As I transition into a different field of photography from the traditional portrait world into the not so traditional fashion/commercial world, I find it fascinating to try to figure out what the current trends are. Once you understand that, it’s time to move forward in a different direction. “Lead, do not follow.” In my opinion, this is what sets us apart from the crowd. I do not see myself as a follower. My goal is to produce unique, if not still classic work. Using the old tools and redefining their presentation, I am forever trying to differentiate myself from everyone else.
This industry is extremely fickle and what works today, may not work tomorrow. When I’m working with my clients, whether a company or an individual, we try to approach the session in such a manner that we are hopefully setting a trend as a posed to following one. When you do this, you leave yourself open to a lot of, “Gee what were they thinking? I’ve decided this is a good thing.” There is a wonderful phrase from an old Apple commercial, Think Different, it goes like this:
“There are those who see things differently. They are not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but you can’t ignore them, they change things, they invent, they imagine, they heal, they create and they inspire, they push the human race forward.”
My point here is to do things differently, educate your customers on what’s possible, and change how you see the world. When your approach is different from what it’s been, your results will be different as well.
For me, using different lenses all the time always changes my perspective. In this session with Lindsay, I used the new Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S. It’s fast and sharp, like all Sigma lenses, and its Auto Focus speed is a big plus when you have a moving subject. It locks on the subject quickly. I was working in a rather small space and wanted the ability to zoom in and out as quickly as I needed too. Several of the images in this blog are close up as well as full body and somewhere in between. This lens length has always been one of my favorites. For the portrait photographer, this is such a great focal length and aperture when working with fast paced action, like Lindsay dancing in this case.
As you can see from this image below, I am using movement as a form of bringing my images to life, my new trend. Rather than a still life portrait, (we did several of those as well) Lindsay and I decided on using a dance series to show how she moves. As experienced professional model, she understands the importance of standing out from the crowd. She has quite an extensive portfolio of images showing her looking quite different in each image, but nothing that really shows how she can move to the sound of the shutter, a welcome trait in this industry.
Another one of my favorite things to do when creating a different look is to add elements, vector art, graphics and textures to the image. I have been doing this for years, and you know what they say, “What’s old is now New.” Fashion trends tend to move in a circular rotation.
The purpose of adding design elements to your work is two fold. One, to enhance the image and two, draw attention to both the maker and the subject. Like any good artwork, you don’t want the use of these graphics to become what your image is about. Simply an addition to the overall presentation and hopefully to make your image that much more memorable. It also makes a statement about your brand. CREATIVITY! Whether they like it or not, you will stand out in a good way if it’s done correctly.
Aside from Vector Art, I also use textures I create myself. This image of a flower was photographed from some wallpaper I found at an old hotel in Los Angeles. I will purposely create High Key images so that I can add textures to them later in post. After so many years of creating this kind of work, it has become part of my brand.
Sometimes the simple act of placing two images side by side in one frame can have a nice effect. When you can’t choose between Black and White and color, why not use both?
This simple image of Lindsay is one of my signature images. It’s got attitude, an emotion we were working towards. It showcases her gorgeous figure, her long limbs, her beautiful hair and that incredible face. It also shows her makeup, good for any makeup artist and it shows the clothing, great for any stylist. It’s a simple light set up with an umbrella as the main light and a beauty dish feathered to the side as the fill. I also used a reflector to fill in the light under her chin. This created a nice soft light without any shadows.
These last two images really demonstrate the gorgeousness of this lens and of course my model. Even without a great depth of field in this studio, the fast aperture mixed with the wonderful auto focus allows me to zoom in and out with ease. The lens, quick to respond, changes my perspective without me having to move closer to the subject unless I need to. From 70 to 185 focal length in a manner of seconds is just a dream come true.