My first out in Berlin since i got my trigger shipped, eager to shoot a portrait. Went to the intersection of Wilmersdorfer Straße and Bismark Straße ( big plaza out of what used to be a cobble street ) in hope to find some musicians or beggars or anyone willing to have their portrait taken by me. To my surprise … the beggars there having no problems sitting in the middle of the road harassing every person passing by for money or cigarettes suddenly develop principles when it comes to photography. They’ll all take 1 euro or a cigarette, but seriously have a problem with having their picture taken. Next time they’ll have a meeting with the far end of my telephoto lens ( How do you like me now ? )
Eventually I come across ( what looks to me like ) a gypsy accordion player. We talked a couple of minutes, found out that he was not a gypsy but had a dark skin and was subject to discrimination for it, he wanted to know what was the point of me taking his picture ( i.e. if i make money of the picture ) and quickly agreed to have his picture taken. He has that “something” in his eyes, serious , sad … something …
The lighting is a combo of low exposure ambient light ( used for a general fill and a rim light ) and a flash diffused through a softbox used as the key.
Early Sunday morning I go to see a huge estate in the middle of the Tuscan plains with batteries almost out and dirty lenses (which were properly cleaned in the car on the way over ). I had heard they have a bunch of animals there , including two donkeys and some funny looking goats … and having never seen a donkey in real life i was really excited. The estate is huge … a big Tuscan manor … decorated in a sort of classical Italian style, it all speaks to the character of those times, took us about 20 minutes to see half of the interior after which I got impatient and asked to be taken to the animal pen
The sun was just rising and the sky was full of clouds, which meant the ambient light won’t overpower my flashes and the sky is closer in exposure range compared to the ground. I usually hate shooting in the mornings because the light get’s worse and worse by the minute, and unfortunately this morning wasn’t different, except for a couple o minutes when the sun came out form behind the clouds and illuminated the background from the left and i quickly adjusted my aperture and my shutter and shot a test frame , a frame with the donkey and another frame to be sure i have backup material to correct for any focus or texture problems that may occur (and that’s a good practice by the way).
I hope you enjoy it , Cheers !
This photo was taken when i did the Lucherini photo shoot, and even though i had processed it and it did make it to my Facebook Portfolio, somehow it never got to the blog. She’s a shy girl with freckles and crazy red hair an he (i assume) is crazy about her. The shots couldn’t have gone better … although my equipment dragged me down a smidge, I compensated in post production.
Shooting people in love
Easy like Sunday morning ! First of all they were actively participating in distracting my subjects ( the Lucherini brothers) and making them laugh, which in turn made my job easier, and at the same time became comfortable with the process of a photo shoot … So, when push came to shove … they were shy and not really eager to stand in front of the camera … until they connected and forgot that i was even there. Suffice to say they didn’t really care, and that works fine for me. I got true emotion on those frames and that’s what it’s all about.
It was a good one …
I learned more in 2010 than in the past 5 years … so yeah … it as a good one from a creative stand point . So given the amount of spare time I’ve been having lately I decided to push for one last retouched frame …
Making of …
I gave this a little bit of thought … figured some people may wish to see how the final shot was achieved.
I started with 4 pseudo brackets from the initial raw, and progressively color corrected and retouched the image … leaving the tiniest details and local sharpening for last .
( Retouch Workflow )
Hope y’all like it … cheers
In the park …
So, me and my buddy Andrei, decided to grab our gear and head for the park at night … in hopes that we may find some skaters or rollers or something. None of those were around … but what we did find was a blonde girl that had a big white fluffy dog. This story … is not about her, or her fluffy dog.
The ocasional gem …
As we were shooting … out of nowhere a couple of gipsy’s came and started playing with the dog and asking for money … I thought i’ll snap a picture of the gipsy girl begging … and luckily Andrei took notice of my intention and moved to the camera right with a bare strobe just in time for me to fire my one and only shot. Unfortunately other photo shoots took priority and I never got to this photo and eventually forgot about it … until now.
This shoot wasn’t planned in depth, as i had only some basic ideas of where i wanted to go with it … and it was planned for an indoors location. It was supposed to take place after my birthday “party” was over , but , as fate would have it we ended up partying much more than anticipated, and we also slept in till noon. The photo shoot was canceled.
Subject and Idea …
My subject is a rather hardcore hip-hop fan but also very sensitive and feminine … clearly those two don’t mix and match very well, and just by speaking to her you get the feeling that there is a battle deep within over what part should take over. I had planned a more illustrated approach for this shoot and ended up never doing it due to lack of time … but … walking along the seaside ( taking in the sights ) we ended up in a parking lot overlooking the sea that was being converted into a plaza, there war hardly any people around due to the really bad weather ( cloudy and extremely windy ) … so it kind of hit me … a rather metaphorical approach to that inner battle … crosswinds.
The shoot …
Given the highly windy condition , and the lack of manpower i had to use bare strobes and exposed her face as close as possible without loosing too much information anywhere else. Retouching took a couple of hours.
I hope y’all like it, cheers.
Shooting young …
Young people in their teen years are usually cranky, and moody and easily bored … and instead of going against their natural ways, and posing them in some attempt to create a perfect shot … embrace them … after all you are trying to capture their true personality. I applied this theory in this shoot and i believe it truly brought the shot i produced to life.
Emma, Matteo and Alice
Shooting for location specific print
The initial idea for this shoot was to produce a shot that would go on a specific wall inside a doctor’s office. A slightly blue tinted gray paint ( very reflective ) covered all the walls of the office space, and all the painting that were hung there were saturated and alive. I tried to keep the desaturated look to preserve continuity with the wall and at the same time have enough color to blend it in with the other frames in the office .
In time …
I plan to shoot them again in 5 and 10 years … in the same formula … to see the way their expressions mature as they grow … it should be interesting
Time has passed and i had time to create a little “behind the scenes” clip … nothing fancy obviously … just to let you see how much fun we have and why photography is probably one of the best jobs in the world.
You can view the clip HERE
Also … here’s a better view of our “masked killa”
Hope you like it … cheers.
Even though working as a photographer is a lot of fun … some times a photo shoot can be tedious and boring , the subject may not be cooperating or working well with you. It takes more effort to get your subject in the right mood for the shoot than it takes to set up lights or take the shots. Well … i’m happy to say that it wasn’t the case with this shoot, it was a blast from start to finish.
Andrei : First Set
Andrei : First Set ( gotta love those greens)
The second set was shot in the afternoon, I saw a clearing … and i took advantage of it.
Andrei : Second Set (i really worked on this one … i processed my raw into different exposures so i coult properly expose everything)
Andrei : Second Set ( shot this wide and low)
Then I shot a Marlboro Man type of shot , and a Special FX one ( he was always talking about making an energy ball ) so I made him one.
Andrei – Close up Marlboro shot
Making of : “Magic Ball”
Or try it on Vimeo
Finally me and Andrei Chirvas managed to get together for a photoshoot. So … normally, one would have a location in advance for such a momentous event, well not us … we spent one hour gathering props and buying snacks and another four hours searching for a location (pretty boring start) … but … when all else fails one must make peace with Gaia … in other words we went to the woods
What follows are a couple of shots from the photo shoot .
I’ll follow up soon with part 2
It appears that the digital renaissance is spawning more and more artists… a new breed that’s somewhat the equivalent of “fresh meat” in the free world. I here by introduce y’all to Catalin. He normally does video for certain events and is branching out into photography, for financial benefits or because video doesn’t allow him to come out artistically, either way he’s one of us now.
This is one photo part of the set we shot, it tries to portray the photographer as one with the machine and with nature … mneeeh … I just said that because it sounds better than saying that we couldn’t find a better location so we went tot the woods
I gave him my Sigma 70-300 mm because it looked meaner than his Tamron 55-200 mm and shot him with the sun peaking through the trees.
Well … my hair stylist ( aka the one that cuts my hair, massages my scalp, oils me up and then sends me flying like a shiny new penny ever since i was 14 years old ) opened her own salon. It’s all pink and stuff, as you’d expect from a cosmo girl like Alina …
I thought it would be really cool if I’d spend one day at the salon and shoot a couple of portraits of her and the other stylist who works there, Ionut. Lucky for me they thought it was cool too
Hope y’all like’em …
It was an absolute blast shooting this Sensei in action … At first I was a little overwhelmed by the situation … given that he was expecting somewhat of a pro, and not some kid with a head full of ideas … but i overcame the situation with ease and got on to the shooting part. (I think it was the first time a client calmed me down instead of the other way around)
So … shooting him was effortless … he quickly complied with anything i asked of him … even had helpful suggestions of his own.
This first one was shot with the 85mm f/1.8, and even though i usually use this lens for “head & shoulders protraits” it worked really well here. I think the flatness of the tele lens combined with the way the thin depth of field places a subject in space makes this photo look good. A weird combo but it worked here.
I shot the second one with the 50mm f/1.8. It gave me more room to frame my subject.
The last photo was shot with my 18-55 kit lens. I had to get low to the ground, mosquitoes were biting my face and my legs and sweat was slowly making it’s way from my forehead through my eyebrows and into my eyes … it was all worth it.
Hope y’all like’em !
So my best friend’s birthday came … and i could not resist bringing my camera bag. We went out … we had a couple of laughs then back to his place were my first time poker player girlfriend took 2′nd place after the birthday boy.
The group shot was done with my 50mm and one flash shot into the overhead matte glass yellow ceiling, which added warmness to the subjects and separated them from the rather cold setting. It also gave the shot depth and placed the subjects better in the frame.
Gotta love that 50mm for the depth of field it created in this shot.
I also pulled off a good portrait for the birthday boy’s cat, called Chupa (suck in Spanish). Some retouchind was done to it, some sharpening and color balance (because nobody wants to see they white cat be yellow.
Hope y’all like’em !
Here’s the low down : I had never met the client, I had never seen the location (aka her apartment ) … I’m supposed to meet up with our common acquaintance at 10:30 am, and be at the location by 11.
The location … 150 square meters of properly furnished apartment. The objective … well the client felt that she needed some proper pictures of herself, in different outfits that she owned … A freelancer photographer’s dream !!!
I brought my pack with lenses and my 500D, and 2 flashes (430 ex II aka my little babies), 4 sets of freshly charged batteries, two thin manfrotto light stands, and two umbrellas.
The shoot actually took 5 hours … with just a couple of cigarette breaks. I shot … and shot … and shot some more. I made use of some satin curtains that reflected my colored strobe giving me a very nice background on some shots. I have to say that either i have a bad copy of the 18-55 IS that came kit or it’s just the most terrible lens ever, could not get one decent shot with it … bad part being i really needed something wider that my 50 mm f/1.8 in the narrow places. So my main lens was my 50mm , and when the space allowed i switched to my 85mm f/1.8 … The following are a bunch of samples from the shoot.
I hope y’all like ‘em, feel free to offer your opinion. Criticism is accepted as long as it is constructive.
I’ve come to realize that the mass majority of people , don’t really understand what photography is. For most people photography can be broken down into one simple question “How do I look?”. Only a select few perceive photography as art, and surprise! most of the work in either planning or production of some artistic product …
The only question that pops right away into my mind is : How do i combat that ? … How do i reach the person that does not see what i see ? … How do i make him understand ? CONTRAST and ORIGINALITY is the key. Unfortunately i have not achieved either of these goals in this photo shoot. I thought that by going blind in a room with a girl i would somehow be able to conjure magic on the fly. I was wrong. Note to self : Have at least a couple of ideas and a battle plan (schedule) before walking in the the dragon’s den. (also charged batteries might help)
Very happy with my model , and with the quality of the shots. Not happy with the direction of the shoot.
Will redo …
Friday i went on assignment to shoot a couple of land properties, and i also visited the nearby town of Cinigiano. I got there at around 12:30 (mid-day) and to my surprise there wasn’t a single human being on the streets… Not ONE !!! Eventually i did find some people around and every once and a while cars passed by. One man took interest in my camera and went on for 10 – 15 minutes about how he has a Pentax on film and how the digital age brought his business down.
Overall a quiet little town where people generally know each other.
** The last image requires Red/Cyan 3D Glasses