6.14.2010

A strategy for shooting with a new talent.

I'm not much of a team player.  My friends would say that's an understatement by a long measure.  But I do love the collaboration with a great photo subject.  With a crew or a workshop or even with a tag along boyfriend you have this dynamic that subliminally pushes you to keep things ticking along.  Stay on schedule.  Stick to the plan.  But when you go out shooting with one person you can guage each other.  If you have any sort of rapport you can see when your talent's enthusiasm is wavering.  You can tell when it's time for  change of venue or a change of pace. But I think the important thing, when you take someone out to shoot in the streets, is to make sure you are both on the same pages as to what it is you both want to accomplish.  To have an "emotional theme" for the images.


In a typical portrait shoot I can't stand to have my subject's eyes off camera.  Looks weird to me.  But in the shoot we did on Sunday I was working with a narrative that went something like this.  Boy moves to new town for job.  Girlfriend decides to come for a visit and is having a hard time hunting him down.  She is lonely, a bit lost and looking around every corner in anticipation.  


We talked about the feel in our pre-shooting e-mails and again on the shooting day.  I call it a shooting day but I can't imagine a more relaxed and laid back couple of hours.  We had locations in mind (remember?  I walk this area about once a week...) and we just went with the flow.  It's nice to shoot for yourself,  or more correctly to shoot for each other.  No crew, no make up, no hair person.  No assistant holding stuff up that you really don't need but thought you wanted.  

What's the old Elvis Costello Lyric about the "lip stain on the coffee cup that you poured but didn't drink.  But at least you thought you wanted it that's more than I can say for me..."?   That's how I would feel if I were one of my assistants......  Sometimes vital.  Sometimes necessary.  Like a flu shot.



And, of course, in the last frame he walks through the door......

Go shoot downtown.  It's fun.

Here's one that's been post processed in Lightroom 3:


No cameras were hurt in the shooting of this series.  Canon 5dmk2 and 85mm 1.8 for everything.

TYR Socket Rockets Eclipse Racing Goggle (Metallic Steel)

18 comments:

Geir said...

OK. I will!

Anonymous said...

Love the images. Beautiful young woman captured beautifully!

If you get a chance, please write a little about your thought process in choice of the Canon over one of the the Olympus digital Pens.

Daniel said...

That first image is just A+ !!

But you already know that..it was your lead image.

Mister Ian said...

I always enjoy your portraits, you get such great expression from them. And your models are very - to say the least - photogenic. Do they all do their own makeup or is their skin just young and flawless (or is it your great diffuse lighting)?

PMLPhoto said...

Another cracking read - I can't put my finger on why, but I have really enjoyed your writing over the past few weeks. It is very simple and straight, and you are being exceptionally open and honest in the communication of your thoughts. I adore your images as well, they have the same honesty about them as your writing. Very best wishes, Phil

Daniel said...

you dont have to post this but I came across this yesterday...http://sanantonio.craigslist.org/pho/1790213822.html Thought you might want to have a look since you have been discussing the dark room possibility.

kirk tuck said...

Mister Ian,

Except in high fashion, etc. I think the make up thing is a bit over rated. It's nice but not a deal breaker. Never shoot anyone over 20 and you'll never care :-) Truthfully though, Jana has great skin and I've done a little softening but you are correct to notice that I shoot in diffuse light and stay away from unkind backlighting.....

Anonymous said...

The primary motivation for most photogs as they begin their journey is to hang with hotties. No matter how old the dog, the tricks remain the same.

kirk tuck said...

While not a politically correct observation it is no doubt true. Always has been. But isn't that a reflection of society at large?

Anonymous said...

Your skills with skin tone are amazing. You should give portrait workshops. Or maybe you should just keep showing us portraits. Amazing.

jefflynchdev said...

Having tried both the 85mm f/1.8 and it's oh so expensive cousin the 85mm f/1.2 I'm glad you came to the same decision. $380 versus $1900.

You sure can shoot'em Kirk.

kirk tuck said...

Jeff, I owned the first rev of the 1.2 back when I shot with the film EOS cameras in the early 1990's. It was good but not so spectacular that I was willing to put up with so much weight and such slow AF. I've heard the mach 2 is better on AF. It would have to be.... The 1.8 is just fine. Even wide open.

Sonshine Square Photography said...

Hi Kirk,
How does it compare to the Olympus 35-200mm f2? Thanks.
Reuel

Steve Burns said...

Having used Canon's 85's since the days of the F1's, all I can say is that I like 'em!

Currently I'm using an older 1.2 for somethings, and a 1.8 at other times. The old 1.2 is big, heavy, and a wee bit slower than the newer version, but it still works fine and is no slouch once the lens is close to being in focus.

For some reason my 1.8 has a nasty habit of at times grabbing a contrasty background even with my bodies being set up properly. Why I don't know.

I still love both of them though.

BTW Kirk, I really like the look of the final image that has been run through post. There is a pop and life to it. What was done to it in LR3? I'm asking as I'm trying to sort out some looks for Capture One which I use.

Daniel said...

Steve, my 1.8 does the same thing at times. This is the case with 2 different bodies. It doesn't happen too often but has let me down when I thought I had a great capture...I still have 6 months till the warranty is up so I will have to send it in before then.

kirk tuck said...

Steve, definitely tweaked in LR3. Loving the new rev. They sure have made strides since the first iteration....

Reuel, I think the 35-100mm is right there with the single focal length 85's. I just wish they had an SLR body that would do justice for that lens. If you have the 35/100 there's no optical need for another 85mm equiv. focal length.

Phil, Thank you!

Curt Schimmels said...

I also very much like this series. One of the things that stands out for me is that her hair is not "perfect," in these images. While it's by no means unkempt, it adds a certain mystery to her, that makes this series even more lifelike and compelling. Three cheers for storyboarding and environmental portraiture!

Anonymous said...

Hello Kirk!
I feel like I have stumbled across a gold mine. The last time I saw you was at your Saturday afternoon seminar at Austin Photo Expo. Quite memorable as you drew us around your laptop, exuding the same energy then, as you have in this blog now.
Just as the person who wrote before me, I also like Jana's uncontrived hair. To me, if the background HAD been in focus, her slightly windblown hair would have become a distraction. DD (I don't want to be totally anonymous)