Pro Techniques

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Jay McCabe Posted: Nov 01, 2005 0 comments

The difference is not always skill. Success as a pro shooter takes talent, but, as Rosanne Pennella says, "there are many excellent photographers who cannot make a name for themselves because they cannot figure out how to market themselves and project mastery of their careers."

Eleven years ago Rosanne was an attorney whose first love was not the law.

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Jack Neubart Posted: Jul 08, 2014 Published: Jun 01, 2014 3 comments
“I don’t have a favorite location. I just like the challenge of where I go and what I’m presented with on any given assignment,” advertising photographer Brian Bailey declares. One assignment lasting 10 days took Bailey to the Galapagos Islands, for a sunglasses company. But many assignments involve anything but sun-drenched conditions. In fact, the road to this point was a rocky one—of sorts…
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Jack Neubart Posted: Mar 17, 2014 Published: Feb 01, 2014 0 comments
You can’t simply walk into an Operating Room (OR) and insinuate yourself into the scene. There are rules, there are boundaries. Greg Shapps knows them well. Still, he manages to produce telling images that convey the client’s message without blatantly advertising any product or service. The methodology involves a complete 180 from the way he approaches his small product photography, where the message is unmistakably to buy a specific product. His healthcare imagery is nuanced, often depicting healthcare givers and receivers alike. Specific products are not necessarily the focus. It’s more about what a product, service, or institution can do for the individual.
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Jack Neubart Posted: Jul 18, 2011 Published: Jun 01, 2011 5 comments
Chicago-based food photographer Jeff Kauck (www.jeffkauckphotography.com) developed his artistic eye through years of training as a watercolorist. While attending Central Academy of Commercial Art, in Cincinnati, where he also studied advertising, “I picked up my father’s camera—a twin-lens Rolleiflex—and really enjoyed playing with it. And to help support myself through art school, I did a lot of color printing for a wedding photographer.” But he soon realized that his time and talent were better spent on photography than painting. And Cincinnati proved to be the perfect location for a start-up food studio, since it was the home of Procter & Gamble, which became his first client, and a major one at that. But a larger market—Chicago—beckoned to him after 18 years, so he made the move and hasn’t looked back.
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Jack Neubart Posted: May 30, 2014 Published: Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
Architectural photography normally involves shooting exteriors and interiors, ranging from residential to corporate and industrial. Hospitality photography moves in a different direction. John Bellenis explains: “I would define hospitality photography as shooting hotels, resorts, cruise lines, spas, and destinations. It’s a niche market that encompasses a range of photographic disciplines: architectural exteriors, interiors, lifestyle, food, and travel. I enjoy it because it keeps things fresh and the demands are varied photographically.
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Jack Neubart Posted: May 24, 2012 Published: Apr 01, 2012 17 comments
“I fell into shooting the healthcare industry quite by accident,” recalls Montclair, New Jersey-based photographer John Emerson (www.johnemersonphotography.com). He’d met an art director who hired him to photograph the staff at a research lab, for Rutgers University—which remains a client some 20 years later. That was the proverbial foot in the door. Aside from that, Emerson continues to pursue his other passion: environmental portraiture of celebrities, athletes, and politicians.
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Jack Neubart Posted: Sep 02, 2014 0 comments
Some photographers develop a trademark style over time. Markku Lahdesmaki had a feel for what he was doing early on. Shooting tongue-in-cheek came naturally, as did making his subjects feel comfortable with his vision for the shot. And clients loved it, enough so that they beckoned him to return to his native Finland from England, where he was living and working with his wife.
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Jack Neubart Posted: Nov 05, 2013 Published: Oct 01, 2013 0 comments
When it comes to portraiture, celebrities are like everyone else, except that for editorial shoots your time with them is very limited. “I’ve literally had as little as 3 minutes and as much as 20 minutes with an individual,” Los Angeles-based photographer Michael Becker observes.
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Jack Neubart Posted: Aug 03, 2012 Published: Jun 01, 2012 3 comments
“My dad won a Nikon FM at a company-sponsored event when I was 12, and, the moment he handed the camera over to me, it was love at first sight,” Nels Akerlund recalls. Six months later, he’d built a darkroom in his basement and that love affair with photography has not abated. It carried him through the Rochester Institute of Technology, an internship with a White House photographer in the Reagan administration, and assignments for the National Geographic Society, The New York Times, and photo shoots worldwide. He shares this passion with his wife Anna, who is also his business partner and fellow shooter. Aside from weddings, Akerlund shoots architecture, food, small products, and of course portraits in his studio and on location. He and his wife operate a spacious, two-story, 2000-square-foot studio behind their home in Rockford, Illinois.
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Jack Neubart Posted: Nov 17, 2011 Published: Oct 01, 2011 1 comments
Many commercial lifestyle/portrait shooters turn first and foremost to studio strobe to light their subjects. Not Ann Elliott Cutting. Her studio features a south-facing window that she utilizes to the max. I know, it’s not the proverbial north-facing skylight that we’ve been taught to strive for, but it does the job—and quite nicely. More than that, her penchant for employing window light doesn’t mean she shuns brawny power pack systems. She owns and uses those as well, but they’re not always the go-to gear even on commercial assignments and often play a subordinate role.
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Jack Neubart Posted: Nov 26, 2012 Published: Oct 01, 2012 3 comments
“I started in my father’s darkroom, retouching negatives at 5 years old,” recalls New York City-based photographer Paul Aresu. “My father was a wedding photographer, with 10 studios and maybe 50 photographers working under him.” In his late teens, Aresu was already shooting weddings for his dad. “It grew from there.” He achieved a BFA from New York’s School of Visual Arts and went on to assist Pete Turner and Tom Arma for several years. “I learned a lot about the business from them.”
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Jack Neubart Posted: Mar 08, 2013 Published: Feb 01, 2013 2 comments
Philippe Halsman, in his book Halsman on the Creation of Photographic Ideas, talked about an ad he’d shot, where he had to show a car making a splash as it was driving through a water-filled trough. But rather than give it the traditional treatment of the day, he sought to make a real splash with the picture, so he lit it differently. Shooting at dusk, he positioned flashbulbs so they hit the “wings,” as he called them, from each side. Like Halsman, photographers specializing in automotive are finding ways of introducing unusual and unique twists to make the shot stand out. Peter Dawson is one such automotive photographer who takes a particularly keen interest in dealing with challenges outdoors, on location.
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Jack Neubart Posted: Nov 21, 2014 0 comments
“I usually try to make the scene look and feel as natural as possible while still augmenting the available light,” Canadian-born photographer Peter Leverman observes. “I want the viewer to see the image and get what I’m trying to put across without the technique getting in the way.” By extension, Leverman knows when to leave well enough alone and simply use the existing lighting, in contrast to some photographers who prefer to noticeably overwhelm the scene with their lights.
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Jack Neubart Posted: Jan 30, 2012 Published: Dec 01, 2011 23 comments
Jeffrey Totaro (www.jeffreytotaro.com) didn’t plan on becoming an architectural photographer. After graduating Drexel University in 1991, he became an architectural engineer. In his job, he found himself working alongside architectural photographers and was soon assisting them, until finally he found the allure too great and switched careers. Now he runs his own studio near Philadelphia.
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Jack Neubart Posted: Sep 20, 2011 Published: Aug 01, 2011 1 comments
Jonathan Robert Willis knew where he was going at a young age. “In school, imagery always spoke to me louder than words and numbers. My interest in black-and-white photography was sparked during my high school years by music-industry portrait photographer Michael Wilson, a family friend. His work really resonated with me and I just fell in love with the idea of making pictures for a living and shooting the music that I listen to.” In fact, Willis switched to a public school “because that school had a decent darkroom that nobody was using. I knew I wanted to make photographs.” It was there that he taught himself black-and-white processing and printing. And in college, “I pretty much lived in the darkroom.” Fast forward and we now find Willis comfortably settled in his Cincinnati, Ohio-based studio, although we may find him shooting on location just as much, if not more. Willis’s creative team consists of first assistant Scott Meyer and digital retoucher Patrick White, with Laura McMurray serving as production assistant/studio manager.

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