All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘bts’
Way back in October, I had the opportunity to work with Flipside Studios and the crew of TvB (Traceur vs Bboys) and do a dynamic series of images in Graffiti Alley, Toronto. The concept was to figure out an interesting way to showcase the dynamic and talented crew of both groups of individuals.
Graffiti Alley is a public alleyway filled with graffiti in the heart of Toronto – this meant that having on location power was going to be somewhat of an issue and generators were not an option. Since I didn’t have my normal kit of White Lightnings + Vagabonds with me for the shoot, I approached Vistek.ca and asked them if they would be so kind to lend me some battery-equipped flashes to play with. They kindly agreed and I ended up strutting around the alleyways of Toronto with 2x Elinchrom Ranger RXs and 2x Ranger Quadras and a host of Rotalux lightmods.
Since the goal was to create shots that were dynamic with a large group of people in challenging positions, the safest way to approach the shoot was to shoot for the purpose of compositing. This would ensure that if ever I couldn’t manage to get everyone in the right position at the right time I could simply mask them right back into the images.
Communication at this stage is vital to not only understand what poses each participant is capable of doing, holding and repeating… but figuring out how they can all work together and fit into the composition.
More tips on communication and working with large groups of dancers in my previous blog post: http://www.vonwong.com/blog/how-to-bring-to-life-a-promotional-dance-campaign/
So what do I mean by “composition”?
Well you’ll notice that to begin with, the lines of the buildings serve to accentuate the composition of the piece by drawing the attention of the viewer into the centre of the image. The edges of the buildings create “triangles” that point into the image.
Similarly, the lines created by the bodies of the characters in the image all relate to one another forming a compositional triangle that makes up the core of the image.
I’ve never officially studied photography, but I’ve discovered with time and a bit of experience that looking out for triangles & lines in an image has a massive effect on the image. Somehow, unconsciously the mind will recognize the shapes in the image and decide whether or not the image is interesting. A small tip if you’re trying to find these lines, is to imagine an “arrow” somehow pointing inwards towards the image.
Let us check out the second image of the series:
We created this humorous shot by inviting a passing tourist to come and participate in our photograph. Why? Because without him the entire image would make a lot less sense from both a storytelling and a compositional standpoint.
Way back in 2009, I was introduced to the Golden Spiral by photographer Jake Garn. At the time it blew my mind and since then I’ve always tried to apply this rule when taking my photographs. Curious to see how your images work with the golden ratio?
Head over to Adobe Lightroom – Launch the crop tool and press “o” (that’s the letter O not the number 0) until it cycles to the golden spiral. Wonder how to invert or move the spiral around? Shift + O is the magic button!
And for the 3rd and final image in the series we have a series of airborne and landborne characters. All airborne characters in this image were all composited back into the image which meant that there was a lot of flexibility when putting the final image together.
So how does one decide where to place characters when you have the freedom of putting anybody anywhere?
Well in this case it would be to blend both the compositional triangles as well as the golden spiral. In this instance, my Golden Spiral served as a reference for the extremities of the characters while the triangles created in the image served as reference guides.
Additionally, the lines created by the buildings due to perspective also help create and generate focus… in this instance it acts almost as a massive arrow pointing towards the foreground elements of the image.
I think most people are quite skeptical on how it’s possible to see all the varieties of shapes and lines while composing and creating an image. I know because I was certainly one of them! What you do notice with time though, is that if you do keep these rules in mind (just like the rules of third), you eventually do start seeing them without actually consciously looking for them. If these rules intrigue you I’d recommend you check out this awesome article here on Petapixel… and if that’s still not enough for you, head over to Amazon and grab this awesome book The Photographer’s Eye which breaks down all the rules of composition with pretty lines and examples.
- Client: Flipside Studios, TvB
- Assistants : Julius Adarna, Basia Kowalska, Holly Thomas, Samantha Banks
- Video: Joel Kesler, Deidre Casey
- Sirui Tripod T2205X sponsored by LOVINPIX
- Nikon D800E: B&H | Amazon
- Nikkor 14-24 f2.8: B&H
- Nikkor 24-70 f2.8: B&H
- ThinkTank Airport International V2.0 (best bag ever) B&H
Lighting Gear sponsored by VISTEK:
- Full day conference coming up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with Photo Studio Group
- Photoshoot Sunday the 28th in Detroit in collaboration with Rob Woodcox to promote “Stories worth Telling”. Want to tag along? Leave a comment!
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of shooting and teaching in a ridiculously ancient building in the middle of East London – The George Tavern organized by my awesome friends over at Train To Create.
Though it cost us an arm and a leg to rent out, I absolutely wanted to be able to teach my workshop in a unique and rich environment. This would not only make my job easier teaching (teehee) but would also allow the workshop attendees to have an amazing experience shooting in a location with designers and a beauty team they would normally not have access to. (That is: 3 makeup artists, 3 hair stylists, 3 designers and 10 models !!)
On top of the amazing team available to us, we had over 10,000 pounds worth of Elinchrom gear sponsored by The Flash Center which gave everyone the opportunity to have some professional gear to play with.
For those of you who are curious to get a feel of what the workshop was like, check out this awesome BTS video that Train to Create threw together:
And the images themselves:
ft. Designs by Dead Lotus Couture,[Model: Hiro Hirata, MUA: Ashley Mclaughlin]Model: Jen Brook, Hair: Donna Graham, MUA: Sonia Allen], Model: Gemma Huh ,Hair: Donna Graham, MUA:Ashley Mclaughlin], Jeremy Colvard, Jaime Rodney, Apollo
And the concept sketches to accompany it.
On a personal note:
Teaching and managing such a large group of people was a challenging but extremely gratifying experience. It was amazing to see so many people from so many different backgrounds come together and collaborate so beautifully together. Though I have a lot of experience managing large shoots, it was the first time that I had tried to manage three photoshoots simultaneously while figuring out how to teach and mentor along the way. Despite the freezing weather, I was pleasantly surprised to see everyone enthusiastically tackle and overcome the challenges.
Though I was confident the teaching/shoot-yourself formula was going to be successful, there was no way to know if it would work until the end of the workshop.
I want to thank all the sponsors for their support of this project: Nik Software, LowePro, UEL Alumni Network , X-Rite Photo, theprintspace, The Flash centre, The Second Door and Train to Create for making this entire workshop possible.
I had the chance to go and check out the facilities of The Print Space who were gracious enough to make a couple prints from the workshop for me to see. As a more social-media oriented photographer, I’m not so much of a print dude so being able to choose a variety of different papers and seeing how they affected my image was a very exciting experience for me.
For example, I discovered that Hahnemuhle German Etching looked absolutely mindblowing in the image of Jen Brook looking up towards the light (first photo posted) … but that the Kodak Metallic gave an amazing shine to Nange & Taras designs. I also discovered the joy of seeing my photograph appear on a 1.5 meter long image. Too bad it wouldn’t fit on the plane with me
Anyways, enough about me. Take the time to check out the work of the workshop attendees
Photo by Girts Rutkovski
Photo by Conrad Webb
Photo by Martin Ograbek
Photo by Adam Haywood
Photo by Richard Powazynski
Photo by Sven Uckermann
Earlier this year I was asked by dance company Art-Terre if I would be interested in shooting some promo material for one of their upcoming shows: Temnein. Coincidentally, Chance from FullyM.com was in town and wanted to feature me at work. Since I’ve had numerous requests to give a little more insight on how I shoot my dance-related photography, I blended the two events together to bring to you guys this educational video.
Hope you enjoy the results:
Developing the concept
Katherine first contacted me while she was touring in Haiti. She was coming back in a couple weeks and knew that she needed to come up with some promo shots for her upcoming show that was going to happen on the 12th of April. As I had never seen the show, I asked her to send me whatever material she had available – photographs, drafts, sketches, video clips… anything that would help give me an idea of what she was looking for.
I met up with her art director and choreographer Saxon Fraser to determine what the exact look and feel of the images was meant to be and we settled on creating large elaborate storytelling pieces that would accentuate the interactions between the dancers.
We targeted key moments in the piece that would be iconic and representative of the entire piece and made sure to create images that would fit both a horizontal facebook cover-photo layout as well as a vertical poster-layout.
Since this was to be a dance show, we had to make sure that the lighting in the images would stay faithful to the show so we decided to use the Gesu Theatre with a similar lighting configuration that was going to be used during the show itself.
Lighting the set:
Although the easiest solution would have been to simply use the stage lighting and nothing more to light these shots up, I didn’t want them to look just like event shots. I wanted them to have that 3-dimensional studio-flare that you get from having your subjects perfectly lit.
To achieve that, I brought in my Paul C Buff lighting kit in to play with the dancers and used them to highlight the subjects while I let the stage lights take care of the background atmosphere.
The first step to setting up the “ambient” background light was to familiarize myself with the lighting configurations that were available. For those of you who have never played with stage lights, they can be easily configured and organized by the lighting tech on set. Communication with the lighting tech on the spot is critical to have full control of the effects, colours and textures of light that are available to you. In my case, I had him flick the effects on and off one by one as I looked to the stage trying to imagine the variety of poses that we would be creating. Once the lights are configured, it’s relatively annoying to have to bring the entire grid of lights down, reconfigure and send them back up again so pre-visualization is quite important.
From there on, the studio strobes were brought in to help accentuate the poses of the models. The advantage of studio strobes over the stage lighting is it’s ability to focus in and highlight certain key elements as they’re far easy to move around than their stage lighting equivalents. For example, stage lights are most often located on either the ceiling level or the floor level whereas proper side lighting is a lot more uncommon. And even when it does exist, it is hardly ever a setup that can be properly gridded.
Of course, blending studio strobes to ambient light meant that I had to do a little bit of mental juggling between getting the lowest possible ISO (800), an acceptable depth of field (~f4.5) with a relatively safe shutter speed (~1/30th) and add onto the flash into the mix at the proper settings.
Though it sounds complicated when thrown out there mathematically like this, if you’ve ever tried to blend ambient and strobe light outdoors, there’s not much different – except in this case you’re certain the ambient won’t change on you!
Lighting Diagram designed by Chance from Fullym.com
Transforming concept into reality:
Like most images that you so often see so clearly in your mind, when it comes to actually making it happen in reality there’s always a slight jerk back to reality.
When trying to design complex poses such as the ones that we had going, thing were even harder to calibrate. Not only did we need to come up with intricate poses, it also involved having dancers tied up and climbing over one another!
This is where a nice balance is needed between what you need (rule of thirds, lighting, golden spiral, triangles, emotion, lines and shadows), what’s physically possible (no, she can’t balance on her left leg while wrapping her right around her neck), and what makes sense to the piece.
This is where communication comes in extremely handy and it becomes particularly valuable to share your insights and opinions with the other members of the team (client, art director, dancers) to get the best results. Dancers especially are extremely conscious of their body positioning and can help you come up with the proper pose if you explain the rules of composition that are needed. Sharing your work with the art director as you move along also helps to ensure that your vision of the piece isn’t getting too far away from what the final result they were looking for was going to be.
As I mentioned in the video, don’t forget that the subjects you’re posing on stage are actually human beings so remember to not tire them needlessly. Giving them the cue to relax is very appreciated and will make a difference in your final image. And though I am extremely guilty of saying “One more… ok just one more… annnnd one last one… andddd a final one… annnnd… “ I never leave my models hanging in precarious and uncomfortable positions while I chimp away at the screen.
There are no rules when it comes to creating great images… but keeping the basic things in mind such as communication, story and composition make a world of difference. Technicalities such as “which fstop did you use, with which lens, with what lighting” is nothing without the vision behind.
If you guys ever want to experiment with dance photography (or anything involving a human subject really!), I invite you to work on simply talking with your models and getting them to be a participant in your shoots rather than just exploiting them as simple subjects.
Check out FullyM’s own POV story here: http://fullym.com/video-fullym-meets-benjamin-von-wong-how-to-shoot-intricate-multiple-models-bts/
- Client: Art-Terre
- Poster Design: Emiliano Jabiu
- Assistants : Sarah Ismert, Renaud Lafrenière, Jessika Chiasson, Emiliano Jabiu
- Video: Chance Nguyen from FullyM.com
- ThinkTank Airport International V2.0 (best bag ever) B&H
- Paul C Buff
- This blog post was written on an 11 hour train ride between Paris and Traunstein… involving me sitting on a cold metal floor between two train cars with the laptop plugged into a toilet’s power socket.
- I’m currently in Traunstein, Germany participating in a 350+ participant mass shoot. Want to participate?
- Interested in writing a guest post for this blog? Send me an email or leave a comment!
- I’ll be speaking in Vancouver at Canadian Imaging on April 17th.
- 2 day workshop in a ghost town in Kelowna, BC! Only 1 spot remaining!
- 2 day workshop in Detroit Michigan, with Photo Studio Group
Last November, while touring through Rennes, France and giving workshops, I was invited by Photographer Gildas Raffenel to one of the largest studios in Rennes: Place Cliche The concept? To get together and do some creative shooting for Girlys Magazine. They had recently seen my earlier flour dancer video and were inspired to try something similar using color pigments and brought their entire studio and styling team to make this shoot happen.
The shoot took place on a lovely monday Afternoon. When I arrived into the Place Cliche studio, the crew had already begun to slowly sarran-wrap the entire studio up to protect it as best as they could to protect the inevitable mess that was going to happen.
Gildas and I then played a quick little game of “Rock, Paper Scissors” to decide which photographer would shoot first while the other assisted – Gildas won.
Since we were going to be tossing pigments all around the place and only had three light sources, the lighting throughout the photoshoot didn’t vary very much. Flying pigments, similar to water, looks best with very nice edge lighting… so the three point lighting setup looked pretty much like this with occasional variations in angle and modifier.
Since I started photography less than 5 years ago, I had never had the chance to use a Hasselblad H4D and was quite curious to give it a spin. In my mind, the term “Hasselblad” has always been this mystical, magical and unattainable camera system that was only for the best of the best… and I was quite curious to see if the camera would really make that big of a difference.
Oddly enough, the most satisfying thing about shooting with a Hasselblad for me was not the file resolution which I found quite comparable to that of the D800E… but the beautiful sound that the shutter makes as it clicks shut.
Shooting with the Hasselblad for me was a generally frustrating experience as it was just a lot slower and more bulky to use then what I was used to and I finally went back to my trusty ol’ D800E for the rest of the shoot. Perhaps I just need more time with the camera
Beyond the technical, shooting with pigments was great fun! Depending on the timing of the shot, you could either get a smokey texture… or a more “pigmented’ one. Impacts seemed to provide the most exciting variety of textures. After a bit of experimenting, the idea of developing a shot featuring our gorgeous model disintegrate or emerge from a puff of smoke came through.
Unfortunately, time flew by super fast and before I knew it, we had run out of color pigments and time. As a thank you to the kind folks over at Place Cliche for being so hospitable, I finished my session with the model and styling team by creating one final shot… featuring the flag of France !
For anybody looking to try out this shoot at home, I highly recommend you find somewhere you don’t need to clean up. Not only did everyone at the shoot get out of there completely colourful… but the studio ended up with a massive mountain of colors. To make matters worst, colour pigments turn into paint when they get in contact with water… making them even harder to clean up !!
Be sure to check out some of Gildas’s shots from the same shoot here!
Hope you enjoyed this weeks video, please leave me any feedback questions and/or comments!
Model : Fanny Sany
Stylist : Emilie Berger
Make up : Fanny Ffd
Retouche : Pratik Naik from Solstice Retouch, Jessika Chiasson, Von Wong
Assistants : Klebi Golo & Marine Leroy
Produced by: Place Cliche
- Sirui Tripod T2205X sponsored by LOVINPIX
- Nikon D800E: B&H | Amazon
- Nikkor 24-70 f2.8: B&H
- Nikkor 70-200 f2.8: B&H
- Hasselblad H4D: B&H
- ThinkTank Airport International V2.0 (best bag ever) B&H
- Profoto Pro 7B B&H
- I’m currently in Paris, France. Want to hang out? Leave a comment!
- Interested in writing a guest post for this blog? Send me an email or leave a comment!
- Come participate in my latest greatest project in Traunstein Germany!
- I’ll be speaking in Vancouver at Canadian Imaging on April 17th.
- 2 day workshop in a ghost town in Kelowna, BC! Only 2 spots remaining!
- 2 day workshop in Detroit Michigan, with Photo Studio Group
Today I’d like to introduce to you Pratik Naik from Solstice Retouch, a professional high end beauty retoucher that also happens to give workshops all over the world. I had the chance to meet Pratik after I helped him toss together a high end beauty retouching workshop for him over here in Montreal and it’s been one of the most useful workshops I’ve ever taken.
Since I know many of you guys out there are looking to begin giving workshops of your own, I asked if he would be so kind as to write a guest article breaking down the 6 essential things to keep in mind when organizing a retouching or photography workshop.
First and foremost I’d like to thank Ben for having me! He was amazing to approach me in organizing a workshop there and I am eternally grateful.
When he approached me to write this article, I knew it would be one that many of you might find helpful. For those of you who don’t already know me, I invite you to check out my website here . I grew in this industry with a passion to give back. At the time, there wasn’t enough information out there and felt that if ever, I had the opportunity to work in the industry long enough, I would offer a package that would allow people to learn without searching through multiple resources. This is how I ended up offering one on one classes and seminars. I often travel and teach seminars for the most part, with my next one coming up in London on March 16th. I have been teaching retouching for 4 years now.
Now, since I am a retoucher and not a photographer, I will be speaking from my viewpoint. I will elaborate everything in a manner which can also apply to you. Note that there are many ways to run workshops and organize them, so take it with a grain of salt and remember that you can customize this in any way you wish to.
The most important part about teaching, is wanting to teach. If you don’t have a yearning and a passion to show people what you do and make them better, it just won’t work.
Secondly, it’s important to be a people person. I’ve met great artists who are also not good at speaking with people and they are quite shy. I was quite shy as well when I was younger and could barely speak in class. If you’re the same way, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re shy, you just may feel uncomfortable talking about things you just have no interest in. When it becomes about your passion, chances are you will feel a lot more comfortable about speaking, so start out with a small group of 3 to 5 and see how it goes!
Third, you must really have something important to say. Don’t host a workshop just to host one. Make sure you have enough substance to contribute where people can learn from. It doesn’t have to encompass everything, just as long as you make it clear about what you will be talking about. Start writing out what you would like to talk about and how you plan to execute it. If it’s about lighting, what type of lighting will you talk about and how will you exactly demonstrate the differences. These are just a few examples. Essentially, be organized and brainstorm!
The most important part about teaching, is wanting to teach.
Lastly, how good are you are communicating what you want to say in a manner that the common person will understand? Do you have the patience to guide people through the process of what you already know in a manner that will allow them to understand it? Along the course of my sessions, I would realize that there are people who almost no nothing at all and you have to talk in a manner that doesn’t intimidate them but helps them understand everything without taking anything for granted.
Have you ever asked someone for help only to be further confused since they used terms that were foreign to you? They would base their answers with an assumption that you have a general understanding of some things. It’s important to not be that person. Make sure you do speak in a manner that doesn’t take anything for granted when teaching. If you have great skills communicating, that is the most important part. It doesn’t matter if you are the world’s best photographer if you can’t communicate it!
Alright, so you really think you’re ready to teach! Now it’s time to organize and plan our your course.
There are a range of options you have to consider that will rely on your own information. It could be a one day course all the way up to a week long course. I have seen everything in between. For me, I really enjoy doing one or two day courses. With retouching, I have effectively figured out how much time people need to go through everything comfortably. In the beginning, I had nothing to fall back on since it was new to me. In time, I began to realize exactly how long my course would run.
I recommend outlining everything you want to talk about and everything you want to demonstrate. With that outline, you can fill in the gaps about what you will need during your course. Will you need models, makeup artists, more lights, modifiers, a bigger studio space? These are the options you will have to run through.
Remember to allocate 20% more time than you expect you will need. In the middle, things happen. People start asking questions, you may have to reiterate yourself, things can go wrong. Allocate time for this, otherwise you won’t make it. Time always flies when it starts rolling!
Remember to allocate 20% more time than you expect you will need.
Once you have an outline of what you want to talk about and what you will need, you can get an idea of how much things will cost. For myself, it’s a little easier to do since I don’t need camera and lighting equipment to run a seminar. I just need a laptop, my wacom tablet, a projector, cables, space for people, food, and renting a room. As a photographer, you really need to customize this based on your program. If your program is heavy in lighting and gear that you don’t have, begin calculating the cost of renting gear from your local camera shop or buying it. Consider the cost of the studio space you may have to rent if you need a bigger space. Include the cost of hiring the models and other team members. I would also recommend bringing on an assistant to help you change lighting setups and such if your seminar is intensive in different lighting setups.
Also include the cost of lunch for the attendees and what you plan to bring. Usually, I’ve seen cold sandwiches as a good option as it’s cheap and you can have a variety of options since many people may eat different things. The other half of the times, we would take a break and eat at a local restaurant or you can have them cater too. It all depends on how much time you have.
As a photographer, it would also be important to have backups for your camera and gear on the day of. In case you don’t have a backup solution normally, factor that into the cost of rentals.
Chances are that most of your future workshops will be in another city all together. This is where it gets a little trickier since you do not have the same connections as you do locally. In this situation, you will have to obtain costs based on calling local camera shops and getting in touch with studio owners to see if they have options to rent the studio for a workshop. Chances are, you may even know someone in the city you are going to go to that has a studio. I would always recommend working with someone you already know since the communication is a little bit easier. You can even get referral for local models and makeup artists.
I would always recommend working with someone you already know since the communication is a little bit easier.
If you plan to do a shoot outdoors rather than in studio, you will have to consider the cost of permits (if needed) and finding a location. Again, I recommend getting advice from local photographers in that area about great places to do a shoot. I would also definitely recommend assistants in this situation.
Next, the biggest cost may be the travel expenses. Consider what the average expense of hotels are in that area, the amount you will need for ground transportation, airfare, and estimated food costs for yourself and the team (if you are flying with anyone). Depending on where you go, it may be best to rent a car once you fly in if you have a lot of equipment on you. Many people I know rent most of it wherever they are.
Once you have these major costs outlined based on the city you are planning to go, you can get a estimated price. Increase that by 20% for unexpected costs that you might incur.
Teaching is great! But be sure after all of this, you still make profit off of what you’re doing. The amount you want to give yourself wildly depends what the local market is willing to pay for a workshop vs what you deserve. Sometimes, these figures don’t align. If you’re starting out, I would recommend doing a few workshops priced just high enough to cover the expenses to get an idea of how they are going, if they met the amount of expenses you had estimated, and to see what people are willing to pay.
It’s also a good idea to see how other local workshops are going and how they’re priced. Chances are yours may very well fit into their price structure too.
(The amount )[…] depends what the local market is willing to pay for a workshop vs what you deserve
So for example, if you find that your expenses to do a workshop in a city is $1,700 and you want to make $1,000 from a day’s workshop, this can amount to charging $270 per person for a workshop. This is a low example, but you get the drift.
I can’t give you a figure of how much you should make for a day’s work, as that comes from you, but I would recommend figuring out your expenses vs how much other workshops (that are conducted by people in your experience level) generally charge locally and subtract the difference. If you feel that the amount is more than what you wanted, that is a great sign. This is not to say you should follow everyone else. By all means, definitely price it to your own value and what you believe people will pay for it too.
Now that you have a general cost structure and all the details ready, it’s time to start marketing and planning. I always like to keep my seminar 2 months ahead so that I have enough time should I not get enough feedback to cancel it. The first thing I do is market it before booking my airfaire and everything else.
It’s very important to market and get the word out about your workshop. Whenever I get a workshop together, I create a flyer together that notes the important information such as this (link).
I setup a blog post that talks about what my upcoming seminar will be about along with how people can register for the event. You can spread that post on all social media platforms.
With registration, I personally do it a few ways. Usually I team up with someone who handles the registration of attendees, or you can use a website like http://www.eventbrite.com/. It helps people register for your event. It’s a one stop shop so you can focus on everything else. It allows people to book the event and manages number of open spots. You can also write anything you want there so people can get a description of the event.
The marketing itself will generally be done through social media platforms like facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc. Alternatively, you can enlist the help of friends to spread the information as well. A good tactic is giving a payment for every referral in case you need to, which can be a small sum, but enough to bring in attendees. Another option is also contacting local photo schools and organizations and seeing if you can advertise through them.
You can get really creative with marketing, just look at Ben, he’s the perfect example! He creates excellent behind the scenes videos, that in result bring in many new fans and followers. The more demand he gets, the more awesome workshops he gets to put on for the benefit of the fans. Once someone sees that he is doing a workshop somewhere, people want him everywhere else. So that is how it happens.
Let demand dictate where your workshops is, it will be easier for you and it will be more fun that way. You won’t have to market that much either.
Initially you may not have the option to enlist help in organizing the event. However, going with an organizer is another option that will allow you to focus on planning for the event itself so that you have everything booked and prepared before the event. As you progress with more workshops, you will begin to find more organizers and promoters that actually take care of everything for you, including location, studio, and marketing! By then you may not even need them, but it does help.
However, in the beginning I recommend doing it on your own so you know everything that goes into it. Through the process, you’ll learn what you will be missing along the way.
Let demand dictate where your workshops is, it will be easier for you and it will be more fun that way.
Part 6: Baby Steps
With all this information in mind, keep in mind that it’s about the baby steps. Start small and do a workshop that is a smaller scale of one you really want to do and see how it goes. If you start large, it may not go as planned and this helps. Over a few years, you will find a system that works for you.
If you start large, it may not go as planned
I hope that this article helps to get your gears up and thinking about your own personal workshops! If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to contact me personally.
If you would like to be kept up to date on Pratik’s latest workshops, contact him directly at [email protected]
Richard Dubois – Fantastic Magazine
Lara Jade for Velvet
Glenn Prasetya for Marie Claire
- Interested in writing a guest post for this blog? Send me an email or leave a comment!
- I will be giving a CRAZY 2.5 day workshop in London, UK on the 22/23/24th of March… Check it out HERE
After surviving a crazy 4 hour concept,shoot and edit challenge, I decided to draft up a little survival guide I thought might be useful for all of you to enjoy.
1. Know your stuff. Get it ready!
It is imperative for you to know what resources you’re going to have available to you – what are their limitations. What are the work arounds, if something breaks or fails to work, do you have a backup plan.
- Check your batteries, are they all charged?
- Memory cards. Without these, your camera is useless!
- Triggers: what if they don’t work? Got backups? CLS/cable/optical alternatives?
- Reflector. Bring one it’s useful.
- Tripod. Always want to have one available. Did you bring your base plate? I use the CSLR M-Plate, so my base plate is always tightly screwed onto my camera.
2. Assess the location
Take a couple seconds to look around the space, engage the people that are there at your disposal… Figure out where you can and cannot go. Don’t be scared to ask.
- Is the ceiling low enough to bounce light off of?
- Any interesting objects that can help cast an interesting shadow? Plants are great for this.
- What type of ambient light are you dealing with? Can you turn them on/off?
- Which objects can be moved? What can you do to customize your set?
- How much time do you have available? Who is in charge of the building/space? Become friends with him, he might be able to open some doors for you…literally.
3. Who are the people there and what are they good at ?
If they’re there, they can be used. Figure out what the strengths and weaknesses are of each person that’s there to help you out. Establish a connection with the people and the location. If you’re shooting in a public location and people stop and stare, they can help too!
- Girls are better than boys at makeup and hair. Don’t have a hairstylist? Put a girl to work, she’s probably got more practice than you if you’re male.
- Figure out who has experience in photography. What equipment are they familiar with.
- If they have no experience, take a couple seconds to gather up your potential assistants to explain to them the basics (ex: Don’t put your finger here, this is the optical sensor.)
- Choose wisely. Take a couple seconds to study the people that are available and put them to use accordingly. Don’t put a 12 year old kid on lightstand + umbrella watch duty, he’ll probably get bored and run off.
- Be conscious that these are people probably helping out for free, they’re not your slaves. Be aware of what you’re asking of them. It doesn’t hurt to ask people if everything’s ok.
4. Do first, think later
If time is a very real constraint, get the ball rolling. Turn on all your equipment, take out all the light stands, set up all the softboxes. Have everything ready to go so that when you need it, it’s there.
- If possible, set your assistants to the task. Though they may be slower than you, delegating will free up your hands and mind. If they don’t know how but are a quick learner, get them started and tell them to figure it out.
- Try to lay everything out in a single corner. Seeing your equipment all ready to go can inspire ideas that you hadn’t previously considered.
- Don’t be scared to change things up after you’ve asked someone to do something. If for whatever reason you decide that Flash A should now have a softbox and Flash B a beauty dish instead of the other way around, it’s not the end of the world. No one’s judging you.
As a photographer you’re thinking of concept, lighting, pose, style, communication, timing and more. This means that when one variable changes, the rest need to compensate and the only way to do that is to multitask.
- Can’t multitask? Learn. Start small and build up. You multitask on a daily basis (talking on the phone while cooking while making plans for the next day). How do you do it?
- Create a mental checklist if necessary and run through it over and over again. Here’s an idea of what goes through my mind:
6. Relate to familiar scenarios
Experience plays a huge part in these type of situations. Connect to a similar situation that you had to deal with – what are the similarities. How did you deal with similar challenges.
- If you’re one of those visual people, perhaps it would be handy for you to grab a set of Strobist trade secret cardsor build your own
- Have images you like in a folder on your phone. Seeing images can trigger inspiration.
7. Be confident… or act confident if you’re not.
When you hold the camera in your hand, you’re the dude (or dudette) in charge. Everyone is looking at you to pull the shots. If you look like you have no idea what you’re doing, people will quickly loose confidence in you and things will only get worst.
- Don’t make long uncertain “uhhmmmmm… ahhhhh…” sounds as you consider what to do next. Compliment the parts of the image that work loudly to encourage those that surround you while you panic in your head about the parts that don’t work
- Don’t chimp for too long. A quick glance should tell you how things are looking. People holding uncomfortable poses as you zoom in and consider whether you’ve nailed the perfect Rembrandt lighting will quickly grow uncertain and their pose will suffer int he long run.
- Really want to take the time to review the shot? Call a quick break
- Have a friend in the mix? Pull him/her aside and get an objective opinion… a fresh pair of eyes can help unblock whatever you’re stuck on.
- No idea what to do? Things just really aren’t working? Reset the entire set. Say to the group: “Alright this is great, lets try something new!”
Photo by Jo Gorsky – www.jogorsky.com
For those interested, this was the challenge that triggered it all!
****Are you a long term fan? Please tell me about yourself!
Note: My voice comes in quite loud so be sure to keep the volume a little down! Sorry!
How often do you go around looking at people’s shots and say: If only I had costumes like that I’d be able to do something so cool!!
Well, if you’re one of those people that just can’t seem to find a way to gather the resources necessary to put together an epic photoshoot but have always wanted to I have a solution for you: Crash a costume party.
Regardless of where you happen to be, chances are that you can find small communities of interesting individuals – whether they’re gothic, alternative, victorian, lolita, cosplay, fetish, medieval or otherwise… they very much exist and are very often quite friendly and quite enthusiastic to take photographs.
A couple tips when approaching these groups:
- Don’t be shy. People that dress to stand out are used to the attention and often enjoy it.
- Ask for permission before taking photographs. Often a simple head nod and a little eye contact is more than sufficient if you’re just looking to snap a quick shot.
- Once the shot is taken, either give them a business card or take down their contact information so that you can tag them and share their image with them. Not only do you get to share your image with the model, it also opens up the possibility to future collaborations.
- If you plan on putting together something a little bit more organized or of a larger scale, target the leaders of the group. No apparent leader? Ask!
- This goes without saying but always be polite, respectful and open minded.
I think that people in general, especially photographers who are pre-dominantly observers rather than participants tend to fear directly approaching people that are different. The general tendency for photographers seems to be to capture from a distance but the best results often come from those who had no fear of interacting with their subjects. The ability to create a connection between model and photographer, I think, is a huge factor in what will help make a photograph stand out.
If it is of any help, I have noticed that communities that are used to being different actually tend to be a lot more open-minded and accepting than the average folk. They are used to being looked at and judged but if you approach them with sincere interest, they will very quickly open up to you and (quite literally) show you their best side!
Once you get past the shyness and look to take things to the next level… check out a post I did for DIYPhotography on how to pull together an Epic Photoshoot!
From a more narrative point of view, (in my case) I saw an event by the name of “Les grands Pique-niques Victoriens de Montréal“ and contacted the organizer asking her if I could bring my portable studio and video gear to do a couple spontaneous shoots. She said that I would be more than welcome so long as I respected certain photo-free zones to protect the privacy of those who wanted to be left alone.
Rather than setup my studio immediately upon arrival which I thought would come off as a little bit too arrogant, I took the time to mingle and get to know people there before bringing out the big guns. This also allowed me to target certain people I thought that would look good together!
From there, it simply became a challenge of finding out who would look good with whom and gathering them in a variety of different location.
Without further ado, here are the results of the shoot:
- Photo: Von Wong
- Video Camera: Alliebee Henna
- Retouch Assistant: Jessika Chiasson
- Assistants: Bianca Lecompte, Nadia Zheng, Tom PM, Yves Pelletier
- White Lightning X1600, X3200
- Einstein 640
- Undfind Waist Shooter
(that glorious fanny pack at my waist)
Second camera: Sael Simard
Before my Von Wong does Europe tour, I put together a crazy photoshoot with Montreal Based Stripper Suntory to attempt to put together a couple of unique shots of him suspending himself in chains. This was a very challenging shoot to put together as we required a bunch of elements that were not necessarily easy to obtain.
- A loft with metal beams that we could suspend a person and a couple hundred pounds of weights.
- Some sort of support system
- Large industrial chains
Initially, the original plan was to find some sort of an abandoned building and suspend chains from whatever we found there… I’m quite happy that we decided to go with the safer option of renting a friend’s loft for the afternoon as there would have been no way that we would have managed to drag the chains into an abandoned building (which weigh A TON) or find a safe way to suspend them.
For the industrial chains, Suntory did some research at the gym he was attending to actually got the huge chains used to suspend the massive punching bags and we came across http://www.chainestraction.com/.
We took the time to call them, drive over to see what chains they had available they could lend us. The folks over there were actually quite friendly and gave us a really sweet deal on a 3 day rental on the chains.
Finally, we had to figure out how to have the entire thing hanging from our ceiling so we had a specialist come in, check out the ceiling beams and solder some big chunks of metal together to make this whole thing possible.
I have to admit, the entire experience was quite stressful not quite knowing if our home brewed solution was actually going to work… but it did
From there, we had to figure out how we could transform a very yellow asian man into a silvery statue. This is where Jessica Renahan, a fabulous makeup artist came in with a solution.
She prepared a mysterious concoction by blending Vaseline, acrylic, oil paint, charcoal powder all together to get the effect. Initially, we didn’t get the blends quite right and Suntory was so covered in Vaseline that he was slipping all over the place and the Vaseline had a tendency of clumping up in odd places so we rubbed down the Vaseline as best we could and covered him back up with a whole bunch of charcoal powder that really gave him a proper matte texture.
In addition to the makeup, we had to have Suntory actually dehydrate his entire body to accentuate his muscles even more. Three days before the shoot, Suntory tightly controlled his diet in order to slowly and safely dehydrate himself to increase his muscle definition.
And last but not least, lighting. I threw my lightstands up as high as they could go. Using my Paul C Buff. extra large softboxes, I could get some pretty decent body coverage… almost 10 feet into the air but that was unfortunately not quite sufficient to get any sort of lighting from the top of my model.
The solution –> Clamping a couple speedlights on the ceiling using a pair of nifty Nasty Clamps
To help increase muscle definition in a photograph, it’s always important to remember that harsh directional lighting is what will make the difference to help increase that body definition.
Note: for those wondering about the black background, we actually suspended a 10 foot wide black backdrop onto the ceiling using a combination of gaffer tape and backdrop stand! Unfortunately no BTS footage was captured of the setup
Note#2: Any jewellery designers out there want to transform these photos into works of art? Hit me up!
Photo: Benjamin “Von Wong”
Makeup: Jessica Renahan
Assist: Kaleena Jay, Nadia Zheng
Video: Sael Simard, Laurence Turcotte Fraser
I’ve been receiving a lot of questions lately on who I am, what I do, how I do it… so I figured I’d throw together a 15 minute interview on myself for you guys! Since I had recently written an article on inspiration for Kwerfeldein, I figured I’d throw up the english version over here on my end of the world. Combined with the fact that PetaPixel requested an interview with me I figured I’d merge the two topics together and make this video. It’s quite challenging filming and editing things yourself so I did the best I could here….! Sorry for the “ums” and “has”… I’m still working on my camera face !
To commemorate this interview, I have whipped out an extremely old set of images I had taken in the past and finally completed a concept that I’ve had running in my mind for the longest time. These portraits of me were actually shot somewhere in Feb. 2010… the background in Israel on March 2012 and finally all spontaneously thrown together in Sept 2012.
The message? That we are the sum of our experiences. Good, bad… they are all a part of who we are today. There is no need to fear what is to come… we’ll get through it.
That’s it for now! I leave you with my article on HOW I FIND INSPIRATION.
As a creative artist, I am often asked: How do you come up with such crazy ideas? How do you find the people to participate? Where do you find the time and the energy?
The answer is one word: Inspiration.
Inspiration is paramount, for without it, we cannot create. It is the momentum that pushes an idea into motion. That starting point before you even pick up the camera. Being open to inspiration is to wake up in the morning and feel excited to be alive. To look at the world as a place of endless opportunities, and have the energy and drive to follow through with them. Being inspired is like being in love – it moves and transforms you.
“The Agonist” – Behind the Scenes with Video
Before continuing, let me introduce myself. I am a 25 year old self-taught photographer who spontaneously dived into photography following a break up in November 2007. At the time, I was working in a Gold mine in the barren deserts of Winnemucca, Nevada, and decided that taking pictures of the beautiful night skies would be a great distraction. The journey began with a trip to Wal-Mart.
Most recently, I quit my job as a Mining Engineer to pursue my passion. I do not consider myself an expert so what follows is merely an opinion. However, it is my deepest hope that these words help inspire and excite your own desires.
What If I am not Inspired?
The answer is simple: Get Inspired.
The truth, nobody is always inspired. Not me and probably not the artists you aspire to, who craft ingenious masterpieces. Passionate individuals are especially cursed as the waves of up and down swing greater than average. The exhilarating high that you get from creating invariably leads to a resounding low or a disappointment when the latest project fails to meet your expectations.
What separates artists who stand out from those that fade away is perserverence – the ones who continually innovate and create in spite of any challenging obstacles.
How to get inspired?
Everyone has his or her own way of getting inspired. Personally, I believe the best way to become inspired is live life. Get out there, meet new people, and listen. Everybody has a unique story, and more often than not, these tales can trigger emotions which may inspire you.
For instance, the image below shows the outcome of meeting with a fan for coffee and a brainstorming session. While chatting, she slowly opened up to a burden of pain and sadness brought on from the death of loved ones. The raw emotion transformed into a concept, which grew into a photo shoot. There was no way I could have discovered this idea alone. Yet, by taking a chance, meeting new people and listening, I was able to reveal empathy and facilitate healing with a creative twist.
Collaboration with Chester Van Bommel via artsome.be
Alternatively, looking within can also yield surprising results. I have always found emotions to be a great muse for creativity. Heartbreaks in particular have always been an impressive source for innovation. It is not easy, you have to force yourself to get up in the morning and focus on transcribing your emotions into art. Once you get into motion, you will be amazed at the things that you can accomplish. For it is useless to remain fixated on something that cannot change.
While being in this state can be absolutely fantastic for creativity, chances are you probably don’t want to spend your time in permanent heartbreak. The key, I believe, is to learn how to experience that same burst of creativity while in a state of happiness and peace.
Whatever your case may be, whether you have the strength to believe in yourself or not, inside of you lies the key to unlocking your inspiration. You just have to look for it.
Still not inspired?
Start to surround yourself with passionate individuals.
There is something incredibly infectious about a person who is passionate about what they do. Find people that relentlessly strive to perform and succeed because their drive and dedication to persevere will rub off on you too.
I recently crowd-funded a tour to travel through Europe and had the opportunity to meet up with some of these very passionate individuals. One instance was putting together a shot for Dave Reynolds, the director of the Underwater Realm. At 26 years old, Dave not only gathered an entire crew of people to shoot a series of underwater shorts probono, crowd funded over a 100,000$ for his project, but also developed new equipment and techniques to facilitate the whole process of shooting underwater.
Another moment was meeting with Andrey DAS, one of the pioneers of fire breathing in Paris, France. He had spent the last 9 years of his life building a community of pyrotechnicians and developing new spitting techniques to share with those around him at no profit whatsoever.
“Epic Pyrotechnician” – Behind the Scenes Video
Both artists find inspiration in art. They have an innate drive to push the boundaries and use their talents to the fullest potential. Concepts and ideas thrive in teams, and those who dare to dream can help make yours come true.
Alright! I got this. I have the most brilliant idea ever. Now what?
Convince the people you want to participate in the project that your idea is undeniably the most brilliant idea ever! A couple tips that can help you along the way:
- Believe in your project. People pick up on that passion and drive. If your eyes are shining with enthusiasm and confidence that this is THE project of the year, people will get hooked onto that. If you’re confident in your project’s success, let it show.
- Show a good track record. Showcase past projects that have yielded good results. It does not matter if the projects are slightly unrelated; people are looking for proof that you won’t be wasting their time. If you happen to be starting out and don’t have very much to show then consider starting small. Build that track record.
- Make it about them. While your projects might be amazing, people are going to want to know what’s in it for them. In creative collaborations, people are donating their time and talent and will be expecting something in return. Whatever you’re offering, whether it be a unique experience or a portfolio piece, make sure you emphasize what they will gain from their involvement.
- Delegate. It can become overwhelming when there are too many pieces to hold together. Try to delegate responsibilities, give people additional tasks to help you with the project. Not only will this lighten your own workload, it will also make people feel included and acknowledged.
- Follow up. Although people may become enthusiastic about your project you have to remember that you are the glue holding the whole thing together. Make sure you follow up with your fellow artists to make sure they are still on board. It is your duty to keep that excitement going. Let them be aware of the progress to keep the momentum alive.
“Les Artisans d’Azure” – Behind the Scenes Video
Last few words…
I hope that these words will inspire you. I think that the key to starting something is to simply start it. People have the tendency of doing things “later” and they never get done. If you have an idea in mind, give yourself a deadline and make it happen. Don’t worry about making it perfect right off the bat… you will make mistakes, guaranteed! You will also fail at some point in time, so accept that reality and try anyways. Whatever it is you want to do in life, start today. Don’t wait until you’re old and your life becomes a series of should haves.
“Ballerinas from the National Slovak Theater” – Behind the Scenes Video
Learn more on…
- Blog: www.vonwong.com/blog
- Youtube: www.youtube.com/thevonwong
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/vonwongphotography
- 500px: www.500px.com/vonwong
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/vonwongphotoSpecial thanks to Kara Jeffery for helping me proof-read this article !