Fine Art Black and White Photography had taken a bashing in the last 20 years, Why you may ask? Chain store ATHENA at one was everywhere and they purchased images from photographers all over the world turning them into hi-quality posters and poster art. Whilst this was fine at the time and enabled thousands of art lovers all over the world to obtain prints of iconic images. Without realising they undermined the value in photography as art purely because it was so accessible to all. Now digital photography and how accessible this to all have created low-value photography in general. Customers of old now really think photography is a quick solution and so not as valuable. I think however that there now is a retro trend back to fine art representations, I have just sold one of my pieces to an Amsterdam art dealer fro an undisclosed sum.
The affordable Art Fair in Battersea and various other exhibitions have been on my radar over the last 6 years I have a better understanding of what is classed as Fine Art Photography. I have been into a few good galleries gaining opinions of curators and artists a like and asked for their conclusions and ideas on what makes a good photographic fine art piece that is acceptable to be qualified as Fine Art and guess what? it is not what you think? The simplest of shots seem to sell and the more complex don’t. Its pretty much the same on the social networks also. Have you ever posted an image to them thinking this is great, plenty of peopleI will discuss these points in a separate post in a few months time but wanted to stake my claim back into this area
Galleries like images that don’t seem to have too much of focus or entice the viewer to ask questions about the subject such as Why, Who , Where and timeless. This emotive feeling is not always something that can be added after the shoot and has to develop during after creating a super bond between you and with the model. I have been approached by va range of fine art companies and working with one at the moment in Amasterdam. Galleries looking for fine art photogrpahy and creative photography work from poster work Like International graphics based in Germany Link to samples here or the Trowbridge Gallery on the Kings Road plus personal requests and one super duper request where I have been asked to shoot 12 images with themes to be sold as 2 offs. I am currently evaluation how to go move more into this genre of photography in 2020.
Dital files are also of interest – Emulating is good if you can back it up!
My techniques to be employed & subject matter to be agreed
Having specialised in Black & White printing and processing at Uni and in the commercial world for 10 years pre digital i have a flair for art techniques in printing and film types etc. We plan to shoot some of the Fine Art with film, SX70 and other techniques which could be Cyanotypes or Gum Bichromate’s which i specialised in many years ago when i went to RIT in New York for a semester. We already have film cameras from years which include SX70 Land Camera, Bronica ETRS full kit, Kiev 35mm and soon to be added a Mamiya R7 6X7 kit which can of course be bolted onto a digital leaf back if needs be. It would also be great to maybe. One other camera I have shot with was the Fuji GX617 land camera for some background shots or landscapes for the composites.
The classic monochrome black and white photography was a resource that never changed only the true density until the discovery of colour photography. I grew up with black and white processing and printing and really happy to see that now it is becoming interesting to people again.
A creative but awe inspiring location Aynhoe Park is a location used for many shoots we were fortunate enough to booked for three days to shoot a range of dresses at the location for an American high end dress designer for the UK.
We had a choice of 2 models from London agencies. The location was a photographers dream, the guys who own the house created and still own the brand Fantazia famous for large raves and music venues such as the Hacienda in Manchester originating in the early 90’s and Borrowlands. They are both eclectic collectors of the unusual and eccentric art.
For the shoot we opted to run with the LED light panels as there was quite a bit of natural light throughout the house. The lighting in the Orangery was sublime as were many of the locations thoughout. We were able to utilise the large windows and fantastic mirrors, opulent furniture and the eccentric items which adorned virtually every room
Treating the whole shoot purely from a high fashion point of view can be a little difficult especially when photographing Haute Couture dresses, we were to create a look book style of imagery suitable for web and offline marketing and of course the obligatory opportunity to shoot some of our own looks for the book always feature.
The image above was something we creatin in the toilet at Aynhoe. The best dressed one I have ever seen however it was perfect for this look. A hyper realstic look which the client loved for their social media presence. The composition was lit with one LED light panels refelcted form the ceiling. Top lit and pointing downwards to create a slighly unusal look to the shot.
The location didn’t really throw curve balls technically, we settled into the 3 days shoot and photographed some great images, lighting in the process , 2 Polar Bears, 1 full grown Lion, 1 Leopard, 1 Zebra, numerous birds, a fantastic amount of Roman and Greek style busts and a miniature Parthenon, not to mention shooting in the room where the original John Swannell work and Bob Carlos Clarke classic prints were hanging. Each room gave us a super look and afer 3 days we had a suitable range of fashionable images for the US client
A Northern Commission Edwin Picket award winning Interior Designer
Having worked and shot in Manchester for a period I still have many clients there. I love to work in what I think is the UK’s second city especially for Fashion work. My work comes from many of the large agencies which have offices up there and of course it was and is really known for the catalogue photography.
I have a few online fashion houses which I still on occasion shoot for, but mainly these contacts move around. Once such client moved and got in contact with an opportunity to shoot 5 pieces of bespoke artwork for the opening of a new chain of quality restaurants. I was up for the challenge and we headed up as TeamNader to set the scene. The Fine Art imagery was to take the feeling and type of the famous paintings by EDWARD HOPPER. The final pieces would be illuminated and back lit with light sining throughout them. I wasn’t sure but when we met the Interior Designer thats what he wished for.
My approach to this shoot was.
Working in 2 locations across the city of Manchester
Location number 1 The Launderette. Now the location was cool bu no one had booked it out for the shoot and so one of the problems was to be working around a working unit? Great thats not what i needed , however it best just to dove in and get it sorted so we did.
The location needed only a little lighting and for this I chose to mix the ambient light with an LED, which gives a cool metallic effect to the skin. I balanced this with the Fluorescent lights already in there and ran wight eh colour casts to create the effect. I worked around with Phil for possibly a couple of hours battling with the location and the people but eventually it started to clear by lunchtime and so we completed in good time. The model was chosen by the client for his unique look.
Location number 2 1960s Cafe & Chip Shop. This location I had shot in previously for an online fashion brand earlier that year. It is a fish and chip shop and has the authentic interior design which for me was a super place to shoot. Lighting was once again mixed available and ambient with 2 LED infills to create the look. Now the shot was bizarre for me initially but it worked in the final artwork. Have a look below and you can see what I mean. The guy had makeup on and nail varnish, hair set like a lady and wearing female clothes. The look didn’t look fabulous but the ed resell really worked well. It would take some time to realise the image which was fine. Really it was trying to get the guy to believe in his role which he eventually succeeded in.
The model smoking a cigarette was not staged, he had in fact popped outside to have a smoke, I noticed this and out of his 5 minutes downtime we created a complete new look. The look was very New York and in fact Manchester as a city is in a way very similar to Little Italy in New York especially in some areas at the back of Piccadilly and a cool shooting destination for anyone looking for a unique look.
A Little About Spinningfields Manchester
In case you are in the area please have a brief read about Spinningfields and the review of Neighbourhood. the whole area is accessed via Deansgate which in itself host many bars, and restaurants.
Spinningfields is an area of Manchester city centre, in North West England. It was specially developed in the 2000s as a business, retail and residential development of Manchester, and is located between Deansgate and the River Irwell. Developed by Allied London Properties, the £1.5 billion project consists of 20 new buildings, totalling approximately 430,000 sq metres of commercial, residential and retail space. It takes its name from Spinningfield, a narrow street which ran westwards from Deansgate. In 1968 Spinningfield and the area to the south were turned into Spinningfield Square, an open paved area.
About Neighbourhood the Restaurant
TeamNader managed to pop back and take part in the celebration of food that is Neighbourhood. We arranged to meet a celebrity hairstylist Vince Allenby in the venue to discuss a shoot with various Coronation Street celebs. Vince had worked with us recently for a shoot at Longleat with Lord Bath.
Designed by the award-winning designer Edwin Pickett. Neighbourhood blends warehouse-chic with a touch of class. The cold metallic steel finish captures the essence of the New York city skyline, only to be softened by the low-hanging glass lights and sumptuous furnishings.
Neighbourhood has given it’s international menu a ‘Manhattan style execution’, sparing no expense on bringing premium cuts of meat to the table. The flavours and ingredients are determined by the borough’s diverse gastronomic tastes combined with a European flourish.
Its been on my mind for a period now and this was to set up a very simple shoot with people who love their tattoo art and have them for all sorts of reasons. After watching the various TV shows regarding Tattoo Art I thought right lets get on with it.
My approach was.
I wanted the images to be a complete representation of the person and their tattoo and cover this in about 10 minutes in front of the camera. The best way forward i thought was to completely strip the colour out of the images and turn it all into a black and white study and in my opinion gave the whole look an edgy effect. I had also been given some new lighting from a top lighting company and thought it would be nice to try out the ring flash that had been given as part of the lighting kit freebie
When we arrived at our location the room set we were using was only 10ft x 10ft so very small but we had only said we would turn up and shoot please can you help out with space as a studio was not necessary. Maybe it was we thought! Once set up the plan was for the people to just roll up over a 4 hour period and we would just shoot them as they felt comfortable. The ringflash was set up and tested by Phil and we started. Most people were really nervous and I suppose they felt a little like going to the docs.
The biggest problem was in the subjects taking off their clothes and not feeling nude in front of me and the equipment which could possibly have looked like some gynecological machine from the arc. After a brief chat with each of the subjects I managed to make then feel at ease and we started shooting the individual. It was amazing to me how they all seemed to be hiding behind the tattoo and what it meant, this was most evident when standing in front of me with the camera and light and them holding their bodies in a contorted covering up way.
The black and white images were later processed through Lightroom with some Analogue film presets and then pushed out into CS6 Photoshop to finish them off. This was the first time that I had used a ringflash and really liked the look. It is a look seen with David Lachapelle in his photo work plus many other photographers, but for sure I will be using it in some client work and in an editorial shoot at Dungeness in the Spring.
Once the guys were relaxed and told the story about why and where and what for about the tattoo they readily seemed to embrace the photography and surprisingly took all direction very well.
TECH SPEC for this shoot
I have worked In Morocco for two clients over the years. I was lucky enough to do a 2 week shoot in various locations of Morocco from the middle right down to the Wetern Sahara, shooting in Zagora. Belwo are some of the images which were taken on polaroid as a location finder recce in advance of the team arriving.
The campaign was for Ciro Citterio Menswear which is no longer around, Whilst doing thislocation recce or location scouting I managed to snap a few of my own images also. All the pictures below are shot on film and Bronica ETRS.
Recce location hunting is really exciting in unsual and interesting locations and countries. You do have to be aware that these days it can be little unsafe in such countries and I would always advise paying for the local guide to loook after you and to negotiate the pitfalls of working on location
This is a little story about My trip to Morocco and the Zagora Desert in the Western Sahara and part of Morocco.
BELOW ARE SOME IMAGES SHOT ANALOGUE STYLE ON BRONICA ETRS AND ON TYPE 100 FUJI POLAROID
A couple of Camera lovers
One of the landscape area we utilised en route to Zagora in the south
Washing Day! This was in an area called Monkeys Fingers seen in background
Our journey would take us right down to Zagora by way of Ouarzazate which is famous for the films such as Indiana Jones and The Mummy which are shot on location there. Its booked out by many film companies worldwide and it was a this point that it was considered best to stay over night at the Hotel Mercure. Luxury in the desert. I had been here prior to this as I had been on a fashion shoot for a menswear company n the past and had also stayed here. Luxury was the key
I have done my research
All the way along were were looking for great landscapes and anything else which could be needed. I suppose really this would be considered a right Jolly. A 14 day location shoot with out models:} Plenty of food and I would recommend Chicken Tagine as the food is cremated in a way that will kill off and germs etc. I had learned this from my previous experience on the menswear shoot where we all ate fresh fried chicken and salad and struggled for days afterwards looking for the nearest loo. A few beers later and on route to Zagora as the song from Loose Ends Suggests we were eating up the miles. After a day or so of fabulous countryside we eventually end up near to the Western Sahara and the final destination for landscapes and background images.
What makes a piece of Work Stand out to a Gallery
Galleries like images that don’t seem to have too much of focus or entice the viewer to ask questions about the subject such as Why, Who , Where and timeless. This is not always something that can be added during the shoot and has to emerge or be born within the session but creating a super bond with the model. I have been approached by various companies or galleries looking for work from poster work Like International graphics based in Germany Link to samples here or the Trowbridge Gallery on the Kings Road plus personal requests and one super duper request where I have been asked to shoot 12 images with themes to be sold as 2 offs. I am currently evaluation how to go about this and when.
Nice respite as we ate lamb and salad ~ should have stuck with Tagine UUgh
I had decided to shoot Polaroid as my own picture collection and these images or some of them any way are featured below. The whole trip meant a lot of driving and we had taken a guide for safety, at some parts of the journey there were checkpoints but also at this time in the world you can’t be too careful. We had shot all of the landscapes on the Fuji 617 film camera and all on Fujichrome and not in digital format.
Shooting some underwater photography I am a Scuba diver and love to dive when I get the opportunity, where better than in warm clear seas. The chance finally arose earlier in the year when we were commissioned by a travel company ( Whom I am friendly with the Boss) to shoot some great underwater shots that would be used in their marketing online and offline. The place we were being shipped to was the Maldives or to be more specific the South Ari Atol islands. What a Buzz. They were even happy for me to take along my family if I met some of the costs i.e flights but accommodation would be provided as would the food. I couldn’t miss this one so off we went.
Grand Centara 5 star Having not really shot anything in deep sea before or even with a camera housing it was going to be a challenge in getting the shot to work. No lights were needed as we were not shooting deep and was light enough near the water surface, shafts of light would be very strong at that time of year and would be reflected up from the bottom off the sand back to the subjects which would give a great look providing the seas were calm.
How it all mapped out on the day. When we arrived on location I met the models and although we were not to see their faces they had to be confident at swimming and comfortable at being underwater to a depth of 10ft max. The camera used was the Nikon D3X and the housing used was the Aquatica fitted with barrel to house the 50mm lens. I had to play around with it first to get a feel for it but once I was happy at my first few dives with it all was cool. Firstly before diving I had to take the guys out to about 10ft just on the edge of the reef to practise getting them together as a group of 3. They were to use only a mask and snorkel to make it look convincing a family out snorkelling. The final effect needed to convey the natural beauty and diversity of the reef in an open and convincing way.
The biggest problem for me would be being able to direct the models and group them together naturally as well as asking them to hold their breath to make it look like they had submerged for a closer look at the beautiful reef and fish. It was also suggested it might be fun if we had a couple of sharks in the shot. The finished image should be full of action and a little tongue in cheekiness with the sharks. These of course had to be shot separately then added to a composite set of images shot at the location to create an underwater environment of real interest. Where were we going to get sharks from? well it was lined up for me and even though we couldn’t shoot a white shark there were plenty of white or black tipped reef sharks??????? whaaat i thought swimming with fish was fine but not with sharks. The final shots were completed in about 60 minutes and the main shot of the underwater swimmers complete, now for the sharks?
How it all mapped out shooting with SHARKS. So the challenge was set, we would swim about 4oo yards around the island to where the 5 star meals were being served in a lovely restaurant on stilts but out into the sea. The water under the building was only 6 ft deep but apparetnly 5 reef sharks lived under there during the day but also so did the obligatory Stingrays, Puffer fish and the odd Eel with long teeth. I was a little apprehensive at the thought of swimming with fish that had long teeth hay ho. I finally decided to shoot the background of the reef sharks on a new Go Pro Hero 3 in underwater housing and attached to a telescopic pole mainly as it would give me more distance between me and the sharks
Once at the location were were taken right into the lions mouth there they were swimming around at about 30 ft away and circling as you see on the TV. I was pretty nervous but there were large stilts about 2ft circumference which held up the building but would give some sort of cover or feeling of cover at least. Any way it was left to me to start shooting when I felt comfortable. Go Pro switched on and pole extended i started to pouch it underneath the first sharks nose or as close as I felt I wanted to go. I suppose we could have sourced the images online bur as we were there it was a little challenge that needed to be completed fro me really, plus the thrill to see real sharks up close and personal.
Below is some video of me trying to capture the sharks. I have included other footage of interest whilst diving with fish and sharks and at the end of this piece i have added a video where i did manage to go diving to the edge of the reef where they is a Japanese freighter ship which is a wreck at approx 65ft. You can see me diving on it and having a scout around.
THIS VIDEO SHOWS SOME 5ft REEF SHARKS WHICH WERE USED IN THE COMPOSITE BUT ALSO, THE PRE DIVE WITH THE 3 MODELS , TO MAKE IT A LITTLE MORE INTERESTING TO WATCH I HAVE ADDED THE FAMOUS JAWS MUSIC TO CREATE A LITTLE DRAMA.
TSUNAMI WARNING The whole shoot went great and all of the raw files were in the bag so to speak, although it was strange not working with #teamnader on a shoot and Phil who heads this up( Budget not good enough ) however to was a great chance and the only chance so far to mix a shoot with family. This was the calm before the storm as on the last day the news we didn’t need to hear after such a great shoot it had happened and scared us into submission a warning of a TSUNAMI of up to 1 metre high was heading our way from near Indonesia.
This gallery below features some artwork which tells as story in a scrap book style
OK So I am out on the edge of the reef in canoe on the last but one day and a guy is pedalling like hell out to me. I thought this is strange, maybe I had gone to close to the planes platform in the sea where they tie up to drop of the travellers. Finally the guy gets by the side of me and shouts “Get out of the water TSUNAMI WARNING” I replied in an international way and verbalised this to him in the usual British way. He repeated again “GET OUT OF THE WATER NOW !!!!!! TSUNAMI WARNING” by this time a really believed him, he asked me to paddle back asap and get back to the room and put on my Tsunami life vest and also to do this for the family and wait for further instructions. I zoomed back to the family and dragged them back to the room with them both in tears and worried terribly. We put on our life vests and had to wait.
We waited a while but someone had posted earlier a letter under the door which we had missed in the panic, the content of which I will write below. We were told that the island was expecting a 1 metre wave to hit the island in the next 1.5 hours and to make ready as best we could, This would be to climb up onto the bungalow roofs via a fence which would get us 30 ft off the ground and hopefully away from the swell. The buildings were 2 story bungalows and partly enforced in concrete so we would have stood a better chance that way. Any way a long story short and the day didn’t quite map out to a 1 maters wave but the beaches did change shape and the water had dropped initially by about 2 feet and then risen +3ft so 1 ft higher in all. This was the most scary event so far but if you take the time to view the images in the slideshow you get an idea of my time there in 1o days.
As a Photographer interesting locations are key
I first became aware of the Laurent Perrier Bar up in the Midlands via one of my good friends Katy Bird a Make Up artist whom I have worked with many times. She lives up near to Birmingham and had seen an article about the venue which was part of the Hotel Indigo. Part of the location was devoted to the Marco Pierre White restuarant and would also be accessible if we indeed wanted to shoot there. Situated on the 23rd to 25th floors, Hotel Indigo Birmingham offer great views across the city skyline. This stunning hotel boasts 52 beautiful boutique bedrooms, oozing effortless style and luxury but more that that mostly features ceiling to floor glass. Certainly great to shoot.
The Location Recce.
I grew up in Wolverhampton and so I thought I would do a recce and see them at the same time, so this would make sense travelling up to view the venue. So with a date set in mind we headed up and did the recce. The result was confirming that this would indeed be the venue that we could shoot in but not as a submission but for a bag brand which had been in contact. I mentioned the location on our return and long story short we booked Harry from Models One and set about shooting in the location.
How it all mapped out on the day.
When we arrived at our location the weather was just perfect. It was sunny and bright which was great but better still there were light clouds which would allow for amore diffused lighting plan, so in effect a choice. I was hoping on the day to use some LED lights and these would be used by me for the first time for lighting a complete shoot, although I had used them in testing and experimental work, more unusually for us was to use a small Nikon Speedlight to create direct punchy lighting.
The biggest problem were faced really was the continuing changing light as it went behind the clouds. Apart from the morning shots in front of the glass which were mostly daylight and available light we moved towards the more creative punchy light of the speed light and the LED’s. Harry the model was quite new into being a model but he nailed the shots helping us create movement and an editorial look for the client.
James Nader talks about SPEEDLIGHT & LED creative when mixed with AMBIENT light
The Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill offers an ultra modern 25th floor dining experience. Complete with stylish bar, rooftop terrace (where we did photograph), stunning 360 degree city views ( Behind the glass shots) and a glass fronted alfresco balcony, the restaurant embodies what Marco himself calls “affordable luxury”.
The restaurant is all about the experience; the buzz, the atmosphere and enjoying the company of friends and family in a gorgeous, comfortable surroundings. It delivered to us a fabulous lunch with a lovely cappuccino that went down a treat.
In my opinion one of the best shots or clients favourite is Harry leaning backwards against the glass, the sun has gone and all of the big city lights are visible. The great thing about using the LED light to capture the image, it allows a lot of ambient light to work in the final image. The LED allows me to balance ambient and directional light in the scene. The shot really could be anywhere but the best thing is i spent a while working with Harry giving directions to create a dynamic and strong look. At this time I had in mind whilst giving direction, images of super heroes and poses they create in cartoons and Batman films normally against villains when they avoid projectiles. I suppose The Matrix is a good example.
The full story from Hotel Indigo can be seen in the main website www.jamesnader.com The editorial was entitles Skyfall in line with the film which was current
TECH SPEC for this shoot
Analogue lighting techniques
I have always used this type of light it has a unique effect if you know how to use it effectively. Hot lights are still used even though more and more production use the cold LED lights including us these days. Benefits are that when shooting in delicate environments where heat can cause a problem ( Period homes etc ) LEDs are great however I always prefer to use film lights or hot lights where I can
How to use a hot light
One little secret is to take the reading from the light hotspot and also make sure the make up artist goes in a little heavier with makeup and this will result in clean and beautiful skin complexion and tones. O=When I get booked sometime to cover shoots during and after advertising film shoots ( Latest James Villas) the production often want a photographer who can work within their lighting set ups and often in between their live shooting, therefore learning some hot light techniques is a good thing to have
How it all mapped out on the day.
The shoot featured here was a pitch for an ad agency wanting to shoot some jewellery and diamonds for the company DeBeers. It did happen but more towards the business end of the process in diamond selling. The idea for the shoot was to focus in on one shot which is the girl sitting bottom left and this was the shot went with but the others were all book work for JNP. The good thing with film lighting is that as long as you can control the light then you can actually see what you are getting in real time. The look and lighting you set up for is often the result that you get. The other good thing about using this light is that you don’t overlight ad can often use ambient light readings to make the shot look great. With flash you just blast these away or have to spend time balancing this but I suppose the downside would be that you could be working on a timed exposure and this is often best to give rich saturated colour and balance.
How it all mapped out on the day.
For the shoot we chose the Gore Hotel, this is based in South Kensington and is a luxury Boutique Hotel which is perfect for photo shoots. It has some super rooms with great food and a great bar. Its just on Queens gate and a few photographers use this over the year. We first used it when shooting for a new brand called Versatile Apparel.
All of the rooms are individually furnished with hand-picked pieces, period pictures and ornate feature beds, whilst providing full Wi-Fi access which can be useful for firing off images to clients on the day.
In the shot above you can see one of the image we loved and added to the portfolio, the girl is a Dita Von Teese look alike that we have used on various shoots but as you know now from the blog we did photograph the real and authentic Dita Von Teese whilst on our European tour with Lambertz late 2013 for their Calendar The image above at the Gore has just a little diffusion but if you look at the shot you can see minimal retouching to the skin and it has a glowing quality given to it by use of the hot light.
The real Dita Von Teese as shot by me and Teamnader for Lambertz Germany
Some shots from the session – the rest can be seen in the main website www.jamesnader.com
TECH SPEC for this shoot
Creating pieces of Art to sell Silk
I was approached by a Manchester based company who had opened a store in Soho London and wanted a range of artwork that would celbrate not just the brand but the colouful and vibrant silk range that they were now creating for a range of clients including La Sensa and Agent Provocateur. The images had to be stron and striking but not just a staight fashion shot. They had seen some of my composites and ecide that this would be the best route for them if they could find a story that linked them together.
Fashion Photographers Blog and the approach finalised we were all to meet in Manchester for a 2 day shoot where I would run through the ideas with the team. Once again we were presented with very sketchy plans and visual and it was up to me really to interpret these as we went along most of this was verbalised as we shot and would then create the vision.
Our approach was for the shoot was.
We were trying to achieve 4 shots in a day, which sounds as though it should be fine but in some shots the model needed body paint and we also had to set up shots with props. There is also a certain amount of time you need to build in for problem solving and things that don’t go according to plan. The biggest problem for me was one or two of the models and in the nicest way possible, they just weren’t the right choice for this particular job, however the client insisted that I use them and so I did.
Having shot the raw files on the Hasselblad the quality was there however due to this perfect quality of capture the real issue would be in the retouching due to one of the models skin imperfections and I mean not the odd blemish but full on acne. Lighting would need to be directional but diffused, this would be just perfect, but I had to bear in mind not just the retouching but also the main tasks, post production and composite.
Problem solving on the fly is the game
Having dealt throughout the day with the problems that normally arise i managed with my team to create the 8 looks needed in the raw which would be taken back to base for the retouching. There was still one shot that they required and it involved the red ribbon and the target as shown in the image above. What I love is how sometimes you think that the job is done and your about to pack up when guess what, there is always one other one shot that needs to be covered.
Now I don’t mind covering the shot and keeping clients happy as this is how you wind business and keep it. You have to bee seen to be helpful and make sure you get it all covered as its a costly job to set it all up again.
Being fair but also keeping it strictly business
I will accommodate my clients wishes as much as I can and will always go out of my way to do this because guess what you are only ads good as your last job or whatever your client says about you to others as in this game its a small world. If there is a reason that it can’t all be completed then there should be a good reason or compromise.
We have found at NADER when working with the client, making clear statements as to what each is needing from the shoot and by when is always the best way forward. Clear guidelines with a built in contingency from our point of view but also meeting the clients expectations.
We carried on into the night to capture the shot and make sure the client had exactly what they needed and needless to say after this there were many days of post production. I think in total around 8 to complete. Each image was made up of approximately 25 layers to create the look at the end of each composite the image runs though a colour grading process and then saved out into the relevant files. With the German companies they seem to always want Tiff RGB for the Hexachrome or 5 colour process which is more costly however in the UK CMYK is the norm or supply hi res Tiff files for clients to use them as needed. All file are either delivered via WeTransfer or via our own server via FTP
I have been creating composites for a while now for clients this type of work is very popular with clients mainly because it sometimes can save on costs in terms of production but also as it creates a more striking image for some types of advertising. There a few photographers whom i respect for the work that they do namely, Erik Almas, Jim Fiscus, Chris Crissman, Gregory Crewdson amongst some. What I do with the image apart from answer the clients brief is to try and tell a story with one image. Iit has to stand on its own and create thought. My recent large campaign for The Lambertz Fine Art Calendar pushed this work in a slightly new direction but still even though they were composites they too told a story.
Sandy the model was Photographed in Pula South Croatia- Location is Plicvice
One of the landscape ideas created for Biddle Silks
I find this a relaxing way of shooting and a creative process ,when I signed up to International Graphics for a while i became interested in this style of work and created a much simpler version of the style which was acceptable for them but boot really polished enough for modern clients. They were simply to arty and had no legs to them. Whilst I was at University I had also practised this technique but as we were not digital then the whole process was manual and analogue which took some time and would need to have a little hand painting or airbrushing involved.
The Analogue Process ~ Time consuming and boring really It wasn’t until the digital process evolved and technically we are where we are today that inspired me to develop my own process and in turn make it interesting and easy enough to create some masterpieces. At this moment and until a client asks I tend only to work with photographic images that we shoot ourselves but if I was asked to incorporateCGI then I would or vice Versa. Photoshop was and is a revelation, I use it almost on a daily basis as I like to edit my own work. It enhances work and changes the look without to much effort. But there can be a danger to go too far.
The classic process was based on shooting images the same, however either processed as prints your self and then each image would be cut out and assembled in a montage style. This would in turn be created into one large piece and then photographed again onto 5×4″ film to create the master from which agent may print and get retouched but in those days it would be manually done wither will brush or airbrush.
What makes a piece of Work Stand out to a Gallery
The secret of a good Composite Image is really to understand light, this is the key to assembling the natural look in a composite. The light source should be similar if not the same as the backgrounds and would work easier if you shoot the backgrounds first from a visual and then balance your lighting on the subject the same or as close as possible. there are of course some occasions when this is no possible and you have to fake this. This is all possible with Photoshop which is in effect your digital darkroom. This is where the completed composite can be graded and finished to look realistic or in most cases super realistic. Hyper realistic, Photorealistic or photo realism is how this is classed for some reason.
RICHARD BRANSO FOR VIRGIN MONEY – LONDON SHOOT AND LOCATION
As I shoot more and more of this style work I will feature and add to this section and blog on an individual basis. The process is complex in delivery but can be easy to set up and shoot. The secret is in the post production and the cutting out of the character to a layer. Some photographers such as David LaChapelle and Gregory Crewdson spend a lot of time construction the image in camera and the studio or location and in effect shoot 1 shot live to the camera or on a 10×8 inch film camera.
CREATIVE COMPOSITE: fashion composite withroute 66 style to emulate the look with the model of the late 1950’s in a contemporary way
More composite and styled images at this link but also in campaigns under Lambertz