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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.
Hi! My name is Douglas Kirkland. Thanks for joining us today for On Photography. Today we are going to be talking about the editorial assignment. Our job was to go into her home, watch her work, but also to get a very strong lead picture, and this is the lead picture we got. When you go on location as photographer, it's an entirely different ball game because you must have everything there. You can't say oh, if I only had another da, da, da. You must bring it with you. We are working here in her home. We will really do a very clean picture, which would be-- is probably the picture that the publication wants more than anything else.
This is building a picture. Basically, you have the art and the artist. You have to feel good about the colors and the forms and shapes. It's very exciting. I get a buzz on, because I know we have got a good picture going. Then make yourself comfortable, you will find your spot. Ah, I love that! I love it. First thing I had to do is have the lighting right, however. There was a window in front of the table where she worked and there was a quite a bit of light coming through it and I had the choice of maybe putting something over the window to stop the light, and I said no, let's use what's there. I wanted her to relax a little, so I suggested that she lean on her hand just to give her something to do. It's a very simple gesture.
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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