December 2014

Teach me to Photograph

I am often asked to teach others to do photography, but it is like asking an artist to teach you to paint… I can teach anyone the technicalities of a camera, but a camera does not make the images, the intuition, emotion, creativity and style of the photographer brings the image together.  Teaching someone to set up a pose such as this and then capture it simply is not something you can easily do.  Learning to set up scenes that look natural and as if you just happened to be at the right place at the right time is what makes wedding photos amazing.

Nico & Rhodé Nico & Rodé Wedding Pose

Studio looking backdrops

Backdrops are expensive.  Most amateur and startup photographers opt for the old boring white backdrop because it is the cheapest.  White is not only hard to work with, but it is boring and tends to wash light back into the model and limits lighting options (if you want the white backdrop to look white).  If you light a white backdrop wrong it shows folds and wrinkles and tends to get a muddy look to it.

How do the professionals do it?

Professional photographers, when forced to use a studio, use paper backdrops.  Paper gives the best look without washing back too much light and it gets a nice smooth matte look.  If you browse through most of the top fashion magazines you will also notice that the backdrop is often not white.  The most popular backdrop colour is grey and often a darker grey as it shows clear intent of colour rather than a faded white which appears muddy light grey.  Grey is very versatile as it does not wash light back like white does and does not need to be carefully lit like white or even black.  Grey gives the photographer the option to focus all lighting on the model rather than try to balance background with the model.

But Paper is Expensive!

Yes, paper is expensive and can tear easily, especially when doing full length shots.  This is why I use roof paint!  Quality roof paint is not very expensive and even a 20 liter drum of dark grey (as I prefer) costs less than half of a paper backdrop.  Roof paint also has a texture very much like paper and it is tough.  When high heels and other wear and tear starts showing you shake up your paint drum and paint over scuffs and marks.  Quality roof paint blends perfectly with previously painted surfaces and does not show patch marks.  Roof paint is like a repairable paper backdrop!

Infinity Curve

How did I get the infinity curve?  After a few experiments building infinity curves I eventually abandoned infinity curves as they can easily get damaged and limits background usage in my limited space to that area where the infinity curve ends, so no leaning on walls (which give nice looking shots!).  I have a normal wall and I spend less than 1 minute in Photoshop linking the floor and wall into an infinity curve using the patch tool.  This is a very basic Photoshop function…seach Using The Patch Tool on YouTube.


Here is a sample photo done in my studio using the roof paint backdropJordan