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Douglas Kirkland on Photography: Editorial Assignment

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Douglas Kirkland on Photography: Editorial Assignment

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Hi, my name is Douglas Kirkland. Thanks for joining us today for On Photography. Today, we're going to be talking about the editorial assignment, something I care very much about. I have been doing it a long time. And when you are doing an editorial assignment, your head must be in a slightly different place. I am going to show you some of the reasons, but in a few words, you have to be evaluating and you are reporting through your pictures. Frankly, that's how it works. Whereas if you are doing advertising or promotional work, you're thinking through your client's eyes.

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Douglas Kirkland on Photography: Editorial Assignment
41m 36s Appropriate for all Apr 15, 2011

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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.

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Douglas Kirkland

Welcome

Hi, my name is Douglas Kirkland. Thanks for joining us today for On Photography. Today, we're going to be talking about the editorial assignment, something I care very much about. I have been doing it a long time. And when you are doing an editorial assignment, your head must be in a slightly different place. I am going to show you some of the reasons, but in a few words, you have to be evaluating and you are reporting through your pictures. Frankly, that's how it works. Whereas if you are doing advertising or promotional work, you're thinking through your client's eyes.

So, as a photo reporter or a journalistic type photographer, you are evaluating and you make pictures in a different way. Let me show you some of them. This is Frank Garry, the prominent worldwide known architect who design among others, well, so many buildings around the world, but in this case he was still working on the Disney Center in Los Angeles and this was in assignment done for an Italian magazine called Max. And this picture here is basically a single image, which probably could be an environmental portrait and do the job alone.

But there was so much more to talk about Frank and so here we have images like this up him at work, within this model that he has created of what would become the Disney Center and he is checking the acoustics and everything. But that's exciting. You are giving information and that's what editorial is about. Now, here's another example. Here's a portrait but with information. This is a lead picture again stands up because this is a wonderful French actress and director named Julie Delpy. She normally is in Europe and France but here she was working in LA. So what did we do? I took her out to near the Hollywood sign which you can see in the background at sunset.

I'm using a strobe on her as well just to get some of the feel of the light and the place and one picture does so much, gives you information. I could write a caption for this very easily. And then we go a little further. I go walking around LA with her, around Hollywood, and just picking up pictures quickly. Nothing really planned,.I was just walking down the street and I am doing sort of a photo report on her real world and this part of the excitement about all of this type of work. Now this is a wonderful artist named Ed Moses and here is for me the lead picture.

It's very significant because this is all his wonderful artwork and so I've put these pieces together so they form a comfortable design. I have an enormous respect for this man and I wanted it to be very good but we also, being editorial, we have allowed space up here because frequently editors will want to put words in their explaining. So, this is a good solid lead picture and once you get your lead picture, all the others seem to just speak for themselves. Now here is Ed just outside of his studio preparing some of these stencils and again it's Ed at work and this is very important as an image because he's in his environment and we are seeing him in closer now.

We get a good close look at his face. And he's a great master and I have an enormous respect for him. Now, I want to take you to another place. We got an assignment about the last ten days to photograph for an American publication called American Craft and it was with this wonderful artist named Hannie Goldgewicht and she is a great artist, a ceramic artist, and she creates these wonderful pieces. And our job was to go into her home, which is also her studio, and watch her work but also to get a very strong lead picture and this is the lead picture we got.

Now, I want you to come with us and see how that all happened.

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