Featured Member: Gilbert Ludwig

What kind of photography do you do?

I am mostly  specialized in on-location portraiture as well as wedding and event photography. For my own pleasure I love to do travel and nature photography.

© Gilbert Ludwig

Story behind this image: Photography can be a very empowering experience. Shooting a lot of junior sports and other sports, I attempt to capture a moment that makes the subject proud. Here I shot a junior soccer player with a lighting that attempts to mimic stadium lighting. Rather than just shooting a formal portrait, I ask the players do their favorite ball trick in front of the camera.

How would you describe your style?

Light. Camera. Ambiance! Whether shooting with natural light or strobes, whether shooting wedding, portraits, landscapes, or anything else, it’s all about the ambiance.  I always strive to capture the prevailing mood and tone, the atmosphere, the real moments, the ambiance… I shoot from the heart and aim to keep things simple in order to produce  emotional and powerful captures.

© Gilbert Ludwig

Story behind this image: I shot this kickboxer, along others, after a sweaty training session. “Why do shoot the portraits after the training, and not before”, I was asked. It’s very simple. After 90 min of exhaustment your body is tired and your mind is calm and empty. You are in a state where nothing can distract you. You are you. I think it shows in pictures, the calm, the awareness, the deep look. It all creates a unique ambiance. For the light I used three flashes.

What or who inspires you?

The person(s) in front of the camera. Every individual is unique, and this makes every shooting unique. They inspire me to give something back, something they’ll love, something that makes them smile or sometimes cry, something they’ll never forget. Similarly, animals, landscapes and basically any object that catches my curiosity, and it’s interactions with light, inspire me, over and over again. There are also lots of photographers that inspire me, from old masters like Yousouf Karsh and Irving Penn to modern legends like Steve McCurry or Jill Greenberg.

© Gilbert Ludwig

Story behind this image: I am fascinated by people that have a talent, and capturing the talent is something very challenging. Here I attempted to document the work of a young and very talented artist, who is working on a giant reproduction of Caspar David Friedrich’s painting “Chalk Cliffs on Rügen”.  The artist is very focused, thinking carefully what would be his next step. The picture is not constructed, it is a documentary photograph. I simply set up three flashes so that they would not be in the way.

What’s your approach to post processing?

Good post processing prerequisites an image that is good to start with. That is, I always aim to get it right in camera (but of course, I will not always succeed to do so…:)). The extent to which I will do post processing depends mostly on the type of assignment. For wedding pictures I rarely go beyond basic edits. On the other extreme, I may do extensive processing. These are mostly related to local contrast enhancement and selective color shift and/or enhancement. I also do a lot of b&w. But even with substantial processing, the idea is always to enhance features that are already present in the original picture. If the image is not right in camera, it will most likely never be. For my workflow, I shoot raw and import is as a project into Aperture, where I will do the basic edits and eventually some more extensive processing. For certain procedures I will open the image as tiff in Photoshop.

What gear do you use?

I currently use Nikon D3s with Nikon optics (fixed focals and zooms as well). For additional light I use Quadra Rangers and  Nikon speedlights.

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Links

Website: www.ambientscapes.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gilbertludwigphotography
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/GilbertLudwig

 

Featured Member: Michelle Delphine Haymoz

What kind of photography do you do?

Yogascapes & Human Expressions Portraiture, Yoga, Dance, Movement, Bodyscapes (no nudes), Humanitarian photography

© Michelle Haymoz

Story behind this image: I am fascinated by human expression, when the energy vibrating from the subject is genuine, humble and at the same time powerful. The first image shows a 63 year old woman, an Ashtanga Yogini and former modern dancer, expressing her natural beauty and vibrance in a breathtaking way. Here a few words behind the scene from the model. “Michelle’s invitation to participate in her Bodyscape Series inspired me to come out of “retirement” from dance and art modeling. The process of this photo shoot brought back memories of working with choreographers/artists who had definite ideas and did not hesitate to challenge me to dig deeper, in order to achieve their vision.  Collaborating with Michelle on this project was no different. Her clear directions, attention to detail and high standards for composition, form and line were essential to create these images that make visible the landscape of the body and spirit.”

How would you describe your style?

My professional graphic design practice gives the magic of photography another artistic edge. It is essential to infuse my photographic art with a fine-tuned sensitivity, compassion, attention to detail and genuine expression, always aiming for excellence, grace and wonder in my compositions. “Welcome to the landscape of the human body and face with their infinite expressiveness and grace, their connection to gravity, light and the natural forces around them.”

© Michelle Haymoz

Story behind this image:  A 28 year old woman whom I refer to as yoga fairy. Fairy because she moves with her body in such grace and ease, as she would own supernatural powers.

What’s your approach to post processing?

Post processing is an equally important part of my photography. I am interested in portraits which reflect authenticity of the subjects personality and story of life. I may add some skin softening/smoothening (on women), remove small unnecessary details, compose the frame so that lines and graphic elements find harmonious communication.

© Michelle Haymoz

Story behind this image: A girl I photographed in El Salvador, in a very tiny tortilla factory, operated by her family. I’ve made a whole series with street portraits of people from El Salvador and Guatemala. Particularly the women express an extraordinary dignity and strength.

What or who inspires you?

Life.

What gear do you use?

Canon 5D Mark II
EF 24-70 f/2.8 L IS USM
EF 50 f/1.2 L USM
EF 100 f/2.8 L Macro IS USM
EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II USM
Extender EF 2xIII

I work with only one Speedlite 580EX II
Westcott Apollo Softbox

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Links

Website: www.michellehaymoz.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michelle-Haymoz-Photography/130873993656459
Google+: https://plus.google.com/107933834955337925446/
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/swissyogini/

Featured Member: Peter Marfleet

What kind of photography do you do?

I specialize in family photography experiences covering everything from maternity bumps, newborn babies and toddlers to older children and small family groups.  I focus on selling more than just a portrait; the business has a dedicated in-house bespoke framing workshop that ensures each portrait leaves the studio as a beautiful piece of framed art.

I also have a commercial side to the business that specializes in business headshots.

© Peter Marfleet

Story behind this image: This little girl was photographed in an old barn that she was having fun exploring…I try to let kids just be themselves and get the images along the way. I always try to get kids under cover with light rushing in from underneath it…you get great catch lights like that. I knew I wanted to shoot  into the darker interior of the barn so as she passed the door and stopped, we had a chat about what the barn was used for. I asked her what animals she thought had lived there and as she stopped to think, I caught this.

How would you describe your style?

My family portrait experiences are done exclusively with natural light and mostly in black and white – I love the simplicity of black and white ; in my mind it allows the viewer to focus on the person’s character in that moment without any distractions.  Natural light, if you know where to find it, produces the most wonderful portraits. My starting point for every portrait is the quality of light (note: not the quantity but quality…some of my best images have been taken in low level but very good quality light).

Most of my work is done on location either at clients homes and gardens or any other outdoor country location. I would describe my style as  simple, natural and timeless on-location portraits, reflecting the enjoyment of the relaxed moments had whilst creating them.  I believe many current family portraits styles will go out of date quickly; I strive to create art that will hang on walls for decades to come without the families ever getting tired of them or going out of fashion.

On my commercial headshot side of the business, my style is studio lit landscape headshots against white, gray or colored backgrounds – I believe every business person can have a portrait that projects confidence but with approachability.

© Peter Marfleet

Story behind this image: This girl was shot in a local deer park – she loved having her picture taken and this was right at the end of the session. I had found a great wall that was under the cover of lots of thick trees. The wall ran away up a hill with the ground covered in old leaves. Being under cover meant great catch lights again (you can see the sky ‘softbox’ in her eyes) and the leaves on the ground behind created a wonderful backdrop. I asked her to look at her mum and on the count of 3 look at me without laughing…she couldn’t do it and gave me this shot!

What’s your approach to post processing?

I shoot all my images in RAW and import them to Lightroom. I do initial adjustments to the RAW files in Lightroom than export as tiffs to a point of sales program from time exposure.com called ProSelect. From there I individually edit images in Photoshop. For all my portraits, I am passionate about getting as much of the image right in camera – I’m a lover of minimal post processing if I can help it!

For my family portraits, I use Alien Skin Exposure 3 to convert the images to B&W following low level touch ups. I then use a custom action which creates a masked grey layer over the image – I can then paint black or white on that layer to add contrast selectively to existing shadows and highlights; it’s like a burn tool but with greater control. A simple gaussian blur on this layer merges the layer to taste. I like lots of grain in shadows and carefully applied vignettes on many of my black and white images. Once complete, I use ProSelect to produce high resolution files automatically at the clients requested sizes, ready to send to the print lab.

For my commercial work, I follow a similar workflow but most are done in color unless clients request otherwise. I like vignettes on my backgrounds but achieve this in camera using a single speed-light behind the subject, firing into the background – in camera vignettes always look better in my opinion.

© Peter Marfleet

Story behind this image: This boy was in his own home. They had a south facing floor to ceiling living room window, heavy curtains and a nice cupboard. By closing all the curtains and keeping just a narrow gap open on the south facing window curtain, I created a soft modelling light. The boy was a natural and just sat very relaxed, chatting , laughing and posing for me.

What or who inspires you?

My passion for portrait photography grew out of traveling the world as a British Army helicopter pilot, capturing images of colleges along the way. I was inspired to record the moments we experienced together – those moments pass so quickly and a record is essential.

I learned to shoot after being inspired by strobist.com. The early years of my photography were completely dominated by flash photography – I would say I didn’t know how to shoot with natural light at all really.

When I was leaving the military, I attended a one-on-one training day with a successful photographer from North Yorkshire, UK,  by the name of Mark Broadwith (http://www.marksstudio.co.uk/). He taught and effectively mentored me over the coming year in natural light photography which I discovered was highly effective in family photography; my style is inspired by his work greatly I would say.

When I started the headshot side of things, my early flash photography skills became useful once again. I have been inspired recently by Peter Hurley having watched his new DVD -  The Art Behind The Headshot. If you shoot headshots and haven’t seen this DVD then it will drastically change your approach to your work and I highly recommend it.

In all my work but particularly my family portraits, I’m inspired to create not just an image but a memory of a moment, experience, character and ultimately a piece of art presented appropriately. I take great pride in being trained as a picture framer and my clients come to me to buy both the experience and art, not just a picture for their wall.

What gear do you use?

I’m Nikon fan. I use a Nikon D3s and love primes – 50mm 1:1.4D and  85mm 1:1.4D are my main lenses (old but good!) I also uses a 24-70 1:2.8 AF-S occasionally.

On the lighting fornt – just a reflector for the natural shots occasionally when needed. On the headshots, I have 4 sb800s and a handful of pocket wizard tt5s, a minitt1 with ac3 zone controller. I use shoot through umbrellas, a 60″ octa from Paul C Buff modified to fit speed lights and smaller lastolite softboxes.

oh…and a trusted macbook pro!

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Links

Website: www.petermarfleetphotography.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/petermarfleetphotography
Twitter: http://twitter.com/petemarfphoto
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/100248340343719760357/

The Tuesday Composition: Compositional Shapes

Layers, Yosemite NP, California

Layers, Yosemite NP, California

If you like this article, you can now get the book! Joe has expanded the “Tuesday Composition” series into an inspiring new ebook on composition, especially for nature photography. Check it out: The Tuesday Composition.

In previous posts in this series, I’ve talked a lot about how the elements within an image play into how we view it. How lines guide our eye through images, how highlights in the image attract our eyes, how the direction things are moving, or looking into, play into composition. But for much of this conversation we’ve ignored one of the elephants in the compositional room–the shape of the image as a whole. Is it square or rectangular, landscape or portrait, thick or thin? For the rest of this article I’ll call this the “format” of the picture. (I apologize in advance for any confusion with other senses of the word format, e.g., medium-format.)

Often, the choice of what format to compose our image within isn’t made consciously. Instead, often we (and I include myself in this) are guided by what camera we use, and pragmatic considerations about presentation and framing. Most of my images have a 3:2 aspect ratio. It will come as no surprise that this is the same format as the sensor in my digital cameras, as well as the format of the openings in the standard window mats I buy in quantity. This isn’t entirely bad, it does help create a certain consistency of “look” to shows of my work. Still, it’s not a choice that should usually be made unconsciously.  Some images, some ideas just work better in different formats than others, and with the plethora of pixels that come out of modern digital SLRs, often little is lost when we crop an image to improve it. [Read more...]

The Super Wide Portrait

Want to have some fun next time you’re shooting environmental portraits? Then think wide! Just when you are about to pack up that gear and call it a wrap, pull out that super wide angle lens and try something different.

The Super Wide portrait

[Read more...]