DollyFrocks

12 02 2013

Here’s a shoot I had with DollyFrocks last weekend. Before I dive back into music photography, I gave one last go to something outside my comfort zone. Fashion confuses me, but photography I can do. With stylists on board, I’m free to shoot the way I like without having to worry about things I know little about (clothes, to be specific. I’m a jeans and tee shirt kinda guy). We headed to Bull Island and avoided the crowds by heading off the beaten track. It was pretty chilly and exposed (not to mention all the dog doo we had to avoid), but it made for some cool backgrounds.

I’d planned to head to the long grass there, and use the Anne Liebowitz ‘Rhianna’ shoot as my basis for the shoot. Unfortunately the weather didn’t break as well as I’d planned and the sky was pretty overcast, but I think I got something acceptable.

All shots were shot with two lights, excluding the ambient light.
I exposed for the background first as always, introduced my first light, then based on the ambient light reading. With a shutter speed of 1/200 and an aperture of f/14 (ISO always at 200 for shoots like this), I brought in the large softbox first. I wanted to get close with the softbox, to retain lots of softness. This was great as I needed the flash at 1/2 at about 4 feet away for most shots. I added a rim light too. To be perfectly honest I’m not that specific with my rim lights. If it defines my model and isn’t massively over-exposed, I’m not going to tweak it too much.

 

I brought some smoke bombs with me, but as they burn for about 30 seconds max, you really have little room for flash misfires, model blinks, dropped poses etc. I’m sure I’ve one, but none presentable at present. In the meantime hopefully these are pleasing to your eye. I’ve a few more ideas for shoots later on in the year, but for now, I think I’ll concentrate on bands.

Models: Chelsea Byrne, Jade Stapleton & Paul Lyons 
MUA: Julia Babahina 
Style: DollyFrocks Clothing, Dublin 
Assistant: Yan Bourke





Tuner Photoshoot

10 07 2011

This is Tuner, a great band, being blasted with lights from all angles. After a quick edit of the 4gbs of photos from today, here’s a few early highlights. More to come soon!

Anyway, we started off at the back of their own studio (thems the wooden background images) – and moved towards St. Annes Park (surely the best place for photoshoots in Dublin.) Two flashes were used for all the pictures- an SB-600 and the impressive Metz-50. They’re relatively cheap and amazingly easy to use with radio triggers and deliver great results every time. I never thought I understood flashes completely, but after today I reckon I’ve got it down.

Anyway, if you like what you see and would like some pictures like this of your own, gimme a shot. Contact details are, handily, under the ‘contact’ tab at the top of the page!

 

 

 

 

 

 





Thesis : Behind the Irish Music Scene

24 03 2011

So here we are: The first samples of my thesis to date (Except in black and white). The Coloured versions will appear in a book, which I’ll hopefully put up here as a pdf after May.

I’ve basically followed bands around, arriving when they do (usually at 4pm) and going home after they do. I’ve hassled a lot of people, pointed cameras where I was told not to and woken up a disgruntled bass-player with an over enthusiastic flash (not recommended). I’ve shot the bands live, but for the book, only candid, behind the scene images will be used.

 

Let me know what you think!

 

 

 

 

 

 





Hoax

9 08 2010

The lads from Hoax were the latest crowd to get the Deadl.ie treatment. We met up at the docks and after a few minutes they were totally relaxed and some of the best models I’ve worked with yet. You can check the guys out here and if you like what you hear they’re playing Sunday 15th August in the Mezz

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Photographer’s Notes:

The lads chose to meet at 9pm, which was perfect lighting-wise. The sun was setting and the lights at the docklands were coming alive. Worked out perfectly. Two strobes were used, two SB-600s fired using Nikon’s on-baord CLS, both at full power. The lights were situated at 45′ to each side of the band, the left using a shoot through umbrella and the right through my new Ezybox.

The left light was aimed at the member furthest on the right and vice-versa with the left strobe, ensuring a nice even spread of light across the band. There was no back-lighting this time.

The green-shot  (no.3) was performed with a shutter speed of 1/80 whilst moving the camera freely in my hand as I shot. It was enough to lightly blur the scene, with the flashes (firing at the end of the shutter) was strong enough to ensure detail and clarity.

The set, so far is available here:





Self Portrait – Strobist Style

9 07 2010

Right, so the strobist obsession continues. After splashing out for Joe McNally‘s two books earlier this week, I was bitten by this photo-flash malarkey once more and had to give it a go. Lacking a beautiful model however, meant that it was up to myself to not only dial in all the numbers and figures, but to also look nonchalant and well, poncey. I succeeded in at least one of these aims.

It was a fairly simple set up, as you can see below:

So two flashes, two diffusers (one coloured), a small GorillaPod and one lighting stand. Hardly an overly elaborate set-up. But to be honest, without Mr.McNally’s tips, this would’ve been a lot more daunting that I thought it would be.

But  to be honest the storbes aren’t really the hard part here – the background is. I needed to use the available light to my advantage (you can see it to the back of the scene in the windows). So I had to work that in. So firstly expose using Aperture Mode, with matrix-metering. That gave me this:

Which is fair enough to an extent. In the camera’s brain, this is a well exposed picture apparently. But lets be honest, it’s a bit shite. I mean it’s equally dark and bright at the same time. Look out the windows – pure white. Never a good thing in a photograph, really. So then you stick it in manual and take it down a stop or two until it starts looking a bit better – in the window area only. So you should get this (well, if you live in my house and have the camera pointing in the same direction, at least):

Right, technically awful, but nicer lighting in the window area – especially on the table. I mean that’sa nice table. Poifect.

Then you just bring in the lights. One behind the model (well, hello) and the other above them seems to be a fairly standard affair, according to good ol’ Joe. The one behind lights up the background and gives a nice outline, the other obviously just lights up the face. The background light had a CTO diffuser on it, just to warm things up a bit. The lights practically do everything themselves in iTTL (intelligent Through The Lens), but I felt I needed to adjust them slightly (+3 in the back and -1 on the face).

I’m not saying these are perfect portraits (far from it – lookit the highlights on the white appliances for a start), but given that I was manual focusing, aiming, pressing a timer release, legging it around the table like a rabbit jogging through marshmallow, I think I did okay.

G’wan then. One more prat-shot:

….Oh and get The Hot Shoe Diaries. If you like any of this stuff it’ll change your view on the whole malarkey. It’s inspiring and informative and great fun too. It’ll be helping me along my way here for a long time!





FAT – Fringe Festival Photoshoot

1 06 2010

You know the deal by now, click the image to see it larger

Having been contacted by the lovely people behind FAT, my first photoshoot was arranged. The bag was packed, two strobes in tow and my new umbrella set-up was taken along too. I was very excirreh.

Turned out the photoshoot was in a bathroom, so the umbrella was abandoned as it was far too big to fit into the room itself when open, without obstructing someone within the shot. So I was shooting with two bare flashes, hidden within the scenes. I took a reading of the room, getting a nice scene and as per David Hobby’s Strobist advice, I underexposed two stops (I actually brought it down a little more later) and adjusted the flashes to below 1/10 power each (because they were direct and not being dispersed by the umbrella). There was a little bit of flying by the pants going on here – tweaking on up and one down as need depended. Small spaces are a nightmare to shoot in – too much bouncing light and the cluttered room drew odd shadows all over the place. 90% of the time the flashes were pointed directly up, hoping to eliminate these shadows and give a nice, even spread of light.

Thankfully the girls and boy knew exactly what they wanted, and almost how they wanted it, so I was left with the simple task of shooting beautiful people, who were not camera shy. I needed to give minimal instructions – “watch your positioning” and “faces towards me” was about as difficult as it got – these guys knew how to work a camera. Took a load off my mind, I was worried about directing strangers, being bossy to them in their own home. But I got lucky first time out.

The show is an interesting concept; it looks at the fascination with image in today’s world and the importance placed upon glamour – even in things that are not necessarily that beautiful. Don’t take my word for it – especially given my ability to get the wrong end of the stick and appalling grasp of the English language. Check it out yourself (link will be added when available!)

I toyed with the images in Photoshop afterwards, but nothing too strenuous – high pass filters, gaussian blurs, fiddling with curves and colour balances. Here are some quick examples:

Here I selected the pants of Stephen, both bras on show and the lips’ of the ladies. Each got a selection of their own and an adjustment with the colour balance tool. The pants  became quite garish and needed the saturation to be pulled down and a small bit of dodging and burning to get them looking somewhat realistic. The yellow bra was changed  from a pale purple, and Im quite happy that it comes across believable enough. Think the yellow is needed too – the primary colours really make this image ‘pop’!

The lips are a little bit overdone, but I think that’s part of the point! Again, this was just a colour balance tweak.

The whites of everyone’s eyes (everyone except Oonagh’s – whose you can’t see anyway) have been boosted. I took this idea from a book of wartime photography I was given. I  didn’t realise this was an after effect, but in retrospect, who the hell has eyes naturally that white?! I first utilized this in the Faithless edits, but i think I’ve come to use it to  better effect here.

This one is a little bit more constrained. The main edit here was brightening up the foreground. The flashes (yes, I know, you can see one on the bath there…) were all aimed high, resulting in lovely tones up top, but a very shaded lower part of the image. A quick selection and curves adjustment got it up to something a little better, without taking the focus away from the main character in this scene. Think this one came out nicely exposed, the outside window is still clean and not burned-out and the faces are all well lit!

Lovely floor too, innit?

And finally there was the headshots.

This came out best:

It was desaturated using the colour balance method, her face was selected inverted and then the rest of the scene was subject to a gaussian blur of 3.7 pixels. Her eyes were  selected and given a smart sharpen and the lipstick was made darker with a small bit of burning.

Unsurprisingly, it’s already been a hit over on flickr (modest, me? yeah, I know). Less than 60 after being  uploaded it had been favourited. As had quite a few of this shoot. Beautiful people in revealing clothes will do wonders for your flickr stats. I’m up to 300 views in less than an  hour after this batch was put up.

As always there’s more over on my Flickr

Oh, and there’s still more editing to be done – 700 shots from yesterday and I’ve only gotten around to addressing about half so far, so stay tuned!