Portrait photography – recreating someone else’s work.

Portrait photography – photo shoot inspiration.

If comes to portrait photography one of the very important factors is inspiration. Most of the time before I even start to organise a photo shoot  I look all over the internet searching for some good pictures which I like and then study them trying to figure out the lighting and all the details. I had a few clients in the past who asked me: “Can you do that ?” and we all know how difficult it is to recreate someone else’s work and how much we can learn just from doing it.

Recreating beautiful pictures.

I have seen a few images in the past which were fantastic and I tried to come with results as close as possible to the original.
And let me tell you something. It is not an easy job to do it, and here is why. If you are trying to recreate a beautiful picture of Brad Pitt, and you have managed to achieve a similar lighting, and picture is still far from what you want. Guess what ? It will never be the same because you are missing the main subject…Brad Pitt

Lighting makes no difference.

For a lot of viewers, it makes no difference to them what kind of lighting is on the subject. Makes no different how was it done, how soft is the light, they don’t care about rules of composition and the golden hour. There is only one thing they see, the subject.
Only us freak photographers pay attention to all the details studying every inch of the image.
So, what I’m trying to say is. If you wonder why you can’t achieve it, way the image you are creating looks nothing like you would like it to be, maybe you should find a more interesting subject…
It took me some time to understand the fact that the most important thing in the image is the subject, and if there is the story and all the details in place image will be even stronger. And thats way as much as possible  I’m trying to create every thing in my head.

My favourite pictures.

Here are some of my favourite pictures I would like to share with you and which ones I was trying to recreate some time ago. Unfortunately  I don’t know who took this picture of Anja Rubik and Charlize Theron.

Below original image of Charlize Theron.

Portrait Photographer

and here is the image I took

Joanna_Ignaczewska

 

Below original image of Anja Rubik which I was inspired by

Portrait photography

and here below image which I took

portrait photographer london

Why am I writing about it.

A few days ago a photographer told me that he was trying to recreate one of my pictures and I have to say, it made me feel great about it and I’m glad that there are some people who appreciate what I do.
Here is the image I’m talking about and a few words on how I have done it.

portrait photography london

 

To create this image I have used Canon 5D Mark 2 with 2.8 200mm lens. I was lying down on the floor  to achieve this interesting look of the floor in the picture.

On the left hand side of the model I have placed large 2m Octa from Elinchrom, on the right hand side placed large white reflecting board. Camera was set to ambient light of the windows. Rimlight on the models leg comes from the window.

Camera settings: F3.2 at 1/125 ISO320

To see some more of my portrait photography and how to recreate the light just click on this link.


The Importance of Professional Headshot Photography

The Importance of Professional Headshot Photography

In the industry, how you present yourself even before you show up for an audition can be a deal breaker. If you can’t get an agent to open your mail much less booking auditions, your problem could be that your headshots are working against you.

Getting New Headshots

When there’s been a significant change in your appearance like weight loss or gain or if you feel you look more mature since your last ones, it’s time to get new shots. Your pictures should look like you on your best day. If there hasn’t been a significant change in your appearance, you’ll want to get newer headshots every one or two years. Regularly updating your headshots keeps them fresh and stylish.

What Makes a Great Headshot ?

Just because the photo your friend took is great doesn’t mean it will make a good headshot. Depending on whether you’re an actor or model, a combination of ingredients has to come together to show agents and casting directors just how marketable you are. Creating a great headshot depends on three basic factors:

  1. The Look – The skill and craftsmanship of creating a professional, refined look can’t be achieved with amateur equipment. This requires expertise in lighting, focus, color correction and other techniques.
  2. Natural – This is why your choice of headshot photographer can accentuate or undermine you. It’s very important to be comfortable with your photography because he is more attuned to your sincerity and can capture that.  His attitude, the peaceful environment he creates greatly impacts how natural you feel.
  3. Personality – You are the only one who can bring your personality, your attitude to a shoot; the photographer is the translator.

Finding a great headshot photographer is easier these days but it can also be tricky. It’s not unusual for someone to buy some inexpensive camera equipment and offer those services so you’ll want to do more research. If you see a professional photo that you like, find out who did it and contact them. There are more than a few professionals out there who would gladly show you their portfolios.

Being prepared for your session is very important.  Getting plenty of rest and eating right can help you stay alert and look your best. Avoid radical changes to your skin and hair the day before the shoot and make sure your makeup is well done. Clothing that’s all white tends to wash out and busy patterns are distracting. Stick with simple colors that you know will help you look your best.

Here are few the latest actor headshots I took.

 

 

 

 

 

To see more about headshot photography or to find out more about headshot photographer Pawel Spolnicki just click on the link.


Photo shoot with S.O.P – Music Photography London

Music Photography London article.

Few days ago I had a pleasure to photograph this  up and coming independent UK based rapper, singer and songwriter S.O.P  for the cover of his debut hit afrobeat single “Nwannem” (also known as “Speaking In Tongues” to fans that are unable to pronounce the African title).

As the pictures were taken, I wanted to find out more about his music and this “Nwannem” project in particular as the concept was rather intriguing. I also wanted to find out why “Speaking In Tongues” was used as an alternative title. During this conversation, S.O.P whose real name is Emmanuel Ebokosia revealed that the afrobeat single “Nwannem” features a combination of some languages often spoken in Nigeria including English, Igbo, Yoruba and ‘broken/piggin english’. He also went on to explain that the language spoken by a person’s mother or parents is referred to by Africans as the “mother’s tongue” so therefore since he was rapping in a combination of languages its accurate to say he was speaking in different tongues hence the alternate title “Speaking In Tongues”.

“Nwannem” was produced by a Nigeria based top producer Tha Suspect of Capital Hill Music and is scheduled for official release on iTunes mid-July following the release of the video 12th July 2013.

You can find out more about S.O.P and support his music via:

Website- www.sopxcel.com

I have been doing music photography for quite some time now, and people start to recognise my work which really make me feel good because there is nothing better then knowing that some one like your work and knowing that you are being recommended to more and more people. Any way, the reason I am writing about is because I wanted to show you how i have done those images and I hope you can findsomething intresting in this post.

Here are some final images of  S.O.P.

 

and here is how I have done it. On the image below you can see that I have started by setting key light. I took large soft box with grid and I have placed on the left hand side of the camera. I use grids on most of my lights which allows me to have more control and I don’t have to worry of any light spilling to the background. As you can see on the image above I also put it in front small table so I could hide the legs behind it and add bit of depth to the image. On the second image I added one more soft box on the right hand side to lit other side of his face. I also put one more light to lit the background and  one more to lit cigar smoke. To insure that the smoke is well visible on the picture you have to make sure that the light is coming from behind the smoke.

 

To see more articles about music photography click on the link shoot with Jayvic and Jahilez


London Portrait Photographer-shoot with Jayvic and Jahilez

Here are some of the images from the latest session with Jayvic and Jahilez, two very talented singers and writers from London. As a London portrait photographer I knew that this will be very good session. The moment I saw those two guys I knew I have to come with something good, something which really show those two artists. I knew that there is potential and that both of them will do them best to get good result. The competition is massive, a specially in place like London so to make them stand out from the crowd I had to create something different. I decided to go for little bit moody look. The biggest challenge was to find the right place to shoot, and since I couldn’t find anything I want I had to do ti myself. So I went to B&Q I bought plaster board, paint wooden panels. Two days of work with few of my friends and here we are inside the room ready to shoot. I was probably more exited about building the set then taking the picture… However as in life even London portrait photographer can learn something new every day.

To show the wall lamps I had to drag shatter speed and set ISO to 400. Canon 5D mark2, 70-200 IS I also used one soft box placed in front and above the subject.

In this image I used to soft boxes in clamp shall position with two strip boxes behind the subject to create rim light.

To see more about London portrait photographer Pawel Spolnicki just click on the link S.O.P


Rembrandt Lighting-Portrait Photographer London

Few things every portrait photographer London should know.

Portrait photography has been around since the invention of the camera. Much lower cost of the photographic process in 19th century and much shorter sitting time for the subject, led to a general rise in the popularity of portrait photography over painted portraiture. Early portrait photographers had to meet lots of challenges, like long exposure times.
Subjects had to be seated on the chair with no move for a very long time. Most of the times sobject was lit with the soft light of an overhead window. At first portrait photography was very limited due to lack of technics and equipment limitations.
Today’s technology and easy access to Internet and books allow us to take us breath taking images wether it’s a studio or location photo shoot. Not many of today’s young generation photographers even now how difficult it was back then.
When portrait photographer composes and capture image in a studio, has full control over the lighting and the composition of the subject and can tweak direction and power of light. There are lots of ways to light a subject, but there are one most common lighting setups which are described below.

Three-point lighting
One of the most known lighting set is called three-point lighting. This set uses three lights to fully model the subject’s features.
Key light also known as a main light, is usually placed to one side of the subject’s face,  around 45 degrees off center and above than eye level. The key light is the brightest light in the lighting plan.
Fill light
Placed opposite the key light, the fill light is there to soften the shadows on the opposite side of the face. The brightness of the fill light is usually around 1/3 of the key light.
This lighting setup was created to mimic the natural light created by placing a subject in a room near a window. This type of lighting can be found in the works many best painters and early photographers and is often called Rembrandt lighting.

Back light
Also called a rim light or hair light, the rim light is placed behind the subject higher than the Key light or Fill.
The point of the rim light is to provide separation from the background. The rim light should be just bright enough to provide separation from the background, but not as bright as the key light.

To read more about Portrait Photographer London please click on the link.


London Portrait Photographer-photo shoot with ballerina.

 

One day photo shoot with ballerina by London portrait photographer-Pawel Spolnicki

Last summer I was photographing this fantastic ballerina and I decided to write few words about it. Firstly before the shoot I had to find ballerina which turns out not that difficult, there is lots of people up there willing to pose for you as long as they have some good picture. We decided to do the photo shoot in Greenwich Park. I normally take to the shoot  half of my gear from the studio just to make sure is there if needed. From my experience on location I know that you always need something you forgot. Any way I knew that we are going to walk a lot, so I decided to use only one light with deep octa which was perfect for this image. I had this on  Elinchrom Ranger RX 1100 just to make sure that I have enough of power if needed. In portrait photography lighting is very important and since there was a very hot and sunny day and very unpleasant light I had to bring lots of diffusion to get rid of  harsh shadows. I found very good place for the picture and as soon we set everything up the weather changed, and as usual you have to be ready for every thing mother nature throw on you. I this case the sun was coming and going from behind the clouds through the leafs giving me ugly patches of light on the model however I quickly fixed this using diffusion panel which I didn’t forgot.

Here you can see two images from the shoot and some information on how I have done it.

In this picture I set camera to underexpose the image and I lit the model with deep octa. I placed the light on the right hand side 2-3m form the model. Camera settings: 1/160, F5.6, ISO 100

 

 

 


Headshot Photographer London

I have been doing headshot photographer for some time now and I would like to share with you some of my experiences and also technics I use to make a good picture. Every time I have new client in the studio I start simple. Most of the time with white background and nice soft bright light I always play a good music for them and take lots of pictures to worm up the clients and to relax them little bit. Being a headshot photographer London its not easy coz there is massive competition and you have to do everything to stand out from the crowd. Key to success is good lighting and expression you can pool out of your model. If one of them is not right there will be always something missing in the image. Here is my favourite set of lights for the headshot photography. I set two lights in clamshell position, on the top I put soft box or beauty dish and on the bottom soft box of reflector.  To make light nice and soft I place them as close to the model as possible plus close lights give you beautiful catchlights which are absolutely must in headshot and portrait photography.

Im shooting wide open to create great dept of field but remember when you shoot 2.8 or 2.0 make sure that your focus is perfect other ways you will find lots of soft and blurry pictures. I focus on lower eyelid and most of my pictures are ok. I shoot full frame and most of the time I use 70-200 F2.8 lens, for some reason I feel like that is the best lens for the job. Its nicely compressing the background behind the subject and it helps to get read of all the distracting things in the pictures. I always place my model far from the background that the key light does not affect the background. I just like to have full control over the lighting.

Here are some of the pictures I took using clamshell lighting set up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Portrait Photographer-Passion, hobby or business.

 

My view as a portrait photographer.

For many of us photography is something we love, for many it’s a hobby and for some of us it’s only business. Most of us had no clue what kind of photography we want to do at first. You buy your first camera and you try pretty much every thing before you realise what subject is your real passion. Some of us love landscape photography, some of us love architecture or product photography. I have to honestly say, I probably tried everything before I realised what kind of photography I really wanted to do. I think many of us started this way.It’s a process of learning and making mistakes and trying new things until you know what’s your favourite. Then over time you start to develop your style, master your skills. People begin to recognise your work and you start to feel confident in what you do. I knew right away that I want to photograph people and over time I have learned how to do that. I begin to do lots musicians, performers and actor headshot photography, although I wouldn’t call my self a head shots photographer or portrait photographer. I don’t limit my self to one or the other category I simply capture people in the best possible way I can. But if I had to choose between  headshot photography or portrait photography I would say that portrait is more creative and give me more pleasure doing it. Of course some times it’s a struggle and you know even before you start the session that this is going to be a nightmare and you would rather give the money back than doing it. I had some one who didn’t want to smile coz of  black teeth or some one who was so stiff that would have to drink a gallon of whiskey to relax a bit, but no matter what, you have to be professional and do your job best you can. Most of the time taking picture is a pleasure and this is what I love to do, and even the worst day in the field it’s much better than best day at the office. When I begin to do portrait and headshot photography I learned that beside lighting it’s equally important to coach the person in front of the camera. You have to make sure that model is relaxed and confident and it is your job to bring the model’s persona to life.and if there is one advise I can give to all of the photographers, it would be. “If you want to take better and more interesting pictures, bring your camera in front of more interesting people”

Please have a look below on some of the images I took recently.

 

 

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