Sparkling new

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PART III of the Bohemian Lookbook Production (Part I with Moya & Part II with Shalome Joy)

A stock production is quite a different puppy comparing to many fashion or beauty shoots. We try for as many looks, variations, treatments, models as possible within our stylists' Skill x Time capacity. Every produced shot has to be a potential bestseller.

Every model - perfect before she enters the make-up chair, every outfit ironed & well matched before Photoshop. Should be quite obvious for every shoot, I know.

It takes a special model to do stock work. I'll speak about it in another post - just to give due praise to our studio models. As a rule, a model would need to test for at least 3 shoots, before we place her into a bigger production. She needs to be consistent, creative and a pleasant person to work with - not just for our sake, but for the rest of the creative team.

Jana has never worked with us before this shoot. However, she comes as a recommendation of  Salome Hoogendijk - fellow stock photographer & well known for her perfectionism.

Salome is also well known to throw her models into all kind of scenarios: from getting wet, covering them in glitter, setting fireworks around them - you name it, she has done it. 

I had an idea, that if a model has been "trained" by Salome, she will fit just perfectly into our studio. 

Of course we tried to get as many unknows out of the way before the shoot, as possible. We got the model's recent pictures, asked for unedited close-ups of her skin (under non-disclosure agreement), got freshest measurements.

The model was fully briefed on how to prepare for the shoot, and what are our expectations for her.

To our advantage, the hairstylist, Riani Roets, has worked with Jana before, not just on her hair, but also as the makeup artist (familiar with the facial structure, shape, texture of hair)

I also secretly hoped that a model with a name "Sparkle" would make things happen. 

We were additionally surprised when she started working. Jana was very aware of her body, and specially hands, which is rare even for full time models. She jumped into the shoot with full confidence and love for transformation.

On top of that, small details, like hair colour & general hair condition, as well as well groomed eyebrows, nails and skin texture promised no reservations in shooting angles, lighting set-ups and no extended editing time.

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STOCK SIDE OF THINGS

So far we have loaded about 100 images from this shoot to the stock archives, which is quite a high number for such a short shooting time slot.

As you can see from the gallery, there are many images that are very similar to each other,  with a slight variation in a pose or a crop.

Note: the image cropping and composition was determined on the day of the shoot - we don't like cropping my images in an editing program afterwards, as it limits the potentials of larger image sales. 

Although many libraries do not except similar in content images, at times limiting uploads to 7 or less images per shoot, our experience is that the designers often buy images in clusters, and even in colour variations of the same image.

Note 2: While shooting an image, our general rule is to do a fuller frame, close-up and a potential copy space shot from the same pose.

NOTE ON EDITING

As a stock production, with commercial value in mind, the images were edited with a variety of treatments. There's no consistent look to the story, although certain groups of images were colour graded in a similar way, to allow the buyers to use multiple images as a story. There's a variety of colour temperatures, hazes, saturation and brightness levels. 

All images were shot RAW, with a colour chart reference. The RAW conversion was done with a natural skin tone values in mind. 

The first selection was done in the RAW converter: checking for sharpness, comparing poses. Out of a 500 image shot, about 50 get thrown away for either camera movement or similarity. 

Best shots are selected for edit, the rest gets stored in RAW format, together with the original raw conversion support files. Often a client would ask to see a contact sheet form the shoot, to find a better matching image to their needs (within Rights Managed image license).

After the images are converted to tiffs & placed into the editing folder, a final selection run is done, usually on the next day after the shoot - to be able to evaluate the images afresh.

At first, all images went through basic 5-10 minute clean-up. You see, once all the production input values are nearly perfect, we don't need to get frustrated with long post-production hours. 

Also, the blue background could be adjusted to create different mood - from electric blue to turquoise (using Selective Colour Adjustments)

Luba created a few .psd with colour options, and the adjustment layers were dragged to the other groups of files to save time. 

FINAL THOUGHT

it is interesting to see what the buyer prefers and what images we find to be of a better artistic value. Once again, its a fragile reminder, that stock images are created with a different purpose in mind - to sell and to create loyal buyer support for the future shoots. 

CREATIVE TEAM

Photography:  Luba V Nel 

Postproduction: RetouchRepublic 

Lighting Design:  Sean Nel  

Lights: Profoto South Africa

Model: Jana Sparkle Louw

Make-up: Madeleine Botha 

Hair: Riani Roets 

Styling: Nadja Seale 

Wardrobe: Vintage Vices 

Set design: Els Styling 

Assistant: Jana-Minette Van Der Vyver 

Set Manager: JéAnette Loots

Borrowing a Muse

The conversation goes as such:

Me: Chanti, I want to shoot someone new

Chanti: there's this most amazing girl, she was the face of the Photo & Film Expo

Me: not sure she will fit into a boho shoot?

Chanti: you'd be surprised, she is a queen of transformations, and a lovely person to work with

So I Facebook her. Always feel so weird doing an introduction, feel like a total stalker. She is pleasant and professional in correspondence. Well, at least that is a good beginning.

Weather changed just in time for the beauty shoot - early morning frost is ideal for red hands and tips of the noses. Its all part of the plan. NOT.

A tiny girl arrives, bundled up against the freezing cold of the morning. Porcelain skin, with most beautiful even texture and, glowing. No make-up on a fresh face with perfect eyebrows. I am not sure I want to put any makeup on her face.

"Very sheer?" - I ask Madeleine, the make-up master, in doubt. Madeleine reassures me with a smile,  she is used to momentary changes of brief from my side. She looks inspired.

The model looks great in any outfit Nadja styles on her. I don't know the "new girl's" age, not completely sure what she does for a living. But the moment she is infront of my camera, I can't breath. I am inlove.

Sean is trying to convince me to change the light, but I am too afraid to pause, just in case the spell breaks. The lighting design is changed, the model resumes in her awesomeness.

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This is just a "soul" shoot - no commercial connotation, a gathering of crazy creative people that love what they do. A shoot that carries me creatively for many weeks of retouching deadlines and sleepless night.

CREATIVE TEAM

Photography:  Luba V Nel 

Postproduction: RetouchRepublic 

Lighting Design:  Sean Nel  

Lights: Profoto South Africa

Model: Shalome Joy

Make-up: Madeleine Botha 

Hair: Riani Roets 

Styling: Nadja Seale 

Wardrobe: Vintage Vices 

Set design: Els Styling 

Assistant: Jana-Minette Van Der Vyver 

Set Manager: JéAnette Loots

PackShots - CBE Vertex

Had a fun day shooting Pack Shots today.

The brief:

"Catalogue style, Isolated, but shot in a creative and arty way so that it can also be used in reviews of the product as well as creative advertising... "

Sure... no problem!

Set-up was simple: 2x Profoto Pro Heads with 3x4" Softboxes, 2x D1 Heads on the background.

Only thing different... I removed the diffusion panels to give the metal textures a bit more depth and gritiness

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MindShift Rotation 180 Professional - Bag Review

MindShift Rotation 180 Professional - Bag Review

If you are a “On the Go” and active photographer, the MindShift bags are definitely for you!

I have been playing with the Rotation 180 backpack from MindShift for the last few days and what is remarkable is that every single photographer that has walked into my studio, stopped next to it, and picked it up. Photographers assume it’s a camera bag, and backpackers know it is, but it is possibly one of the best “active” backpack camera bags I have come across to date!

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