Group Shoots

I frequently shoot with several other photographers. We share the cost of the models and studio or travel. I like shooting that way. Means I can work with the model for a few minutes and then let someone else take over while I think about my next set-up or what I want to shoot before the time is up. Less pressure.

I know others who hate working this way. They don’t like having other photographers around. They find it distracting or worry that they will get photos that look like everyone else’s photos. That last one has never been a problem for me. I can shoot shoulder to shoulder with someone and never get the same shot. A slight difference in angle, equipment and eye can make a huge difference in what is actually captured.

This photo of a group shoot in South Dakota is fun because part of the group is off working with hay bales while myself and the photographer in the foreground are setting up a different shot. I took the picture because it was one of those “you have to be there” moments. If I tried to describe that scene . . .

Better to just grab a photo of it.

Moab–What If Environment Is Overwhelming?

Went on a photo shoot in Moab with Rick Cummings and several other photographers. Moab is Utah’s red rock playground. The scenery is spectacular. It is large. It can be overwhelming. The challenge is to make great photos that don’t allow the environment to take over. Actually, managing the environment is always a issue. Moab just blows that problem way-way-way out of proportion. So what to do?

I tried doing the unexpected as in putting silhouettes against the iconic red rock and blue sky. See photo above.

I tried to forget the environment, pick up a broken bottle and zoom in on the figure.

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I tried letting the size of the environment overwhelm the figure because that was true to the experience.

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I tried capturing lots and lots of detail as well as the figure. Note there is even a second figure.

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I tried letting the shadow be the subject.

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What do you think? Love to read your comments on what worked and what didn’t.

Male Vs Female Models

I’m sometimes asked which I prefer–male models or female models. No preference. No difference in how I work with them. However, it’s almost impossible not to notice that my photographs feature female models much more often than male models. I’ve even been accused of using too many young women in my work. I actually use many models who are in their 30s and 40s. Susie shown here is in her late 50s. Here’s the problem: culturally we seem to be more comfortable with female nudity than male nudity. Full frontal in both cases is cause for many people to suddenly turn on their prude, but male full frontal is ten times more shocking somehow.

That said, I think these examples are equally interesting and serene. Both were shot same day, same pond.

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SCALE–means letting a photo be big and small at the same time

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In order for a photograph with SCALE to work, you need something of immediate interest like the figure in the foreground kicking up sand as she runs. Then you also need to have a wide background that puts the figure in context. Here it’s the dunes and the ocean in the background. Not enough! You also need points of interest in that broad background. Notice the shadow of the runner. Notice the second smaller figure in the distance. Notice the mystery–the question of “what’s really going on?” All of those element add to the overall composition and not all of them are visual. The mystery is only visual in the sense of wondering how all of this works as a setting.

I don’t do a lot of photographs that feature scale. They’re hard. I think this one works. What do you think?

Silhouette Times Six


I’m no fan of silhouette photos. Most of the time, I think the same image, not in silhouette, would be more interesting so why go the gimmick route? This is an exception because the plastic dress forms, on either side, create a second repeat of pattern and then for a bonus, the dress forms reflect the silhouettes (look closely). Result is six images with two models. Now, that adds up to an image that is more than just setting up some backlit lighting.

The other criteria is that the silhouette shapes need to be eye-arresting. I think these are because of the angled arms and slight hand movement. I like that one model is facing the camera, the other is turned sideways. Even the hair hanging down adds something.

This one is best big enough to show all the silhouettes, even the reflected ones, 11×14 or even larger. It does well matted black or white. It would be fun in a dressing room or walk-in closet. It is modest enough for a public space. Printed in series of 25 prints.

Fine Art Nude #2

Although this is a color digital shot, I thought it printed best as a classic black and white photograph.

What makes this a good photo? I think it’s the connection between the two models and the fact that they are both focused on something off to the left of the frame which creates both compositional interest and a sense of spontaneity.

What else do I like? The sense of motion, as if they might be moving rather than posed. In fact, the direction was for the models to both move continuously as if in slow motion, in-and-out, back-and-forth. I often give that kind of direction because it avoids the static, posed composition. That also means I have to work to catch the right moment rather than setting something up. As any photographer will tell you, every additional person adds additional complications. It’s twice as hard to get a good photo with two models as with one.

Digital camera; studio set-up, two-lights.

This one is called Hanna and Friend. It can be printed large but my preference is smaller 10 x 12 with a wide white matt and silver frame. It is in a series of 25. This is new work, and the series is just released–25 of the 25 are still available.

I think this one would work well hung in a smaller space like a hallway.