Hi Lucas, what is your advice for getting good fashion shots at high noon on location? I am unable to change the time to the golden hour..
Well, if it’s fashion, you’re going to need to see the clothing, and its textures/patterns/details/etc. So, for contemporary/conventional fashion, direct sun, at that time of day, outdoors, is probably not the best option.
On location, I would either find a source of open-shade, or create one using large grids, diffusion panels and flags. Check out what Peter Lindbergh has done here (click this).
If that kind of equipment/production isn’t available to you, finding a place like in the shade of a tree or building is going to open up a lot more opportunities for nice even lighting, that you can then use something like a silver reflector to get some pop-y highlights off the model’s skin as well.
If you’re hellbent on using high-noon, direct light, know that it’s going to be VERY VERY contrasty; along with increased shutter-speed and aperture, I’d also suggest using an ND fader (like this one).
…and I’d also ask the king of high-noon direct light himself how he does it, as I’ve never been much good at controlling it: click here
What made you ultimately decide to go with Profoto lights? Why did you select them instead of other brands?
Ultimately? It was because all my other friends have Profotos, which means I can borrow their modifiers— and they could borrow mine. Also, because Profoto has become more or less the industry standard, and I can ideally go anywhere in the nation or the world, and a rental house will have Profoto lights/gear, and I’ll already know how to use it.
Profoto also holds their value a bit more, and they’re just so well built. However, that is not to suggest that Broncolor, Alien Bees, Bowens, Elinchrom, Speedatron, or others are inferior— quite the opposite in fact.
Really, it was just because I can now use any of my friends’ many modifiers without having to buy or rent :-)
At what point do you suggest contact photography agencies seeking representation? At some point, I want to be agency represented but I don't have a lot of big clients of my own and I am currently working building my book/ getting editorials published...
You do not need to have big clients in order to be represented. In fact, what few clients you have, your new agent may just as likely ask you to cease working with, as the agency wants to shape you and curate who you shoot for. They are the professionals, after all. I think more than anything, they are seeking photogs with a unique vision and voice. What makes you different from other photogs they already rep?
As far as when to submit? That is completely up to you, and when you feel you are ready. Again, a good indicator is to look at any photographer agency website, and those they represent… is your work on the level of theirs? If so, perhaps you’re ready.
But seriously, take everything I’m saying with a grain of salt. I am not represented. I do, however, have a couple of friends that are (at a few of the prior mentioned agencies), and this is the general impression they give me of how they were signed.
Hi Lucas, I am a fashion photographer that is working in a small town with modeling agencies and I am planning on going into bigger markets (such as L.A. and New York) to shoot for the first time. What do modeling agencies typically like to see in photographer's books in bigger markets?
I’d focus on what CLIENTS in these bigger markets like to see, not as much any agency, as clients are gonna be the ones paying the bills.
LA is a very commercial town, so your ‘work’ portfolio should reflect that. In my experience, LA clients cannot relate, nor are too interested in seeing high-gloss glamour photography, nor avant garde beauty (you know, those pics where MUA’s go crazy and put peacock feather fake eyelashes on a model and paint her lips like a rainbow, and bedazzle spiral patterns on her cheek).
NYC is much more studio-oriented, and elevated styling/clothing seem to play a bigger role overall.
A good barometer would be to look up any agency in either city that represents photographers, and browse their boards to see what kind of stuff photographers in those towns are shooting…
I love your photos(: How would I go about being a model
Look up reputable agencies in your area, and see when their open call is, and go in. Rarely are email or mail submissions effective and/or noticed by agents. Sure, once and awhile, it can work, but you’ll get a much more direct and immediate response if you actually go into the agency.
When you go in, don’t dress-up… quite the opposite: wear minimal/natural make-up, with your hair down; wear dark tight jeans and a white tank. Don’t wear heels, you’ll just have to take them off.
If you’ve never modeled before, you do not need to bring pictures that you’ve had taken of you… in fact, will probably do more harm than good. And for GODSAKE do not bring in selfies.
For conventional modeling agencies, they’re really only looking for girls 24 and under, and between 5’8” and 5’11”. Yes they make exceptions, but from what I’ve seen it’s rare, and the girl is very very very special. As far as sizes/measurements go, a good indicator would be to go on an agency’s website and look at the median measurements on their boards… if you fall within those parameters, you’ve got a good head start, but if you don’t, do not necessarily let that stop you from at least going in. Again, exceptions can be made and/or the agent can tell you what to work on, and ask you to come back in a few months.
If you don’t fall within the outline of a modeling agency, definitely look into commercial modeling agencies, or the commercial division of a regular modeling agency; they take all ages, shapes, and sizes… and in general, commercial modeling pays WAY more than conventional modeling… but the jobs are fewer and a tad more competitive.
And if you’re not able to find luck with any agencies, please do not let that speak to your beauty, size, or worth. Honestly, this whole industry and all aspects of it, is a bit silly. Being a model or not being a model is in no way any indication of who someone is, nor how beautiful they are.
I’ve shot hundreds of very pretty girls, but seriously, none of them could ever hold a fucking candle to my wife, who is literally the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met.
Hi Lucas! I'm looking at you photos and I find them very creative, especially the ones in motion. I'm wondering if this kind of photos are good for agencies as test shots or they accept only photos where the model is clear and recognizable in the images.
In general, agencies want nice, clean, clear images that represents the model accurately. Rarely do they appreciate when a photographer tries to go overboard with some kind of avant-garde concept or super-arty, hyper-editorial shoot.
So, no, all that weirdo-motion stuff I shot with Cat is completely unusable by her agency— however, I did shoot some basic, clean, clear looks on her, I just did not post them because it’s really nothing new.
So, if you’re testing for an agency and you wanna do your “own thing” or experiment, always make sure you get 1-2 basic looks out of the way first, so the agency won’t get annoyed at you ;-)
I noticed you mentioned you used to have a bad-habit of taking way too many close-ups. I somethings feel that way about my work. How did you kick the bad habit? Thanks, love your work!
I’m not exactly sure I’ve kicked it… more so, a work-in-progress.
The problem was diving into taking pictures when I first got my camera, without taking the time to study composition and understand how to crop, as well as the truly egregious habit of using the LCD screen on the back of the camera as a penultimate measure of the final image.
I would take a picture, then check the LCD… and the image looked small. Well, what to do, but shoot closer so I can see the model better, right? Wrong.
…I wish I would’ve told myself that back then. Of course, my lack of foresight was proven once I imported the images into Lightroom, and now viewing the image properly, all I had was medium close-up’s and close-up’s. Sure, nothing wrong with close-up’s…. but for everything??
Anyway, for years (and again, still fighting the urge), I would look at the LCD screen and deem the models’ features/expression/clothing “too far away”, and would just keep on stepping in, closer and closer, out of instinct… because somehow, I equated a tiny 3-inch screen as antecedent of the final output.
What I should have been doing— especially when shooting clothing— is shoot wide, then crop in post. And if you’re shooting for magazine submission, you ALWAYS want to give yourself cropping room, as you do not know the specific dimensions the magazine prints at, and/or how much bleed room they’ll need.
Do not buy into those “crop-in-camera” purists who tout that cropping in post diminishes the quality of the picture. While perhaps they have a case on a minute technical level, it simply isn’t a real factor when it comes to overall IQ.
Most magazines— and especially fashion magazines— print at all kinds of specific dimensions (think W, Numero, ID, Vogue, etc), and most are not at the crop ratio your sensor is. And even more so, once your image is printed at a magazine’s size, you’ll see how the “wide/far away shots” you thought you had, are actually quite close and easy to discern detail.
Tools for combating your ‘closeness’ problem: shoot primes. That way you won’t be tempted to just zoom in all the way. Also, keep on the wider side of primes: the 35mm or the 40mm. With those, if you start stepping in, or go for a close-up, you’ll see the edges start to bow and fish-eye a bit, and it won’t look good, so it’ll force you to step back.
Also, giving yourself parameters, like, making sure you always see the model’s knees when looking through the VF, or better, having the stylist bring killer shoes that you’ll HAVE to go wider to incorporate into the frame.
Again, immediately you’ll look at your LCD screen and think, ‘I can’t see anything, I must get closer!’… but trust me, once you get into post, you’ll see you were never all that far away.
Hi, I have a big dilemma in terms of choosing 5dmk3 or 6d. I know about all the differences, but would like to know an opinion from your practical perspective. You've mentioned that your first camera was 5dmk2 which is very similiar to 6d (e.g. in terms of AF). So my question - is the 5dmk3 really worth the extra money? Btw i'm interested mainly in fashion photography - motion and emotion ;) - that's why focusing is one of the main factors for me (6d has an eleven point af array). Thanks!
Well, I’ve never used the 6D, so I cannot speak to its performance, however, just comparing the specs, while the mk3 seems to have the edge, I think you’d have a formidable camera in the 6D. Good lenses is what you should really focus on (no pun intended!)
But for what it’s worth, out of all the photographers I know in LA— and I know quite a few now— absolutely no one has the 6D. Whether or not that means anything, is to be interpreted.
Off the top of my head, these are the cameras my friends and other contacts use: 5D3, 5D2, 7D, D4, 1DX, Fuji X-100s, Sony A7.
But investing in a camera at the price point of the 6D (or more) is very personal, and don’t let my opinion, or popular opinion sway you. But from my outlook, when regarding fashion photography, the camera a photographer uses is low, low, on the totem-pole; far more important things to consider and prioritize above the camera :-)