Robert Herko is a professional photographer who's in great demand in
New York (he's just settled into a larger shared studio in Manhattan),
California, and Arizona, where he once lived. His clients include Hummer, Pfizer
Pharmaceuticals, VISA, Arizona's Department of Tourism, Arizona Highways
magazine, Arizona Western College, and several casinos in the western states.
He's also been doing a lot of work with music industry clients; photographing
major bands, and performers like Les Paul (the legendary guitarist), along with
Gibson and D'Angelico guitars.
Robert Herko says that he's very pleased with long exposures
when shooting digitally. This great example appeared on the cover
of a brochure for the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area summary
Rather than relying on Photoshop manipulation "post-shoot,"
Herko says he prefers to "do things right in-camera first,"
as with this beautifully lit scene that has an art deco look.
Although he still shoots with medium- and large-format film cameras, he now
offers 35mm digital imagery as an attractive option to his clientele. Herko
has added three Nikon D1xs to his equipment lineup. "I'm finding
that I get an 18--20% reduction in costs by doing digital imaging,"
Herko observes. He says that this technology offers a savings to his clients,
"plus the immediacy of materials available to them."
Offering A Great Product
Herko first got involved with digital imaging "in late 2001." He
waited to offer it to clients until he ironed out details, he says, such as
achieving proper color calibration and printing levels. As he puts it, Herko's
first "obstacle" was initially duplicating the look of film, with
all its subtle nuances. "I like the Fujichrome Provia 100F look,"
he says. (At one time, he was a special consultant to both Kodak and Fuji, where
he performed transparency film testing.)
Left and below: Behind the scenes at one of Herko's photo
shoots. The Macintosh G4 laptop (below, shows one of the shots
on the screen--clients really enjoy the ability to instantly
view digital images and to make changes while they're still
on the set.
A cross-section of some of Herko's recent assignments, all
This "slot potato" was photographed for one of Herko's
Herko "got everything to agree color-wise" on a Pantone Spider
color calibrator. "I wanted to digitally replicate how my eyes and film
would respond." He says, "I don't feel that there are particular
settings you've always got to use in digital imaging--it's
whatever works at the moment." He uses an Epson Stylus Photo 1280 for
his printing, and a Stylus Pro 10000 for wide-format jobs. "I'm
very happy with the print quality I get for the customer."
He uses a variety of Nikkor lenses, ranging from a 14mm wide-angle to a 300mm
telephoto; about eight lenses in all. His work often involves shooting with
a wide-angle lens. "The 14mm has become very important because of the
digital conversion (when used with a digital camera, it's approximately
the equivalent of a 21mm lens)."
He works with Mole-Richardson lights and Balcar strobes, and stores some of
his equipment in the Los Angeles area. "I shoot on location most of the
time, and spend about 25% of the time in the studio," Herko says. Either
way, he can show digital images right away to his clients on his Macintosh G4
laptop. "Art directors love seeing the material right away--they
can make changes right there on location, without even having to wait for Polaroids."