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Posts Tagged ‘Fashion Photography’

Assisting @ V20 in Long Beach

March 20, 2010 Leave a comment

So, I got a call on Thursday the 18th from my buddy Efren asking if I wanted to come along and assist him on an on location editorial shoot he was doing for Live OC Magazine at the V20 NightClub in Long Beach, CA.  How could I refuse right.  On arriving I met up with Lilly Stein who is a staff photographer for Live OC / LB / LA Magazines and was on hand to assist, act as the interface for the magazine to the client and to keep the talent in line. Lilly was cool letting me know how she met up with Efren, that she new my buddy Orlando Perez from way back and that she’s heard about my work through Efren (thanks buddy).  Once into the club we were given the grand tour of the facilities and introduced to the talent by Jody Sigmund the Director for the overall effort.

The particulars for this shoot were that we would be shooting with full use of the V20 facilities before they opened and then while the club was active.  The concept was “Girls Night Out”, Efren had 6 female models and 2 males to work with, the Jody already had in mind what he wanted for each scene at least locations and general ideas all story-boarded (how great was that).  While this was going on the shoot would be video taped for a series which I am obligated not to discuss but, I’ll just say its a cool concept.  The videographers of course loved our lighting arrangements as Efren’s intent was to mix the clubs natural and built in club lighting with extra hot-lights (arri’s), gelled strobes and smoke where appropriate to give us an active club feeling. Therefore filming did not need any additional location lighting for their work.

There were a total of 6 scenes that we spent our time focusing on, around different areas of the club, I thought I’d share the arrangement for some. The first being a dance floor scene where we mixed 3 of the female models dancing and the 2 males as on-lookers, as the club lights created patterns on the walls and our gelled strobes utilized as rim lights created some nice ambiance in the smoke.  We used the Arri’s as our key lights in a cross lighting arrangement. Another cool shot Efren worked on was a set up of the Arri’s in the stylish women’s bathroom which had an orange paint scene with plenty of large oval mirrors finished in polished peuter finish.  We used on for from behind and overhead of Efren’s position, the other Arri was positioned camera left as an accent light. Efren had a a great thought of utilizing an angled reflection in one of the images where he was able to capture one of his models touching up her makeup and catching two others in the same scene (non-reflected) talking further down countertop.  Great shot it had good feeling and continued the story / mood in my opinion as it talked to the congregation of bathroom gossip that happens to go on at the clubs.

One of my favorites was an image where Efren utilized the natural focal element of the club a tunnel made of polished wood beams that led into the clubs VIP section.  Eften was quite deliberate by this series of images as by this time his knowledge of what he wanted in this space was concrete.  As with most photographers at the beginning of shoots we tend tend to try to feel out the talent, make them feel comfortable and with 6 females competing for attention of the lens this wasn’t easy.  You also mix in that photog also is focused on meeting the client requirements while trying to capture something with their own unique signature; it makes for a hectic but, fun day.  

So, with everyone and everything clicking into place this last series of shots coalesced into a smooth quick 3 light setup (2 in front, 1 hot-light and 1 speedlight and another behind the models and at the end of the tunnel), not giving anything away as Efren describes the scene from his mind’s eye as “space mountain”.  While I have no images to post you will be able to see selected images in an editorial in Live OC magazine which will be heading to press I’m told in April.

Needless to say it was a long day, lots of gear to keep track of, collect and move but, our hosts the V20 Club and Jody Sigmund allowed the crew at the end of the shoot to partake in the clubs exquisite seafood menu and lets just say if you have the opportunity to visit the club you should stay to eat as well.  The food wasn’t heavy and had just the right amount of seasoned taste for seafood (yes I eat a lot of it).  I also have to thank Lilly’s husband Daimon Stein who is the publisher / owner of the Live OC / LB / LA Magazines and who called and took our lunch orders, then arrived with some Carl’s Jr. before we had chance to keel over..lol.

Good people, a great learning experience, awsome images for the client and all on a full stomach what can I say it was a great day.  Thanks again to Efren and the Live OC crew for allowing me to help out.

ZeMotion LA Meetup

February 20, 2010 Leave a comment

On a recommendation from my buddy Efren Beltran, I RSVP’d to head out to the ZeMotion Meetup being held today at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. The group is a photographers / creatives forum managed by Zhang Jingna a renowned commercial / fashion photographer from Singapore. Her client list reads like an A list of top tier companies: Harper’s Bazaar, Wacom, Sony, Mercendes Benz, Mont Blanc, Lancome and Canon to name just a few. She happened to be in town and decided that she’d host a meetup for the group as some of her fans lived in California.

View From The Observatory

View From The Griffith Observatory

So, off I went to Los Angeles hoping that weather would not be bad, as the weatherman stated it would be raining all weekend.  But, as luck would have it the clouds broke and it was a wonderful day to be at the observatory as it turned out.  While there I met up with a group of about 20+ people as we performed introductions then sat to listen to Zhang speak about her career and answer questions. In the process I found a lots of creatives on hand from fellow photographers, videographers, students, physicists, engineers, photo assistants, and CG artists. It was just nice to see the varied talent that enjoyed and followed Zhang’s work.

The most interesting aspects of the meetup was of course the Q&A session where Zhang talked about her background and how she got started. It seems that Zhang was actually on the other side of the lens as a model to start out with and found that she liked to control the creativity of the image but, could not do so to the extent she wanted to as a model and thus moved over to the other side of the lens to be the photographer. She stated that she found she had a great creative vision which helped make photography a good fit for her and the fact that she really loved it made her passionate about her work. Her first real gig was working for a magazine publication while she was in school.  The magazine was soliciting to photographer on campus but, were known for not paying for the photographers work once a job was completed. To that end she took a chance and took a job with them anyway, performed some shoots, never was paid and in the end the magazine eventually went under. The thing though as Zhang puts it, was that the staffers from this magazine spread out to find new opportunities and recalled Zhang and her work, this coupled with Zhang flare for sharing her work online made her stand out and noticeable. Thus with a little luck, vision, creativity and consistency of great work (as Zhang likes to put it) a career was born.

Zhang Answering Q&A

Zhang Answering Q&A

Zhang did discussed the importance of working within a team, in setting mood / tone to provide team direction to fulfill a vision of each shoot and that one must learn to put a self value to their work (i.e. price their work / rate on what they truly believe the work is worth and stick to it). She also stressed the need for photographers to make time to work on personal projects, to branch out and take in other art and to share their work.  I did ask Zhang on how much effort did she feel she focused on marketing and self promotion via social networking.  Although Zhang felt she had really force marketed herself through social media or through the fashion scene (i.e. junkets, functions, after parties), I got the sense through her story that through the sharing of her work through sites like Devianart she in fact was marketing via social networking just indirectly.  This allowed her really to connect with other creatives, editors and fans looking for new inspiring visions but, not really beat the ground to yell “I’m a Great Photographer!”. It’s why I think her popularity continues to grow as well. One note she stated is that she often is approached to do projects by companies or magazine versus having to hustle for the work, which I found interesting as it means her art really has stood on its own merits in drawing the clients in.

Last, I found it interesting that like other photographers Zhang had a passion for her personal work and in particular clients that allowed her some free reign on creative freedoms on vision / direction, two she singled out where Harper’s and Canon. She in fact talked about the fact on her recent Canon work that it was exclusively personal work and that she loved this, which she felt she’d like to do more work in this vein in the future. I got the sense that it was quite liberating for her and provided a lot of artistic growth opportunity. In then end it was an informative session at  great location where I got the chance meeting Zhang and the other creatives on hand. Zhang’s work is refreshing, inspiring and she was just genuinely enjoyable to be around. I can’t wait until the next time we have a chance to meet or to see what her future holds.

On a final note I have to say that the meetup was even more special for me for two other reasons one being the scene was just a landscapers paradise that I will need to go back and shoot again this spring the other reason was that their was another group of creatives I got to meet at the event.  Those that know me know I love art in most of its forms (theater, painting, photography, video / motion and CG) but, in particular I have a soft spot for animation in film and video games. To that end a group of guys on hand where concept artists from Ready at Dawn (God of War fame for all you PS3 fans out there), it was nice meeting them and knowing we shared not just a love of playing vg’s but, in Zhang’s work. I tend to be a sucker when technology and art converge.

Until next time…

Enjoy!