Interview: Claire Pepper (Fashion & Fitness Photographer)

The Making of: Vogue China’s Special Edition by Mario Testino

This isn’t the first time I’ve featured Mario Testino and I’m sure it won’t be the last. As the beginning of this video outlines, Mario and Vogue have a close relationship and he has completed a wealth of shoots for them. What makes this behind-the-scenes video all the more interesting is that firstly it’s for Vogue China and secondly that it’s slightly biographical too.

A lot of behind-the-scenes videos are primarily cuts of the photographer and the model with some upbeat music for all of two minutes. From this, interested photographers can try and derive the lighting setups, the direction and generally read between the lines. With this video on Mario’s Youtube channel, you can see much more than that. It begins with a brief history of Mario and Vogue’s relationship, it then moves on to concepts for the special edition and then we get to see how the shoot was performed. This allows for a much more rounded view of the process. Each shoot is broken down and the thinking behind the images is delineated, making it a very interesting video indeed.

Depth of Field and Bokeh Simulator

This is one for your Bookmarks bar. Michael Bemowski has developed a great little application for both PC and mobile devices where you can simulate the depth of field and the Bokeh of a scene by selecting all the variables involved.

Although this has some real depth to it for those who want to delve in a little deeper, I feel the real merit of this application is for beginners who are looking to experiment with apertures, focal lengths and subject distances. This visual guide is also excellent for people to see the difference between full frame and crop sensors with the same lenses and focal lengths.

The Bokeh and Depth of Field Simulator

Steve McCurry’s Top 9 Composition Tips

Steve McCurry is a photojournalist who truly warrants his enormous reputation. His portfolio is one of the richest tapestries of colours, textures and culture available in one place. Those people vulnerable to wander-lust ought to avoid his website at all costs. If you aren’t quite as susceptible to dropping everything and becoming a camera yielding nomad, or aren’t interested in heeding my advice, the link to his portfolio is at the bottom of this article.

The short video above is Steve McCurry’s top 9 composition tips which could improve your photography immeasurably. The difference between this video and the myriad other videos and articles claiming similar sage advice is in two parts; the first is that this video is filled with Steve McCurry’s tips and the second is that McCurry uses his portfolio to show how he has used his own tips.

Steve McCurry’s Portfolio

Video by COOPH

Robin Wright’s Shoot for Vanity Fair

Perhaps this video is more interesting to models than photographers, but Vanity Fair’s behind-the-scenes footage of their cover shoot with Robin Wright really caught my eye.

Robin Wright, most recently famous for her role as Claire Underwood on House of Cards, is shown in this video to be photographed in a number of studio settings by the prolific Patrick Demarchelier. The shoot itself, although produced beautiful results, wasn’t outlandish or unique as you can see. However, what grasped my attention was Robin Wright.

Robin plays an important and powerful woman in House of Cards and she does so very convincingly. What I did not expect, was the presence she provides in the show to be maintained outside of it. As I say, perhaps this video is of more use to models, but then again, perhaps us photographers can learn from how Robin carries herself when we select and direct models in our own shoots.

© Mihaela Noroc© Mihaela Noroc© Mihaela Noroc© Mihaela Noroc© Mihaela Noroc© Mihaela Noroc© Mihaela Noroc© Mihaela Noroc© Mihaela Noroc© Mihaela Noroc© Mihaela Noroc© Mihaela Noroc

The Atlas of Beauty by Mihaela Noroc

If I were given absolute financial freedom, travelling around the world and taking portraits of beautiful people from all different countries would certainly be right up there on my to-do list.

Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc has done just that and set herself the quest of photographing beautiful people of all different ethnicities. Her project – The Atlas of Beauty – might be simple in aim, but it is captivating.

Ways of following Mihaela Noroc:




Mario Testino’s Shoot of Kendall Jenner

Photoshoots of Kendall Jenner who has started the ‘Social Media Modelling’ movement as Harper’s Bazaar have labelled it is doing shoots left, right and centre at present. Despite her rise to prominence as a fashion model being noteworthy, the video above is interesting for a different reason.

Photographer Mario Testino has a — frankly put — monstrous portfolio. It has A-listers, Vogue covers galore and a wealth of beautiful and unique images. He appears to be at the forefront of shooting the new era of models active on Instagram and his BTS video of his shoot with Kendall Jenner is just the most recent leaf in that book.

What is particularly interesting about this photoshoot is that despite having a dream location, an army of wardrobe, hairstylists and makeup artists, the photography side is refreshingly simple. There appear to be few artificial lights and instead the brightly (and naturally) lit house works as the key light source. As one would expect with a photographer of Mario’s calibre, the resulting images are stunning.

Mario Testino’s Portfolio

How to: Cinematic Colour Grading in Photoshop

My fetish in portraiture would have to be cinematic images. If a portrait looks as if it could be a still from a film with good cinematography the chances are I will be a fan. Recently two photographers I know were discussing one of their images. The car photographer of the two of them had applied colour grading to the image and the landscape photographer wasn’t familiar with what that meant.

Colour grading is a technique that has been used in still and moving imagery almost since its conception. It is most famously associated with films in the modern day. A very popular TV show that uses colour grading and colour casts in the extreme is Breaking Bad. Any fan of the show could be presented with a still of the series with no characters or obvious locations in it and will probably have and inkling that it’s Breaking Bad – perhaps without knowing why. Another way of describing colour grading would be the look of a show.

This tutorial is one of my favourites for explaining exactly what is happening and how to achieve it. I have plugged these guys every few months for nearly 2 years but if you aren’t familiar with them, please check out Phlearn for a plethora of tutorials.

A Photoshoot in the Austrian Alps

I thought shooting in a marsh early in the morning on a very cold and damp winter’s morning was testing. I have been unambiguously corrected on the belief by photographer David Trood who recently embarked on a photoshoot in the Austrian Alps for Getty Images.

Outdoor photography can produce very strong and interesting images but the risk versus reward factor is what would put a lot of photographers off this more extreme example. The element of the shoot that would make most photographers’ toes curl is not the risk; it’s not even the adverse weather conditions. It’s — as is often the case — keeping your gear safe. Even if you’re careful enough not to have lenses and lights tumble off in to the distance in a desperate bid for freedom down the nearest steep drop, there’s the worry of keeping it all dry and not-frozen. I’d be happy to risk my life hanging off the edge of a mountain to get the shot I am after, but perching my equipment on the same edge is a risk too far!

You can see all of the images from this set on David’s portfolio by clicking here.

American Horror Story – the Cover by Matthias Clamer

matthias clamer

When I saw this poster advertising American Horror Story I thought it would be almost entirely photo manipulation; I imagined that almost every element of the image was a composite from a different frame. However, Matthias Clamer has released a brief BTS video which shows it isn’t. Obviously there is a lot of Photoshop work done to the background and final image, but the technique for capturing the dress/tent is very interesting and I can imagine some incredible fashion images could be created with the same method.

How to Achieve Multiple Exposure Portraits

Multiple exposures is one of many techniques that has carried over from the days of film and dark rooms where one frame is superimposed on to another frame. The difficulty of this technique is not so much how to do it, but how to do it effectively. Finding two scenes that complement each other in both style, lighting, interest and composition is exceptionally difficult but ultimately rewarding if successful.

The above video is a guide on how to achieve multiple exposures both in camera and in Photoshop and is very helpful for anyone looking to try something new with their portraiture.