardrobe piece wherever needed but out of the camera’s view.

Everything fit in this case and the scarf was draped as we wanted around her arms.

Model: Karen Ramos

 

Unintentional Bracelets.  This is a biggie. Models are known for coming onto a set with their hair tied up ready to be styled. They take the hair band off and put it on their wrist, and because it blended so well with her skin, you miss it, shoot a series of stunning images with the rubber band looking like a bracelet. In the case of the image below, the model was wearing a Hindu bracelet, which photographs as a rubber band on her wrist. Another rookie mistake. Be sure to check wrists to make sure only the intended wrist wear is present.

A missed bracelet looks like a rubberband in this image.

Model: Deeksha Chawla

 

Posing the Model

 

Dynamic Feet. I always try to make sure the model’s feet are not both posed facing the same direction. When you pose a model to have each foot in a different direction, up on the toe, one lifted slightly higher than the other, etc., the image seems to have a little more energy – it’s more dynamic.

Here I posed the model with one shoe on the rung of the stool and one on a toe on the floor.

Model: Sietzka Wiersma

 

Angles. The goal of many fashion photographers with beautiful, tall models is to angle their bodies to create geometric triangles. This is also something that creates a more powerful, dynamic looking image. I typically try to make a triangle with one, if not both arms, but if with both arms, not at the same level because it looks too sumo-wrestler-like. I will have her place one hand near her stomach and the other on her hip so that they an uneven. Triangles can be made with legs as well.

I made sure to include at least one triangle using the arm closest to the camera.

Model: Shoko Fujita

 

Neck. It’s also necessary when shooting anyone, to expose the neck by elongating it as shown in the image above. Failure to do so can sometimes lead to a short or “no-neck” model in the image. With the wrong lighting, the chin may blend in with the neck. In addition, elongating the neck also helps anyone with a slight double-chin.

 

Head Angle. It’s usually a good idea to angle the head of a model or actor for headshots, even if it is very slightly.

Here I had her tilt her head a little bit combined with a slight lean back.

Model: Daria Komarkova

 

Chin. Another big one is what I generally joke in the studio calling it the “chicken head”, number one, because it slightly resembles such and number two, it relaxes the model and we all end up having a good laugh. I have my model elongate their neck, pull their chin out and then pull it down. This helps to define the jawline.

Elongate the neck, chin out and down.

Model/Actress: Celeste Smith

 

Hands. Hands can be tricky. Nine times out of ten, your model or subject will have very stiff hands in an image. What to do with the hands! For men, it’s a bit easier because we typically portray them as the strong type and their hands should show the same, but a very “light beard grab” works well (as shown below). For ladies, I have them run their fingers through and down their hair lightly or down their body lightly.

The “light beard grab” help define the jawline of this model.

Model: James Karl Campbell

 

Facial Expression. Facial expression is really key and can really make or break a photo. This can also be a tricky thing to get right, especially getting what you want from the eyes. Sometimes you may get a model with a “deer in headlights” look, but an amazing thing I try to go for is to get a powerful stare, a look with meaning and lips slightly parted, such as in the image below.

The powerful stare with meaning gets the vote here.

Model: Daria Komarkova

 

The Frame Around the Model

What’s around your model can also be important and can sometimes cause a problem if it’s not caught right away.

 

Background/Foreground. A good part of the time when we’re photographing a subject or model, we want the focus to be only on the subject or model and not really on the background or foreground. In those cases, we would decide on depth of field to keep the focus on the subject of the image. In the image below, I needed to show the context of where my model was at, dressed up in his sharp suit, so I created a semi-shallower depth field so that you could still tell the context, but only the model was in focus.

I wanted to do a city shot with the background slightly out of focus for this model’s portfolio image.

Model: Andy Mizerek

 

Avoid Mergers. A “merger” is when something is directly in front of or behind your subject – one overlapping the other or when that element touches the side of a frame. One common example that comes to mind is when you photograph someone with a dead tree in the background and you have tree branches coming out of your subject’s head! Try to avoid those as much as possible.

 

Add Props. Props are those ingredients in the image that I’m always cooking up. Since I work in a home studio environment, I use a lot of my own things as props such as my guitars, flowers from my coffee table, my coffee table itself and the list is endless. Since I love giving my models characters to become, in the image below, I made my model a singer using my existing microphone from my own use, but adding more credibility to the image by putting it on a stand and buying a pop filter and headphones to make her look as though I am capturing her in high key at a recording studio. Blue seamless lends to the picture popping with color.

I like to create various creative sets using props I either own or buy.

Model: Maria Iodice

 

Capture!

That’s about it! At this point it’s time to shoot: whether you’re a slower, methodical shooter, like me, or you are a speed shooter popping off multiple images as your strobe recycling time allows – these steps have proven to help me create some pretty amazing photos for my models, as in the examples of my work and end result shown below.

Gelled backlighting, a little fog and a creative photographer takes the cake here.

Model: Deeksha Chawla

 

And one of the resulting images from this shoot set…

Final image after post-production.

Model: Deeksha Chawla

 

RINSE AND REPEAT

I typically like to shoot several different sets in one shoot so I’ll rinse and repeat the steps below for every set.

 

Change Up Sets or Locations. Sometimes you will be moving from studio to location or from location to studio or from location to location. You may be working completely in the studio and need to change up your set design.

 

Change Up Lighting Setups and Modifiers, as Needed. As the sets change, your lighting setups and modifiers may change too. I like to have variety in my lighting styles for a model portfolio shoot so that every image has a different mood/feel.

 

Change Up Hair / Makeup. I keep my hair/makeup guy on set for the entire shoot for not only touch-ups, but changeups too.

 

Change Up Wardrobe. I keep a rack ready for wardrobe and it’s typically fully stocked with my Model Closet wardrobe as well as essentials that I personally invest in for shooting – then reselling. For model portfolio work only, I’ve found it’s just a lot of easier for me to create ideas and concepts when I have a little bit of control over wardrobe. Plus, newer models get excited about what they will be wearing and I notice they get more confident when using clothes other than their own because it tends to make them feel like it’s more of a fashion shoot than just a portfolio shoot.

 

THAT’S A WRAP!

So these are my steps when shooting a model portfolio. You may find these great steps, you may have more steps or you may find some of these steps do not apply to your situation or style of shooting. In the next and last installment of this series, I will go over all the steps I go through after a model portfolio shoot, so stay tuned!

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
Understanding Exposure

Understanding Exposure

One of the goals in photography is to obtain the correct exposure when capturing an image. Mastering this can really take a lot of practice, but the great thing about digital cameras these days is that it doesn’t cost you anything extra to test for proper exposure – as much as you need to for getting it down.

Example of correct exposure. Orchid at the NY Botanical Gardens.

Shot at ISO 250, F/4.5 at 1/50 of a sec.

 

So what is exposure? The technical definition of exposure is that it is a process by which light that reflects off of a subject hits the camera sensor through an opening in the camera lens (aperture) for a specific duration (shutter speed). The sensitivity of the sensor (ISO) determines how large the lens opening should be and how long the light can pass through. The proper combination of these three factors results in a properly exposed image and is often referred to as the Exposure Triangle.

Correct exposure just after sunset as twilight has a cooler hue.

Top of Arc du Triomphe in Paris, France

 

The Exposure Triangle

The Exposure Triangle is made up of aperture, shutter speed and ISO, as exhibited in the detailed diagram below. Let’s discuss now what each of these elements specifically are and what they do.

The Exposure Triangle.

Image courtesy of Google.

 

Aperture

As I mentioned before, aperture is basically how large the opening of the lens is when a picture is taken. The aperture is what controls the amount of light that enters the camera. The smaller the opening (the higher the number), the less light will come into the camera. The larger the opening (the lower the number), the more light will come into the camera.

I created this aperture diagram as an easier way of understanding aperture.

 

When Aperture Priority is Best Used

Aperture Priority is best when you are wanting to control the Depth of Field. When shooting things like landscapes, cityscapes and seascapes, you will most likely want everything sharp in focus, so you will need the maximum aperture (a higher number). When you are photographing people, whether it’s portraits or headshots, you will most likely want your subject to be the only thing in focus with things behind your subject out of focus so as to avoid mergers and distractions in the portrait or headshot.

Shooting with the focus on aperture allowed me to create a shallow depth of field, blurring the background behind my subject.

ISO 200. Shot at F/2.5 at 1/50 of a sec.

Model/Actress: Valery Lessard

 

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed can best be described as the amount of time that the shutter stays open when a picture is taken. The longer you leave the shutter open, the more light that gets onto the sensor. This is a good setting for when you are trying to capture motion, however, you run the risk of introducing noise/grain into the image. It’s also a good way to control freezing motion and to make everything in the image sharp.


My simple diagram of what shutter speed is and what it does.

 

The less time the shutter stays open (a slower shutter speed), the less light will hit the image sensor. This is good for when you are trying to freeze motion. You are less likely to get noise/grain into your image when using a fast shutter speed.

 

When Shutter Priority is Best Used

 

  • To Capture Motion. Shutter priority can be used when you want to capture motion, such as in a sports game, a moving river or even trailing car lights at night.

 

Capturing motion with a slower shutter speed.

ISO 400. Shot at F/6.3 at 1/80 of a sec.

 

 

  • To Freeze Motion. You will also want to focus on shutter speed more when you want to freeze motion for a sharp image such as capturing the water in a fountain or someone on the move.

 

A faster shutter speed will freeze motion.

Paris, France

 

ISO

ISO is the measure of sensitivity your camera has to available light. The lower the ISO setting, the less sensitive your camera will be to light. The higher the ISO setting, the more sensitive your camera can be to light. The part of your camera that needs this input to make an image is the image sensor. The image sensor is what takes available light and creates the image.


Diagram of a camera demonstrating light’s path to the image sensor.

Image courtesy of Google

 

ISO starts at 100 or 200 and progresses in increments by doubling its number (ie. 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, etc.). As a rule of thumb, you want to try and keep your ISO as low as possible to obtain the best image quality. This number will usually be either 100 or 200 depending on how low your camera model’s setting will go. That being said, when trying to capture an image in low lighting conditions you will have to increase your ISO setting because you want your camera to be more sensitive to that low-light environment. However, the higher you adjust your ISO, the more likely grain will be introduced into your image. There are ways to compensate for this though.

Since it was night time, a higher ISO was used here.

Paris, France

 

When a Low ISO Setting is Preferred

You want to use a low ISO setting when there is plenty of available light to satisfy the sensor sensitivity to make the image. The workaround to use a low ISO setting in a low-light environment would be to stabilize your camera on a tripod or sit it on a stable surface and set a longer shutter time to allow more light onto the sensor. Note that anything moving within the frame may disappear or become blurred in motion.


ISO 200. Shot at F/7.1 at 1/320 of a sec.

Bug’s eye view of tulips at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Cherry Blossom Festival.

 

When a High ISO Setting Might Be Necessary

You may want to use a higher ISO when you are in a low-light environment but want everything captured within the frame and/or are limited in time to capture the image. Again, you may have to compromise image quality (introduction of grain) to get that low-light shot quickly. A ceiling of no more than 800 ISO helps to maintain image quality when dealing with a low light setting.


I did go above ISO 800 for this image but it was very dark so it was necessary.

London, England

 

Learning the Exposure Triangle

Years ago, I overheard the an explanation of the Exposure Triangle as an analogy of using a garden hose filling a bucket with water. Think of the width of the hose as the aperture. The duration that the hose is turned on for to fill the bucket is shutter speed and the pressure of the water is the ISO.  This same mentor also provided us with a great exercise for understanding the relations between settings. Try practicing this with your camera. For a base to work from, the top row of numbers makes a correct exposure of a certain scene. The goal is to figure out how each row will give you the same exposure as the top row of numbers by figuring out the value of the missing element.

Chart courtesy of Emerson Wu

 

It’s important to keep in mind that changing one setting will impact the other settings so you always have to think about all of the settings.

 

Exposure Compensation

Exposure compensation is really an entire article in itself, so I will mention it briefly here. In some cases, when you use the aperture priority or shutter priority modes on your camera, the exposure you end up with may not be exactly what you intended. You can adjust your exposure by using exposure compensation. Raising exposure compensation will make an image brighter whereas lowering exposure compensation will make an image darker.

 

White Balance

To top off a good exposure, you want to also make sure that you have the proper white balance in your photo. As you can see in the first image below, tungsten lights tend to produce a warm yellow-orangish hue while a typical fluorescent light might produce a little bit of a greenish hue. If you look at a scene on a cloudy day or if it is in a shady area, the image might have a slight cool cast.

 

Your Camera’s White Balance Settings

As you can see in the second image below, using the incandescent setting (usually a light bulb symbol) on you camera’s white balance settings for an image where there is tungsten lighting present will add blue to the image to color correct the orangish-yellow to a near correct white balance. Using the fluorescent setting adds a magenta hue to the green environment when in the presence of fluorescent lighting. For those cloudy and shady environments, use the cloudy setting (to add a little yellow) or the shade setting (to add a little orange), respectively, to get a near perfect white balance.

The Kelvin Scale and examples of what your camera does on certain White Balance settings.

Image courtesy of Digital Camera Magazine

 

Using The Kelvin Scale

If you really want more control to get a little more accurate, use the Kelvin setting. Since the goal is correct white balance, you want to match the Kelvin number to the environment lighting. When using tungstens, for example, you’ll want to set your Kelvin number to somewhere around 3000 to get a proper white balance.

 

Other Tools

The easiest way to get your white balance correct is to use an 18% gray card and correct your images in post-production. You can also use the same Lastolite Gray Card or an ExpoDisc 2.0, snap a photo using one or the other and use that photo to set white balance under the Custom White Balance setting in your camera.

Lastolite Gray Card (left) and ExpoDisc 2.0 on the right.

 

If you don’t have a 18% gray card or an ExpoDisc, you can still get your white balance close to accurate by using the white balance settings in your camera.

 

When You’ve Got the Right Exposure…

We want to get as much right in camera as we possibly can. Getting correct exposure, including white balance, can take some practice to get right. Thank goodness we’re in the digital age! It’s all about pouring over the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings in manual mode, additionally and optionally using exposure compensation when using aperture and shutter priority modes and getting that white balance right. If you miss the mark just a little, know that you always have the fallback of fixing some of these things in programs like Adobe Lightroom though!

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
Practical Tools for the Portrait Photographer On The Go

Practical Tools for the Portrait Photographer On The Go

Not everyone works in a studio, or even within 4 walls. While I work a lot in my home studio, I oftentimes also have to work on location, so portability is important to me. For those photographers that might work out of their car, or even using public transportation as a means to get to location shoots (like I do), there are many useful tools out there that can make the journey much less of a hassle, allowing you to you to shoot in a much more positive frame of mind from start to finish.

One of my location shoots in The Bronx.

Model: Daria Komarkova

Image courtesy of Yann Bizeul

 

Tripods

A stable support system for your camera is one of the most important things you should consider purchasing right after you buy any camera and lens if you shoot still objects – and there is no shame in using a tripod for your portraits. I actually love occasionally mounting my camera to a tripod, check the frame and then use a remote to shoot – that way I can freely move around anywhere to engage more with my client or help adjust wardrobe or to demonstrate a pose.

Tripod in use on location in Midtown.

Image courtesy of Yann Bizeul

Model: Vixie Rose

 

Tripods usually get left behind because they are too cumbersome due to their weight, too awkward to carry due to length or take too long to set up. They can also get a little pricey, however, they are supporting the weight of your $500+ camera and lens combination. Not obtaining a proper tripod to support your camera and lens unit can result in the unit falling and becoming damaged – sometimes beyond repair. How much did you spend on that camera and lens again?

My diagram of a tripod and its features.

 

Tripod Legs

Weight for the traveling photographer is a huge factor when deciding on a tripod. Aluminum legs can be heavy. If you spend the little bit of extra money, upgrade to carbon fiber legs. Carbon fiber is very lightweight material that is also very durable. All I can really say about the differences here is to walk into Adorama and ask to see and lift up one of each type of tripod legs: you will see what I mean!

If you must get fancy or want the top of the line, the Gitzo GT0545T Series 0 4- Section Traveler Tripod pictured below is a good choice as it weighs only two pounds and closes to just over a foot.

Gitzo Traveler Tripod Legs.

Image courtesy of Adorama

 

The Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 Carbon Fiber 3 Sections Tripod with Horizontal Column is a more affordable choice that has a horizontal column, however, it weighs close to 4.5 pounds. I’m actually looking to upgrade my tripod legs to the Manfrotto MT190CXPRO4 Carbon Fiber 4-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column as it has a useful 90 degree column (hey, maybe I want to shoot someone laying down? Sure, but it nice to have options when you like to shoot more than people…) These legs are a great option as they are lightweight due to the carbon fiber construction weighing in at only 3.6 pounds.

Manfrotto 190 4-Section Aluminum Tripod

 

Tripod Heads

Tripod heads, well, good tripod heads make up the bulk of a tripod’s weight. There are several types of tripod heads and really, it all comes down to preference, I personally like the flexibility of a ball head. You do not have to get a large ball head, but do make sure it does have a little weight and feels solid (not that cheap plastic feel…) as it will last a bit longer.

Various type of tripod heads.

Collage created by Dawn M. Wayand – Individual images courtesy of Adorama

 

You can learn more about tripods: why you need them, why they get a bad rap, considerations when purchasing a tripod, components of a tripod and more of my recommendations for tripods and heads in my article, Tripods: Choosing the Right Support for Your Investment.

 

Light Stands

Just like your tripod, light stands are known to sometimes hold monolights or strobes worth thousands of dollars, so you want to pick a reliable light stand to support your investment. I’m a big fan of the Manfrotto 1052BAC 93″ Air Cushioned Aluminum Compact Stand. This light stand weighs only 2-3 pounds, holds 10-11 pounds and folds up to 33-34 inches. Note that this is an air-cushioned light stand. This is really important as if you have a heavy light on top of your light stand and you lose your grip while lowering the light, the air cushioning will take the sting out of the light’s plummet as it drops to the next level of the stand – which could result in damage without this feature.

Manfrotto 1052BAC 93″ Air Cushioned Aluminum Compact Stand

Image courtesy of Adorama

 

Maybe you are only using speedlights. A great portable option for a speedlight stand would be the CheetahStand C8 Light Stand. It expands to 96 inches, can carry 6-7 pounds, collapses to 28.5 inches and weighs 6 pounds. This is a free sliding light stand, so you will need to be careful with what you put on top of it when you lower it from any height.

Sometimes you might need a short light stand to light feet or to light a background behind a subject, and while they are aluminium, I have have found the Interfit Compact Light Stands to be very convenient to have on hand.

Interfit Compact Light Stand.

Image courtesy of Adorama

 

For those of you who may be working strictly in a studio and do not need to worry about weight and size or you work both in a studio and on the road, I have written a good read with more recommendations on light stands in my home studio series: Building the Home Studio Part 2: Continuous Lights and Light Stands.

 

Sandbags

BTW – don’t forget to use sandbags on those light stands! Yes, this can be tricky with weight and traveling, but would you rather your light stand with a $1,000 light go toppling to the floor because you had nothing weighted holding the light stand down?

Flashpoint Weight Sand Bags

Image courtesy of the Adorama website.

 

An inexpensive option for sandbags, which I actually own are the Flashpoint Weight Sand Bags which you can find for $12.95 each at Adorama.

 

Speedlights

Speedlights can work really well on the road. Due to their size, speedlights can be a much more portable and convenient solution for lighting a scene than a strobe. I dive deeper into the actual advantages, disadvantages and functions of using a speedlight in my article: Quickstart Guide to Speedlights.

Self-Portrait taken using a Nikon SB-700 Speedlight and a White Shoot-Through Umbrella.

 

NIKON

I am primarily a Nikon shooter, and while I currently work with the Nikon SB-700 (an older, but “still kicking” Nikon model), like most upgrades, the latest Nikon SB-910 is a nice upgrade from the SB-700 in that it provides a longer flash duration, a quicker recycling time and greater lens coverage.

My Nikon SB-700 Speedlight.

 

CANON

The industry standard speedlite for Canon shooters is now the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT at a $469.00 price tag. Unfortunately, and unlike the wireless Nikon speedlight, the Canon speedlite requires the Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT at an additional $280.00 to fire the speedlite – physically – off-camera.

Image courtesy of Adorama.

 

NISSIN

A current third party model that has comparable features to both Canon and Nikon flashes, but has radio capabilities at a fraction of the cost that I am a bit impressed with at the moment is the Nissin Di 700 Air Flash Kit at $299.00 which comes with the Commander and is made in Nikon, Canon and Sony versions.

Image courtesy of Adorama.

 

There are a lot of great accessories and modifiers that work well with speedlights that I go into more detail on in my article, Building the Home Studio Part 3: Flashes, Light Meters and Backgrounds.

 

Monolights & Strobes

 

Monolights

I recently had the pleasure of using a Flashpoint Rapid 600 HSS Monolight and was really impressed with the quality of lighting produced for the price. It is a very lightweight light, perfect for the traveling photographer.

Flashpoint Rapid 600 HSS Monolight in use with an umbrella.

 

Due to the receivers being built into the monolight and flash, this particular monolight is also compatible with the Flashpoint R2 Zoom Flash for Nikon, Canon or Sony when using the respective Flashpoint R2 i-TTL Wireless 2.4 G Transmitter Remote. Below is a portrait my assistant took of me using this monolight as a key light along with the Flashpoint R2 Zoom Flash as a fill light.

Using the Flashpoint Rapid 600 HSS Monolight a a keylight and the R2 Zoom Flash as a fill.

Image courtesy of Yann Bizeul

 

You can check out my review of this monolight, Hands-On Review: The Flashpoint Rapid 600 HSS Monolight for more information on this light.

 

Strobes

I’ve had the opportunity to use the Profoto B1 500 Air TTL Battery-Powered 2-Light Location Kit a few times through Adorama Rental, and it was a dream. This kit is very easy to use with is fully-integrated with your Nikon or Canon digital camera via the optional Air Remote TTL-C or TTL-N. It’s battery powered and cordless so it can go with you anywhere. One of the great features of this kit is the exclusive custom backpack that the equipment travels in, which keeps everything safe and secure.

Profoto B1 500 Air TTL Battery-Powered 2-Light Location Kit.

Image courtesy of Adorama

 

LEDs

If you use LEDs, an interesting choice for versatile, compact LED lights is the Westcott Ice Light 2 at $499.99 each, which I recently had the opportunity to try out and was blown away with the light quality. This is a great handheld, wraparound, daylight and portable light with an output of 1740 lumen and a CRI rating of 96. It can mount to a lightstand or tripod or be used handheld at any angle you want.

The Westcott Ice Light 2.

Image courtesy of Adorama

 

You can even shoot and hold or have you model hold the light(s) at the same time should you not have an assistant available. The Westcott Ice Light 2 lasts about an hour on a full charge.

Testing out the Westcott Ice Light 2.

Model: Daria Komarkova

 

Modifiers

For portability purposes, there’s a few types of modifiers that fit the bill and work very conveniently for location shoots: reflectors, umbrellas, certain softboxes, a beauty dish,  barndoors and/or gels. There are also a few speedlight modifiers that work well too and I’ll get to those in a moment.

 

Portable Reflectors

A portable reflector is probably the first modifier you will ever own, especially if you shoot people. They are an inexpensive, portable and convenient fill light source. Whether you use the sun or a flash, monolight or strobe, portable reflectors are an excellent tool to help fill in unwanted shadows.


Large oval reflectors, circular reflectors, square reflectors and triangular reflectors.

 

I go into great detail about reflectors in my article, Building the Home Studio Part 04: Essential Studio Tools, Props and Odds & Ends.

 

Umbrellas

Umbrellas are convenient portable tools that serve to diffuse or bounce light back onto your subject when shooting in a studio or on location. No matter your level or budget, umbrellas are your great tool for getting professional results in your portrait work. I go into great detail on umbrellas in my article: Umbrellas: Good for More Than Just a Rainy Day.

Shoot through, white, silver and gold umbrellas.

Individual images courtesy of Adorama

 

Softboxes

Umbrellas softboxes, like umbrellas, are convenient and portable as they fold up like umbrellas and take up less room than conventional softboxes. I’m a big fan of the Westcott Apollo Orb which is now on sale at Adorama.

Octabank, strip and square softboxes.

Individual images courtesy of Adorama

 

There are a few softboxes with speed rings that are easy to set up too.  I’ve had the opportunity to try out the Profoto 2’x2’ RFi Softbox which were are a dream to put together. I actually own two Glow 24 x 24″ Softboxes, which didn’t cost much and are easy to put together (speedrings are separate and custom to your light’s brand). Glow also has strips and many other shapes and sizes available.

 

Beauty Dishes

If you are into portrait or beauty photography, a beauty dish is a “must”. Beauty dishes come as white or silver coated on the inside. White coated dishes make for a softer light whereas silver coated dishes make for slightly more contrast. Beauty dishes have two different companion modifiers that can be used along with them: a diffuser, sometimes called a “sock”, and a grid.

Silver beauty dish (left) and white beauty dish (right).

Image courtesy of Adorama

 

If you can swing it, get something at least 22 inches in diameter or more. Which beauty dish you should get will depend on the monolight or strobe that you have. Brands like Glow make a variety of mount options to work for more than one single brand. Don’t forget to get a beauty dish bag to carry it on location. This will help keep it circular instead of battered and mis-shaped.

 

Barndoors

Barndoors are one of the most versatile and inexpensive lighting modifiers one could own. This modifier is basically four doors that attach to a base which can be attached to a monolight or strobe.

Flashpoint Universal Barn Door Kit

Image courtesy of Adorama

 

What’s versatile about this modifier is that these 4 doors can be opened as much as desired allowing for numerous lighting results. Many barn doors are sold as kits that also include companion modifiers of four gels and a grid, such as Flashpoint’s Universal Barn Door Kit featured above.

 

Gels

Gels are not only a practical tool for color correction, but they are also a fun, creative modifier to use for lighting a subject too.


Rosco 20”x24” Color Effects Kit

 

In the image below, I used a Rosco 20”x24” Color Effects Kit which contains 15 different color gel sheets. These flat-like-paper gels can be bent or folded and are still reuseable. This particular kit contains the larger-sized sheets, which also allows me enough available to be able to also cut swatches of the gels for use too.

Example of use of gels with monolights (okay, maybe a fog machine too!)

Model: Deeksha Chawla

 

Additional Speedlight Modifiers

Using a speedlight and not a monolight of strobe? Some of the same modifiers can be used for speedlights as well, but if you’re using a speedlight, you can get even more portable than that. Expoimaging makes a great kit that has many of these tools called the ExpoImaging Rogue FlashBender 2 Portable Full Lighting Kit for $199.95 at Adorama.

ExpoImaging Rogue FlashBender 2 Portable Full Lighting Kit

 

Laptops, Tethering & Storage

 

Computers & Laptops

Shooting anything on location where you can bring a laptop and/or where more serious situations might include a laptop with monitor and a monitor hood. This doesn’t just apply to people and products, but it can also apply to landscape shoots too.

My Apple 27-inch iMac for studio use and my Dell laptop for location use.

 

Tethering Equipment

I love, love, LOVE tethering to a computer (my 27-inch iMac when in the studio) or my laptop(when on location) whenever I am shooting people so that I can see my results immediately and on something larger than my 3-inch LCD screen. Then I can make any necessary adjustments that I might’ve missed if only viewed on a smaller screen. Tether Tools makes a huge assortment of products for your tethering needs.

The Tether Tools Starter Kit.

Image courtesy of Adorama

 

I invested in a Tether Tools Starter Kit which consists of one direct 15-foot TetherPro Cable that plugs from computer to my specific camera model, a Jerkstopper Cable Management System consisting of a piece for your camera (to prevent the cable from being pulled out of the camera should you step on the cable), and a piece for your computer/laptop (to prevent the same from happening from your computer/laptop), 10 Jerkstopper ProTab Cable Ties and a small carrying case for all of it to keep you organized. If you shoot tethered, I cannot emphasize how much this kit will help you with an otherwise shoddy, unreliable connection.

 

LaCie Rugged RAID Portable Hard Drive

It’s a good idea to use a portable hard drive when on location as you can set yourself up to immediately back up your images as you are shooting, which is safer than relying on your memory card to not fail you. I back up to a LaCie 4TB Rugged RAID Portable Hard Drive whether I am in the studio or on location to ensure my images are safe.

LaCie 4TB Rugged RAID Portable Hard Drive

 

Bags and Cases

Of course as a photographer working on location, you need bags and whatnot to carry your gear, equipment and odds & ends. I go into greater detail on selecting what you need to carry these things in my article, Bags, Cases & Pouches: Picking A Means For Carrying and Storing Your Gear.


Some of my typical location bags and pouches.

 

Camera Bags

Camera bags really come down to preference. You may want a backpack or you might prefer a shoulder bag or crossbody bag more. Others might like a roller bag. If I’m on a light location shoot where I do not need to take a lot of lenses, I might go with my fashionable Kelly Moore Brownlee Bag (pictured above in Indigo).

If my shoot is a little more involved, I take my Ape Case Pro Backpack. I love this versatile backpack because you also have the option of rolling it (yes, it has wheels too). This backpack has numerous compartments for your camera and many lenses, plus it has plenty of room for a small laptop and tethering cords too.

The Ape Case Pro Backpack and the ThinkTank Retrospective 5 Shoulder Bag/Messenger Bag.

 

Gentlemen, you might find the fashionable ThinkTank Retrospective 5 Shoulder Bag/Messenger Bag to be a good option if you prefer a shoulder bag for on the go. Again, there are numerous options and my previously mentioned article explains what to look for in a bag along with some great examples.

 

Pouches & Wallets

Camera battery and AA battery pouches and memory card wallets are great for keeping these tiny necessities all in one place instead of them rolling around your bag. The memory card wallets even have clips to clip to a part of your bag to ensure they do not get lost.

ThinkTank corners the market on exceptionally made battery pouches and memory card wallets.

 

Monolight/Strobe Cases

Many monolight and strobe manufacturers create custom bags that are included with your light. I love the Profoto B1 Kit backpack as it makes carrying that expensive investment much easier and safer. I’d definitely want those attached to me!

Westcott Deluxe Strobe Bag and the Profoto B1 Kit backpack.

Individual images courtesy of Adorama

 

I also like the Westcott Deluxe Strobe Bag if I already have on a backpack (like a camera backpack…) because it’s on wheels. It means less weight on my body, plus the wheels feature both make it easier to move around.

 

Light Stand/Tripod Bags

Light stand bags with wheels are very convenient for the traveling photographer as are tripod bags with shoulder straps. For the light stands, I like the Hensel HD Bag for Stands and Umbrellas. It doesn’t have wheels on it’s own but if you pair it with the Hensel HD Trolley for Strobes, then you have a solution for both stands, some modifiers and strobes.


Hensel HD Bag for Stands pictured with Hensel HD Trolley for strobes.

Image courtesy of Adorama

 

For tripods, I find the Hakuba Tripod Case to be a good investment as your tripod most likely cost you several hundred dollars. You want to make sure it’s protected plus it has a strap that can easily be worn over the shoulder.

Hakuba Tripod Case

Image courtesy of Adorama

 

Odds and Ends

 

Gaffer’s Tape

Gaffer’s Tape is a great tool for taping down electrical wires or seamless. It’s also useful for taping a flag to your speedlight or lens, taping equipment to clamps, tripods, light stands and taping wardrobe in the back when it’s too big, etc.

 

A-Clamps

A- clamps can be similar to gaffer’s tape in that it has many uses such as clamping wardrobe when it’s too big, clamping a muslin background to a background support system or clamping a seamless roll so that it does not roll out farther than you want it to. I like the Tether Tools 2″ Rock Solid “A” Spring Clamp in solid black.

Tether Tools 2″ Rock Solid “A” Spring Clamp

Image courtesy of Adorama

 

Batteries

Batteries are needed for many things on location such as your transmitters, receivers, speedlights and your camera. Always have a large stash of backups (Depending on how long my shoot will be, I usually try to have 2 sets of batteries for each piece of gear that requires it as backups…) It can get expensive replacing batteries all the time so I use Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries which are a good solution to save money and to help save the environment.

My battery stash at home. Remember those pouches above?

Great for storing some of these for the road.

 

Extra Bulbs

It’s really important once you own and start using strobes that you have backup bulbs. These can get really expensive, but if you are on an assignment and one or more of your bulbs blow, you could be screwed. Having additional bulbs can save the situation. I tend to keep one backup bulb for each strobe I own…

Additional bulbs.

 

There are many odds and ends that you might find useful depending on what you are doing with your location photo shoot. You can find more of my tool ideas in my article Building the Home Studio Part 4: Essential Studio Tools, Props and Odds & Ends.

 

Some Final Thoughts…

Yes. I did go over a lot of gear and equipment here for a location shoot, but it doesn’t mean you need all of it every time. Depending on many factors and your personal preferences, you may need only a few things from what I listed or sometimes maybe more than just a few things. The greatest challenge is packing as light as possible to avoid additional strain on you. Many of the items I mentioned here are lightweight whereas things like your DSLR camera and lenses, you may not have much of a choice if you care too much about how your client assesses the relationship between your equipment and being a professional. Organization is also key, so good bags will help do the trick. I hope you found this list helpful. Feel free to leave some comments here and let us know what you have found useful for shooting on location.

 

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
Shooting The Model Portfolio Part I: Day-of-The-Shoot Preparations

Shooting The Model Portfolio Part I: Day-of-The-Shoot Preparations

The day is finally here. For some of you, you’ve been planning this shoot for some time now. Everyone will arrive in a couple of hours and there are a few more things to be done before the photo shoot begins – then it’s showtime.

A photo shoot that took place on the outdoor High Line in  NYC.

Model: Valery Lessard

 

Continuing on from my previous article, How to Plan a Model Portfolio Shoot, for the second segment of this 4-part series, I’ll go over my checklist for day-of-the-shoot preparation before the photo shoot begins. Let’s go!

 

DAY OF SHOOT PREP

 

Receive and Set Up Catering for Photo Shoot. Since I typically like to start my shoots in the studio and then move outward, I get my food delivered around 6am for a 10am arrival time of my crew and the model. I usually put out nuts, granola bars, fresh berries as well as an assortment of coffee, tea and bottled water. This is definitely not mandatory, but I prefer to keep my model and team hydrated and semi-nourished with high-protein and natural foods to avoid energy drain during the shoot.

I’m trying not to prop a  company here, but Freshdirect always hits the spot for what I need.

 

Last Minute Floor Cleanup. Next, I usually save cleaning my floors (vacuum and mopping) until the day of the shoot so that they are pristine because I tend to get on the floor a lot to shoot my models.

 

Set Up a Private Dressing Area. Whether it’s a separate room, a bathroom, a room divider or in my case, a cloth draped over an open window above a door, it’s necessary to set up a private space for your model to change.

 

Set Up Tethering for the Shoot. I have a basic tethering setup. When I’m working out of my home studio, I move my iMac from my office to my work station in my studio area and connect my Tether Tools USB Tethering Cord from my Nikon D750 Camera into my 27” iMac Desktop Computer. When I’m traveling or out in the field, I connect it to my Dell PC laptop. Want to learn more on tethering? I’ve written a very informative article on tethering where you can learn about what is needed to tether, how to tether and much more: Preview While You Shoot: The What, Why, When, Who and How on Tethered Shooting.


Plugging in the tether cord into my camera.

Image courtesy of William Matthew Chamberlain

 

Set Up the First Set. Next, I typically start setting up my first set to get ahead of the game. I usually set up one of my harder sets first because it will take hair and makeup about 60-90 minutes to finish with the model for initial hair/makeup so this is when I will have the most time to build up a set.

 

  • Background. Whether you are using seamless paper, a fur, a faux floor or an outdoor background, I usually set this up first and build upon it.


In this case, I set up a faux wooden floor and a fur as the background for the model to lay on.

Model: Daria Komarkova

 

  • Props. Next, I will build props into my set. Some props, like the pillows and candles above, or the chairs and stools below, serve as props but become part of the set. Other times, props will be what your subject is holding, like the guitar above, the purse below, or, even what they are wearing (things such as sunglasses or hats might serve as props…)

I used every stool I had and dressed my model very elegantly for this “barfight fashion” set.

Model: Karen Ramos

 

Here, I placed a light behind my model as a rim light around her hair and shoulders, a beauty dish in front to capture her face.

Model: Deeksha Chawla

 

Team/Model Briefing. Once the model, my hair/makeup artist(s) and photo assistant(s) arrive for the photo shoot, I generally go through each of my visions: the set idea(s), the wardrobe, the feelings I want to evoke in the image and my goal for the outcome for each image. I communicate much of this through mood boards on my iMac along with presentation of the wardrobe and accessories, props, etc.

 

NOW WE’RE READY TO SHOOT…

These are the general items on my checklist the morning of a TFP model portfolio photo shoot. I’ve found these steps to be very effective for my photo shoots. Some of these steps may not apply to you or maybe you have other steps that are useful to you. We’d love to hear any additional day-of shoot prep steps! Feel free to share your suggestions and comments.

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
Kendall Jenner, Model Turned Photographer

Kendall Jenner, Model Turned Photographer

The fashion industry is brimming with talented moving parts, from fashion designers to photographers to models and more. Each part working closely with the other, so much so, that it’s not unusual for a person to change roles in the industry. However, sometimes, that is also when an outrage from competitors is born. Recently there has been an emergence of models, such as Bella Hadid and her sister Gigi Hadid stepping from in front of the camera to behind the lens.

Kendall Jenner.

Image courtesy of Google

 

Fresh off the line of role crossovers in the industry is model-turned-photographer, Kendall Jenner, who debuted as a fashion photographer last summer while shooting Kaia Gerber, the daughter of supermodel Cindy Crawford, for LOVE magazine.

A few of Jenner’s images of Kaia Gerber for the cover of LOVE magazine.

 

Jenner has always been in the spotlight for almost all of her life, so she is no stranger to the camera. She has spent her life in front of a camera working on the family reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. In 2014, she made her high fashion debut on the runway for the Marc Jacobs Autumn/Winter 2014 line.

Compilation of images of Kendall Jenner, individual images courtesy of Google Images.

 

It has only been until recently that she took to making photography a her next career move, not because she fears an end to her shelf life as a model, but as she states in an interview with the U.K. publication, The Daily Telegraph, “I think it’s more about showing my eye.”

Jenner images on recent LOVE magazine covers.

Image courtesy of LOVE magazine

 

Kendall Jenner has already been shooting selfies and photos of other favorite people and things along with posting images from her major jobs for as she can remember, sharing them on her social media, mainly Instagram, where she now has 74.7M followers.

Screen capture of one of numerous image posts Jenner’s Instagram page.

 

What Kendall Jenner has accomplished thus far in scoring a major campaign – like shooting the covers of LOVE magazine – might be all fine and good but is this going to be a new trend among celebrities and influential people, not to mention, other non-photographers in general? After all, it’s not the first time we’ve seen models crossing over to photography as Helena Christensen and Ellen von Unwerth also went the way of the lens.

Kendall Jenner

Image courtesy Google

 

If this does become the new trend in hiring photographers for major campaigns, this could cause a lot of problems for the working professional photographer who may not have the weight of their name, the unlimited connections to high rollers in the fashion photography industry and/or the money to sustain the costs necessary for running their own photography business when having to compete with new photographers like Jenner, who appear to be getting these opportunities effortlessly.

Kendall Jenner with a Polaroid camera.

Image courtesy of Google.

 

It is already a concern among working photographers that the cost of services will win out over experience and the level of quality of work. Like with many other areas of life currently being effected in this matter, why would you pay a bunch of money to a reputable working photographer to shoot your extraordinary portraits or even your daughter’s wedding photos when your brother’s wife can churn out not-too-shabby looking images for a fraction of the cost or even for free? Now add celebrity or influential status and one can see where the outrage ensues.

More Jenner covers for LOVE magazine.

Image courtesy of LOVE magazine.

 

While many working photographers believe that the length of experience in shooting photography and the quality of images will trump the celebrity or influential photographer or even the non-photographer with less experience getting paid jobs that working photographers would otherwise be considered for, what happens when the new photographer’s work is on par with the work of well-known photographers for campaigns such as some of the work we’ve seen thus far from Kendall Jenner?

Kendall Jenner

Image courtesy of Google.

While I personally feel companies won’t be willing to sacrifice their brand or image to have a major celebrity or influential photographer or non-photographer come in to shoot their campaigns, working photographers may want to work on trying to stay ahead of the game as if anyone’s work is high-quality and proves to fit the visions of the company, then it’s fair game, no matter who you are.

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
Lino Manfrotto: A Legacy of Support to Photographers Around the Globe

Lino Manfrotto: A Legacy of Support to Photographers Around the Globe

On Sunday, February 5, 2017, we lost a “pillar” in the photography world: Lino Manfrotto – a man whose last name is well-known to almost every photographer, if for nothing else, the support he provided to photographers around the globe.

Lino Manfrotto (right)

Image courtesy of Manfrotto website

 

In the Beginning…

Toward the end of the 1960’s, Lino Manfrotto worked as a photojournalist in Bassano del Grappa for Il Gazzettino and Giornale di Vicenza while also pursuing gigs in industrial and advertising photography. While there were many options for studio flash at the time, little advancement was offered in the way of support and clamps.

Manfrotto BeFree 4-Section Carbon Travel Tripod

Image courtesy of the Manfrotto website.

 

Frustrated by heavy, cumbersome camera and lighting support, Lino took to designing and creating what he needed to get the job done including a more lightweight, portable tripod and lightweight light stands that allowed flexibility of light placement. He started this for himself, which then expanded to his circle of photographer friends.

Today’s innovation of the Manfrotto tripod: Manfrotto MT190CXPRO4 Carbon Fiber 4-Section Tripod

Image courtesy of the Manfrotto China website.

 

After meeting Gilberto Battocchio in 1972, a technician for a mechanical company in Bassano, Manfrotto and Battocchio, introduced the first Manfrotto tripod. Other equipment that soon followed that have not – to this day – found any remarkable competition are the Superboom, Autopole and the Superclamp, the latter two of which are found on display on the Museum of Modern Art’s website.

The Autopole.

Image courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC

 

The Superclamp.

Image courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC

 

A Growing Empire…

In the late 1980’s, the Avenger brand was established, support built for photographers and videographers for high load capacities extreme use in rough conditions.

Image courtesy of Manfrotto Poland

 

In 1989, Manfrotto became part of the Vitec Group, a British multinational company operating in the photo and broadcasting sector with American, English, French and German subsidiaries of which it still operates today.

 

Image courtesy of the Manfrotto School of Excellence website.

 

Several company acquisitions soon followed: in 1992, the French company, Gitzo, which specialized in tripods and ballheads and in 1993, American company, Bogen, which specialized in American photographic distribution. In 2004, distribution company Bogen Imaging GmbH began in Germany. National Geographic photography bags began distribution in 2005 under license through the acquisition of Israeli company, Kata.


Manfrotto Lifestyle Windsor Messenger Bag – Small

Image courtesy of the Manfrotto website

 

In 2010, Bogen Imaging changed its name to Manfrotto Distribution which included distribution companies in the United States, the UK, Germany, France and Japan. New distribution companies were launched in Shanghai and Hong Kong that same year. The company acquired the Lastolite brand in 2011, the premium manufacturer of photography light modifiers (such as portable collapsible reflectors) and backgrounds.

 

Fast Forward to Today…

Since 2010, the Manfrotto brand has taken a firm grasp of the future of technology with its mission and slogan “Imagine More” as it builds for the new generation of photography gear. This mission brings with it products designed for cameras (as they get smaller and smaller), smartphones and their use in the social realm.

Manfrotto Lumie Muse LED Light

Image courtesy of the Manfrotto website.

 

In recent years, Manfrotto has catered to the surge of this new technology allowing the average everyday person photographic capabilities through creating accessories and support for use with iPhone. New products such as mini LED lights for smaller recording devices have been introduced providing more innovative solutions for those shooting both stills and video.


Catering to today’s camera technology: Manfrotto TwistGrip Universal SmartPhone Clamp

withManfrotto Lumie Muse LED Light  on a  Manfrotto PIXI Evo 2 Section mini Tripod

Image courtesy of the Manfrotto website.

 

May His Legacy of Innovation Never Rest…

The man behind the Manfrotto brand was innovative and every product he produced in his lifetime has come with the highest satisfaction ratings in quality and performance. From a photojournalist to an entrepreneurship stemming from the drive of wanting better convenience and performance from the equipment he needed to use, we hope that his legacy of innovation will live on continuing to help support photographer and videographers around the globe.

 

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments