Christmas came early

Posted on Thursday, November 24th, 2011 at 8:10 pm

And it came under the form of a green eyes blond hair model and harboring movember handlebar moustache New Zealand accent photographer.   A friend of mine, who works at BeyondtheRack.com, got me to meet with Alisa and Josh for a one-on-one (and one) lighting workshop.

Since I dove into people photography, I know my techniques got better.  It is not that hard when you start from scratch; you can only head up, right?  I managed to read a lot on the web, followed people’s advises, looked at other’s work, and figured out how to bound that to what I wanted as a style.  I then started to carry my photos with me all the time (thank you iPad!) for when people started to talk to me about my work.  I am a visual person so it is always easier to understand what we are all talking about by having the photos right there.  One day, sitting at the bar after a camera club meeting, Dave dropped it on me.

“I like that last series of yours.  I should get you with Josh and Alisa, I am sure it could improve your photos even more.”

That meant gold for me.  Dave is not a people photographer but a strong visual design artist.  Most of what I know about visual design comes from listening to the guy.  A couple of weeks later I had a meeting set with Josh and Alisa at Beyond the Rack.  When I packed my gears that morning, I was excited and nervous at the same time.  Give me a chance to shoot and I will but knowing Josh’s lighting talent and having seen Alisa’s photos daily on the company’s website was intimidating.

I got there and the butterflies vanished.  What’s the worst that can happen, really?  I told Josh I was mainly a one light kind of shooter he started off with one light, then 2, and 3.  His explanations were direct, to the point and crystal clear.  When clarifications were needed, they were simple.  Bottom line, he made it accessible.

As for Alisa, she is a gem.  I guess spending close to 40 hours a week in front of a camera must allow her to know exactly what the photographer is seeing in the viewfinder.  Her body positions were always within the correct light zone, her head always high enough, eyes always in a pleasant angle so the right amount of white would show.   What really impressed me was that none of my photos that night had closed eyes.

I said it before and will say it again: this was by far the best photoshoot I had!  I learned, had fun, came back with great images, and did not look like a fool (well, at least I think I didn’t…).  I knew already the “get it right in camera” but this time it was just ridiculous.  As I was going through the images back home, many of them were exported as-is, no touchups.  Some needed to have a few wall scruffs cleaned, while others were being turned to black and white because it simply felt weird not post processing anything!

The studio was very simple.  We only used a fraction of the gears that were available and we shot directly on a white wall with no seamless or cyclo.  It means it is something really simple that could be done almost just anywhere.

Thanks Dave, Josh, and Alisa; it felt like Christmas.

Responses (2)

  1. Vincent says:

    It’s time for me to call Dave! What a great shoot Stéphane! You’re the king!

  2. Derrick says:

    I can say I am very jealous. These look awesome, and I can also say I hate Dave for never inviting me to shoot at his studio.

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