client wants me to make apples into oranges!

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by theresa_skutt, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. What I mean is, she gave me a link to a wedding style that she wants used in her daughter's indoor senior pictures. ? NO idea how to approach this. The link is:
    http://www.jessicarstrickland.com/blog/category/wedding/page/45/
    How does one take a wedding non-studio shoot and turn it into a senior indoor studio shoot? Can anyone identify the tools/actions used in these photos? All I can see is a good (maybe 1.8) lens and high contrast. Help, please!
     
  2. High contrast is part of it. Another part is deliberate overexposure, to blow out highlights. There is definitely some kind of skin treatment--try a copy layer, apply surface blur, blend in screen mode and use a layer mask to control where the effect is applied. When you shoot, use a LOT of backlight. Window light, softboxes, whatever you've got. Tilt the camera whenever possible (sorry--I hate that trendy soon-to-be-dated effect). Use a lot of selective oversaturation to the point where one of the RGB channels is severely clipped.
     
  3. Client's rarely have the vocabulary to tell you what they want-- the outdoor part may have nothing to do with it. She may just mean the post production contrast and over saturation.
    Try using a couple of different overlay layers: duplicate layer or a high pass filter layer (set at a radius of 5 after a surface blur or 45 and inverted for two different effects). You may also want to google "luminosity masks" to use with an increased Saturation layer.
    For lighting, you can use a beuaty dish (no grid, no sock, about 36" away) for a nice soft light that still contains parts with enough direction to give contrast. Also a large softbox and two 48x72" white scrims flanking your camera for some fill (maybe a light over head, if more fill is needed). I'd look to a 3:1 to 4:1 lighting ratio on the subject when I'm shooting to give me the range to process how I imagine them coming out.
     
  4. The good news is that you don't have to worry about doing a good job taking the pictures. Just shoot wide open, don't worry so much about focus as you are going to blow-out details anyway, and let your hands go all willy-wonky instead of carefully composing. Do jumping-jacks and spin in circles in between shots. This will keep you loose enough to let your camera sag 30° to one side or the other, and will make sure your subject doesn't stay more than 60% in the frame.
     
  5. Most of this is pretty easy to do, especially if you know PhotoShop at a competent level. If you do not, may I suggest you go to Nik Software, and download the Color Efex Pro demo. I think they let you use it for 15 days or something, but it's been awhile since I've looked at it. You can do the out of focus stuff, vignetting, and high key lighting pretty easily. www.niksoftware.com, I think.
     
  6. Hal,
    I take it you don't like her style?! All I know is that she is very expensive.
    Thanks Les, I'll be referring back to your comment in post-process. Nathan, I don't think I've been doing this long enough to understand your advice! I'm only 4 years in and haven't learned those things yet!
     
  7. What I see is:
    • A very fast lens (probably 1.4 or more)
    • Heavy vignetting (done in post)
    • Cropped compositions
    • Closer perspective (using a relatively shorter lens, like 50 or 85mm f/1.4 instead of 135mm f/2)
    • Saturation / vibrancy pushed up for non-skintones, especially blues and purples
    • Banked camera angles
    I am not a fan to be honest. To me this look is overcooked. But of course it's easy for the amateur photographer with no real portfolio to criticize the expensive successful professional... ;-)
     
  8. If I were you I'd go look at those images carefully and make a list of features that create the style, for example:
    - Non-studio background
    - Spontaneous, unposed situations
    - Focus on details, and unusual cropping and composition, including tilting
    - Highly saturated finish
    - Warm skin tones
    - Shallow depth of field
    Then talk to your client and discuss these elements, explaining to her what each is, and asking for her feedback. The more you can articulate what she likes about the images, the more likely it is you'll be able to deliver on her expectations. For example, if she insists that she likes the non-studio, natural setting, well, then the studio idea is going to have to be changed. Etc.
    Instead of guessing what she wants, seek a better understanding.
    Good luck.
     
  9. No one has addressed the REAL ISSUE. The problem is someone is asking you to shoot in a style that you don't shoot in. The worse part is you're going to. RARELY does this result in good images. You should be picked by a client because they like the images you produce, not what someone else produces expecting you will do the same.
     
  10. Think less about the subject and more about the mechanics of the shoot. Look at the photos and look at the quality of the light, how it falls what direction. Look at the angles, perspective of the shots, DOF, and Lenses used. Don't try to copy but instead think how would you do that shot.
    Learn the principle, abide by the principle, and dissolve the principle. In short, enter a mold without being caged in it. Obey the principle without being bound by it. - Bruce Lee
    You are not going to be able to copy a photographer's style, you do not have their eyes, mind, heart, soul and experience. What can do is learn and aspects and incorporate that into your style.
    Think out side the box, maybe use a location. Don't forget if the client wants something special or extra to bill for it.
     
  11. I agree with Jon C. if you are doing this professional-- if not, trying new things helps you discover your own style.
    Sorry my info was over you head, it was photoshop tips and some lighting equipment you may not have. Oh, and you may not be in ratios yet.
    As for Hal, his comment is actually a violation of the forum rules; the sarcasm falls under the unsolicited critique. Minor violation at best, but the critique didn't seem market sound. Dutch tilts are Wedding photographer's standby-- over used as they are, they sell. Her coposition and instinct on when to pull the trigger are great. There are few actual highlights that are "blown out", though the contrast is jacked up. It seems over cooked, and is a rather trendy style right now-- maybe to fall out of style in 5 years or so. But she's busy and making money; cheers to her.
     
  12. Dutch tilts are Wedding photographer's standby-- over used as they are, they sell...jacked up...over cooked...trendy...fall out of style in 5 years...​
    Nathan: If you can get past my sarcasm, you may realize that my opinion coincides with yours. These techniques are overused, but commercial (like cheap Hannah Montana T-Shirts at Wal-Mart). They are also extremely easy, and do not require much experience or attention to pull this off.
    I honestly believe anyone could shoot like this with the proper understanding that it is not a difficult look to achieve. It is a simple trick. Don't take it too seriously, and expect to do most of the magic in the computer.
     
  13. Ok Hal, break down the magic you see. I don't want to imitate, but I'm ok with being inspired. She was very pleased with my outdoor stuff, and it didn't quite look like that.
    I don't have a 1.8 lens so I don't think I could directly copy it anyway. Does anyone have a photographer in mind who shoots this style INdoors? Thanks for all the help.
     
  14. I agree with Paco's suggestion of experimenting and zeroing in on what your client wants, and with Jon's and Ralph's concerns that you should be developing in your own style rather than trying to copy someone else's. Personally, I prefer your photographs to those of the photographer you're being asked to emulate--they're more natural and hence more convincing and more timeless--but it's no bad thing that you're willing to try something new.
    If it helps, I notice that you make photographs with a wide range of tones, and significant detail is incorporated both in your shadows, which are quite transparent, and in your high values. Your highlights are quite small in area. Strickland clips her blacks, confines significant detail to her highlights, which are typically compressed but quite large in area, and uses very saturated color to define specific graphic elements with very definite outlines. She designs with one or two dominant colors.
    I agree with Nathan that making your pictures with diffuse off-axis lighting (such as a beauty dish) as the mainlight is part of the recipe. Another part is keeping significant detail out of your shadows, usually by minimizing them. A third is incorporating large areas of saturated color of one hue, or possibly two harmonizing hues, in addition to your brights and darks. A fourth is jacking the contrast, which emphasizes the contours of the very designed regions and tends to flatten internal tonality.
    If you open one of your pictures with much-cherished soft tonalities in Photoshop and make a duplicate layer, setting the blend mode of that layer to Overlay or Soft Light or any of several others will make its contrast go spung! and you'll want to bring it down with the Transparency slider--probably clear down to zero, since soft contrasts seem to be what you like.
    If you get over your initial resistance, you can also make adjustments in that duplicate layer to put the contrast where you want it, blur some areas to get rid of unwanted contrast, use it to accentuate fine or coarse detail with a High Pass filter, or raise its Saturation to put some kick in the colors. Most likely your current work won't benefit from any of these maneuvers, but if you do your homework you'll be able to previsualize the effect next time you shoot and make images that will read well even when cooked. You may be able to research some of these techniques step-by-step on lynda.com, and if you do you'll be persuaded that Nathan is quite a clever fellow.
    You'll never be a Strickland clone, but you can probably come up with some good strokes that will satisfy your client. More important, when you return to your own style, you'll find it subtly enriched.
     
  15. Charles has probably covered it all here...it's pretty technical and I'm not sure I could follow all his instructions. Hopefully you don't have to be a Photoshop Virtuoso to pull off the effect you want.
     
  16. Don't worry about the lighting and contrasts. You can always photoshop the lightings afterward.
    I think when she speaks of styles- maybe she meant she want the shots to be photojournalistic style like the ones in the wedding pictures. More of it, I think she meant she want her daughter's senior portraits to be shot at this and that angle or looking away and journalistic style rather than the traditional style.
    If you haven't tried the PICASA 3 for photo editing. Try free downloading it and work around with it. I used this program to mess around with the satuations and lightings and it work great!
     
  17. There is a simple solution and its not in PS.
    Either:
    1. Say no thanks, or
    2. Sure, but studio portraits are $2000 and outsource it to a good studio photographer.
     
  18. Stephen, that is not helpful.
     
  19. True - the answer is simpler than you think, no PS required. It's communication, and starts with you :)
    There were several different looks in the images you referenced.
    Discuss the specifics of those images with your client before you click the shutter. Find out which of those images she likes, or what it is about those images - pose, color, treatment, something else?
     
  20. Most of the 'effect' here seems to be done in post. The biggest issue I find with these kinds of trendy looks, is that eventually they will fall out of style. Just a few years ago, it seemed like fashion shoots were filled with these kind of compressed highlights, over contrasted/saturated images, now they've moved to duller saturation and curve balance that gives the images more of a 'grey' feeling I find.
    What I'm trying to say, is that this kind of over processing will please the client in the short term, but once these trends are no longer trendy, they'll look at the pictures as if they were looking back on what they wore in highschool years and maybe wish that they were a bit more tasteful.
     
  21. /delurk
    @Charles: Thank you for the comparison between the OP's style and Ms Stirkland's style, that was very enlightening from a post production point of view.
    Regards,
    Alvin - wildlife photographer :)
    /lurk
     
  22. Shoot with a slight overexposure and then do the rest as described in PS. You may also want to look at Alien Skin Software - they have photoshop plugins that let you do some pretty funky stuff in seconds.
    by the tone of your question - you're doing an indoor studio shoot? right? then ditch the studio. Get the senior into your house or her house or someone's house and start shooting... do so photos of her relaxing, getting ready, of a fav outfit hanging on the rack... you get the idea. Get out of the studio.
    Dave
     
  23. This is quite a good discussion, i'm learning too much, thanks to the contributers.
     
  24. Theresa ,lets break this down to two elements
    1. The style - The images displayed on Jessica's site are meant to suggest an informal mode of lets say for the choice of a better word " posing". In reality what Jessica has done is to make her images seem as if they were unrehearsed , informal and just part of the moment. This may be what the mother is seeking, that trendy , informal type of atmosphere. When i look at your website I see images from a polished, competent and professional photographer who should not have a problem in getting her subjects to be comfortable and treat the situation in an informal manner.
    2. Post production. If you shoot RAW and use lightroom , there are a number of free lightroom presets that will easliy creatre the effects shown on Jessicas site. These can be found at Adobes web site, Camera Dojo .com and via the following link on Flickr
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/presets/discuss/72157612664073371/
     
  25. How to make apples into oranges:
    1)sand the apple until it is round.
    2)add texture with a leather working tool
    3)paint it orange
    4)do not eat it-paint is toxic
     
  26. Hugh & Charles,THANK YOU.
    Morey, I will try Picassa, and I guess Lightroom is next. How does one make a profit when there's always something newer, bigger & badder to buy?! =)
    We did very little PJ style in her outdoor stuff. We had just met, and she was self-conscious and stiff. I asked her best friend to be in the shoot, too, so I anticipate very relaxed, happy, and comfortable subjects with a great result. Thanks to all of you. I MIGHT submit the results to see if you think I did it or not =0
     
  27. Howdy!
    Investigate Imagenomic Portraiture. It has these effects built in, and you can apply them with a few mouse clicks. I think you will be most happy with it.
    In addition to dramatic portrait effects, it has sophisticated algorithms to smooth skin without reducing detail. I use the package to automatically treat every portrait I take.
    Later,
    Paulsky
     
  28. I'd hate to have that kind of photos taken of my wedding. It is not the theatre festival but a wedding.
    Perhaps like somebody suggested earlier, form your own style and offer yor skills not somebody else's. :)
     
  29. What strikes me, as an armature, is that these women are beautiful, slim, and know how to pose. If the customer is trying to fit into a shoe size too small, so to speak, she may never be happy anything you offer her. I'm out of my league here, but perhaps some trial shots for her evaluation are in order.
    This thread had a lot of useful info, thanks all.
     
  30. Theresa...my experience with something like this is kind of what Jon wrote. People who initially say "I LOVE what you do" and then hire me are easy to work with, inspirational during the shoot and delighted with the results. People who hire me and haven't looked at my work thoroughly, can be challenging (not always bad) to the point of exhausting (not very good). While it is good to push yourself in new directions, it is also important to have a "style". That is ultimately what will sell you. Good luck on this shoot. I hope your client gets what she wants without you shedding too much of your creative soul.
     
  31. i m still waiting to see the results !
     
  32. Manuj--I am still trying to schedule it. They're traveling to look at colleges and she is doing a joint session with her best friend, which is good but it makes scheduling harder. I will definitely show ya'll what comes of this. =)
     
  33. thanks theresa
    and IMHO jessica is being paid highly for having a style of her own.
    when the fad gets over in 5 years , she wud had evolved to something newer and more expensive !
     
  34. also a modest suggestion.
    you can not imitate exactly. so do a sample shot of her . then go for the complete shoot .
     
  35. Strickland's style is trendy and modern. I like some of it a lot. It has a glow about it. It might be worth giving her style an honest effort, because it looks like a style that would go over like crazy with the trendy middleschool to college aged crowd.
    I hope it works out for you.
     
  36. Ok, here was my take on her request. She hasn't seen it yet...
    Bear in mind the high degree of portraiture software; she has acne scarring that needs complete coverage.
    00UwPo-187661684.jpg
     
  37. more more ...
    this smells good.
     
  38. Looks great! Congrats!
     
  39. Let me know if you're still looking for responses to this thread. That look is pretty popular right now and there a few action sets that do it. I see this is an older post, so I'm probably too late...sorry.
    00VpS9-222751784.jpg
     

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