Beauty editorial for Lucy’s Magazine titled ‘Glitter Me Pretty!’
Model: Elizabeth Regan
HMUA: Tasia Mitropolous
Beauty editorial for Lucy’s Magazine titled ‘Glitter Me Pretty!’
Model: Elizabeth Regan
HMUA: Tasia Mitropolous
Fashion editorial for iMirage Magazine featuring model Elizabeth Regan, makeup by Tasia Mitropolous. Styling by Tasia Mitropolous and Bethany Stephens.
I love working with new technology when it comes to photography. With the advent of mirrorless cameras and all the advanced features now available to consumers at a relatively affordable price, it might seem like backwards thinking to shoot with a fully manual lens in 2018. Companies are pushing for higher megapixel sensors, faster AF, in-body stabilization, focus-peaking, assist features, and video capabilities. This is actually the perfect time to experiment and work with manual lenses if you haven't already. Having focus assist and exposure simulation on cameras like the Sony A7 series has really benefited us photographers.
As a portrait photographer, I have always welcomed an assortment of focal lengths to use on my job. Lenses are tools with varying characteristics so when Lensbaby reached out to me to test their Velvet 85mm lens I was super curious how this would perform. I already had two 85mm lenses in my arsenal and didn't actually have a need for another, but I was already in love with their Sweet 50 optic in my gel work. I knew that the Velvet 85mm would be different in its rendering capabilities.
The Velvet 85mm lens has a manual aperture and focus ring. The construction is metal and feels absolutely solid in the hand. The only caveat I would have is handling the lens in extreme cold, but I have yet to run into any issues with the build quality of the lens. Another worthy mention is the long throw of the aperture and focus ring, something that videographers will surely appreciate in their work. At its most wide open setting of f/1.8 the lens creates a distinctly soft halo effect. For my own work and personal taste I found this to be too strong for my liking, but once I stopped down the lens to f/2.8 it was much better. I will typically use this lens at f/4.0-5.6 for portrait work where I found the sharpness to be exceptional and there is still a unique rendering quality that sets it apart from my other lenses. On the contrary, the soft focus halo effect is perfect for videography if your scene requires an ethereal look and feel. The rendering is literally perfect for such a circumstance.
Another area that I enjoy using this lens is in beauty photography. 85mm is a flattering focal length and works quite well for headshots and beauty. You will have to make sure that your camera's viewfinder is adjusted properly using the diopter. This will help ensure that what you see through the lens is what you get in regards to focus when you use a traditional SLR camera. On mirrorless cameras you can enable focus-peaking if its available in your function menu. With beauty photography the attention is on the details, and with the macro capability of the Velvet 85mm lens I found detail and texture to be excellent, with a beautiful smooth transition to the out-of-focus areas and bokeh.
Overall, I've found the Lensbaby Velvet 85mm lens to be uniquely different from other 85mm lenses on the market. The soft halo effect of the lens at wider apertures along with the rendering characteristics and smooth bokeh make this piece of gear a pleasure to use. I find it helps set my work apart from other photographers while also providing a fun challenge in its fully manual operation. For videography work it is exceptional, providing macro functionality and an ethereal look and feel wide-open. The long throw of the focus ring also helps build trust that your focus is tack sharp, and with the aid of mirrorless cameras you can rely on such a lens for your professional work.
For myself as a hybrid stills and video shooter, I plan on using the Lensbaby Velvet 85mm lens on a regular basis and have found myself reaching for this lens first when I need the 85mm focal length.
If you enjoy my work I highly recommend you give Lensbaby lenses a serious consideration.
For the shot above I used a very simple setup that you can try at home in your own studio space. The most important element is positioning your light at the right height and angle to create the shadow falloff you desire. There is no one way to do this since it is primarily trial and error. In my case I shoot tethered into Capture One which enables me to see my images on my laptop as I shoot them. I find this to be an incredibly useful aid in determining my lighting setup. Using just the small LCD backpanel on the camera can sometimes be deceiving so I always recommend shooting tethered if possible.
I used a Canon 5d Mark IV with the Sigma Art 50mm lens. My settings were 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100. I made sure to set the power on my Godox AD600 low enough as to not blow out the highlights. I used a 47" octabox with grid to control the light. I run a Tether Tools USB cable to my 2015 Macbook Pro which is currently running Capture One 10.
Once I position my light correctly to suit taste, I then take multiple exposures working with the model in order to show various posing and emotions. My lighting diagram can be found below.
In this video I go over the equipment and steps I use to shoot color gel portraits in the studio.
In this video I go over the equipment and settings I use to shoot colored gels using motion and in-camera effects. You'll typically want to leave your ISO at 100 in studio, but to capture motion you'll want to have your shutter anywhere between 1/5-1/160th of a second. Just make sure the image is suitably sharp for your intended purposes. Items mentioned in this video can be found below.
Colored gels: http://amzn.to/2z5uirk
LensBaby 50mm tilt-shift lens: http://amzn.to/2zWgUZR
Lens prism: http://amzn.to/2zZBJl6
Model's page: https://www.instagram.com/andreventurrr/
I am currently available for booking models looking to create their comp card and/or have their digitals taken for submission to agencies. Please contact me using the contact form https://www.josephdtran.com/contact for additional information on booking.
Hi guys. In this video tutorial I cover the basics to a natural light shoot using minimal equipment. I keep this simple and affordable by using the following elements-
1) Large window - FREE
2) Foam Core boards (white and black) $15-30
3) Apple Box $30-40
Check out some images from this shoot below.
After some time debating my next primary camera choice, I decided to stick with the Canon ecosystem. Primary reasons are durability, dual-card slot, better battery life, and my healthy assortment of professional lenses. In this video I take the Canon 5d mark IV out for my first test shoot in low-light conditions.
Over the past few months I have been getting more and more involved with video production. I've always had a strong interest in storytelling through different mediums so it feels like a natural extension into video making using the equipment I already possess. However, my primary work cameras are the Canon 5d mkiii and Canon 6d. If you've been keeping up with camera technology you know that Canon reserves its premium video functionality for their cinema line of products. I found myself not only wanting, but requiring higher fps capture rate and 4k.
Based on my research of modern video functionality from the top manufacturers I decided to go with the Sony A7s ii camera body. The criteria for my selection was high bitrate recording, minimum of 60fps in 1080p, and lens selection/AF. The past few videos I have recorded on my Youtube channel have been made using the Sony bodies (A7s ii and A6500).
I've been extremely pleased with the advanced functionality of the Sony camera bodies versus my older Canon bodies. I'm actually tempted to switch over to Sony for all my professional work, but don't quite feel its ready for prime time. The lack of dual-card slots is really a buzzkill as I have unfortunately experienced SD card failure in the past.
But as it stands now I am confident to recommend any budding videographers to take a look at Sony's latest offerings.
Using colored gels allows us to bring a certain pop and splash of color that can really accentuate a model's shape and figure. Directing light and filling in shadows using colors is a fun way to experiment with off-camera flash. Here are some of my examples.
Had the opportunity today to shoot with model Hannah Harrelson and HMUA Wabanoonkwe. You can follow them below:
I just got back from a 7-day trip in Iceland visiting friends and exploring the country. What a magnificent beautiful place! I attempted to capture some landscape photographs in the process (and learned quite a bit!). I debated for quite some time prior to my trip as to which camera I would bring (Canon vs. Sony). I ended up compromising and brought my Sony a6500 and Canon G7x Mark II. All images below were captured on the a6500 (the Canon was used for vlogging).
A little fun in-between my photosession with model Lauren Emily Castle (@laurenemilycastle)
I recently did a model portfolio shoot but have not had time to edit the pics now that I started working a full-time job again. Slowly but surely I'm learning to manage my time better, and slowly but surely new images are rolling out!
Recent portfolio shoot with the lovely Lindsey Weller. MUA/Hair with @wabanoonkwe. Environmental light, downtown Georgetown, Washington DC.
I have people ask me which lenses I use for a particular shot. I don't necessarily have a specific focal length that I always reach to-- really depends on the situation, but most importantly what I like to refer to as the 'working distance' to a client. How comfortable you are as a photographer with people, and knowing how to pose them in a way that appears natural and inspires confidence is really the key element.
For some people that might be a 24-70 zoom lens, an 85mm prime, or a 70-200 telephoto zoom. All of these focal lengths can take amazing photographs if you capture the right moment. Having quality equipment, maintaining it, and knowing how to use it properly to create the aesthetic you are going for is mostly experimentation in the beginning, but once you familiarize yourself with your gear the next step is to create a connection with your subject.
Personally I like to work at a very casual 'talking distance' with my clients. That means I am at a distance where we can have a natural conversation without either of us speaking overly loud, or missing what the other person said. For me this can be in the 35mm to 50mm range.
When I first started out taking portraits I read articles online advising the 85mm and/or the 135mm focal lengths as perfect for portraits. Naturally curious, I tried both lengths and quickly learned that although they can both create amazing images due to compression (Google lens compression if you don't know what that is), I was so far away from my subject it felt very impersonal.
I'm not saying you should never use those lenses-- that would imply removing good tools from your toolbox. What I like to do is start with a focal length that creates a healthy starting 'working distance' with your client. From there learn to intuitively gauge the distances you can both work at comfortably, find the crop distances that your subject likes, and experiment. I might start with a 50mm and find that I could move to a 35mm or backup to a 100mm depending on the crop and how much rapport I have built with my subject.
There's no baseline, right or wrong method here. Everybody is different and how comfortable you make them feel is really going to make the biggest impression on their images.
That being said, if I could only have one lens it would be a 24-70 f2.8 zoom :)
Photographers may use very similar equipment across the board, but what really sets photographers apart is the style they approach their retouching. For me personally, I use Adobe Lightroom to sort and rate my images-- this allows me to speed up my workflow in the often time-consuming selection process. Once images are rated from 1 star (worst) to 5 stars (best), I view my top picks and create a collection gallery to determine which ones will move on towards editing.
The next step is color grading. Straight out of the camera (SOOC) images typically look a bit dull and flat. This is because in order for the camera to capture as much data as possible it must separate the darks from the lights. Camera sensor technology is not at the level of sophistication as the human eye, which can see a wide gamut of colors and contrast. Because of this, post-processing becomes a tool by which the photographer can bring his or her vision to life. In my case, I often utilize color presets (I use VSCO primarily to color-grade) to begin my editing process. This helps me to set the mood for the gallery.
The next step is to retouch the subject using a multitude of methods in Adobe Photoshop. I start by using the Healing Brush tool to clean up skin artifacts, slight wrinkles, acne, etc. The Patch Tool is useful for larger areas of skin that need to be cleaned up. The next step is to even out the skin tones. For this I use a method called Frequency Separation (you can Google/Youtube this for more info). You can also use Photoshop Actions that enable you to 'brush on' skin smoothing. I use the ones created by Fashion Actions (www.fashionactions.com). It's a quick and easy way to clear up blotchy skin tones, and uneven layers.
Once I feel the skin looks clean, I move on to dodge and burning. I use a Wacom Intuos Pro to paint on highlights and shadows to create more depth in the image. I add and remove to areas where I want to enhance the natural light as it is (especially around the eyes). This helps to create the impression of dimension to an otherwise flat image.
After that is detail work such as sharpening and brightening eyes, cleaning up makeup, and removing stray hairs from the equation. At this point I would do additional minor tweaking or special filters such as the ones offered by Alien Skin Exposure. It's an excellent plug-in software that you can install within Lightroom/Photoshop. I highly recommend it!
And that's about it-- here's an example of a finished product. Enjoy!
I recently teamed up with a large marketing and advertising agency to develop my brand further. I had the pleasure of working with one of their videographers and my good friend Victoria who is always a great model to develop some material moving forward.
Here's a photograph from our session tonight. More to share coming soon...