Dan Bannister Shooting Raw Portraits Through Soft Light

Written by Dan Bannister on . Posted in Portrait Photography

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© Dan Bannister

© Dan Bannister

Dan Bannister is a Canadian commercial photographer and filmmaker. With more than 20 years in the business, he felt like he wanted to tell a different story with his photography. He stumbled upon the story of the modern blacksmith. Here is the story of what happened from there on, written by Dan himself.

I’ve been working on a personal project about blacksmiths for a couple of years now. I was originally looking for a photo project that would be different than the usual work I do day-to-day for clients such as ad agencies, fashion retailers and magazines. I wanted it to be something that would allow me to focus on simple portraiture in a raw and revealing way but still had a common thread that had room to grow and evolve.

One day, I was having a casual lunch with a friend who is a creative at an ad agency in Toronto and she mentioned that blacksmithing was a hobby of hers. This immediately fascinated me because I didn’t realize that blacksmithing was something people still did, let alone in a big urban center like Toronto.

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What Is In a Portrait Photographer’s Gear Pack?

Written by Drew Gurian on . Posted in Portrait Photography

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Drew Gurian is a young, up-and-coming portrait photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Each month, he’ll be bringing you a behind-the-scene perspective, navigating the freelance marketplace of one of the busiest photo markets in the world – New York City. This time, he talks about the lighting gear that he brings to a shoot. 

Lots of photographers think that in order to produce professional looking photos, they need a ton of gear. Of course, there’s plenty of situations out there that involve a sizable production, but for the most part, striving to keep things simple is a good rule of thumb to live by.

Every now and again, a client calls and needs me to shoot something that involves every piece of gear I own, and then some. For the most part however,  I’ve worked out a fairly stripped down gear pack that can get me through at least 75% of any shoot I get.

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Victoria Will Shoots Tintype Portraits of the Stars at Sundance

Written by Fredrik Franzén on . Posted in Portrait Photography, Videos

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At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, photographer Victoria Will decided to put down her digital camera and use a century-old technique to shoot the stars. The result is celebrity portraits unlike any other you have ever seen before.

We all know the feeling of being stuck in a rut. So what do you do as a portrait photographer when you need to reignite your creative spark?

One thing you can do is switch tools. Replace the pen with a brush, and you will probably be surprised by what you end up putting on the canvas.

Celebrity photographer Victoria Will’s recent shoot at the Sundance Film Festival is a good example. Victoria had been shooting the stars at the festival for three years in a row when she started to feel as if she was reinventing the wheel every time. So for her fourth year, she replaced her DSLR with an old Graflex Super D camera and the TIFFs and JPGs with beautiful, aluminum tintypes.

The switch did not make things easier for Victoria, quite the opposite. But the demanding process resulted in some of the most inspired and highly praised portraits from that year’s festival.

“What I love about the process is how raw it is,” says Victoria. “We live in an age of glossy magazines and overly retouched skin. But there is no lying with tintypes. You can’t get rid of a few wrinkles in Photoshop.”

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How Stefan Tell Created His Smoky Portraits with Ring Flash and Beauty Dish

Written by Rebecca Ahremark on . Posted in Portrait Photography

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© Stefan Tell

© Stefan Tell

How does a smoke machine affect the light on the model? Swedish blogger and photographer Stefan Tell knows. He decided to bring one into his studio for a portrait session of the Swedish music band, A Swarm of the Sun. Here’s the result. 

Stefan Tell considers a smoke machine to be a really cheap and easy way to turn a small photo studio into an infinite one. As a matter of fact, he didn’t change much of the lighting settings at all. The effect of the smoke made the portraits feel totally different.

For main light he used a Profoto D1 250 Air, equipped with a Softlight Reflector White and grid and was placed diagonally from the top left of the camera. He attached a Profoto Acute Ring Flash to his camera, connected to the Acute B600R, and equipped with a WideSoft Reflector. On the opposite side, behind the musicians, stood another Profoto D1 500 equipped with a Magnum Reflector and created an edge light and illuminated the smoke/fog from behind.

“By using three Profoto lights I was able to get a nice portrait light as well as highlighting parts of the haze in the studio so that also became a visible part”, says Stefan.

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Portrait Photographer Stephanie Diani Puts Celebrities in a Different Light

Written by Fredrik Franzén on . Posted in Portrait Photography

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© Stephanie Diani

© Stephanie Diani/Global Assignment Getty Images

Stephanie Diani draws inspiration from some of the greatest, most renowned portrait photographers the world has ever known. But rather than recreating their work, she channels the inspiration to create something that is uniquely hers. Here is how she does it.

Meet Stephanie Diani, a portrait photographer born and bred in LA, recently relocated from the sunny west coast to what is possibly the world’s busiest marketplace for photographers: New York City.

Like many other photographers in her generation, Stephanie is mostly self-taught. She looked at classic portraits by auteurs such as of Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, Alex Webb and Henri Cartier-Bresson. She tried to figure out how they did it, and then she tried to do it herself. Finally, she applied that knowledge to create something uniquely her own.

“Arresting,” says Stephanie. “If I could use only one word to describe what it is I try to achieve, that would be the word – arresting.”

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