“It’s Gotta Be The Shoes”

I’m showing my age here but the quote is from the 1980s Air Jordan commercials that Spike Lee did for Nike with Michael Jordan. Lee was playing his basketball fan boy character Mars Blackmon from one of his first films “She’s Gotta Have It.” What Blackmon is trying to imply is that its the Air Jordans that are responsible for Michael Jordan’s basketball success. Much like some believe that having expensive cameras or lighting will automatically elevate their photography.

Some folks seem to think its all about the camera gear being used that makes the image. Not going to lie and say that the ability to take a great image isn’t enhanced by the gear used but it isn’t the most important thing. The most important thing is the Photographer’s vision and ability to execute that vision with their abilities, skills and talents. This Cheap Camera Challenge proves this point.

I watched the whole 21 mins of Jade’s Cheap Camera Challenge video yesterday and was impressed with Jade’s abilities and vision. Comparing her 2013 Creative Live presentation versus this and I have much more respect for her as an artist after watching her Cheap Camera Challenge than I did the 3 days on CL because it really focuses on her intangibles and we got to see her talents shine rather than wonder if she was sponging off the creativity of the team that she’s able to put together. I like that the video points out Jade’s ability to direct the Model and her creative use of location to create scenes and her use of props to create distortions in the images.

What I like about the video is that it shows how important planning, craftsmanship and the Photographer’s skills, talents and creativity are to making a photo instead of just being a glorified button pusher. It’s the difference between being a Photographer and doing photography. Also I like that it shows the importance of having a good team for the shoot. It doesn’t hurt to have an agency Model to shoot, designer clothes and a Stylists to do hair and make-up. All of these are important contributions to making a great fashion image.

Again, it’s not all about the gear. I know that sounds cliche but what gear should do is open up options for a Photographer to use the intangibles (vision, creativity, skills, etc.)  that informs the images that they make. It’s like a carpenter using a hammer versus a pneumatic nail gun; gear should allow the Photographer to do the job more efficiently and/or more effectively.
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My One Light Setup

Lighting is not that complicated once you understand the general principles. Basically I use a large diffused light source with subject distance placement within the diameter of the light modifier.

For example using a 5′ octobox placed within 5′ of the subject will insure soft shadows and a wrap around effect for the light hitting the subject. I’m more precise with lighting so I do use a meter to measure light output. I usually place the light on a boom pointed at a 45° high and down with the bottom edge of the modifier being around the chest level. Here is a diagram:


My lighting techniques are very similar to Joel Grimes. Check out these videos to see his explanation of his lighting technique:


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Starting Over

Well this sucks….

I was up dating my site when suddenly I was locked out of every website that I have. I call support at my web host and they told me that they are reporting a virus or malware (possibly a worm) embedded in my site. They informed me that I have two choices: 1. hire someone to find and trash the offending files (which would be tres expensive) or 2. Go scorched earth and delete everything (files and databases) and start over. I chose Option #2.

Looks like all the work that I’ve done over the years is gone. I’ll try my best to recover the info and repost past blogging so be patient with me!

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