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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

NEW Photographers, where do you start.

A few days ago I blogged about meet 40 new photographers from one of Manchester's Uni's.

Below were my key points, notes made in my phone before we met. On the day day we discussed more but in advance my first thoughts were as follows

Be a business from day 1
Get into the camera, know it inside out, master it
Follow international talent, trends that are in and coming
Get to print
Get your website up, .co.uk .com, get a blog, link facebook Linkedin
Get a following
Get a proper email address
Get a part time job
Master working on low light
Don't be a geek
Work with good in THE places
Aim for the top three, others will come
Your work should have a feel, don't copy styles, but copy the best 8:)
Train you eye to good taste
Allow five years
Develop yourself like a fashion brand, be consistent, consistently good
What's your rate/ fee whats your added value?
What sort of photographer do you want to be, whats the market?
Do what you do, make time for visual pushups

Well that was most of my thoughts before we met, not in any kind of order of importance.

Have a plan, be knowledgeable and good push push push

Add or take from this what you want, good luck.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Calumet 7" LCD HDMI Monitor.

Today I took delivery of a Calumet 7" LCD HDMI Monitor, saw Calumet demo one on a Canon 5d MK3 last week when we were together meeting some of Manchester's newest photography students.

Why did I get this? I have a couple of interior shoots coming up where I know the working space is going to be tight, with this device attached I can get the camera right in, setup and review test images out of camera while I get to the perfect shot.

This device is also great to ensure critical focus, working with the lens on full zoom and the camera's x 10 zoom tack sharp images are guaranteed.

The HDMI cable slots into the side of 5dMK3 the other end into the monitor, the monitor runs from its own battery supply.

Reason two for getting this device, having clients review shots in camera is not always the best, this compact device will easy fit into a day to day kit bag. It will be easier for the clients to view images out of camera and me to control the viewing side it. 

Clients often review images but then they want to check the image in more detail means passing the camera back to me, this way we review together with the larger view... all good.

I know this will be a great addition for my video work too.

Compatible Input Formats: Composite - NTSC/PAL; HDMI - 480i/p, 576i/p, 720i/p, 1080i/p

Color Depth: 24-bit (16,777,216 colors)

The full technical spec of this item can be viewed here

Will post an on the job video... some time soon.

Monday, 24 September 2012

LONDON Fashion Week - Shooting the show.

The most critical part for me is positioning, ensuring a good clean angle.

If there is a video team they will have a great spot, central and probably slightly elevated, so working close to them or on ladders slightly behind and above will increase your chance of bagging equally good images.

There really isn't much time for reviewing past the first test shots, once all the exposure settings are set run with it, Manual is the way to go in this environment, maybe worth locking the camera up by switching the power button to ON if your a Canon shooter. With the power switch set to ON the speed dial functionality is turned off, stops you accidentally changing the f-stop and the look of your images mid shoot 8:)

Now that you have bagged a great spot and done some damage limitation, the camera focusing and shooting needs to primed to shoot when you want to shoot, select a focus mode to work as fast as possible, take as many shots as possible with as little fuss as possible.

The fastest shoot mode will be burst, take care of over use, shooting RAW will soon fill up the camera's buffer. Filling up the buffer is one sure way to loose shots while the camera dumps the files to the memory card, so some caution there.

Make sure you have large memory cards, you really don't want to be switching mid shoot if possible.

There's an overview without being too technical, work smart, work fast.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Shooting the Video Part 1 - Bodyshop with CGI

Shooting the Video Bodyshop, using CGI, to create the final look.

It is worth noting that between 1995 and 2005 the average effects budget for a wide-release feature film skyrocketed from $5 million to $40 million, so CGI is increasingly popular.

Not having the budget to create the set we wanted for Bodyshop we used instead a high end motor body shop.

The image below is from the final look, this is what was in mind when shooting.

The video was shot as below, when cropped in there was still some of the doors in view, so a skin was created at both sides to complete the final look.

Model Industry Icons - Caroline Trentini

With at least 8+ years at blue chip level under their belts, and still currently working, the industry icons bring experience and professionalism to every job and never fail to elevate the image into the realm of art. These are the true model's models and their endless stream of power bookings reflects that.

8 years ago Caroline Trentini leaped into the pages of American Vogue and the magazine hasn't been the same since. A perennial favorite of Anna Wintour, Steven Meisel, Craig McDean, David Sims, Patrick Demarchelier and every designer under the sun; Caroline has made her mark and is in it for the long haul. 

 Ph: Steven Meisel for American Vogue

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Charlotte Church video made using canon 5Dmk2 and 7D DSLR's.

Charlotte Church’s creative rebirth with an innovative video for the single ‘Back to made using the Canon 5Dmk2 and 7D DSLR's.

Producer Ben Sullivan , eight Canon EOS DSLR cameras and a finished video achievable in a one-day shoot and within the £60,000 budget.

Kevin Godley reveals: “We created a 360° white environment and shot from eight different camera positions using Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 7D cameras. So, we ended up with eight views of Charlotte at the same time. And we shot those eight views from three different angles; so we started low, moved to the middle and then the top.”

Asked to reveal a little bit more about the setup,“I looked at the zoom lenses that were compatible with the cameras and worked out the focal lengths and coverage we would need."

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Today I met 40 of Manchester's newest photographers

Today I met with 40 of Manchester's newest photographers, all year one Degree students. We talked about "the business."

Statistically only 0.5% will continue long term into a professional career, only 1 in 200 is a low success rate, so being honest with what's in front of them was order of the day.

My advise was to be a business from day one, don't get to year three and start looking for work, be active and put in a lot of hours both in study and in the business. 

Being a photographer now is not what is was 30, 20 or even ten years ago. Joe McNally told me when he started his job title was photographer but more recently he is a freelance image provider, now with video being more linked to our task list image technician is a title being banded about.

The students we all keen and I hope our conversation will help them be very driven between now and year three... hopefully they can buck the trend and make their dream a reality.

Joe McNally website http://www.joemcnally.com

Good luck to all of them.

Creating Video with your DSLR camera stability.

Creating Video with your DSLR, camera stability is one of the areas anyone new moving into video will want to get control of sooner rather than later.

Recording on the move needs to be thought through, as a very basic measure try and keep the camera as close to you as possible and elbows in, this bracing will reduce wobble. 

The more practice you have moving and filming, the better results you will get.

Creating video with your DSLR requires a slightly different approach than what we do shooting stills, be more fluid in your movement.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

VIDEO recording external sound.

VIDEO recording external sound, for better audio.

When picking an external digital recorder for audio there are quite a range of devices available for all budgets.

Due to the relatively low size of uncompressed audio files (certainly compared to uncompressed video) as well the high capacity and low cost of solid-state storage, most recorders either use removable solid-state media or internal flash chips to store data.

The sound of budget video cameras can be improved by something as simple as the Zoom H1, a tiny solid-state recorder with an X/Y stereo mic setup on the front. The H1 records to Micro SDHC cards, and using the simple sync methods described here, will capture much better audio than a typical DSLR or hybrid camera.

Video formats

Video formats can be confusing, for those who want to find out more here are two links that will help explain and unravel the mystery of file formats and types.

Media college http://www.mediacollege.com/video/format/

Fileinfo.com http://www.fileinfo.com/filetypes/video

All of the links allow a drill down with additional information on each type.

Hope you find these links useful.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Monday, 17 September 2012

Photography 101 Lighting the scene.

Lighting the scene starts for me with the first click, the first shot, what is the light in this space giving me right now.

Looking at the shot in camera, my thoughts are these conditions going to be positive or problematic, what equipment is required to fix.

Problematic are the conditions where the light needed to balance may be quite high, maybe the scene is too contrasty, most desirable are the conditions requiring minimal intervention.

From there on in the decisions made are about pushing light in, how you shape, how you control and the quality in terms of being hard or soft.

Sunday, 16 September 2012


Still aching from the London trip, we shot outdoors mostly (my preference) as we were gifted two days of sunshine.

Just getting together the gear required for the Scotland trip, ahead I have two days of video workshops.

Arriving in Glasgow later today, want to have a look about, prep is key, always good to know what your working with location wise.

Good bad or ugly I don't care, if there is a struggle coming you can prepare the options.

So... below is a shot from my London visit.

Twins by Jason Harry

 A cup of tea is required, bye for now.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

London calling.

London calling, so later today I am making my way to the big smoke.

We have two days of shooting, a mixture of some very talented models and dancers..

A few of the people scheduled to be in front of the lens are familiar to me, we have trying to arrange this shoot for a while. Our schedules haven't been in sync, major events like the Olympics and the summer holidays have hampered planning.

In advance of shooting I routinely check their current profiles, between all concerned we decide the look and feel of the new images.

Styling is important as is finding suitable backgrounds that work but do not distract.

Kit for tomorrow is not too complicated, looking like we will be working with flash and natural light.

I get back Saturday, it's a quick turn around, contact sheets will need to be sent out, repack what needed for next week then off again on Sunday.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Heading to Scotland, HD DSLR Video Workshop.

Haven’t been to Scotland in a while, so really looking forward to this HD DSLR video workshop. It’ll be this coming Monday and Tuesday 10-3pm at the Calumet Glasgow store.

The workshop is open to both Canon and Nikon users.

We will spend day one talking and working through operation with day two looking at shooting real projects and discussing everything that commercial projects bring.

Travelling over on the Sunday, for a scout around.

Wedding Photography.

Wedding photography if you haven't covered one already is a great occasion.

Katy and Matt are an amazing young couple they are so filled with happiness and love it just overflowed the whole day. Katy made the initial enquiry two years before the special day, I previewed the venue with Katy early this year and my first impressions were wow.

Go prepared to work in fast bursts, in high ISO and very often some high contrast light.

As the official shooter for the wedding I brought in a second shooter to ensure the day was covered, sending Rowena to some offbeat angle for her to look for magic moments. I was covering all the essentials but having Rowena with me I knew we had everything covered; She came back with some real gems there is no chance I would of captured any of them, you can't be everywhere.

Congratulations from the bottom of our hearts to Katy and Matt, and their families

Monday, 10 September 2012

GoPro The worlds most versitile Camera.

GoPro the worlds most versitile Camera? after checking the spec of the GoPro HD HERO2 Motorsports Edition and seeing the footage from it looks great..

The updated offering with enhanced capabilities over the original version looks like a great product to me.

Would I buy one, as a second camera for the video yes sure.

The GoPro promotional video above starts with more regular shooting styles, the brand promotes "be a hero" and this really comes over later in their video.

They say, "We hope this film inspires you to get out and do the same."

For those who love adventure, want to capture this, the GoPro kit looks like a great way to capture your crazy moments your way, with your own unique style. 

GoPro website

MODEL AGENCIES by Benjamin Kanarek

Model Agencies
A Few Interesting Tips
There are some interesting adages one might wish to use in describing relationships with model agencies. I have dealt with all of them and the one thing I can say is this; It is not so much the model agency, but the bookers who work for the model agencies that will leave you a lasting impression about them.

Now that may seem obvious, but it really isn’t at all, as bookers move from agency to agency more often than passengers on a subway line. Yeah, I am exaggerating, but it is very often. Thus, when you think you have built up a solid relationship with a booker at an agency and find out that she left for another, the reality of this move is worse than you might imagine. Not only have they left the agency, but quite often, come of the talent from that agency leaves with them. Not add insult to injury, being that the politic in model agencies are what they are, there is a good chance that trying to establish a solid working relationship with another booker may be problematic, as they may be jealous that you didn’t give them your time and decided to book via someone else.
Model Agencies
The above example is not an exaggeration, as I have experienced this time and time again.

Something else you must be made aware of is a kind of bait and switch technique, that is used often to get you to book a model with less notoriety than that with whom you really want to work with.  How does that work you ask? Well, let’s say you are casting for “So and So” magazine. You ask for suggestions for girls available for the magazine. They send you 8 or 9 models and in that choice there are a couple of Top Models. You get all excited and say, yes, please put an option on so and so for “So & So” magazine. They say, “we will try, but in case they are not available, why don’t you also consider so and so as well”. Most photographers won’t want to be impolite and generally say, “perhaps why not”.

Well you are now only a few days away from the shoot. You have a good 2nd option on those two Top Models. Well lo and behold, guess what happens? A couple of days before the shoot, you find out that they are NOT available and you are basically forced to take their second rung of models. You ask, “Why not confirm them or put them on 1st option?” Well, one of the techniques is to always give a 2nd option, in case the model gets called for an Ad Campaign, which pays a lot more than “So & So” magazine. Of course, if you can confirm the girl, that is the best bet, but still will not guarantee the booking. They will always find a way out if necessary.

My advice, is to put as many options as possible on the girls you like and hope that at the end of the day, one of them turns out to be a go for your “So & So” Magazine Editorial. Or better yet, if you can afford a casting director, go for it. They have tons more leverage than you do.

Oh yeah and one more very important point. The photographer is also a client, especially when casting for an editorial or an ad campaign and thus should be treated as such. In some places that is not the case, which I and many others find infuriating at best!

Original Post at BENJAMIN KANAREK Blog.

BK a Paris based Fashion photographer shoots for the top two fashion magazines, his blog is one of a few I goto on a regular basis.

Sunday, 9 September 2012


Voted One of the 10 Best Fashion Videos of 2011

Saturday, 8 September 2012

BBC Series Shot entirely using the Canon HD DSLR 5D Mk2

Shelf Stackers a six episode BBC comedy series shot entirely on the Canon 5D Mk2. Budget for the series was £160,000 part of an experiment to produce £1000 a minute TV content.

Episode one originally transmitted Saturday 4th September 2010 on BBC2 was shot entirely on the Canon 5D Mk2 without a rig or even monitoring, the Director Dom Bridges also shot the series and the only stabilisation used was the camera strap tensioned against the back of his head!

The series is shot in a working supermarket in Liverpool with the real staff working and real customers shopping. The cast worked amongst everyone else with Dom shooting and directing with one other person who was the sound man.

“The broadcasters initially thought it was a bad idea using the Canon as it had previously been turned down by the BBC for lack of quality in terms of broadcast. They thought I was a lunatic!”

The show is a production through Lime Pictures who shoot and produce the soap Hollyoaks, they weren’t sure about what Dom wanted to do and initially quoted him 45 days to handle all the data and get it in to the editing suites. “I had to take them all through Final Cut and how it’s imported and ProRes and how PluralEyes re-synchs the sound. I felt a bit like a ‘Leper’ having to deal with quite an archaic structure that seemed to exist on the ethic ‘If it’s not broke don’t fix it’.

“The show is a very low budget production and to make sure we had extras I decided to shoot in a open supermarket, some of our cast are recognisable from programmes such as SKINS. I wanted to keep the crew small myself operating and a sound guy. However I still wanted to give the show an aesthetic.

“I think eventually we got to shoot the show because it was low budget and things do slip through. It was shot with no lights just the strip lights from the supermarket.

“The Canon 5D looks like a stills camera so most of the time customers just thought I was some kinda of odd ball just taking pictures of the new staff! Another more serious reason for the camera choice was the depth of field I’m getting. Originally I'm from a commercials/music video background and I’m constantly baffled by the difference between cinema and TV.

Not all broadcast content has to be flat and two dimensional, we can shoot quickly and efficiently and still have beautiful imagery with depth that allows us to connect emotionally with the characters so I chose the 5D for this reason.”

Another great reason the 5D worked so well for Dom was that they shot each half hour episode in 2 and half days, so two episodes a week! “That’s fast and there was no way on earth we could have shot such low budget content and still make it look cool without the use of the Canon 5D.”

Dom ran into the BBC approval process that said at the time that they would never broadcast anything that had been shot with the camera, then he ran in to the focus issues. “There were all sorts of parameters I was unaware of. Things like they won’t broadcast anything that drops focus, so shooting on lenses that were f1.2 in a supermarket with no lights with a cast that I was trying to give as much freedom as possible was really hard. I felt that was more of an issue than the camera itself.

“If you watch programmes like Eastenders or The Bill, everything’s in focus all the time and for me as a viewer you feel detached from it even more because it in no way reflects how you view the world."

Create video with your DSLR workshop visits Belfast.

"Create video with your DSLR"  my two day workshop visited Belfast this week, it was great to visit Ireland and be in the company of a real mix of people including established professionals, semi pro's and hobbyist wanting to move into this area.

We worked through the basics of operation on the first day, day two discussion and practical including the design process, editing, grading, getting to grips with Cambo equipment and much more.

Everyone I met was so friendly and helpful, it made for a really great trip.

Already booked are two more workshops taking me back to Ireland before the end of the year, next time off camera flash and a one day HD DSLR workshop are available.

My next stop is Scotland on the 17th and 18th September, London and Manchester dates are taking bookings now.