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Messages - agierke

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Photography Technique / Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« on: April 30, 2014, 12:14:07 PM »
I've also mulled over taking the shot with a small aperture... waiting till the subject is away... turning the focus to manual so it doesn't shift, and the opening the aperture wide... And then placing them in the bokeh filed image with Photoshop.

You would need a tripod of course.

I've thought about this... but I don't think it is an option I can use with my body's firmware.

Shoot two images onewide open and the other at f8 in quick succession... then over lap then in layers in Photoshop and just make the dog in focus...

I think it would look strange at really large print sizes, but at calendar size, it would go unnoticed.

I probably should read the manual, but I don't think any bodies are set up for that type of on the fly automatic adjustment.

you could do takes a considerable amount of time and care in PP to do it so it doesn't look fake (even at smaller outputs). or, you can just find the appropriate aperture, focal length and distance from subject while you are shooting.

Photography Technique / Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« on: April 30, 2014, 11:39:00 AM »
My 100L with f2.8 produces a way too thin dof wide open.

well, you dont HAVE to shoot wide open. i think sporgons suggestion and mine is that you should understand what each focal length will behave like and what apertures are afforded to you given any given situation.

you could use the 17-40mm at 40mm and F4 and get usable shots. you could also use the 70-300 at 70mm and 5.6 and get usable shots. its all about understanding how each lens will behave in a given situation and what apertures are available to you given the look you are trying to achieve.

unfortunately this takes alot of time and shots to familiarize yourself with how your gear behaves in certain situations so you can confidently make decisions quickly during a shoot. i know when i can pull off F2 on my 35mm or when wider than F5.6 isnt an option on my 70-200mm. but i only know that through taking ALOT of shots where things didnt work out.

beyond that, considering the shots you posted, i would suggest you ditch shooting in sunny spots and seek out more flattering light. you are using the speedlights to fill well but it still looks flashy to me. softer, more diffused light is much more flattering for portrait work. you can still use a speedlight on camera with diffuser to pop a little catchlight in the eyes while shooting in shade and maintain a more natural light look.

Photography Technique / Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« on: April 30, 2014, 11:11:20 AM »
i agree with sporgon about using a 50mm or 85mm rather than your longer focal lengths. compression from focal length is one thing but i noticed in alot of your shots your background wasnt that far away. so you are basically losing the benefits of the longer lens if a shallower depth of field is the desired look.

in my above posted shot, i would not have used the 70-200mm if it weren't for the corridor like view i had of the sidewalk. if my background is a bit closer but i still want the isolation of shallow depth of field then i'm going for one of my fast primes. even a 35mm used properly can give good results at much wider apertures.

below shot: 35mm 1.4 @ F2.2 1/2000th ISO 800

Photography Technique / Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« on: April 30, 2014, 10:51:01 AM »
I always end up shooting @f9-f11 for safety which kills the bokeh and has a distinct mobile phone look (well, my lens is white). Since I like the compression I'm usually using 100-200mm with my 70-300L.

i'm afraid that's just the nature of the beast (forgive the pun). the only time i'll shoot at 2.8 on a long lens is if i am shooting a single individual or trying to isolate an individual in a group. usually for two people F4 is max aperture i will go with.

dogs are just tricky. its a bit easier maintaining depth of field with people because faces are relatively flat compared to dogs. if you want tip of nose back to ears in focus with a dog you generally need smaller apertures. that being said, i dont think you need to be hyper critical with holding the depth of field with these types of shots.

below is an example. shot at 140mm on 70-200mm F2.8, @ F4 1/320th ISO 1600. yes the dog starts to go a little soft but the client was perfectly happy with the shot. you have to remember that the end goal is to please the client. the likelihood of your average person noticing that the tip of the dogs nose isn't critically sharp and feeling that its ruining the photo is almost nil. they will be thrilled if it only captures the cuteness of their buddy...which most likely it will. 

Lenses / Re: New 50mm Sigma ? There are other options !
« on: April 16, 2014, 09:04:33 AM »
I wonder how many professional photographers truly enjoy photography?

i do.

my father (incidentally a phd chemist) always told us kids growing up to do what you love, the rest will take care of itself. so i listened...and that's exactly what is happening. i am able to fully support myself on photography alone. i do feel quite lucky though as it isnt easy and i see alot of people struggle with it and fail.

i never understood the comments some people make about not wanting to be a professional and ruin what they love doing. i always thought the best thing you could hope for is to get to do what you love everyday....AND have someone pay you to do it!

but i have absolutely no problem with amateurs buying the best gear...i say why not! at the very least it helps support the company i expect to continue to produce top notch tools for my business. the only issue i have is when an amateur thinks they can take on pro jobs simply because they have the gear and then they do the work for ridiculously low rates or free. that aint cool!

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Dissuade me to get a Rolleiflex
« on: April 15, 2014, 11:06:16 PM »
this past winter i refurbed a polaroid 180 so that i can shoot with it for fun. for me, polaroid pack film captures the "magical" experience of film photography without the hassles of roll film.

The Impossible Project has once again pulled off a minor miracle & designed & built a new Polaroid instant camera this year (thanks in part to Kickstarter).

The Impossible Instant Lab converts iPhone images to Polaroids.  There's a shop close to me where I've seen it at work, & it's the real deal.  I sincerely hope that this thing will enable them to scale up to where they can sell their film for less than two bucks a shot.

i was super excited about IP coming into existence but alas, they have mostly disappointed me. their films take an excrutiating amount of time to process and the results are pretty random and lackluster. when your "instant" film takes 30 to 60 mins to develop properly it is a) not that instant and b) lacking severely in practical useability.

Fuji packfilm on the other hand is an absolute joy to use. very sad that it seems to be slowly going away as well. 

Lenses / Re: New 50mm Sigma ? There are other options !
« on: April 14, 2014, 12:39:24 PM »
the only thing zooms dont offer that fast primes do is the look you can get at F2.0 and wider. thats about it.

there is alot of nonsense in this thread...about outgrowing this/that or what pros know about whatever...

i carry both zooms and primes with me for work. currently i enjoy shooting with primes over zooms but that is ONLY because i seek out opportunities to shoot at wider than 2.8. that is simply a personal preference though. i wouldn't be caught dead on a job without my zooms but if i can, im grabbing my primes first.

its downright silly to make blanket statements about technique (especially in a creative medium) with only a modest "professional" career to back up those statements.

one of the things i have learned over my years is that you can make all the "rules" you want but a talented creative person will come around and smash those rules to bits. and make you and your "rules" look silly in the process.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Dissuade me to get a Rolleiflex
« on: April 14, 2014, 09:00:04 AM »
i sorta get it. this past winter i refurbed a polaroid 180 so that i can shoot with it for fun. for me, polaroid pack film captures the "magical" experience of film photography without the hassles of roll film.

i also picked up a mint condition Kodak Stereo camera and a vintage 1904 stereo viewer this past winter. ran a test roll through it and printed up some test prints for viewing. had tons of fun doing it but still need to tweak the process a bit to refine the results.

i lived through the film days and understand the tedium, cost, and anxiety over potentially screwing up an irreplaceable photo moment....but there is something that goes a bit beyond nostalgia when using vintage gear. i simply love photography, in all its forms, and using different processes is a way to further enjoy photographing as it changes the experience slightly.

changing the way i think, the way i work, and the way i see are all ways of refreshing photography for me. i find quite a bit of tedium in digital photography through my jobs so revisiting historical tools and techniques is somewhat of a release. i find it is a similar experience to using a particular lens alot and getting sick of it, then buying a new lens and falling in love with how it changes the way you see things.

would i spend 2300.00 on a rollie? no. but i cant really judge the OP since every time i consider selling my Hassi i come up with enough reason not to do it.     

Lenses / Re: New 50mm Sigma ? There are other options !
« on: April 12, 2014, 10:06:22 AM »
Shake is quite random, but with the resolution of modern digital FF you really need to be in the region of 2x focal length.

my experience falls in line with this statement. slight motion blur/camera shake can be much more evident at 1:1 (focal length:shutterspeed) than it was with film. can you get a crisp shot at 1:1 situations? yes...but its quite frustrating when you don't and happens more often than i prefer.

im not in the camp that is insistent on canon including IS on every lens they produce, regardless of focal length, but i do know if i want to maximize my results for crisp images i need to follow the 2x shutterspeed:focal length rule. 

Photography Technique / Re: Shooting and model release form use
« on: April 02, 2014, 08:57:55 PM »
for example national geographic.  I was going to enter the travelers competition with some street pics from South America.  Problem, I didn't obtain any signed releases.  -______- 

The reason for needing a release in that situation is that National Geographic is a commercial enterprise and can't publish photos acquired from a contest they run where they don't know/control the circumstances that those photos were taken under. In short...they are covering their butts. In contrast, their own stories fall under the editorial context and thus they probably don't need releases for all the individuals that appear in those photos.

Lawyers spend a lot of time trying to understand the ambigiously and sometimes contradictory legislation on this issue.  Many of the laws are vague and, post 911, can be interpreted far stricter than in other times. Unfortunately, the courts have been inconsistant in their rulings on many cases.

I disagree with this notion as it concerns the need of model releases, defining of a public or private space, and what defines uses of images for commercial or advertising purposes. Local courts may try to interpret existing laws but the Supreme Court is pretty clear about these issues and as far as I have heard has ruled consistently.  Can you state cases that show ambiguity?

In my experience it's pretty b&w as to when I need a model release and how I can use an image that I take. I've never had a problem. If you need further clarification I would recommend checking out ASMP as they will have resources that will provide the definitive answers concerning these issues.

Photography Technique / Re: Shooting and model release form use
« on: March 31, 2014, 09:55:41 PM »
As I understand it, you do not need a model release so long as you don't use the images for commercial advertising. You would need the consent of the individual or individuals in the photo as long as their "likeness" is recognizable. Meaning that even if they are slightly out of focus, partially blocked or turned profile you would need releases for commercial/advertising purposes.

Any reputable commercial entity won't dare publish a photo without all releases covered. I have been on jobs where a statue was in the background and the image got turned down because we didn't have the art release for it. On jobs where we are shooting in public areas, we usually have at least 1 or 2 assistants running around with an iPad to get releases on anyone who ends up in a shot.

If you are an amateur just shooting for fun then anything is free game in a public space. A public space is anywhere that isn't privately owned. So streets and parks are malls and casinos etc are not ok. You are free to use you amateur shots for artistic endeavors or for personal means without the need of a model release. That includes posting on the internet or showing in a gallery.

Granted...there is what the law allows and then there is being honorable. I think people who shoot random girls in bikinis on a public beach and then post them online pretty creepy and kind perverted. But by law it's legal.

The law protects the individual from someone profiting from their likeness without consent but that's it. If you go out in public it's reasonable to expect you may end up in someone's photo at some point.

Oh...and general rule of thumb, don't mess with taking pictures of random children. Legal or not, it's just not worth the fury of a protective parent.

I'm a bit puzzled why you started an otherwise informative and enlightening post with such a condescending beginning.

the title of this thread and the presumptions made by the OP annoyed me. statements like "anyone could get excellent shots there - especially a Phase One." warrant a sharp response imo. it cheapens the often unseen efforts, experience and ability that many pro photographers bring to the table.

i have generally steered clear of threads like these. the threads about Andreas Gursky's work are another example of presumptuous statements being bandied about that just exhibit ignorance. its one thing to have opinion...its another thing to marginalize a person or his work out of ignorance.

i carefully worded that opening statement so as not to completely disregard the presence and contributions of a number of members on this site and possibly jog a few more responses from professionals. i stand by the statement as i wrote it. there are many whom i enjoy and respect on these forums, both professional and amateur. Sporgon and Florian to name a few, as well as others.

and to be clear, i personally dont place myself anywhere near the experience and abilities of a great photographer. by my own estimation, i'm very far from where i want to be. but when all is said and done, i want to be able to say that i am a true expert in this field. someday. its because of this that i work very hard and keep an open mind towards others in my profession. i want to always be learning and improving and take pride in being able to contribute to the growth and success of those that i do work with. 

it shocks me sometimes the narrow point of view that is expressed about certain subjects and how little knowledge there is on this forum about professional photography. i thought there were more professionals on this forum but it seems more and more there is not...or at least they remain quiet readers for the most part.

i still work as an assistant and 2nd shooter while growing my own business. been doing this now for 15+ years. most professional gigs benefit greatly from having a good assistant.

as an assistant, i have been responsible for almost every aspect of the job, including gear management, setting lighting, loading film backs, processing and printing film, shooting casting calls, styling sets, digital tech, post production, and even taking the actual shots. heck, my shots are even on other professional photographers websites and have been published with their names on them. its all part of the job.

in my network of photographers i am highly valued for the ability and knowledge i bring to the table. it doesn't trump the fact that its their job and their creative vision. the benefit to me is i constantly get to learn new methods and techniques as well as getting other perks such as contacts and support. when a photographer can't take a job they usually pass along the contact to me. i also have available to me the ability to borrow equipment at no cost when i have the need.

over the last 5 years or so, the shrinking budgets for photography have made it more difficult for photographers to staff a job the way they once did. my response has been to widen my network so that i am covering any future losses by gaining more access to more photographers and their work. in turn my own business has grown year after year from additional contacts.

the world of photography is not black and white for me (excuse the pun) rather i keep the lines blurred, stay diversified, so that my income comes from a variety of sources. its kept me "alive" in this business as i have watched many others business shrivel up and die. my goal, as a professional photographer, is to get the work and fulfill whatever requirement is asked of me, whether that be shooter, assistant, tech or post production. in the end...its all photography to me.   

Lol...freaking auto correct! My apologies if I offended anyone.

This thread seems like a good place to ask this.

I've always been an admirer of Irving Penn's portraits (Worlds in a Small Room, Small Trades, etc.). I've never figured out how to recreate the look of his backgrounds. I've only seen seamless paper in solid colors and while the muslin backgrounds come close, they just aren't quite the same. As others have said, unless you have some means of permanently leaving them hanging they are prone to wrinkles, which one would think wouldn't be a huge problem if you can blur the background, but unfortunately, even with full frame, it seems like there is never enough background blur to hide the wrinkles.

From pictures I've seen, it looks like Penn used Canvas.

Anyone here have any sources or ideas.

Most likely he used a custom hand painted Muslim. Traditionally Muslims were all hand painted and unique. it's a recent (last twenty years of so) development that you can get mass produced printed Muslims. Most modern Muslims are kinda cheesy IMO. They lack the classic qualities of a hand painted Muslim.

If you are going for that look you can buy blank Muslim and either hire a painter to paint it or give it a go yourself.

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