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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> This is a working picture versus the other one which was a portrait of you with your work. And this time the difference is I am letting you leave and I am just following. I am watching and enjoying it very much. So I am an observer here. I was asking you to do things before. I don't want to now. Camera meter? Thank you. Okay, let's go meter reading sitting in there. Female Speaker> Do you want me to sit in or you want me to? Douglas Kirkland> What's that? Female Speaker> 11. Douglas Kirkland> Okay, now I am going to weaken this. I am shooting at 200 ISO at 5-6 and a half.
Between 8 and 5-6. And the shutter speed is a 20th of a second. That may sound odd to you. Now I can handhold comfortably at a 20th. Especially with strobes. So the only place that's really getting the 20th is like the lights. And then why am I shooting at a 20th? Because I want the lights to look like normal room lights. So you're going to really up the strobe doing any overall illumination and they're shooting at a thousandth or whatever. This gives me a lot of flexibility for shooting.
Female Speaker> You don't have to get that in... Douglas Kirkland> Whatever you think is right. Female Speaker> Where do you want me to sit? Douglas Kirkland> Where you would like to sit. Female Speaker> I will sit wherever. Douglas Kirkland> So I am watching her natural thing and I want her to - She will basically create the picture. If something was wrong I would say something. But basically this is Hannie's picture. Female Speaker> Is the piece behind you yours? Douglas Kirkland> On the wall? Oh, it's fantastic! It's getting better.
Female Speaker> Unfortunately, we can't afford anybody else's artwork. So it's all we have around the house. Douglas Kirkland> It's beautiful to watch somebody do something they do well and caringly and that's what I feel.. You become impatient if it goes too slowly? Female Speaker> Yeah, I get from a lot of people when I do shows, when they see it they will say, "Oh. you must be so patient" and I think it's completely the opposite. Douglas Kirkland> You want to get on with it? Female Speaker> I am so impatient that I have to be like doing something.
I can't just sit here like watching TV or anything. I have to be working and making something. So I think it's... Douglas Kirkland> Well, you certainly use your time well. Now I could probably photograph you doing this all afternoon but I feel photographically I have what I need. But so I am watching the detail as you work. Female Speaker> Oh, that's nice. Douglas Kirkland> Then I have some here, seeing what you're working with as well which I think is quite nice. Female Speaker> Yeah, that's nice, the fingers working.
Douglas Kirkland> Coming in the detail here, your hands. And it's your backlight, backside light, from as far back in the corners. Let me walk over there. Curious what it looks like, Charamy. Shine it through this sheet from the opposite side. Let's see what happens. Female Speaker> It's not going to be nice for awhile but.. Douglas Kirkland> Whatever you do, Hannie, will be nice for me. You can do whatever you want. You're great! I love everything you are doing. I love the way you look.
I love the way you're working. I feel like I am really watching the process. It's a very intimate work as you're-- It's the touch. Do you feel a bit like that? Not too many types of work can you really handle something like you do. Female Speaker> It's magical, how it is just a clump. Douglas Kirkland> Well, yeah exactly. Douglas Kirkland> You give birth to something, a new form. Female Speaker> Yeah. Douglas Kirkland> I don't want to be disappointing but I think unless there is something I don't know about, that I probably photographed this.
My obligation basically was to do the first picture we did. But having the opportunity to be near you and watching you work is something that I just couldn't walk away from. That's all they asked me to do. Is get that one great picture. But I get inspired by being around inspiring people. People who are creative. Creative. Truly creative people. And you've made something. Essentially you've taken something and given birth to it. You've made something out of nothing. And that's very inspiring and I love just to watch it. And what I am seeing with the camera is I am seeing first you and the essence of everything here moving and doing and I've become very sensitive to your atmosphere.
And what I am doing with the camera is I am seeing your forms, the forms, and even I love watching your hands close as they touch. But at the same time in my photograph I want to see the overall forms. I am doing two things in it. But again it's you. This is your day, not mine. I am just here recording it.
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