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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> I've been doing editorial work for a long time. In fact it's more than 50 years, if you can believe that. And I worked at Life and Look, and many other publications, Holiday, you name it. A long string of publications. It's not new to me, doing this work, but what is interesting is to see how your material is used. We're all are gratified as a rule when we see the layouts come. I mean I'm delighted to see this opening spread. They call it a spread; sometimes they called it double truck. It goes across two pages and it's interesting to observe how your open space is used here at the top to put a title in.
And since it's two pages, if you're designing pages and I have done page design as well, you have to make sure that what we call the gutter, a separation between the two pages, does not go through the middle of the lady's face. So here it's coming here in a area that won't bother you to see it and this is all part of the artwork of putting spreads, as we call them, together for a publication. So here's the second spread in the layout and again editorial work is about talking and telling and showing, and these wonderful images of Hannie's work are here.
They were preexisting images. I was unable to photograph them because she's very much in demand and they've already been sold and they are long gone, but I would show her working. So there is a logical contrast here or combination I should call it, better than contrast, with everything together with text with explanation in the center. Very comfortable for a reader to look at. I want to just take you inside in my mind as I took this picture for a second, if I may. As I shot I, I would question always can I get vertical or horizontal and I did some very close pictures of her like just like that with just her hands because it's wonderful to watch her hands craft.
That is tremendously exciting, because you are seeing creation, really creativity at least at its best. And after a certain point a little bell goes off my head. I'd say "I think I've got this" but then somebody says before you quit, Kirkland, is there something else you can do to make it even better? And frankly in my peripheral vision I saw this finished piece she had here. And so I just gently pushed it over into the frame and that ended up being the winner, because it gives you so much more information. It's again the overall spread that's telling a story, giving information, and is giving satisfaction to people who know this world, care about it, and this is American Craft Magazine. Always keep that in mind.
Let's look at the final spread in the story. Again, used the picture of the existing material and I have this picture of Hannie at work. For me, I love the fact that she had this color of sweater. It helped. She showed us a couple of different possibilities but this one seemed right to me, especially with the blue jeans and the color of the table here. And then we have the all the elements of that she was working with and you see her stitching and interestingly, I said to her, do you enjoy this? She said, well this is okay, but my favorite part is really throwing because I become impatient when I'm doing the stitching, and I do it very rapidly.
But still she looks wonderful and it's part of the magic she creates. And this is all for me part of telling a story with my pictures and the pictures that we take for an editorial layout. I hope you've enjoyed this portion of On Photography and Editorial Photography.
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