a (fashion) shooter

homeofthevain.com’s Nikola Tamindzic

by on Aug.26, 2009, under lighting & technique

Nikola Tamindzic of www.homeofthevain.com fame came to the July 11 afashionshooter workshop.
Check out a few numberswiki.com

of his images below, and then check out his very cool fashion site and blog if you haven’t already.

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girl with head

by on Aug.24, 2009, under cameras, lighting & technique, lighting workshops

The second workshop went well. Here is one of the resulting images. More to come…(Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm lens, daylight, handheld)

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Workshops: the Creative Director

by on Jul.02, 2009, under lighting & technique, lighting workshops

donna karan campaign

donna karan campaign

Hello! Christine Be will be the Creative Director for the upcoming workshops, and I thought you might like to see some of her work. Her clients have included Donna Karan, Tiffany & Co., Tom Ford, Estee Lauder, and many more. (*the photos in this post were shot by Mikael Jansson, one of my favorite photographers. And Christine worked on the design*)

She’s just launched her personal web site, and here it is:


And a few highlights from her site:

cate blanchett, donna karan campaign

cate blanchett, donna karan campaign

cate blanchett, donna karan campaign

cate blanchett, donna karan campaign

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Wow! Canon releases Manual settings for 5D2 video

by on Jun.01, 2009, under cameras


It really makes a huge difference in terms of the usability of the video function of this camera. Cheers!

Here are some of the details:

Firmware Version 1.1.0 incorporates the following improvements and fixes.

  1. Includes a function to enable the manual exposure setting when shooting movies.
  2. *For details on how to use this function, please download the PDF files from the bottom of this page.

  3. Disables the function of the depth-of-field preview button when images are played back or when the menu screen is displayed on the LCD panel.
  4. Fixes a phenomenon where the peripheral illumination of images cannot be properly corrected, even if the images were captured with the lens peripheral illumination correction function set to Enable.
  5. *Digital Photo Professional software version 3.6.1 or later (for Windows and Macintosh) can be used to automatically correct the peripheral illumination of RAW and JPEG images that were captured in the Peripheral illumination correction setting with cameras that have Firmware Version 1.0.7 or earlier.

  6. Fixes the algorithms of the Auto Lighting Optimizer function when Custom Function C.Fn II-3 Highlight tone priority is enabled.
  7. Fixes incorrect indications on the Arabic, Romanian, Spanish, and Ukrainian menu screens.
  8. Changes the battery information displayed on the camera when using the optional Battery Grip BG-E6.

Firmware Version 1.1.0 is for cameras with firmware up to version 1.0.7. If the camera’s firmware is already version 1.1.0, it is not necessary to update the firmware.

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finally, the workshops!

by on May.15, 2009, under lighting & technique, lighting workshops

The Work In Progress Photography Seminars are finally here!

The first two one-day workshops were held on Saturdays: July 11 and August 22, 2009.  We focused on creating great lighting, composition, working with art directors, hair and makeup artists, models, etc.
I didn’t want this thing to get too boring, so we’ll be working in the amazing Metropolitan Building in NY, where the likes of Steven Meisel, Paolo Roversi, Diego Uchitel, Patrick Demarchelier, Annie Leibovitz, and Me have all worked ;-) We’ll be shooting on one of these two floors:
Second Floor

Second Floor

Third Floor

Third Floor

Here are a few of the tear sheets from the Met Bldg’s promo materials:


And here are a few of my advertising images from the Metropolitan Bldg:

So here’s the plan:

There will be a maximim of 5 participants. The format will be fairly loose. I want you to get as much out of it as possible – and to that extent we will be doing what you all want to do the most. The space is huge so we will have plenty of space to spread out. I’ll be concentrating on using daylight and mixing it with strobes, bounce cards, gels, etc. Also discussed will be the pluses and minuses of front lighting, back lighting, side lighting, strobe, tungsten, modeling lights, and such.

So bring your cameras, tripods for sure because it can be a little dark in there, laptops if you want, small reflectors, and whatever else you like to work with.
And since we’ll be in New York, I will also have guest Art Directors/Makeup artists/Stylists who have worked on assignments for Vogue Italia, Kate Spade, Prada, Bergdorf Goodman, Victoria’s Secret, Surface, Allure, New York Times, etc. So part of the day will feel like a real assignment, because it sort of will be ;-)
We will also be using models from Ford Models, New York Models, and elsewhere.
[In case you are wondering if I know what I am doing, well…er…sort of ;-)
Actually, I do have a lot of teaching experience, including teaching photography at Parsons School of Design in New York as well as in Paris. I was also the Assistant Chair of the Photo department there for a number of years.]
Cost of this workshop is $495 per person for the way, which covers: the space, lighting, models, make-up artists, breakfast and lunch. Not included are lodging and transportation.
PayPal e-check is the preferred method of Payment. If you want to pay by regular PayPal or PayPal Credit Card, please add in $14.85 (3%) to help cover the PayPal processing fee. When sending payment, please specify the date of the workshop which you would like to attend. Cancellation must be made 15 days prior to the workshop day in order to receive a refund. Payment should be sent to ron at ron purdy dot com. Also, any questions you may have can be sent to the above e-mail address, or posted in the comments section of this post and I will reply.

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one light wonders: a magazine + video shoot with just one light

by on May.03, 2009, under cameras, lighting & technique


So I am posting some unedited video clips from an editorial shoot from last year for SOMA magazine. The still shots have been on my photo web site for some time, and were in the 2008 Fall Fashion issue of the magazine. Theses will hopefully give some idea as to the lighting setup. I like to keep it simple, and on this particular day I used one light only. The lighting seen here is a Profoto strobe pack with one head inside of a 4×6 softbox with the two baffles removed, in order to give it a hard shadow – hopefully resembling sunlight. The model is one of my favorites – Juliana Imai at Ford Models. The assistant and video shooter was Arturo Sanchez. (we shot the video on a whim, as I had a Canon G9 sitting on my desk at the time…) Anyway, as I said, it’s unedited, a little jerky, and loud…but you can also see some of the excitement which can occasionally he had when you’ve got the right crew. (To be sure, most of my shoots are not quite as fun as this one was…)
Camera used for the stills was a Canon 1Ds mark III and lenses were the 85mm 1.2 and the 50mm 1.4.
(Of course, since we happened to be shooting video for all the web to see, the studio looks a shambles! But some of that mess is needed as you will read below…)
In these clips you can see the big black soft box to camera right, there are a couple black boards on the floor which are there to soak up some of the light so the shadows on the wall will go deeper black. Also, the black board on camera left at the back of thet set is there to make all of the shadows deeper – as we are in a small studio with white walls and a white ceiling, it’s very difficult to get dark shadows without the ugly black foam core boards scattered throughout ;-)
The below image is a fuzzy video still showing my setup for the SOMA shoot. Click it to enlarge it so you can read the labels which explain why the set is so cluttered ;-)

Untitled from afashionshooter on Vimeo.

afashionshooter.com SOMA clip 2 from afashionshooter on Vimeo.

afashionshooter.com SOMA clip 2 from afashionshooter on Vimeo.

Juliana tells them how it’s done from afashionshooter on Vimeo.

afashionshooter.com SOMA shoot – gorgeous Juliana 1271 from afashionshooter on Vimeo.

Either later today or tomorrow I will be posting several more clips…in the mean time, here’s what the stills looked like:
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the “upgrade”

by on Apr.09, 2009, under cameras

Some thoughts in response to whether or not to upgrade from the Canon system to medium format digital. The Medium format systems typically cost $25K and up when camera, back, and lenses are included. One could easily spend $60K or more on a new system. The below is in response to a conversation on LL where some photographers were comparing  (at 100% zooms in photoshop) the various pros and cons of the systems…

“I think it’s humorous reading about these differences and comparisons between cameras. Of course I don’t shoot huge landscapes for a living, but I do wonder just how many people in the world are in fact making a good living at it. I can think of not one of my hundreds of favorite images over the years which would have improved from more “micro-detail.” I am talking about my own work, prints I see in galleries, magazines, museums, etc., etc. 

I believe there are micro-differences, but I believe that these have little to do with the goodness of an image. I mean seriously, go over to your bookshelf, flip through the pages of some of your coffee table tomes, and tell me what you see. How many would have much greater impact with 20% more detail?

And as has been said many times, do what your business requires. Have your clients ever asked for more micro-detail? Do they even see it? Do they care? I use a variely of camera formats from 4×5 to polaroid to 5D2s. Just the 5D Mark I cameras have earned me 6 figures per year for the past several years, without any complaints from clients. One client had their best sales day ever during the economic meltdown just this past November – with sales exceeding $1.1 million on the Monday following Thanksgiving. The ads were all shot with the lowly 5D, with no complaints about micro detail or anything else. (and no moire either ;-))

I know that in terms of investing in my business, spending on plane tickets makes a lot more sense and will better my portfoilios to a MUCH greater degree than spending huge amounts on cameras.

I think about it this way: given my portfolios as they are today – if I were to have shot everything inside with a 40 or 60mp back, they would essentially look the same. Now if I had spent that same $30K or so on traveling, hiring talented stylists, locations, models, there would be a huge difference in my portfolios. $30K sends me on a lot of trips, and could potentially transform my portfolios. In my experience, what you put in front of your camera is 95% of the battle. The camera itself: 5%.”

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Allie Crandell of MTV’s “The City”

by on Apr.06, 2009, under cameras, lighting workshops

Ok, so it’s not really fashion per se, more like a P.R. shoot really, but here’s Allie Crandell of MTV’s The City fame. Anyone seen it?

Anyway, this was shot with the Canon 5D2, and thankfully it worked fine. It was a mixture of cloudy daylight and strobe which was coming from the same angle as the window light.

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Waterways (lucky landscapes)

by on Mar.31, 2009, under cameras, lighting & technique

Flying back to NY from Palm Beach last night, we got some pretty and moody views of the landscape. Of course my airplane window was filthy, and looked like it had several leyers of Saran Wrap sandwiched in between the plexiglass – causing all kinds of glare, flare, color smear, low contrast, you name it. Plus the old 50mm 1.8 I was using contributed plendy of flare on it’s own. (I actually keep this lens because I really like the flare it produces when pointed at the sun and other bright things.)

(for the most part post-processing included only contrast and exposure adjustments. All images were shot with the Canon 5D Mark II and the old Canon 50mm 1.8 Series I lens)

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First lighting workshop (not really)

by on Mar.16, 2009, under lighting workshops

***date update***
So I have been shooting a lot in the studio in the mean time, but this particular shoot, we are waiting for the clothing, which is apparently with the designer in Paris. The most likely weekend now seems to be April 18+19. As soon as the designer has firmed the dates, we will go forward with the horses shoot. Sorry about the delay…re:
Does anyone want to come along on a photo shoot in upstate ny? The location is around 90 miles North of NYC, accessible by car or bus from manhattan. We will be shooting with horses, two models, etc. Should be nice and muddy by then due to the snow melt ;-)
In any case, this is not a workshop like I’ve been promising – it will be a real editorial/magazine shoot and a great opportunity to check out what’s involved in an outdoor, daylight fashion shoot. There is no fee, and it will probably be some combination of helping out/assisting and observing.
As yet, the date is not firm. I will likely be this coming weekend(!) March 21or 22, or it will be the the weekend of April 4&5. Those who are intersted, please register and I will get back to you as soon as I have more information.
p.s. the last time I shot for this magazine, it looked like this
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