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In the Douglas Kirkland on Photography series, well-known photographer Douglas Kirkland explores a variety of real-world photographic scenarios, sharing technique insights and critiquing the results.
In this installment of the series, Douglas goes on location and shows how to shoot photographs for publications. He begins with a look at the planning and packing involved in an on-location editorial shoot. Next, he shows how to construct a photo that tells a story about its subject. He demonstrates how to light and position the subject and use props to best tell the story. After getting the shot that will be on the article’s opening pages, he shoots documentary photos that show the subject in action.
Finally, he reviews the best images from the shoot and shows how he uses Photoshop to complete his workflow and refine the images. Douglas also shows how the final images were used by the magazine’s art director and describes how editorial photographers must compose shots with page design in mind by leaving space for typography and other elements.
Douglas Kirkland> You have seen my process in making an editorial portrait, but there's so much more required in an editorial story such as we're telling here. You have got to tell how it happens, because you're giving information in your pictures. So let me take you through a process. Here is Hannie working and actually stitching these needles under the edge of her work. Part of her process. It's tremendously exciting to watch her. But are there different ways you could look at this? I made some close-ups, yes! But I thought it was more interesting to see the environment she was in, because she works on her sofa in her living room, very simple.
I got up a box that I had there with a wide-angle lens, and did the best I could to frame it and get what I felt was right. Very simple lighting. I just have two strobes going off the ceiling, because I wanted it all to look very natural, not like it was setup or too overly dramatic. So I was able to get this image, but ultimately I felt that it should be tighter because I want to have always a great sense of design. So with some Photoshop simple work I created this.
This is the final image I gave them. I took that cushion away. I should have taken it away myself at the time of shooting, but I didn't. We're not all perfect. But what we have here now is everything is symmetrical. This is where photography gets exciting for me. The elements that she's working with, the pine needles that she stitches into her pieces, and then this is just a carpet at the side. But again it's all very clean and I made the top so you didn't see the white wall above it.
Not a lot of Photoshop work, but it's how I see and how I feel. And truthfully, for me, it's an extension of my photography and who I am as a photographer. But ultimately, others don't always choose the one that you like the most. They needed a vertical. So here is the picture we ultimately used, and that is part of the process. So in addition to my favorite horizontal, which you just saw our landscape, I took some vertically or, if you want to call it, in portrait node.
There it is! Again, the same elements, and she's working. I'm not looking to see her face here. I'm looking to see her art being created, and that to me again is the process. It's all part of telling a story and there's so much more. You have to think of yourself as a storyteller, not just taking a lead, wonderful lead picture. So much more.
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