Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Shoot Journal: Desert Stock Photography

Good models can be tough to find.  This is one area where I have been very lucky in my career.  My friends love to model for images, and also come up with great ideas that I may have not thought of.  When you shoot with models who have an eye for photography, and are purely excited to see cool images of themselves, you can create incredible images.

Last week I headed off to Moab to capture some hiking and biking photos of my friends in the desert.  If you haven't been to Moab, UT before, I highly recommend the trip.  The scenery is AMAZING!  Just don't go mid-summer unless you like the avg. daily temperature well over 110 degrees fahrenheit.  Throughout this article you will see some UNEDITED images that were captured from the trip.  Unfortunately I became very ill after the first day, so I was unable to shoot biking or some of the areas I had originally planned.

The weather started off cold at about 40 degrees for the first day, and warmed up to perfect conditions by the third day.  We lucked out with completely blue skies after that first day!  I planned on shooting with my brother, and my friend as my 2 models, and picked up an extra model while camping.  Try to put more models in each shot, and have them bring a change of clothes to get more usable images.  Also, make sure that their clothing is not covered in logos because that will add to your editing time later.  

Here is the gear that I brought for this shoot, and what I would typically bring:

-Nikon D300
-(2) Nikon Sb-800 flashes
-PocketWizard radios
-Nikon 12-24mm f/4 lens
-Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens
-Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 lens
-Lensbaby Composer with wide angle and zoom adaptor

-LumiQuest Softbox 3
-LumiQuest FXtra
-Extra Battery
-Lens Cloth
-Burton F:Stop backpack
-Camera Tripod (Manfrotto)
-Flash Stands
-Extra memory cards

When I am planning out a trip like this, I spend some time first searching through the databases of images at sites like www.gettyimages.com and seeing what types of images they have from the area, and what they need more of.  Research will help you create more marketable imagery. 

I also try to plan out at least one activity during dusk or dawn that I know will shoot well.  Unfortunately being sick did not allow that to happen this time....  However, we did get a great day of shooting in Arches national park.  From there, I'm open to any suggestions from models/athletes of where they are interested in going.  If I know the area will be a bust for photos we work together to come up with a better location.  Having this relationship with your models will allow you to come up with much more interesting images.

The model/photographer relationship affects everything!

My best advice for shooting stock on a trip like this?  Be open to every moment.  Even the ones that seem like total downtime where nothing exciting is happening.  Agencies need all different kinds of images, so don't shoot the same shot in the same way over and over again.  Instead, keep changing up lenses, angles, and activities.  Have fun with it!  Finally, keep your camera out even when you think there is nothing to shoot and you may capture something incredible.

We are fully in the digital age now, and since it costs virtually nothing but time to shoot images, take advantage of this.  Shoot as many photos as you can!  Also, paying models even a small amount (say $50) or helping them by covering some trip expenses will yield better results, and more willing models.

That's the BUZZ for Today!  Please check back soon for more.


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