Sunday, January 23, 2011

Model World Calgary - January 23rd, 2011


Kayleigh Lockhart....she's a great gal with a fantastic look. She's got plenty of modeling experience with mode models in Calgary, but was dropped because of her height. She's 5'6 (or there abouts)....why drop the "look"??? Obviously, they don't know what they had. With this, and in talking to her and seeing her passion for modelling again, I introduced her to Model World Calgary, today. She got to meet Tim Rollans (http://www.trollans.ca/), and Cassie. We were expecting others, but due to unfortunate circumstances, they were unable to attend.
When we got there, I gave Kayleigh the "grand tour" of the space and explained the opportunities that the studio has to offer, and "our" outlook on what we want it to be. I say "our" because Tim's concept behind Model World Calgary, is helping serious models, serious photographers, serious make up artists, and serious designers, succeed as one. Everyone working together, promoting each other, and everyone succeeding in this business. This is a very, very, rare outlook on this business and one that I've taken to heart very quickly. Not only because of that concept, but because of the entire team's attitudes and outlooks. The willingness to help each other progress, and succeed. To work as a team, and succeed as a team. I know I've said this before, and I can guarantee I'll keep on saying it - this TEAM is going to succeed in ways that many probably never realized before, or even realize now.
Well, onto todays shoots. This week, from Tim's posts on twitter and facebook, the plan was a military "themed" shoot, and a rose petal shoot, along with the standard headshots of the models. We were expecting another photographer but he didn't make it (later in the afternoon,I found out he got the wrong door), and Monika was working (and sick) so she couldn't make it either. That left Tim and I as the photographers. Normally, we have 3-5 models show up on a Saturday, but again, due to family responsibilities and such, we had Kayleigh, who I introduced to Model World Calgary, today, and Cassie who I got to do headshots with, last weekend.
I started with headshots of Kayleigh, a couple of full body shots, then a few headshots with Cassie. I'm starting to get used to these now, but still not 100% sure of the lighting. The results of those were good, and I'm definitely happy with them. Tim was busy with some new visitors to the studio so I got to do all of the first headshots. We tried a couple of different things too, such as a blue background and such. Figured since I was the primary photographer at the time, I'd try some different things. After all, experimentation is where great (and poor) things come from.
We then moved over to the white background...Kayleigh was wearing this bright red dress with black shoes which just yelled SEXY!!! I started shooting, and Tim joined in too. Luckily with the "pocket wizard" remote units, you can have as many photographers shooting as long as they don't press the shutter at the same time. We're starting to get the timing down over the last couple of weeks. We shot Kayleigh in her red dress for what seemed about 45 minutes, then Cassie stepped up to the plate. Cassie was wearing black high heels, simple black jeans, a great black leather jacket and a simple white t-shirt. She asked if she should take off her jacket, and then I could see it...I asked her to grab the collar with both hands.....we got some great sexy shots! Some of her poses were fantastic, and she made my job very easy. Again, this was the first time I had worked with Cassie other than headshots, and she definitely knows how to "work it" in front of the lens, on the podium. A fantastic set with both models....then we set up for the "rose petal shoot".
Being close to Valentine's day, this is very appropriate, plus I've ALWAYS wanted to do a shoot like this - with TONS of petals and beautiful women. Kayleigh was first in black....great contrast against the red petals. Tim and I took TONS of pics of her. different poses, different lighting. It was fantastic!!! Then it was Cassie's turn. She looked amazing!!! I won't go into detail, but WOW! That's all that's really required. LOL! I took lots of shots of Cassie...I was captivated by the way the lighting was, right from the start when we were shooting Kayleigh. I'm just LOVING the studio atmosphere and lighting!!! Tried a couple of different angles and such with Cassie. As the picture at the top of this, shows...different low angles seem to work really well. I'm really liking the low angles.
After that shoot, Tim pretty much put his camera away, so I was primary and decided to try a slightly different lighting and such. then Tim gave me a few pointers, added one more strobe from the single one I was using, just to see the difference. I used the 2 strobe setup from then on. Just to make sure I had the light on both sides of the models. My friend Tim Ayotte lent me some military stuff he had from when he was in the Canadian Army. These turned out to be a great thing!!! Jackets, beret, knife, machete, it was really cool!
Kayleigh was up first, again, some great poses, great catchlights in the eyes. She wore one of my mate's jackets first, with the beret, then we included the belt with the machete...all came together really well, although wardrobe was limited.
Cassie was up next, and I wasn't expecting this. She wore a mesh shirt with a black bra underneath. She's stunning as it is, but she has a very fit body (this is strictly complimentary before you get any ideas LOL), so these shots were going to be HOT and SEXY, and they are!!! WOW!!! Cassie again just moved like I had seen earlier that day!! I swear....if the army boys saw a calendar with these two ladies in it, they'd sell out for sure!!!!
The studio was HOT HOT HOT and SEXY SEXY SEXY today!!! I was pleased to be able to try a bit of different stuff with the lighting, and am looking forward to more sessions and trying more different things. I really can't wait for my first private shoot so that I can try some totally different lighting effects that I haven't tried yet.
Hope you like the pictures!!! They're on my flickr site (www.flickr.com/photos/nyphotosca) and on facebook (facebook.com/fotoman.neil)
Thanks for following my photo adventures!!!
Cheers!
Neil

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Model World Calgary - January 15th, 2011


Wow! It's hard to believe that I've only known a few of these people for a week or so. Some new models that I met today already hit that "friend" mark. They are truly, an amazing group of individuals that have already had an amazing effect on where I want my photography to go.

Model World Calgary is a new agency/studio, but the people there are amazing. I am extremely happy to be a part of this group, and can only see it going upwards, beyond the expectations that any of us currently have. If you're a model or photographer, I STRONGLY urge you to contact Tim Rollans (http://www.trollans.ca/). Things are only going to get better from this point onwards.

Onto today.....my second Saturday dealing with lighting. Tim got sly today asking questions like "why would I choose Jen first for the headshots?". Monika and I took turns guessing, then it hit me. Since it was on a black background I knew it had to do with contrast of some kind...blending in..colors....I initially thought it was the sparkle of her dress, then said she had dark hair. It indeed was because she has black hair. Doing headshots on a black background is different from the usual agency "we want it on white" outlook. Why should they always be on white??? Why can't it be on black, or blue, or red or green??? Why can't we be different?? This is the mentality and outlook of Model World Calgary. Why follow the norm?? Who are they to think that, that is the norm, and is what it "should" be??? What it should be is what is best. Not only from the photographers point of view, and the models point of view, but the viewer. No matter who looks at the photo...the photo should get some kind of response from them. The viewers reaction is what matters most! But if you want to rent the studio and do the "norm", you're most welcome to. I just find that all photographers have a different "eye" and "outlook" on what is good, and what works. This is what I love about photography. You can have 3 photographers, with the same lighting, with fairly similar cameras, and totally different lenses, and you get 3 totally different results.

Enough of my rambling...back to business LOL!

So we (Monika, Tim, and myself) took turns taking a few headshots of each of the models (4 in total today!! - Plus Monika for a special shoot). First on black, then on white. then after that we started to get creative with the lighting. Tim is not only an amazing photographer, but an amazing teacher too. He explains the lighting, but then says - "explore...do what you want...nothing but good will come from experimentation". This is what I like to hear. You learn the basics, and run with it from there. He encourages you to try different things, to be creative. Afte all, isn't that what photography, art, and life in general is about?? Being creative? What's the specific use of a lightbox? what's the specific use of a strobe with a reflective umbrella?? Why spend $400 when you can get the same result with a piece of equipment that's $30?? His advice, really, is invaluable, and I can't wait to work more hours next to him on the studio floor!

So, after that we did a special shoot...don't know if I can mention it here or not, so I won't, just to make sure. But we changed the lighting, added "honeycomb" style filters to the strobes at the back of the models (on the podium) and shot away with a strobe in front, with a HUGE reflective umbrella on that. The results were amazing!!! Once that was done we did solo shots, with the fog machine, lit from behind so that the fog was BRIGHT! Again, amazing results from all of the female models and the male model, Madison, that was in the studio today. He has a great look and really knows how to work the camera.

I reallly have never had so much fun..although this is only my second week in a studio setting, the people I've met, are just amazing. Not only beautiful to look at, and to take photos of, but beautiful people. You get that feeling that it's quickly becoming a close friend/family situation. We all help each other out, show each other our photos, see what works, and what doesn't. We all have different cameras and different lenses, and different "styles" and views....but it all works. That's the way a team succeeds, and that's what I can already see from working with these fine people!!

I really hope you have a look at http://www.trollans.ca/ as that (currently) is the Model World Calgary site. See the shots, see the people involved. We're also on facebook so join our group, be friends with us. IF you're a photographer or model, or makeup artist...this can be your path forward! I am very sure that it is going to be my path to where I want to be in this business, and am going to do everything I can do to succeed at this, and help my fellow "MW's" succeed also. It's about sharing and helping each other! Something that the majority of this world seems to have forgotten about over the last few years.

Another fantastic day at Model World Calgary!!! I really can't wait until next weekend when I go and shoot, and meet, more fantastic people!!!!
Another update next weekend for sure!!! Stay safe, and for all of us Canadians, stay warm!!!


Cheers!

Neil Young

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Model World Calgary - January 8th, 2011



Most of my friends know that I do not like flash photography because of the inconsistency. Now I will be the first to admit, that I do not know "all of the tricks" when it comes to working my flash, and I will admit that without the use of a separate light meter, it comes down to a matter of trial and error in the end. Like everything else in life, it comes down to learning, or being taught the tricks and having the equipment available to see what works and what doesn't. The problem with most hobbies, but photography especially, is that the expense outweighs the income, unless it turns from hobby to profession and you've got people that will pay you for your services. For instance, a light meter can range from $150 (CDN) to $1400 (CDN), and an inexpensive studio lighting kit is about $750-$1400. This is where knowing and meeting people like Tim Rollans (http://www.trollans.ca/) who graciously has accepted me into the Model World Calgary team, will help my skills, and has already opened up a brand new world, and a brand new branch of my original passion for photography. And there are also people like Al Del Degan (http://www.aduro.ca/) whom I haven't met yet, but has done some fantastic shoots with some beautiful friends of mine. I'm looking forward to finally meeting him in the next few weeks.




I must admit, I was a bit nervous Saturday morning as I had never met Tim or Monika before. And I've NEVER worked in a studio with the proper lighting. I met Tim and right away it was a fun relaxing time. Monika (both a photographer and a model) was there and she has to be one of most beautiful photographer's I've ever met. I can see now, why she does both. She has a great eye, and imagination for behind the camera, and that transfers into her work in front of the camera. Knowing Tim's concept of Model World Calgary, which is to bring and share all talents of all aspects of the photography world, is just amazing. The studio has taken an extreme amount of work to get it to where it is now, and Tim has done an amazing job!! His vision, creativity and ideas are endless, and just being around Tim and Monika for the first 20 minutes, got my creative mind going too.




Not long afterwards, Brittany showed up. I had seen photos of Brittany thanks to the beautiful world of the social networking page of Facebook, but wow...she truly is a beautiful woman....I can see why she is a model. Kassandra showed up too. I've known her for quite a while, so it was great to see her out of her work atmosphere and on a personal basis for a change. Once Kassandra was changed, Monika started shooting photos of her, while Tim was setting up for some shots of Brittany on a couch that's in the studio.




Graciously, Tim let me bring my camera, and since I was shooting without the studio lighting hooked up to my camera (as Monika and Tim were shooting) I was set at 1600 iso with my 18-55mm F2.8 lens which allowed me to at least get some decent (ish..) photos and some really good shots of Tim and Monika at work. The creating of the photos...er..photos :) Luckily when Tim was done getting the shots he wanted, he kindly mounted the pocket wizard remote on my hotshoe, and advised me I could do some shots of the gorgeous Brittany. This was my very very first attempt using anything like a pocket wizard and a strobe/softbox setup. Using the light meter, and the test button, you see what Fstop to use and such settings that you normally would have to do the trial and error approach. Just looking at the results on the very small screen on my VERY OLD Nikon D70, I could tell the difference from what I've been used to, and I must say...I'm now hooked on studio!!! (quite different to hooked on phonics).




I would like to get a new camera body this year, but it's going to be tough as the D700 is over $2000, but this is my passion and eventually I will have some better equipment.




Now that I have a studio available for rent, with the lighting that is required and such, I can hopefully start to provide results better than I ever thought I'd be able to. Now it's just more practice with the proper lighting, and I'll definitely be able to provide some top notch pictures for some models and friends. Any studio work, of course, would take some payment from the models, as I would have to rent the studio from Tim. But, any of my friends that want some truly brilliant studio photos done, please let me know, and we can talk costs for studio shots.




I'd like to thank Tim Rollans for everything so far, and for what we have in mind for the future. I would like to thank Kassandra Schultz for letting me do some photos of her and for being a great friend who loves bringing me beers at her work LOL!!...hopefully one day we can do a proper shoot using the proper lighting :) Monika Forintos for being just a great person and a fantastic bundle of energy and creativity. The results were (I think) amazing!!! :)

It was a great pleasure working with such kind, funny, and passionate people!!



Let's take this to beyond the limits anyone ever thought possible!!!!




HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Cheers!




Neil


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Kananaskis - First road trip and photos of 2011!!

It was a much warmer day yesterday, Jan 1, 2011 (1.1.11) which allowed me to go to Kananaskis for the afternoon. So, off I headed to the mountains. Initially, I was going to go all the way down Kananaskis and back to Canmore via the Spray Lakes road. Unfortunately, I headed out a bit too late and it was starting to get dark. Since there was already an accident on Friday when 4 people in a vehicle, lost control and ended up in the Spray Lake reservoire, I didn't want to travel that road in the dark. Unfortunately, 3 of those people died and one lady escaped with her life thanks to the quick actions of some people that witnessed the accident. It just goes to show, that anything can happen, at any time, and that great care must always be taken in the winter.

My favorite waterfalls was my destination. In the winter, O'Shaughnessey Falls near Kananaskis Village, gets some really amazing ice shapes and doesn't totally freeze over. Although the icy rocks make it tough sometimes to climb up into certain areas, it's always a good location for good water and ice shots.

First trip of 2011 provided some good results, but still didn't see a moose :(
Next trip, is currently scheduled for January 8th, 2011, next weekend. Should be a good day!! :)

Cheers!

Neil