Saturday, 28 March 2009

We don't work we Play.

When asked how he and his design studio managed to remain so innovative, design guru Philippe Starck replied, “We don't work we Play”. I love this quote from Starck, its in perfect alignment with behavioral psychologists beliefs that innovation & creativity is more likely to spring forth from a relaxed state of mind. Its also highly reminiscent of the old saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. And no one wants dull work now do they.

Of course when working on an assignment and delivering to a deadline a relaxed and playful frame of mind may be hard to come by so thank goodness we already know what we are doing!

Studio Fashion Photography, Lighting

But what do you do when you want to come up with new ideas?

I can't say I am a big fan of the 'think outside the box' concept. If you ask me, trying to think outside the box just won't work. You need to be outside of it to do that. How do you get there, outside of the box? Better to forget the box altogether and just Play!

Studio Fashion Photography, Light Test

A couple of weeks ago I decided I just wanted to play around with the studio lighting. I didn't have a specific outcome in mind. I just wanted to see if I could try some different set-ups & see what I could get. I also had a new Hair & Make-Up (H&MU) artist I wanted to try out; Kate Bonar, so that meant I needed a model too.

Studio Fashion Black and White Photography

Of course once you have a model and a H&MU you start to find yourself in a situation where you have an obligation to deliver. Now there is nothing wrong with that, delivering great photography is my job. But I just wanted to 'Play' (and not worry about delivering too much). I started casting around for someone that might just be happy to spend an afternoon in the studio in like-minded fashion, happy to play with ideas and see what we could come up with. Fortunately an email from another H&MU artist popped into my in-box. Cool; its always nice to find a new H&MU & at the end of the email this H&MU just happens to mention she is also an agency model. I checked her profile (could possibly use some more shots...) & gave her a call. One model booked along with a promise of a H&MU test soon.

Studio Fashion Photography, legs, Daylight and Flash

We started at three in the afternoon and ran through until a little after eight. Together we played around with three different light set-ups and a few styling changes on the model, Kate gave us two different H&MU looks to go with the styling changes.In the end we had a rather nice clutch of pictures from four distinct shots including a new head/beauty shot for Angela & Kate. And I now had some new lighting set-ups I knew I could safely work with on future projects; a lovely new H&MU who clearly knows her stuff & another H&MU in waiting.

Studio Beauty Shot

Studio Lighting Set-up

Having been reasonably busy shooting look books of late, the next day at the studio I cheekily remarked that I didn't know I could (still) do four shots in four hours, I thought I could only do 44!

Playing in the studio turned out not only to be a great way to find new lighting set-ups, it also turned out to be a great way to recharge the creative batteries too. And what better way to recharge than doing what you love. Making pictures.

H&MU Kate Bonar
Model, Angela Thomas at Scene
Assisted by Harry Perlich.


Wednesday, 11 March 2009

In the Studio, Fashion Catalogues and Advertising.

If you really want to see the garments, if you want to save on time, location fees, and the worry about whether it’s going to rain or shine on the day… Shooting Fashion in the studio has tremendous advantages. I have been doing a bit of Look-Book and Catalogue in the studio for a few designers of late and its all going very well.

On one recent shoot we did over 50 looks on the white background and then chose five of the outfits and shot ‘Studio as Location’ to create a series of complimentary images with a much edgier feel. Our model Alex who has appeared on Australia’s Next Top Model was a real pleasure to work with and remained inventive and seemed tireless over a full day of shooting.

Fashion catalogue and look-book Lingerie Studio Photography.

Menswear, creative flat lay for fashion catalogue.Mens, and menswear Fashion Photography, Studio as location, Sydney Australia

Large look book Uscari, white background in the studio, studio fashion catalogue photography

Miss Universe Australia, Product photography with model in the studio.

Fashion Photography, Studio as location 2, Sydney Australia

Our over 30’s market Catalogue shoot provides a nice contrast of style for a fairly similar studio setup, though this time with softer lighting and a little more fill light. There was some lovely layering, frills and detail stitching on Thai Silks which were beautifully rendered by the studio lighting set-up.

Fashion range photographer on black background and then white background, Studio Fashion Catalogue

Fashion range photographer on black background and then white background, Studio Fashion Catalogue

The white background digital shots shown here on the Fashion Blog are essentially straight from the camera in old school film style. Typically the only post/retouching work required is automated curves and sharpening (digital always needs some level of sharpening) adjustment. This makes a fast turnaround on most jobs a fairly simple task.

Kent Johnson 0433 796 863
Sydney 2009 - 2012

Sunday, 1 March 2009

A European Location - in Sydney.

“I want to shoot on location but I want it to look European.”

No that is not an exasperating request it’s an inspiring one and it’s the sort of request I love to hear. And it’s not really surprising to hear it. I was often asked if my black and white shots from the 80s had been taken in Europe. At the time I found it an odd question as those shots had been taken at landmark Sydney locations; but that said much of the identifiable ‘Sydney’ bits had been removed by careful choice of framing and I suppose I had a something
of an informed(?) European take on photography.

1980 Black & White Fashion with a European feel. Sydney Australia

But finding the right spot can be tricky. On this occasion the client gave me a bit of a lead, however I thought it sounded a bit too Sydney and a bit too clean for Europe. I decided to take the camera out and have a look around. Using the suggested location as a conceptual starting point and my own perception of what might lend itself to being European, I made a series of shots I thought would fit the bill.

European looking Stairs, Location Test Sydney Australia

And its not just the location; it’s also the light! I love Sydney light but it can be oh-so-strong and unforgiving. I remember the French Fashion Photographer Denis Jobron remarking to me one day that the light in Sydney was like being in a microwave oven! So the European/Sydney location needs something like a Euro lighting feel as well.

Location Tests, European look, Sydney Australia

Checking light and location is all about good preparation so things go smoothly on the day. The more complex the shoot, the more preparation that may be required. What will work in post-production can also be addressed before the shoot as well. Last December I finally managed to put together a Night Fashion shoot, an Editorial Submission. It was based around an idea I had been working on for quite a while, the big problem was just how to pull it off?

Black & White Bike, Euro Location Sydney Australia

Initially I simply looked out for the shots I wanted and made location pictures on my point-and-shoot. But I also needed to know how the camera and lenses would work with a real model in situ on location. My friend Julia was kind enough to stand in(twice) for these location tests which were invaluable. A new lens was found to be required to allow for shooting at the best ISO and the all important mix of lighting was tested and put through its paces.

Night Fashion Location Sydney Australia

The preparation paid off and on the night of the shoot the team and I were able to put 10 shots in the can in just three hours, but more about that shoot when I am able to show it online.

Sydney as a European location? Why not!