Archive for the ‘Lighting and Styling an image’ Category

Advertising photography – it’s not as easy as it looks

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
Composit finished image

Single shot finished image

The fine art of producing high quality advertising photography is not as one would expect.  The amount of work and money required to produce one of those advert spreads we commonly see in a magazine is mind boggling!   We all think about the day of the shoot and getting that right image, but what is unapparent is the amount of pre-production work that’s involved before you grab that camera.

Art directors story board sketches

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I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about.  Recently, we were commissioned by Blue Sotogrande Marina Shopping and Peppermint Create Advertisement Agency to produce images for their new Ad campaign to promote the recently built shopping centre.   Preparation for this shoot began weeks ahead of time when I received from Peppermint the selected storyboard developed by their art director. Working together with Peppermint, we organized a casting with Target Models to select the girl with “the right look” for this campaign.Female models-2 Then came the dog…a much harder search.  As that no dogie casting agencies exist in Southern Spain, we had to go through friends of friends and local kennels until the right dog came along.

Lidia our final model choice

Once we had our models, our next task was to recce potential locations.  The art director and I spent a day taking test shots of various spots along the port of Sotogrande.  Three weeks before the date of the shoot, I received the shoot brief detailing the schedule and shots selected.

Tango on white backdrop

Shoot brief for 020608-2

Many details had to be arranged during those 3 weeks.  I ordered the necessary Pro Photo lighting equipment as well as white paper roll backdrop with the various stands and sandbags used to support them.

Our hopeful finalists

Hopeful Dog Models

I also met with my production assistant to discuss what shoot permits we would need as well as to arrange the transport of the lighting equipment and most importantly the catering! As I’ve previously worked with animals on shoots, I knew that getting our dog under control was no easy task. Digging through my fishing gear, I found a heavyweight fishing line that would do the job.  A bit of fishing line tied to our dog’s collar can easily be Photoshopped out.  Meanwhile, our art director was busy meeting with our stylist, model, and various fashion boutiques to coordinate final wardrobe and makeup.  Even the dog was not left out as that we had a collar and leash specially made with the logo “Blue” written in Swarovski crystals.

Part of the gang!

Part of the gang! Dana,Laura and Lidia

The day before the shoot, every one of us is busy with final arrangements.  Our art director meets with the stylist and model for a final wardrobe fitting.  She also confirms that our dog has been groomed and will be ready to go the following morning.  Meanwhile, my production assistant collected the lighting equipment while I double checked that all cameras, lenses, and reflectors were ready and packed for an early morning call time.

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes

The morning of the shoot, we all arrived for an early 7.30 AM call time, and believe me in Spain 7.30 is early.  To my horror, a thick sea mist covered my shoot location.  Fortunately, mother nature set us back only an hour.  As soon as the light was right, we had our model and dog (who was by now attached to various individuals via fishing line) get to work.  For the two to three hour we shot continuously with only occasional brief breaks as that the day was getting hotter by the second and a big dog like Tango was bound to get overheated quickly.  I also needed to get a final ten minutes with Tango posing on the white backdrop in case I need to use him in a composite.  As it turned, we did get one perfect shot which is the image you saw at the beginning of this blog, however, the main image used by Blue is the composite you see at the end of this blog.

So there you have it!  A shoot that took weeks to plan, five hours to shoot followed by many more for post-production; a collaboration of ten people to produce two final images!

Alternate finished composite images used in bill board campaign

Alternate finished composite images used in bill board campaign

Escape to Africa

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010


My latest photographic adventure took me on a relatively short trip down to the Dark Continent. I was commissioned to photograph a unique Moroccan-styled townhouse in Tangier, Morocco. As that I live in Southern Spain, getting to Tangier involved a short car ride into the expansive port of Algeciras followed by a one and a half hour ferry ride to the port of Tangier. The townhouse itself was a 10-minute walk from the port and located just outside the Medina. Although the exterior of this property was simple and unobtrusive, the interiors were magnificent featuring traditional U-shaped arches, elaborate use of bright color, and extravagant decorations. Traditional Zellige terra cotta tile work covered much of the floor and walls of almost every room while impressive Moorish plasterwork adorned the vaulted ceilings…and the views were absolutely spectacular! All in all, an amazing property. Enjoy the pics!

Quality Images Sell

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” certainly holds true in our fast paced and image conscious world.  Today’s real estate world is largely based on Internet and print publications.  As that virtually every property on the market has been advertised using images, high quality photographs can make a huge impact on its sale ability.  Potential buyers browsing for properties will be drawn to images that stand out above the rest.

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One of the two key elements in shooting any property is lighting.   The expensive equipment used to light interior is not enough to get the right light; you must also rely on Mother Nature.  Lets face it, when you see a beautiful interior image with natural soft sunlight shining in and crystal blue skies, the impression is completely different than the same image displaying cold and gray skies.

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The soft sunlight captured on an image during the morning and evening illuminates your set with inviting warm tones and detail.  I use lighting equipment to basically balance out the exterior and interior light for exposure purposes thus avoiding burnt out windows.

Equally important to lighting is the actual styling of the interior.  Having a creative stylist on hand is certainly an asset!  It is my stylist’s job to recce the property and decide

what props we need to bring on the day of the shoot.

The right amount of appropriate well-placed props gives any room a realistic lived-in look.  Most interior shots will also benefit from a “little green”.

Both plants and cut flowers add a splash of colour and life.

A key fact to remember is that “less is often more” as far as styling is concerned and there is a big difference between a lived-in look and a chaotic mess.

The final phase in perfecting an interior image is done in post-production.  One cannot control if a crane or lamppost is seen through the window of your image and thanks to Photoshop, these nuisances can quite easily be removed.  Programs such as Lightroom also enable me to perform fine colour balance as well as correct wide-angle lens distortions.

By using quality lighting and styling and the latest in digital camera and post production techniques, even the average property can become a buyer’s dream home.  To get a better idea of what I’m talking about, I’ve included some examples of before and after images featuring what these techniques can do for an interior.