Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Biggest Loser

This is Bill Germanakos the winner of the 4th season of The Biggest Loser. What a great guy and believe me, no loser. He was a pro in front of the camera, funny and just made my life as a photographer easy. I appreciated having my son Daniel assisting me on this shoot. These shots were for the Sensible Portions company.
We began this day by setting up and shooting Bill and a grocery cart full of product in a Costco parking lot. It was hot and the light was too, so we took some light of Bill with a big white umbrella.

After we had lots of shots out there, we moved into the store and did shots with Bill against shelving filled with product. While Costco has plenty of power outlets all around the outside of the store, there don't seem to be any as you move toward the center. That, of course, was where we had to shoot. Fortunately, I had a small Sunpack strobe in my case, so I stuck it on my camera, slowed down the shutter speed to brighten up the florescents overhead and shot tethered to my MacBook Pro so I could see exactly how the shots were looking. Our final shots took place outside the offices where we set up a 1/2 wide white seamless, and lit Bill nicely with a bank and strobe. That is the shot at the top. I have moved the extract plug-in from CS3 to CS4 and used that to easily strip Bill away from the mostly white background.
Okay, I shot using my beloved S3 using Fuji's Studio Utility to save to a certain folder and then launched Lightroom and set it to watch that folder. My clients love to see the big images as we shoot. We got home late, but still I was able to do a quick cleanup of the files in Lightroom and then gererate a flash web site. I emailed my client the link and I got choices back from John (the client) by 10PM the same night! Hey folks, digital rocks! Don't let anyone tell you differently. Gee, John seems to be working way too hard...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Product shots keep you busy.

Let's see... feed the family, pay suppliers, have some fun... this is why we trade checks for images that fulfill our client's layouts. This job was for Andy at Gerber. It was a rush job. I had two days to shoot and strip 55 Gerber products and then overnight a Fed Ex envelope so Andy would have the disk in his hands the morning of the third day. Andy did a great job of providing me with an Excel spreadsheet that laid out each shot needed and I kept throwing jpgs at him so he could see if what I was shooting matched what he was thinking. I only had to reshoot two shots and Andy got his disk on time. We call product shots like these our "bread and butter" shots. They can be done well and quickly and can be shot in the dungeon so the expenses are close to zero and everything is profit. We depend upon these kind of jobs to keep all of the bills paid. They are an important part of keeping a commercial photo studio profitable over the long haul. Hey - it's making money with a camera. What could be better than that?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Wide lenses

There is something special about using a wide lens. They don't work for every shot but when they do, they are amazing. Okay here is the truth: The lens I used for this series of pictures (I only show one here) was a Sigma 10-20 mm rectilinear wide angle lens. On my digital camera it acts as a 15-30 mm lens. That's still wide. I originally purchased this lens for a shoot of the Gerber building redesign. I have used it for the Sika antique flooring jobs as well as these Pearl Media jobs. In this shot I wanted to see the big white pointing finger, the general HP signage and the fact that this building is well placed next to the David Letterman Late Show studio. The only way to get it all in is with a very wide lens. Most of the shots for this job were straightened up using free transform in Photoshop. That way we got to see all of the different aspects while having the vertical things vertical. Somehow, I prefer to see it the way it shows above. I've got to say, this lens is super sharp. If you get the chance, try a really wide lens. It adds to the fun!