Centaur

I captured and retouched this for the pure fun of it and because Ive loved the Greek myths since I was a kid.
This image involved a lot of transplanting of hair for the horse and adding a beard and longer hair on my model as it would be ridiculous to have a clean shaven centaur with short gelled hair!


Stills Based Motion. Parallax Videos

With technology in constant movement it’s sometimes hard to know when something new appears if it’s just a temporary gimmick or if it’s actually something useful that will stay around.
3d motion or 2.5d to be more precise has been around a while and caught my eye.
It grabbed my interest as I could see how it could add value to clients by using the same still images shot for a campaign and repurposing them for motion based ads.
Like most things the images work best when pre planned to be used in this way but you can still create some subtle eye catching Parralax images from the simplest image like this portrait of a Belly Dancer.

The following samples are a little more complicated to produce requiring elements on several layers (spot the subtle seagull movement).

More stills based motion work can be found Here


Lifestyle In Loret De Mar

Back in October I made a trip to the Catalonian resort of Loret De Mar.
Unfortunately the weather was the worst seen along the Spanish coast for decades which of course hindered things slightly !
Fortunately the weather did break albeit just for two brief periods and I managed to capture several locations I had scouted.
Several months on with my models Susie Coats and Andy Elvin arranged (see blog post Pre Production For Post Production) I then photographed the models images and went into post production to composite the images together into the final shots shown here.


Pre Production For Post Production. Composite Lifestyle Shooting.

Tomorrow I have a location lifestyle shoot planned with a couple of models so I thought I’d give a glimpse on how I prepare for some of my shoots.

It can be surprising to some people just how much pre-production can go into even the smallest shoots especially if they are on location.
My shoot tomorrow has it’s own particular added elements that need careful preparation and close attention and that is because the backgrounds have already been captured several months before.
When I travel I often will go out capturing my chosen locations before dawn or dusk for the best light (depending on what I’m after).
If I have a choice I prefer dawn not because I love to get up at 4am (in the summer) but because there is less likely to be any tourists around especially in popular city locations.
Saying that having been a retoucher for 21 years I know some clever techniques to very simply remove people from images in post without the need for any stress while on location if needed.

My models will be captured either in my studio or as is more often the case outside in natural daylight and supplemented with lighting if required.

So for this shoot to be captured and be successfully blended realistically in post-production there are many things that need careful attention. Here are just a few of the basics.

The light quality
Light angle
Light temperature
The surrounding elements and their colour
Camera height
Camera angle (perspective)
Lens focal length (this can be tweaked a little)

As I said these are just a few things that I’m carefully looking at.
To help me with this I create a markup image for quick reference (shown below).

Here are a few samples from a previous shoot.

As you will see in the second picture in the bottom row if possible I’ll always take a snap of myself in the scene.
You have probably already guessed that this gives me a great reference when I shoot my models to how the light in the scene should be interacting on them even if it’s not a pretty picture!

So one question you may ask is why go to so much trouble why not shoot the models in situ like many photographers?
Well, I first should add I’m definitely not against doing it all in camera and often do however there is a multitude of reasons why it might not always be possible.
The main one is simply the logistics of getting models, stylist, makeup artist and the many other people that make up a production crew to a particular location at a certain time.
For me, it’s partly the above plus, of course, the substantial costs involved as some of these images are purely self-funded portfolio pieces so budgets can be naturally tight.
The other more personal reason is it enables me the luxury of more time to concentrate on capturing the changing light and various angles the locations has to offer with more flexibility.

It was interesting to read that Lord Litchfield towards the latter end of his career shot in a similar way.
As far as the post-production is concerned there is, of course, some work (and cost involved)  pulling all the elements together but then how often these days does an image not have some retouching applied before being published? If planned and executed correctly the image can often come together remarkably quickly.

As I said above I’m quite happy working and doing it all in camera and have done so many times but for me working this way provides a flexible alternative providing it’s planned accordingly.

 

 


St Paul’s Chapel And Post Production Ironing.

Last week I finally got around to shooting some models to be able to complete several images I had captured from my latest trip to Greece.
Casting the right models for a shoot together with right styling is always something that needs careful consideration to work well.
On top of that because this image was a composite the actual photography needed very careful planning as lighting, light quality, perspective, colour amongst many other things all needs to come together for the final image to work seamlessly.

 

Shooting Plan Mark Up

 

Even with all the best planning however the odd curve ball can still pop up. Despite preparation the night before one of the models shirts got a little creased on route to the shoot.
Normally this would not had been an issue except the studio iron decided to retire itself ! Fortunately I knew a digital solution and with the schedule being tight I decided this would be a better than have a delay acquiring another iron.

The background image was captured pre dawn and created from around 27 frames stitched together in post to allow for a more pleasing perspective with a 41mm lens and deliver a wider dynamic range.
I decided during the final stages of the composite to change the colour of the female models top from blue to a more contrasting orange to help draw the viewers eye to the models.


Repurposing Images With The Parallax 3D Technique

I’m always looking to be able to offer clients more bang for their buck especially when budgets are tight.
Repurposing existing stills into 3D engaging (actually 2.5D to be precise)  motion clips is one way to offer more value and provide engaging content for website and social media channels.
Best results are always to be had by planning with the end result in mind and shooting with the following Parallax technique is no exception.
However, it’s still possible to take an existing image and produce some incredible results.
The first sample below was captured for my client Mimecast and is a fairly straightforward still image from a business lifestyle production shot on location in London.

With a little post-production and 3D rendering, it was possible to repurpose the image into a simple and eye-catching image asset.

This image was a little more involved and shot with the Parallax technique in mind which allowed a little more scope for creating some depth and motion.

 Again this one lent itself perfectly to a Parallax effect keep an eye out for a couple of subtle movements towards the end of the movie.

You can view more motion work here


Pre Christmas Summer Shoots

A few weeks leading into Christmas assignment work quietened down enough to catch up on some long overdue personal work.
Shooting a summer themed Travel Lifestyle in December is not ideal for summer clad models for obvious reasons but needs must.
I prefer when compositing images of natural daylight lit scenes to use daylight as my main source if possible and add any other strobe lighting to this.
In short, if I need to replicate daylight on my subject to match a scene then I use daylight rather than try and recreate it in a warm cosy studio!
Great for the integrity of the image not so great if your a model being asked to pretend it’s 32 degrees and it’s actually minus 2 and wearing a slinky evening dress.
Needless to say, I worked quickly (in my thermals) to avoid too much discomfort for her.
I have to say Lilliana my model did not moan once and was fabulous to work with and I think the final images work beautifully.
Have a great Christmas everyone.

Travel Lifestyle Rhodes Old Town Greece

 

 

 

 

 

Fornells Menorca Spain.


Papilio Portraits & Interiors

I’m generally not known as an interior photographer but like most photographic genres I’ve probably at some point done it but just don’t advertise or claim to specialise in it.
In the case of Interior Design company Papilo they contacted me as they required some tricky interiors capturing and knew with my post production knowledge I could possibly help capture what they required.
Steve & Matt Papilo’s directors also explained they needed some corporate portraits that also would showcase their interior design style at the same time.

The idea for the portraits where pretty much dictated by the location so we finalised everything on the day of the shoot.
I decided once I had seen the interior that the approach should be a composite image to allow for maximum flexability.

The shoot went without any issues and so with time to spare decided on another alternative both shown below.

Corporate Portraits For Papilio Interiors Of Steve And Matt And Clients Kitchen Frome

Corporate Portraits For Papilio Interiors Of Steve And Matt And Clients Kitchen Frome

For the interiors we planned to capture the rooms when the exterior ambient light was at the correct angle and intensity.
This was to allow enough daylight to illuminate albeit very dimly through any visible windows.

Capturing all of the lighting intensities and dark surfaces required some care but I’m pleased to say Papilio where very happy with the results.

Steve Garland Papilio Interiors Shoot Ban Hill Barn

Steve Garland Papilio Interiors Shoot Ban Hill Barn

 

Steve Garland Papilio Interiors Shoot Ban Hill Barn