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Dom D
11-04-2013, 09:13 AM
So I've been working on films and things for quite a few years now but managed to never really learn the first thing about photography. I can kind of, sort of, work a video camera but when it comes to doing stills I pay a pro. Any stills I've posted up here before are just things where I've locked the camera to full auto and hoped for the best. Anyway, I figured it's long past time to actually learn what the hell I'm doing so this week I bought a 7d, some studio strobes, a couple big studio backdrops and a set of fresnels. Tonight was the first night to pull 'em out, delve into the cameras instruction manual and see if I can work out what the hell I'm doing.

I left the strobes and the backdrops in the bag tonight and decided just to work with the hot lights and do some noirish type shots. Did a few different set ups and was pretty happy with how they came out. Only edited one shot so far. Way too pastich-ey for my taste but it was my girlfriends favourite shot- she has very over the top, pin up tastes- but even so I'm happy enough with it.

Taken with 2 650W fresnels. One hanging out the window, three stories above the street gaffer taped to the window ledge to shoot back through our blinds and the other set up as a fill.

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg298/dankfilms/IMG_1142smoke_zps1db804f4.jpg (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/dankfilms/media/IMG_1142smoke_zps1db804f4.jpg.html)

I'll post some more tomorrow when I've had a chance to have a look through them.

sukebanboy
11-04-2013, 09:24 AM
HAHA...yeah, pastich-ey is a good word....but still no reason for them not to be fun and YOU not to have fun shooting them....

Photography I guess, is a kind of learn-as-you-go type deal...so all part of the process....

Keep them coming...Will be nice to see your style develop ......and later we can say we were there right at the start of your successful photographic career while also of course blackmailing you into all sorts of things with t he threat of releasing your "early" stuff:biggrin:

PS...in regards to the other thread you have on here about your films, any sign of your movie being available to see in the near future??

Dom D
11-04-2013, 10:18 AM
The movies premiering in January. Had a few things push it back and then Oktoberfest required our full attention for a while. I've got a few revisions to make but I'll shoot you a download link in a few weeks or so if you're interested. Just one more photo before I go to sleep. This was actually a test for lighting before we actually got to work and I'll never be able to show it anywhere else because my girlfrined hadn't done her hair and make up yet so this shot is forbidden and due very shortly for deletion but I like it. It's got a certain something so I'll commemorate it here before it passes.

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg298/dankfilms/IMG_0936_zpsc80a3037.jpg (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/dankfilms/media/IMG_0936_zpsc80a3037.jpg.html)

sukebanboy
11-04-2013, 11:56 AM
I'll never be able to show it anywhere else because my girlfrined hadn't done her hair and make up yet so this shot is forbidden and due very shortly for deletion but I like it.



Right then...that's another one saved on my laptop for use later when you are rich and successful :biggrin:

Ian Jane
11-04-2013, 12:10 PM
I like the way the smoke twirls admist the green color in that first shot.

Richard--W
11-04-2013, 02:06 PM
I liked the set-up above, it has mood and atmosphere and conveys a sense of purpose.

Dom, for film photography get yourself some flags, scrims, and gobos, and C-stands to hold and position them. You'll need a full compliment of gels for the lights. A fog machine, dust blower, and rain spigot are also helpful. A wind machine is probably too pricey but a BIG fan is very important. Also you need reflectors to bounce light into the foreground and background crevices -- as big as a car, the type that revolves inside a frame, like a full-length mirror. Reflectors can often do what lights can do only faster and easier. Reflectors are very important.

In L.A. I used to take workshops taught by the Cameraman's Guild. Then I took workshops taught by the AFI. That was before they lost interest in real filmmaking and turned exclusively to CGI.

Can't do downloads. Instead can't I just buy it from you on DVD / DVD-R / blu-ray?

Richard--W
11-04-2013, 02:38 PM
The latest in lights:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/browse/Lighting-Studio/ci/1161/N/4294551176

Paul L
11-04-2013, 03:39 PM
The movies premiering in January. Had a few things push it back and then Oktoberfest required our full attention for a while. I've got a few revisions to make but I'll shoot you a download link in a few weeks or so if you're interested. Just one more photo before I go to sleep. This was actually a test for lighting before we actually got to work and I'll never be able to show it anywhere else because my girlfrined hadn't done her hair and make up yet so this shot is forbidden and due very shortly for deletion but I like it. It's got a certain something so I'll commemorate it here before it passes.

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg298/dankfilms/IMG_0936_zpsc80a3037.jpg (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/dankfilms/media/IMG_0936_zpsc80a3037.jpg.html)
Love the composition and exposure in this shot: it's balanced by the subject on the left and that area of darkness on the right. The tonality of the wall in contrast with her skin works wonderfully. It's a great shot. Would look a little nicer if shot on film (imo, but then I'm a film kinda guy): aside from the texture of film, I think the 'squashed' dynamic range of digital photography, especially with monochrome shoots, is no match for that of film - although the cameras are 'getting there' (eg, the Fuji X series cameras have a high dynamic range). I've heard the new Leica Monochrom, with its sensor developed purely for monochrome photography, is pretty good at this - but it'll be a long time (never!?) till I get my hands on one.

Dom D
11-05-2013, 04:13 AM
I like the way the smoke twirls admist the green color in that first shot.

Yeah I cheated and painted that in in photoshop.


The latest in lights:

I have to wait till the latest in lights get cheap Chinese ebay knock offs. Though actually I highly recommend cheap Chinese knockoffs. When they go wrong they go wrong spectacularly but while they're functional it can be hard to tell the difference. Power plugs can be iffy and frightening though.


Would look a little nicer if shot on film (imo, but then I'm a film kinda guy): aside from the texture of film, I think the 'squashed' dynamic range of digital photography, especially with monochrome shoots, is no match for that of film

I don't know enough to have an opinion but with that photo I've crushed the highs and lows pretty severly. That was a lighting test and I was under exposed leading to a lot of noise so the best way to get rid of it was just to crush the image. The cameras capable of a lot more range. The one thing digital definitely has going for it is it's easy to learn on. I don't know how people used to do it with film. First time trying out the strobes my first half dozen shots wound up entirely black as they weren't synched properly and the next half dozen were entirely white as I tried to work out how to expose for flash. If I was working on film I wouldn't even know there was a problem for a week when I got the prints back. Learning must have been very expensive back in the day.

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg298/dankfilms/IMG_1187-3_zps6cd6dfc4.jpg (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/dankfilms/media/IMG_1187-3_zps6cd6dfc4.jpg.html)

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg298/dankfilms/fadsf-1-2_zpsd39e1a45.jpg (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/dankfilms/media/fadsf-1-2_zpsd39e1a45.jpg.html)

Paul L
11-05-2013, 07:03 AM
Digital's a lot more convenient, certainly :) Negative film has a latitude of about 3 stops, as I recall, so there's some room for manoeuvre with it - and (imo) one of the best ways to learn about exposure is to learn the 'Sunny 16' rule and use a fully manual film camera with no light meter whatsoever (or carry one in your pocket to double check your exposure before pressing the shutter). It's surprising how easy it is to judge exposure by eye when shooting on negative film. If you buy a film developing tank, a decent negative scanner and develop your own negatives at home, you can have pretty much instant feedback and it's a great learning curve. But then, I love the whole process of developing a negative at home.

There is a rule of thought that, if you're shooting monochrome stuff on digital, due to the reduced dynamic range it's better to underexpose by a stop or two and then pull up the image on your computer. This helps to retain detail in the highlights and gives stronger midtones. Or so they say :biggrin:

Dom D
11-05-2013, 07:28 AM
Underexpose? interesting. I guess one of the beauties of digital is that you can shoot RAW and then have the choice on those details in post. I wasn't that clever though for reasons that escape me right now. Actually with the Magic Lantern hack I believe its possible to shoot RAW video on the 7d now which is a bit special. Have to give that a go at some point too.

Dom D
11-12-2013, 08:09 AM
Had a second go at this tonight. I did pull out the strobes for a quick set but my favourite shot for the evening is with the hot lights again:
http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg298/dankfilms/fadsf-1-10_zpsef714cf4.jpg (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/dankfilms/media/fadsf-1-10_zpsef714cf4.jpg.html)

They do say you shouldn't use hot lights for studio photography but I'm loving the ability they give you to really design the light. I'm finding strobe lighting just spills all over the place where as I can use the fresnels in really fun ways. Probably this is my film background coming through so next up definitely to conquer the flashes.

Paul L
11-12-2013, 05:44 PM
The light works really beautifully in that shot, Dom!

Ian Jane
11-12-2013, 07:19 PM
Agreed. Great use of light and color.

Dom D
11-26-2013, 07:58 PM
Finally had a proper go with a studio backdrop and the strobes last night. This style doesn't massively interest me but it's what I bought a camera for in the first place as I need to pay for this kind of shot a lot with the shows we do. Pretty happy for a first proper go at this:

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg298/dankfilms/Umbrella_zps62f1800a.jpg (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/dankfilms/media/Umbrella_zps62f1800a.jpg.html)

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg298/dankfilms/IMG_2475_zps7d99b111.jpg (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/dankfilms/media/IMG_2475_zps7d99b111.jpg.html)

Also as I didn't get to play with the camera last week instead went back to try out my photoshop skills to see how well I can save a photo that sucked balls. This one couldn't qite be salvaged but it's still got a ccertain something:

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg298/dankfilms/fadsf-1-16_zps4a97733b.jpg (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/dankfilms/media/fadsf-1-16_zps4a97733b.jpg.html)

Dom D
11-30-2013, 03:57 AM
Well I'm going to stop posting pictures in this thread now as my first snaps did well on facebook and now I've got four paid photography gigs lined up and it seems poor form to be accepting money for photography while running a thread on learning how to take photos. It's cool though, I'll have my camera paid by the first four jobs and a couple more will pay for my lights. I'm going to call that a win.

sukebanboy
11-30-2013, 10:18 AM
Well I'm going to stop posting pictures in this thread now as my first snaps did well on facebook and now I've got four paid photography gigs lined up and it seems poor form to be accepting money for photography while running a thread on learning how to take photos. It's cool though, I'll have my camera paid by the first four jobs and a couple more will pay for my lights. I'm going to call that a win.

Haha....Yeah, you go Dom.....Desert us while you are on the brink of fame!!!:biggrin:

Seriously though man, thats cool you got some paying gigs for your efforts....Hope no one searches for this thread and finds out the truth...that you are learning as you go!!!:biggrin:

Not lining up gigs as a cut price wedding photographer I hope!!!...We had one at our wedding...right little amateur he turned out to be :biggrin:

Dom D
11-30-2013, 04:42 PM
No just glamour stuff for would-be dancers. So in theory very similar to those pink shots at the end. It's not hugely interesting work at a creative level but hey I figure it still beats most other ways to earn a buck. First ones not till Jan so plenty of time to practice and make sure I'm not in for any surprises.

Paul L
11-30-2013, 05:36 PM
Also as I didn't get to play with the camera last week instead went back to try out my photoshop skills to see how well I can save a photo that sucked balls. This one couldn't qite be salvaged but it's still got a ccertain something:

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg298/dankfilms/fadsf-1-16_zps4a97733b.jpg (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/dankfilms/media/fadsf-1-16_zps4a97733b.jpg.html)
I really like this one, Dom. The canted angle adds something to it, as does the shallow depth of field. The tones are really nice too, with the soft shadows on the left adding an air of mystery. I think it'd work slightly better in a squarer format, cropped just below the bottom of the glass.

Are you using Photoshop or Lightroom? Lightroom's much more user-friendly, imo.

Dom D
11-30-2013, 06:15 PM
I really like this one, Dom. The canted angle adds something to it, as does the shallow depth of field. The tones are really nice too, with the soft shadows on the left adding an air of mystery. I think it'd work slightly better in a squarer format, cropped just below the bottom of the glass.

Are you using Photoshop or Lightroom? Lightroom's much more user-friendly, imo.

I had a quick play in Lightroom and I like it a lot. I can do 90% of what I do much faster there than in Photoshop but I still feel like I need to finish in Photoshop. Its probably just what I'm comfortable with. To be honest I prefer to colour correct and mask in video editors than either of them.

The depth of field is faked in Photoshop. The original is wholey in focus. I like the shadow on the wall too. The tradeoff is the shadow on the nose which for me makes it unusable.

sukebanboy
12-01-2013, 08:27 AM
No just glamour stuff for would-be dancers. So in theory very similar to those pink shots at the end. It's not hugely interesting work at a creative level but hey I figure it still beats most other ways to earn a buck. First ones not till Jan so plenty of time to practice and make sure I'm not in for any surprises.

When you say "glamour stuff"...do you mean "glamour shots" as in nudity stuff....WE NEED TO KNOW!

Dom D
12-01-2013, 05:00 PM
When you say "glamour stuff"...do you mean "glamour shots" as in nudity stuff....WE NEED TO KNOW!

No just corset, feathers, stockings, that kind of thing. These are for beginners and beginners are squeamish about getting naked. God willing there'll be some of that work soon though...

sukebanboy
12-01-2013, 09:11 PM
These are for beginners and beginners are squeamish about getting naked. God willing there'll be some of that work soon though...

Will keep my fingers crossed for you buddy!:biggrin:

Dom D
12-11-2013, 04:42 AM
Thanks man, your well wishes have done me well. On Tuesday I have a "nudie pregnancy shoot" with a hot ballet dancer and 10 minutes ago was being questioned about whether I was up for a lingerie portfoloio shoot. The catch apparently is there will be alot of crotchless panties and cupless bra shots. Yeah, I can probably handle that... Seem to have landed on my feet with this one. Should have bought a camera years ago...

sukebanboy
12-11-2013, 06:50 AM
Thanks man, your well wishes have done me well. On Tuesday I have a "nudie pregnancy shoot" with a hot ballet dancer and 10 minutes ago was being questioned about whether I was up for a lingerie portfoloio shoot. The catch apparently is there will be alot of crotchless panties and cupless bra shots. Yeah, I can probably handle that... Seem to have landed on my feet with this one. Should have bought a camera years ago...

Haha...i PRAYED long and hard for ya to get some "interesting" photographic work...Never underestimate the power of prayer (and I am not even religious!!)

Of course, I will have to KEEP praying for the models to be ultra HOT for ya....wouldnt want you all disappointed when a 50 yr old crack addicted, front tooth missing, malnourished white trash whore turns up for a nude photo shoot...but then again, I suppose in the recession you have to take whatever work comes up right???

Oh, BTW, just asked for some professional photo equipment for Xmas due to this thread!!!:biggrin:

Dom D
07-03-2014, 07:46 PM
Some random thoughts I'm having on the 'art' of photography. Why doesn't this guy post on a photo forum instead if he needs to sort out his thoughts, I hear you ask. Well they''re no fun. Photographers are very defensive about their turf and no fun at all. Joined one forum in my first few weeks of owning a camera and got run out of the place for posting in the 'beginner' forum. It was nuts. They actually went rifling through my photobucket and were digging up old photos I'd commissioned other people to take as proof I was a liar. "Not only is he not a beginner but he owns 7 different cameras one of which is a $40,000 Hasselblad." So I joined another and mentioned what had happened at the first and had a bunch of people all jumping over each other to tell me how shit I am and how only a fool couldn't see I was a rank amateur. Anyway they are places to steer clear of. That's why I post photos here.

And I'm just having a look back over this thread as I've passed a few landmarks recently. Firstly was earning more from my camera and lights than I spent on them. Second was earning more from my camera and lights than I earn from my regular job. The third was just yesterday I recieved the 'first pages' from a fashion book for which I'm doing all of the original photography including the cover. 'First pages' surprisingly turned out to be all the pages but is apparently what they call the first draft of the designers work.

Which is cool! Although it was unpleasant to see unedited versions of all my photos sitting next to nicely finished vintage photos. Particularly as the designer had no eye at all for selecting my images and even went so far as too include one where it's almost black as 2 of the 3 flashes I had set up didn't fire on top which the models eyes are closed. Just one of the many reasons this has been the first genuinely unhappy job I've been employed on.

So it's actually a job these days. Huge amounts of work this month with the book and then all sorts of other shoots from my usual burly girl work to shooting a guy and his rabbits for his dating profile photo to promototional images for a prostitute. The moneys fun. I've never had more money than I needed to live on before- I'm well below the poverty line generally- but I realised very quickly that I don't actually have anything I want to spend it on so making it doesn't do me a lot of good. Last week I was making plans to set up permanent backdrops in my longueroom and make it a proper studio. Now I'm thinking I was nuts and the thing to do is to step back. I can't quit my regularjob so spending all my spare hours making money I don't need is a bit pointless. Plus the jobs I was aiming at wanting to do- magazines and books- are no fun. No control at all. So what am I doing it for?

Also as an art form it's very limited. Photographers are massively overrated. When I started this thread I thought it would be an ongoing diary of learning a craft but there's just not much craft to learn which is why I abandoned the thread quickly. 99 times out a hundred if people respond to a portrait it's because of the model and the hair and make up team. I'm just recording what they do though people attribute all the good stuff to the guy with the camera. It's nice to be over appreciated for a change but when models start to talk about 'mastery of light' and what not I tune out. Fact is if you've got a good camera and good lights it will look good. I could teach anyone how to be a professional photographer in under half an hour, all you need is about $2300 worth of gear. The better your gear, the better your photos. To up my level to where I'd want it to be I'd have to make some pretty serious investments and I'm not sure I'm up for that. By the by, all photographers say it's not the camera but the man behind it that counts. Which is great as an ego thing but I don't see many pros working with compacts.

Anyway that was a good head clearer. Thanks!

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg298/dankfilms/IMG_1304321172390090_zpsi31nv5j9.jpeg (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/dankfilms/media/IMG_1304321172390090_zpsi31nv5j9.jpeg.html)

sukebanboy
07-03-2014, 10:53 PM
Nice Dom!

Always good to get a "hobby" or something you like and see it pan out into actually EARNING you money....and then maybe realizing you can (god forbid) actually have a career that you ENJOY...Where you have FUN and are HAPPY to go to work everyday.....

Nice to know movie forums are not the only place where people are up their own arses and omit an aura of "I am better than you-ness"!!!...Been on lots of sites where they think they are God...which is why I only usually post on here these days...because was all KNOW Ian is God already!!!:funny:

So...all i really have left to say is WELL DONE...and KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK..Its really nice to see someone "make it" doing something they enjoy and want to improve at ...My fingers are crossed that you really DO get to keep doing this (and that it pays you enough to live on) for as long as you want to....Cant say I am NOT JEALOUS....coz I AM.....:funny:

Dom D
07-04-2014, 02:40 AM
So...all i really have left to say is WELL DONE...and KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK..Its really nice to see someone "make it" doing something they enjoy and want to improve at ...My fingers are crossed that you really DO get to keep doing this (and that it pays you enough to live on) for as long as you want to....Cant say I am NOT JEALOUS....coz I AM.....:funny:

Sorry, that was a rambly, stream of conscious post but what I was actually saying is that I'm actually largely stepping back from it. Strange time to do it now that it's just become what could be a full time job for me but it's taking up too much time. i'll still have maybe a couple days a month to play with it but I don't need the money- apart from good booze there's just not much that I want- and as an art form it doesn't interest me enough to pursue it seriouslly. I think I'm going sit down and write a book.

Paul L
07-04-2014, 03:17 AM
Also as an art form it's very limited. Photographers are massively overrated. When I started this thread I thought it would be an ongoing diary of learning a craft but there's just not much craft to learn which is why I abandoned the thread quickly. 99 times out a hundred if people respond to a portrait it's because of the model and the hair and make up team. I'm just recording what they do though people attribute all the good stuff to the guy with the camera. It's nice to be over appreciated for a change but when models start to talk about 'mastery of light' and what not I tune out. Fact is if you've got a good camera and good lights it will look good. I could teach anyone how to be a professional photographer in under half an hour, all you need is about $2300 worth of gear. The better your gear, the better your photos. To up my level to where I'd want it to be I'd have to make some pretty serious investments and I'm not sure I'm up for that. By the by, all photographers say it's not the camera but the man behind it that counts. Which is great as an ego thing but I don't see many pros working with compacts.
There are some pros who work with compacts (Nobuyoshi Araki, Juergen Teller, Terry Richardson, even David Bailey with his Olympus Trip 35), but they're few and far between.

I like your studio portraits, Dom, but as you say studio portraiture is remarkably easy to pick up - arguably difficult to find a unique voice doing it, however, but that's a different matter. I know quite a few people that have started thriving portraiture businesses without any photographic training or background whatsoever. Part of it, as you say, is having what's perceived as the 'right' equipment. They could get the same type of shots on a high end compact, but they get clients because they've got a camera that looks the business to clients, the studio space and the lighting rig. To some extent, a lot of wedding photography is based on similar principles: it's about looking the part rather than necessarily being a skilled photographer. Clients often expect to see a flashy lighting rig and a full-frame DSLR, but in actuality most of those images (probably 99.9%) could be produced on high end compacts. It takes confidence and a certain swagger to walk into a studio shoot (or a wedding) with a compact. The difference between the final images will in most instances be impossible to tell, but it's all about the client's perception of what a photographer should carry. The wedding/studio crowd are often, as you say, remarkably proud of bigging up their work and can be very critical of 'amateurs' - possibly because of an insecurity about their photography and their need to differentiate themselves from all the other people doing this kind of work. Like you say, there's sometimes a bit of 'an ego thing' at play. I often see wedding shoots in the local, quite picturesque, park when I'm out with the kids at weekends, and it always annoys me watching some clumsy oik with an expensive DSLR that they clearly struggle to handle and a completely unnecessary big fug-off telephoto/zoom lens shooting environmental portraits that would be better served with a smaller camera and a much shorter portrait lens. (There's a local female portrait/wedding photographer who's particularly guilty of this, and I see her in the park quite regularly.) I'd guess these are the kinds of people that sit on photography forums and criticise those who they perceive as 'amateurs' - they're most likely the kind that you've come across online, Dom. You can tell the images are going to be fairly dreadful (more effort is going in to handling the camera than to light or composition), but for many of these clients it's more a case of having a photographer who looks the part rather than one who knows what s/he is doing.

On that topic, you may remember these, but they're funny nonetheless :biggrin:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_Yo3FRPeQw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckSm10LZauA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWlj9ZJkliA

I think photojournalism/documentary photography is a different matter entirely though. I've got a friend and colleague who's worked in advertising, portraiture, photojournalism and now specialises in documentary photography. Some of his documentary photography is amazing - but, compared with studio work, there's a lack of control over the context in documentary photography (ie, you have to get the best shot in the circumstances in which you find yourself, something that tells a story about the issue you're observing; you don't have a backdrop and a model you can control) and because the equipment matters less, the artistry is more evident. A different type of expertise is required: in these contexts, the photographer needs to be at one with their equipment to grab a moment that might be fleeting. (That's not to say, however, that many modern cameras can't do much of this work for you.) Some great documentary photographers use compacts (Daido Moriyama, Richard Billingham, Paul Graham, etc). On the whole, documentary photographers (at least, the ones I've met or spoken to) seem to have a tendency to be far more humble about their work.

It's an interesting dichotomy, I think :)

I also know quite people who have made a business out of portraiture/weddings, etc, and have 'burnt out' and lost their love of photography by working in these fields - they don't pick up a camera out of love for the medium any more or out of a need to 'create', but just to make money.

Have you thought about doing some documentary work for a change, Dom? Stepping back from the studio work and creating some documentary projects about issues close to you?

sukebanboy
07-04-2014, 09:26 AM
Now I'm thinking I was nuts and the thing to do is to step back. I can't quit my regularjob so spending all my spare hours making money I don't need is a bit pointless. Plus the jobs I was aiming at wanting to do- magazines and books- are no fun. No control at all. So what am I doing it for?

LOL...completely missed this bit for some reason....Serves me right for not focusing, though my attention span is a LITTLE shorter than your post...Thats what I blame it on!!:funny:

Don't do it for the money then...Do it for a hobby...Take it slowly when you feel like it..then try and produce a unique approach for yourself...If you don't feel the love after a while switch the genre...maybe a different focus...short films....Documentry....Interviews.....Keep trying until you find what you love...


So what am I doing it for?

The naked ladies my good man....Do it for the naked ladies...:up:

Dom D
07-04-2014, 05:55 PM
There are some pros who work with compacts (Nobuyoshi Araki, Juergen Teller, Terry Richardson, even David Bailey with his Olympus Trip 35), but they're few and far between.


There's enough humans wandering about doing awesome stuff that you'll find an exception to any rule but you just can't underestimate the value of equipment in photography. This is a technical field and the better the equiptment that better the shot. I'm very much at a point where I feel limited by my gear.

Years back I was lucky enough to work with Peter Coulson who's maybe Australia's top photographer. At the time I knew nothing and didn't know this was a special opportunity. I just assumed all photographers worked in huge factories with banks of Macs and cycloramas. Anyway he only uses Hasselblad. That's a $40,000 camera before you add a lens. The costs of the lens is just as frightening. He's not an idiot and he's not doing it to show off, it's just gets the best results of any camera. If we took the same shot the difference between it and my 7D would be significant. The things it picks up are unreal. Same goes with lenses. My most expensive is about $250. The same shot taken with a $2k prime will look better. And again with backgrounds. For the book shoot I got to work with large paper backdrops rather than the crappy cloth setup you can see in the photo above. It makes a huge difference. Actually this is probably the single most importnat thing... And then there's the lights. It really doesn't end. Basically if you want to keep moving forward you gotta keep investing and that's not a merry go round I'm too keen on jumping on.



Have you thought about doing some documentary work for a change, Dom? Stepping back from the studio work and creating some documentary projects about issues close to you?

Thought about it. Still haven't used my camera outside and only taken cat photos without lights. I'll probably give it a go shortly when I manage to cull my bookings. At the moment I'm just editing every spare moment between shoots.


The naked ladies my good man....Do it for the naked ladies...

That is a good reason... Though I'd say I've seen less naked women since I've been doing this than in years. Because I'm not producing live shows I don't have any changing room time anymore.

Paul L
07-04-2014, 09:36 PM
There's enough humans wandering about doing awesome stuff that you'll find an exception to any rule but you just can't underestimate the value of equipment in photography. This is a technical field and the better the equiptment that better the shot.
That's true to some extent, but there's a plateau where things begin to tail off. I've heard of advertising pros who've shot images used on billboards using high end compacts - because larger images require a greater viewing distance, the difference between a high end compact and even a medium format camera is arguably fairly negligible. It's only when you get up close with the image that you start to tell the difference. A friend of mine is thinking of abandoning DSLRs for the new breed of mirrorless cameras, for his portraits: unless you're printing the images BIG or looking at them in minute detail on a computer screen, the difference is negligible.

Hasselblads are great for fashion photography of the kind Coulson produces, but you don't need a Hasselblad to produce quality fashion photography or portraiture. Only if you want the Hasselblad 'look', you need a Hasselblad. (Our students use Hasselblads for their advertising module - that's the genre that's most likely to use medium format digital cameras these days.) They're beautiful cameras, but ultimately the lenses are more important (you'd get the same results from the iconic Zeiss Planar 80mm lens mounted on a Contax 645 than on a Hasselblad). With a good eye, you could produce equally good images with a Contax G2 or a Ricoh GRDIV or your 7D. They'd look different, but one isn't necessarily 'better' than the other. Obviously, the medium format sensor is capable of resolving (and retaining) more detail, but other than that the differences are down to the lenses. (The best lenses I own are two 50mm lenses: one is a modern lens, which cost £500, which gives a very crisp, sharp image; the other is a Soviet lens, a Jupiter 8, from the 1970s, which I bought for thirty quid a few years ago. The Soviet lens is a copy of the Zeiss Sonar 50mm and produces a very different kind of image - slightly soft, and thus ideal for certain types of portraits, with a unique bokeh. They're both great lenses, and neither is 'better' than the other, but they each produce a very different kind of image. It's a case of horses for courses.) Your 7D is more than adequate for most situations - unless, that is, you want the medium format/Hasselblad look. The only differences really boil down to those between 35mm/medium format/large format, or in the digital era micro four-thirds/crop sensor/full frame sensor/medium format/large format - if you want the medium format look, go with Hasselblad (or PhaseOne), etc. Everything else is down to the lenses. I'd keep the 7D and rent some different lenses - play around and experiment a little.

There's a thing that some photographers get locked into which is sometimes called Gear Acquisition Syndrome. It's how the companies keep you buying the newest camera with the latest sensor. They want you to feel limited by your gear - but it's an illusion. Just like computer manufacturers will convince you that you need the latest version of a piece of hardware and/or operating system - but you can still write just as well with a pencil and a sheet of paper. Even the most respectable brands promote this. The Hasselblad Lunar, for example, is a piece of overpriced junk - it's essentially a Sony NEX-7 dressed up in fancy trousers and with a much heftier price tag. Have faith in your talent - not your gear. The gear is just a tool which is there to help you to achieve your goal, Grasshopper :)

Dom D
07-05-2014, 08:55 PM
Oh, we'll have to agree to disagree on this one! I have a cheap 50mm prime and I have a cheap zoom that goes from, I think, 18mm to 55mm. If both are shooting at 50mm I can tell the difference at a glance. When I can really tell the difference though is when I have to zoom into work on detail- doing portraiture you work on a pixel level- and up close there's no comparison. Never personally worked with an expensive lens but I can only imagine the difference would be the same agian. Cinematographers I know rave about the one time they got to work with 100k cineprimes and the difference that they make. But that stuffs the far technical and I agree not as important. What's more key is the incidental items that you need that make a difference to your work creatively and are super exspenive.

My paper backdrop shoot recently- which I cant share because I signed a non share clause thing till the books out- we're so much better and easier to work with because I can place the model where I want her. Don't want shadows? Just move her forward. It's all ll that kind of stuff eg. having more than three flashes, a beauty dish, honeycomb grills etc etc which allow you to get the results you want.

So basically I'm just at that crossroads, invest heavily to be able to work the way I want or really sideline this as a hobby. Since I decided hobby, and no more than two days a month, I'm feeling pretty good about things.

Paul L
07-06-2014, 04:05 AM
Oh, we'll have to agree to disagree on this one! I have a cheap 50mm prime and I have a cheap zoom that goes from, I think, 18mm to 55mm. If both are shooting at 50mm I can tell the difference at a glance. When I can really tell the difference though is when I have to zoom into work on detail- doing portraiture you work on a pixel level- and up close there's no comparison. Never personally worked with an expensive lens but I can only imagine the difference would be the same agian. Cinematographers I know rave about the one time they got to work with 100k cineprimes and the difference that they make. But that stuffs the far technical and I agree not as important. What's more key is the incidental items that you need that make a difference to your work creatively and are super exspenive.
What I guess I was trying to say (in a long-winded, rambling way) was that investing in lenses (and a prime lens is always better than a zoom) is more important than investing in camera bodies - as to some extent within bodies/sensors within a certain bracket (crop sensors/full frame sensors/medium format) there's a plateau in terms of the detail they can resolve. So we were agreeing on that score :) But what I was also trying to say is that it's also worth bearing in mind that there are some vintage prime lenses that can be picked up cheaply and which have a different characteristic to most modern lenses (where the aim is sharpness - producing a a 'good' image isn't always about sharpness, although that's become the hegemony within a lot of modern photography - for example, look at some of the portraiture that is associated with classical Hollywood).

And yeah, in terms of studio work, paper backdrops and a good set of lights are essential.

But yes, I think I said it earlier, I know a few photographers (both teaching colleagues and ex-students) who have been 'burnt out' by their commercial work and won't pick up a camera unless they're getting paid. That's a sad state of affairs and going back to it as a hobby, making it more personal, is probably the best thing you can do, so that you don't lose your interest in the medium :)

Dom D
07-06-2014, 05:50 PM
So we were agreeing on that score


Ah, sorry I read your post in the middle of an incredibly ugly rum hangover and missed large amounts of what you were saying. After a soul searching session with the woman I added this to my website and committed myself to producing 6 shows in the coming months instead. After putting myself through that maybe I'll be primed to shoot myself again.

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg298/dankfilms/quitting_zpse3c17060.jpg (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/dankfilms/media/quitting_zpse3c17060.jpg.html)