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Getting started in glamour photography?? My suggestions..
Old 10-18-2004, 12:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
JohnPaul
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For the beginners...who want to start out and get somewhere...this is what I'd suggest you follow..

1. You have to start with a camera...so, now I'd say buy either a Canon or a Nikon...because down the road, if you want to upgrade your lenses and cameras, you will have plenty of great equipment options to make, especially when it comes to buying used gear......so start out with either a Nikon D70, or a Canon Digital Rebel......oh, and you should always keep your camera in "M" / Manual mode.....keep it out of the program modes if you ever want to learn anything...
btw, since you are using digital, it is 100 times faster and 100 times more economical to learn about photography than with film cameras....which is what I was using back in the day...I still have tons of shoe boxes filled with crappy pictures that I took while learning what the heck I was doing....which cost me tons of $.

2. You have to put a lens on your camera... with the above mentioned cameras, you can opt to buy them with the lens they offer....I'd say get it..which will be a fairly wide to short telephoto range lens.. Next, buy a lens like a 80-200...or a 75-300mm zoom.. They are very affordable, and if you are just learning, those two lenses will keep you pretty happy..

3. Pick up some reflectors...like "foam core" which are large white panels which are commenly used for framing pictures.......then, buy a shiny gold / silver reflector.....a pop-up style.. and learn how to add fill light from the sun into your subjects.. Sometimes, all I do is go outdoors with a camera and an assistant who holds a reflector....and you can get pretty much the same lighting results I get too.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

Photo lesson No.1, Place a vase on a table and near a window....then photograph it from all around....and look at what happens with how the light reflects off of it.. then, place a reflector on the shadow side of it and photograph it... place the reflector close to the vase and then pull it further away...photographing everything and look at the differences between the shots.. Before finding "models" to work with, learn the basics and learn how to light a model ....as if she were a large vase...as apposed to having one come over while you try to learn how to photograph her....wasteing her time and your's..

4. Pick up a Stroboframe quick flip flash bracket...and an off shoe cord, and the top-of-the-line dedicated flash...like a Canon 580EX...and learn how to light subjects in Manual mode only.. Don't use any automatic flash modes......and learn how to "bounce flash"... Also, learn how to use "fill flash" rather than just blasting the hell out of your subject..so you can get more ambient light to add to the picture..



5. Buy an light meter that reads both flash and ambient light.. and base your exposures on that meter reading.. determin how to create ratios using flash and ambient light.

6. Buy a sturdy tripod....I'd suggest getting a gear head...I happen to enjoy using a gear head for everything from studio stills to location shots..with the exception of action photography...like models walking down a cat-walk...or shooting soccer....but what does that have to do with glamour photography.....not much..

7. Pick up either a White Lightning /Alien Bees or Bowens /Calumet Travel Light kit with three lights which come with stands, cords, a case, and usually some sort of light mods like a soft box and or umbrellas.. I think at this time, Calumet Travel lights are a great system for the beginner because what you have to grow in to later on.. There are other light kits which are good too but these have a decent amount of power for pratical application of glamour, and portrait photography..

8. Then, once you have all this in place, buy Adobe Photoshop CS or the current top end program.......elements is good to get you by with...and it comes free with your camera but you can do soooo much more with the real thing...it's kind of like compareing....uhmmm....never mind. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

9. Now that you have a decent understanding of lighting, exposure, and composition, now it's time for you to decide if you want to continue...and buy some much better lenses...or keep this as a hobby and just have fun with it.. If you want to continue at this, and perhaps make some money shooting...then you might want to look into buying a better camera...and some better lenses..

10. After No. 9, now buy some better lighting equipment....like grids, gels, barndoors, different types of soft boxes..ring flash, more powerful lights..like a 2400power pack..or some portable flashes that run on DC power that you can take into the middle of the forest that provide a lot of light and portability..

Finally, keep shooting....shoot all the time....always find something to photograph when you have free time..or learn about photography.....read books, page through magazines and try to figure out how the photographer took those pictures you see....and visit websites where you can contribute to photography discussions..



JP Window light only...the wall provided a great fill of it's own..
 
 
biggest problem
Old 10-18-2004, 12:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There are plenty of specific bits of info in your suggestions that I don't really agree with (and plenty of things I've never bought or used), but not much point nitpicking about matters of style.

There is one thing that I think puts potential glamour photographers in the wrong state of mind to get the best results, though (and it's an attitude I see in evidence in many of the images posted on the net):

Before finding "models" to work with, learn the basics and learn how to light a model ....as if she were a large vase...as apposed to having one come over while you try to learn how to photograph her....wasteing her time and your's..



I agree about not wasting the model's time and yours--I don't agree that photographing a vase is an effective way to understand very much about photographing a model. I'd recommend photographing people. Ordinary clothed people. Developing your skills at building rapport with a subject will be the difference between getting the same trite poses that every other hobbiest can get and eliciting something from the model that might actually create an emotional reaction in the viewer. Understanding camera operation is simple, understanding lighting can be a little tricky (though I think most people try to make it much harder than it is), but understanding and effectively working with people is the hard part.

Don't start with the attitude that photographing people is anything like photographing a vase--it will send you walking down the wrong path.

Okay. That ends my rant for the day. ; )

 
 
Re: biggest problem
Old 10-18-2004, 02:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I understand your point...

I pretty much skimmed over a lot of things...otherwise, I could have written a book .. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

I was thinking in the terms of lighting a vase...before calling up a model to come over to your pad...because with a simple object, one can learn how working with composition, contrast and texture...just by window lighting, they can get a grip of how to asthetically light a subject...all your other points are quite valid...it's just that I differ in the timeing... I think that it is more important to learn how to light something....which when applied to a person,...it is like lighting a large vase... Yes, after you have an idea of what kind of lighting you are interested in....then bring in the model....who can be anyone who is willing to put up with sitting or standing for an hour while you learn how to interact with them... & that sort of thing....wwhich is why I suggested the vase as assignment No.1 rather than No.2 ...

I often get asked...why is it that my pictures "pop" out at you....the god's honest truth is because I light my models just like I light my products.....iut's just that they are larger than most of the products I shoot... a model is just like a big product..... now that I have the lighting down to a science, I began learning how to interact with models...how to get them to express mood...or an idea....or how to show me what they are wearing...(fashion).. I make adjustments according to what they are doing but for the most part, once I have my lights set up, they pretty much stay that way until I shoot a different look..

I have seen some teriffic models who really know how to pose, and interact with the photographer who were shot by my. snappy....who really doesn't understand why we light things the way we do...and their pictures really reflect poor craftmanship.......yes, the model is hot, but the overall quality of the pictures really stink.. ..my opinion..

BTW, your self port is really cool looking...and how difficult was it to do that? not too bad eh? I like how you portray mood......now, if you were to blast yourself with on camera flash, even though you look the same, your picture would look awful....wouldn't you agree? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

I say, begin with understanding the basics of lighting first.

JP

 
 
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Old 10-18-2004, 07:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Great advice JP. Especially the manual exposure. I would have maybe put in something about digital technology going outdated, but if you are learning, tben, it might not be a big deal, kind of a toss up. You are right on the money when it comes to the cost of processing. Photoshop CS is selling on the Adobe website for $649.00, which if you have the money, is great. Of course I would recommend a CD burner for archiving images. Anyways, some excellent recommendations JP.

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Photographers Starter Kit
Old 10-18-2004, 08:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I took some people to a camera store a couple of weeks ago to get them a
photography starter kit. Just to get them started.

A sketch pad.
A used Canon body.
A 28mm, 50 mm, 85 mm, and 135 mm. lens set.
2 lite disc reflectors
2 Grey cards
20 rolls of B & W film.
10 rolls of fuji velvia 100.

Some copies of my peterson photographics, with the "how to" inserts.

A quick primer on light, and exposure.

Turn them loose.

They will be ready for studio lighting and external light meters by
the end of December.

Greg.

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Ummm, yeah, but ....
Old 10-18-2004, 09:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Being able to establish a report with a model and give her understandable directions is vital. But ... if we can't light the model properly, then everyone's time is wasted. I'm afraid I fall into the master the technique first school of thought. If we can't light a vase, or basketball or beachball in a way to show correct exposure, show texture and define shape and form, then we can't do it with a model eiher, regardless of our raport.

Distinctive Images
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Re: Getting started in glamour photography?? My suggestions..
Old 10-19-2004, 01:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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learn ALL the basics first. i mean ALL the photography 101 stuff. it's the foundation on which to build your personal style, to become competent, and then to grow and evolve and, hopefully, become appreciated and accomplished. without that knowledge, i.e., knowing the basics, you'll probably be the only one impressed with your work. and btw, learning ALL the basics is not easy nor is it quick to accomplish; but it is necessary.
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Definitely learn the basics
Old 10-19-2004, 06:59 AM   #8 (permalink)
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You aren't going to have much rapport with a model or any other animate subject if you are spending more time fiddling with your lights and equipment trying to learn what in the world to do. It inspires no confidence in your subject when you are walking around with a puzzled look on your face trying to get things to work right for long stretches of time. A vase, on the other hand, does not really care if you spend a couple of hours just looking at it and learning how to see light. If you learn how light falls on a vase and how to manipulate it you will be able to transfer this knowledge to lighting a person.
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Something I saw on the web the other day about burned CD\'s.......
Old 10-19-2004, 03:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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we all consider CD's to be permanent. The ones that you buy (music/software) that are not burned into a dye layer are.

The ones that we burn onto CD's will degrade with time, believe it or not. They dyes will fade, and some of the 1 and 0's will be lost.

I wish I had a solution but I don't, it's just something we all need to be cognizant of.

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clarification
Old 10-19-2004, 10:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Coming back to this thread, I was surprised to learn that I had advocated ignoring photography fundamentals like camera operation, exposure, lighting, etc.
The point of my original post was that thinking of a model as just another type of vase is not a good attitude if you want to get the most from the person you are photographing. There are things you can learn from photographing a vase. But, even on the technical side, a vase is a much simpler shape than a person (especially a person's face), a vase doesnt' move, a vase doesn't change expressions, and a vase doesn't have any kind of dynamic interaction with you.



 
 
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