Thursday, May 31, 2012

Matt Lauer on Interviewing

Apologies for the volume discrepancy, please crank it up. From an Piers Morgan Tonight interview where Donnie Deutsch filled in for Piers and had Matt Lauer on the show talking about interviewing.

"The worst thing you can do... is go in with an agenda and a set schedule of questions, and say "I've got these 10 questions, these are what I'm going to get through" because then what you're not doing is listening. And you're not taking the time to let the interview become organic and go where it should go"

So you gotta ask yourself. When it comes to shooting, are you the former or the latter? :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Notes from the Great Outdoors


In response/followup to an outdoor workshop I did last week!

I'm very pleased the sun decided to make an appearance so we could practice our lifestyle-esque photography with Jessica and Kat and Tiffani. I think you demonstrated good control of the camera with regards to shooting with and against the sun. Here are some parting thoughts that I feel can help you along the way in getting from 7+ to 10 (in terms of comfort with shooting outdoors).

Friday, May 25, 2012

It's Just a Tool: Why I don't own a Rangefinder camera

Arsenal. The Nikons are in the camera bag. And yes that's a N90X in the corner.

Q: Hey Charles, I'm not quite sure if you ever answered this before, but I never encountered it on your blog. So I'm taking my chances by just asking I saw that you use a Nikon D3. I love Nikon. Not the owner of a D3 but okay haha. What I was wondering, as you being a professional photographer, why the Nikon? I have a thing for the Leica Rangefinders. Of course, way out of my budget. Though I hope to be able to buy one someday. So here's a bit my question. I can imagine that you are at the point of being able, or have being able to buy a Leica. Maybe I'm comparing two different worlds here but I love the images most of the photographer with a Leica produce. And I'm trying to look at the aspect of the camera/lenses other than the skills of the photographers.

Well, basically, I was just wondering why you haven't chosen to own one?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DSLR Video Workshop Q/A

Working the wall with Bekka for MMC's commercial.

Q: I just want to confirm my commitment to your video workshop in June and will PayPal you the full payment next week. What can I do in the meantime to learn?

A: Looking forward to having you at the workshop!

Now in the meantime, I'd like you to get familiar with the movie functions on your camera. Experiment with the basic settings 720/24, 720/60, 1080/24 etc. Then experiment with shooting at different settings, particularly at different shutter speeds and different apertures. I want you to get a feeling for what the camera is capable of and how the playback looks with different settings.

Next I want you to set up a few dummy models to practice. Anything about 5-6 feet tall and about 1-2 feet wide. You know what I use a lot? A light stand with a strobe on the top. I wish all my models could be that skinny :) All jokes aside, the point is I want you to familiarize yourself with camera movement and the challenges of getting a shot while in motion. Because we won't be shooting any static shots. Nearly all of our shots will be performed in motion.


I was retouching this image of Gio and thinking very simply how my knowledge of dodge and burn was tied to my understanding the human face and that my knowledge of the human face usually determined my lighting.

Basically my knowledge of face-lighting-retouching rests on essentially the same mental models. One could argue that the knowledge is one and the same. A strange sort of mental trifecta.

Which is one more argument for why photographers need to do their own retouching. At least to the point where they have this foundation.

And I've argued in the past that retouching is part of the feedback loop. Actually now that I think about it, the simple act of reviewing your images is a vital part of the feedback loop. By reviewing and evaluating your lighting, you're already mentally making notes as to what works and what doesn't work with lighting. Combined with further evaluation during retouching photographers can improve their understanding of lighting dramatically.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Private Workshop Questions

Natural Lighting Goodness with Beau Dunn

Here's some Q/A from a private workshop correspondence I've had with a photographer that I'm working with this Thursday. She had the following questions:

School does a great job teaching studio lighting. I'm proficient using Dynalite and ProFoto strobes. School does not, much to my dismay, teach lighting on location. Not only that, they don't demo on campus, outdoor lighting techniques. I'm weak and I really need to improve my outdoor lighting skills.

Less Dynamic Range

Cailin with the iPhone4

I wonder if most of us would benefit from the experience of shooting on cameras with less dynamic range.

It occurred to me the other day when I was examining files from both the Canon 7D and the Nikon D3 that digital imaging technology has come a long way. Yet with all the improvements in technology, our photography does not necessarily improve. And certainly not at the same pace as technological advances.

And for the most part many of us rely on the crutches of technology to get away with poor lighting/photography. Using myself as an example, if the D3 were only capable of 6 stops of dynamic range, I'd be forced to fill light some of my high-contrast light setups in order to preserve shadow detail. But I don't because I don't have to. I can pull those details out with Adobe Camera Raw.

Lucky me.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Competition

Here's a pretty picture to make this post more entertaining. It has nothing to do with this post.

I had a conversation with my hair stylist last night that was bemoaning how a competitor hair stylist was "getting on her nerves". I know both of these hair stylists so I have a little insight into their work lives and personalities. It turns out that my hair stylist felt a little threatened by her competitor because the competitor hair stylist was really on top of her marketing game (Facebook, twitter, etc.). Secondly, she felt threatened because her competitor was getting more editorial tear sheets than her. When asked why she couldn't do the same, she responded that she was too busy working to do editorials.

Jumping into the conversation I said, "So let me get this straight. You are threatened because she works less than you, makes less money than you, and then hangs out on Facebook all day?"

"I hadn't thought of it that way..."

"Okay, here's my 2-step solution to your problem" I said.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Formal Education

In response to an email I received this morning...

I read the profile page on your website. Your education and work experience has no relation with art and photography but you have a successful fashion studio. I'm curious what you think about people doing art/photography school.

Right now, I'd say I'm at the crossroad of life. I am 21 years old and took a year of community college. None of the classes interested me until I took an intro photography course (thank you art credit requirement). I felt this is what I want to do so I've been reading tutorials and blogs ever since. I thought to myself that I should get a degree in business since being a professional photographer it has more to do with business than photography in my opinion but when I look at requirements for retail/commercial photographer jobs they want a degree in art/photography, Capture One and medium format experience.
I'm not sure if I should get a degree in business or photography. How about no degree at all and just take workshops than open up my own studio when I'm ready.

I'll take a moment right now between shooting (video) to answer your questions in this email since these answers might be valuable to other photographers on their journey.