How was it shot? - Dave Press album art shoot
These are the 14 completed shots for the album-art photography shoot I did for Dave Press's new album "Breaking out". The shoot took approximately half a day and another couple of days of editing.
● Shot using 3 video lights (AL-528S, AL-528C, R-300 - You can also use much cheaper lights like the YN-160 for the same effect, just remember that weaker lights are harder to balance with sunlight or other lights), a big silver umbrella, a reflector and two stands. I LOOVE using video lights for photography, I only have one photography flash (YN-560) for live events. ● There were no standard lighting setups, I just make it up as I shoot. The F&V R-300 spent most of it's time on the floor as a bit of a fill, this can be important when working with dark floors and doing full body shots.
● Also, be careful with LED lights, they're not that fragile but the NP-f batteries break open even from mild drops, and then they are dangerous! (If wires inside touch each other there is a risk of fire/explosion)
● 5D Mark III (You can use much cheaper cameras for the same effect, for example, an NEX-3 with a Lens turbo or a 5D mkI if you really want full frame for cheap, but also most crop-sensor DSLR/Mirrorless cameras will be very similar)
● Don't be afraid to get close to the subject. Close ups can be very powerful, but remember you may need to clean up skin a lot more. Luckily for me both Dave and Emily have great skin so that wasn't a problem on this shoot.
● If shooting for something like album art, remember to shoot with enough space for square cropping. (usually this means just shooting a tiny bit wider to ensure you can get nice composition in your square crop.)
● Remember that symmetry (same on left and right) can look very nice if done right. Also correct amount of head-room in photos/videos is extremely important. In close ups, don't be afraid to hide foreheads but avoid cutting off chins. ● Shoot RAW - I wish I had started shooting raw a lot sooner, I spent about 3 years shooting JPEGs, which means i didn't have as much room to play with the shots in editing.
● I used the same lenses I use for video - the Samyang 14mm (Didn't use any shots from that) Samyang 85mm f1.4, Samyang 35mm f1.4 and Nikon 50mm f1.2 AI-s. (Used lots of shots from the last two) - These lenses are all relatively low cost because they're manual focus, however, you can get much cheaper alternatives that will do a similar job, for example, Jupiter 9 (85mm f2), Nikon 35mm f1.8 or Fujian 35mm f1.7, almost any 50mm ever made, etc.
● If using manual focus lenses, it's important to get lots of practice (I sometimes I tell the talent to stand still too).
● When choosing a lens for photography or video, I find that chromatic aberration (Google it if unsure) is far more important than sharpness, so I would recommend looking at that first.
● This is an important part of almost all creative work, and helps to create images that communicate more to the viewer, or maybe just look nicer, etc.
● I used Lightroom for the basic adjustments (I much prefer the results I get from lightroom for this) and Photoshop for all the main stuff: 1. Mild skin cleanups 2. Removing unwanted objects 3. Adding text (in the wanted poster) 4. Adding a watercolor effect and desert background (in the train tracks shot) 5. Adding sunglasses reflection (in Dave's portrait) 6. Fake tilt/shift effect in the wanted poster.
● I'd recommend starting with lightroom because it's cheaper and easier. I don't use presets anymore, but I highly recommend downloading some free Lightroom presets, they're very helpful in learning what you like in editing, and also getting a fast job done. ● Don't be afraid to push white balance when needed.
Remember that all of this stuff requires practice, then some more practice, then maybe a bit more. Any questions, just ask.