27 September, 2008

Over Achiever

Check this out! I’m totally an over achiever! Here are a few of my favorites from the recent expansion of my Heroes & Villains series. I did these in the style of Richard Avedon (check out the American West Series specifically). “Why?” you ask, bewildered. For fun. His portraits on white can’t help but draw you in and the technique works so well! (Also, the my brother always ended up with the hero figures, so I ended up with all of the villains in the He-Man line up, which I was ok with. The villains were so much more fun.) I was actually a little worried that because of the issue of scale, that these portraits wouldn’t be as strong as I imagined in my head. I’m glad my imaginings finally live up to real life.

And now for the interactive part of our show! In the last post, I was asked how long each of these takes, along with time for set up and how many pictures I take. Let’s Tarantino it and begin at the end.

Sorry to be blunt, and a bit of a jerk, but I take as many pictures as necessary to get it right. For every shot, I have a mock up in my head of how I want it to look. I should right these down so I don’t fly from the seat of my pants so much, but I know what it should look like in the end. Sometimes it takes one shot, sometimes it takes 100, but I do what is necessary to make it look like what I imagine. Also, I don’t just stop when it looks like what I think it should look like. I mix things up, try new angles, move lights, flags, and scrims. It lets me explore the options and discover shots that are potentially better than what imagine (event shooting is different, and we can talk about that later if you like).

As for time for set up, that time varies between each shot as each shot requires its own set of details and carries its own set of problems. And in actuality, a lot of the time the set-up is very fluid and changes as the shoot goes on. For example, initial set up of the “Even Here” took about 5 minutes. I laid out a white sheet of foam core and dusted it with flour and put Snow Serpent on it and then framed my shot. Once that was set, the shoot itself probably took about 2 to 3 hours as I adjusted snow drifts, angles, depth of field, etc.

This leads into how long a shot takes quite nicely. Just like the number, it takes as long as necessary to get the vision in my head. I try and capture as much in frame in possible. Digital compositing, retouching, color correction are done on an as needed basis and again vary on each shot. Today’s shots took about 20 minutes in post to do all ten shots, of which I’ve only posted 3 so you don't get confused. I’ve done others where it takes 2 days or more to get one image just right.

So, just like the trip to granma’s house, “We’ll get there when we get there.” The key is knowing what you want to see when you are done. It allows you to better prepare for your shot and lets you be more creative because you’ll get to your initial idea faster, giving you more time (especially in this deadline driven world) to play around and experiment without sacrificing the goal.

So, now we know how we got here. Good thing Tarantino was around to help us out. Also, check out the fancy new label cloud. Now, with the click of a button, you can look up all posts relating to things such as pie, which I guess I have not actually posted anything on.


Amy. said...

I think these turned out WONDERFUL. You really nailed the lighting, they look beautiful. Are they the villains? Who doesn't like beautifully lit villains?

So, when will you be talking about PIE? That's really what I'm interested in.

Dimagiba Photography said...

Indeed they are the villains. And as for pie, sure sounds good to me.

andrewferguson.net said...

Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. Believe it or not, it was actually helpful...at least just hearing you talk about it.

Your photography, as usual, always amazes me.