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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> First of all I want Hannie to look wonderful, that's my first obligation, and the picture specifically that I'm going after is, and it's the most important one, which is the one we're doing first, is going to be almost like a studio picture. We're working here in her home, so I bring this seamless paper. We have a 9-foot wide, 3-meter wide white and we're putting that behind her, which would look like she was really in our studio, but of course we're here at her place. And so we're going to really do a very clean picture, which would be probably the picture the publication wants more than anything else.
Beyond that and after that I hope to get maybe some pictures of her working. She said she might actually create something for us. I'd love to see her working. And then I like to look in very closely at number of her pieces possibly too. So all of these things are all the possibilities, but mainly the picture I must come away with, so we're doing it first, is this classic portrait of the artist with her work. We'll put the seamless against--once they're finished--put it up to the ceiling, because I want to be able to back up here and what we're going to do is get some glorious pieces specifically, and maybe move the table slightly this way too so we have more space behind the background, and Hannie will sit behind it and we can move out that way in terms of getting enough distance with the camera and we'll use a soft box, which will probably be about, could be about what Jeremy is. Or it will be here and I'll probably be shooting past it.
Okay, now meter. Female Speaker> 8. Douglas Kirkland> 8, okay. I'm going to 8 and I'm going to a 15th, so set yourself to a 15th please. We are getting a nice effect. I mean you want to come in and look at it? Female Speaker> That's cool. Douglas Kirkland> I like the slight grayness of the background. Technically what I'm doing is I'm shooting in a way that might seem strange to you. I could be at f/22 if I wanted, but I'm not. I am shooting at f/8 and because the amount of light coming through the paper.
It's doing part of our lighting for us. I weakened the modeling light here, which I can do, and I weakened it so I could shoot at-- I'm shooting at a 15th at 8 and the strobe is doing-- there again, you see exactly what's happened. So the daylight is coming through this paper a little and giving some of that illumination in the background. It's a question of working with what you find and being sensitive to it, but she's going to look wonderful and the bright colors look great. And now I will do one more time please.
Female speaker> 8. Douglas Kirkland> Okay, thank you. Okay, Francoise, you can do some more moving for me because I'd like to see as many of these pieces as possible. I move them back because what's happening, Francoise, just so you understand, it's getting too big. I want to move them back closer to the background. Yeah, you're doing the right thing there, Miranda, and of yeah, yeah that's right. And this highest one, Miranda, see if you can move it camera right more. It's better already what you've just done. Okay good. It's excellent.
This is building a picture. We've got wonderful pieces of art here and basically have the art and the artist and they're wonderful forms and you have to be a sensitive to this. We also have to create images that will fit shapes. And if you're shooting a cover you obviously have to it so it's vertical because covers are vertical 99 times out of 100 and they can have space to put type on. Now they also might like that for their lead picture. They might put her-- the name of the story up there.
So you're allowing space sometimes and so that's why we have large amounts of space like you see here available. And you have to feel good about the colors and the forms and shapes and this is very symbolic. These, I don't know what you call them, needles. That's very much involved in her work and if you look at the top of her pieces she has incorporated that in a masterful way. It's very exciting. I get a buzz on because I know we got a good picture going, and I want to get as much prepared right now as possible because when she comes in I'm going to have to work in a slightly different way.
I won't make as many changes, at first at least. That's it.
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