Is m43 ready for men’s fashion

You decide…

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Full disclosure – I have never shot a men’s fashion spread before (as I am a specialized product shooter) so this was a wonderful opportunity to collaborate and interact spontaneously – a fabulous learning experience! It was a real privilege to work with Michael Wilson, publisher of Stingray Magazine to make these photographs for an article just released at stingraymagazine.com. He had seen my work and felt that I was a good fit for what he wanted to create – and he is format and brand agnostic.EDDY_1067265

BTW, the two models are Eddie Fu @itsfuman and Alex Shin @jazzlex and they are both signed with and provided to the shoot courtesy of Matineemodels. The stylist (and publisher), Michael Wilson @silverscreenstylist1, coordinated and styled the shoot for Stingray Magazine, a brand new publication that seeks out the hottest trends in men’s fashion and lifestyle while still chronicling the vintage looks and products that never go out of style – all with a huge emphasis on quality! I hope to be invited to contribute again soon…Stingray_BTS_1047375

Yes, I have been shooting in studio all my adult life (44 plus years) and have a reasonably large one with all the stuff needed to satisfy my gear cravings. In the past, when I have shot people (numerous times a year actually) I have always used my FF Canon but this day I wanted to use my Lumix G9. I have become very comfortable with the quality of the images and knew it would perform well.ALEX_1067307

I think the images speak for themselves, but in case there are questions lurking, here are some details –

First the lens choice – Olympus Pro 45mm f1.2. – I shot almost exclusively at f5.6. It is a first rate optic that just gets out of the way. Since I was using my ultra reliable Elinchrom strobes (a decade old or more, so nothing fancy) with a 27 inch beauty dish and an opposing soft side fill, I was shooting at ISO 100. There was also a light accenting the background. Note that I had my Chimera 10×30 ft soft box on the whole time with ambient light for the BTS video (even though on, it did not interfere with the strobe exposure for the stills). It also made it easier to see focus (and auto focus was fast and accurate in AFS mode). The G9 was in single shot mode and though there was some movement, nothing that required continuous focus with tracking.EDDIE_JUMPING_1067115

Whenever I shoot – in or out of the studio – I concentrate on the subject, composition, lighting and graphic perspective ( I like to shoot people from a lower angle). I don’t want the equipment to distract or intrude in any way. The G9 performs in such a way – it allows me to focus my attention on the shot – the subject – and not on the camera. It is also really great that it is less than half the weight of my Canon 5DIII and 5Ds and the 85 f1.2L.Stingray_BTS_1047430Stingray_BTS_1047457EDDIE_1067064ALEX_1067185Main takeaway – while we need gear to make our photographs – the type of gear should be based on personal craft, equipment familiarity and vision and not on sensor format or brand – all of today’s current photographic gear is more than up to the tasks we pursue.

So is M4/3 and a Lumix G9 ready to take on the men’s fashion world? I think so and so does the client for this shoot. I think the images speak for themselves.

For the magazine article visit – https://stingraymagazine.com/fashion

As always, feedback, questions and comments are welcome. All images and content are ©2020 by Bill Deuster. All rights reserved. Thanks for viewing!!

Art from an iconic brand – Ferrari

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In the world of professional photography, the success of the final image is often about style, and what is more stylish than the legendary (and iconic) Italian brand, Ferrari. I love cars, have a studio designed to shoot cars and, finally, a willing and beautiful subject in the 2015 Ferrari 458 Spyder – white with a stunning red leather interior.

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In my photographic world, after having worked for over 44 years, one thing has remained constant – you are only only as good as your latest images. And this is a story about the process of conceiving and creating a set of photographs (and final conceptual graphics using them) that might have an impact on a specialty clientele to whom I want to provide my services.

To those who ask me what it is like to make ones living shooting pictures commercially, I reveal that, for me, the most important aspect of the job is the subject matter and how it is to be staged and presented. Once that is established, my craft and lighting skills and then my gear (cameras, lights, grip, etc…) are to be considered.

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FYI, I shot these images using a Lumix G9 in high resolution mode with an Olympus Pro 17mm f1.2 lens mounted to it. The lights are two ARRI L7C’s (providing the gel colors), a Litepanels SOLA 6+ (projected through a pattern onto the background), two SOLA 4+ lighting the wheels/tires and a number of scattered Aputure AL-H198C’s (at 3200K for warmth). I also have a Chimera 10ft x 30ft light box that is populated with LEDs to light from the top when needed (positionable with ropes as it is suspended from the ceiling using a pulley system). Note that the Chimera can also be very helpful when turned off, acting as a broad reflector.

Since I already have a good idea of how my studio can be used to create an environment to stage a car like the Spyder, when the car arrived, I spent my time studying the lines/shape of the car and the best vantage points to capture and enhance these attributes. In this case I had no specific application for the images (just fodder for the portfolio) but my subconscious is always at play as I shoot, so my general shot list grew a bit as I learned more about the graphical nature of this beautiful car. Also, I have a passion for prints and posters in general, so my graphic designer hat is always on and working in the back of my mind. As a result, concepts began to emerge….

Below are the two posters (digital versions) that I created from this afternoon of shooting. In real life, they are 24in T x 36in W and 36in W x 53in T – to be printed on a Canon Pro 4000 11 color printer.

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To emphasize points that come up in most forums, – is it the gear, the craft, the idea or just dumb luck? While it is sometimes all of the above, it is first and foremost about the idea and how well it is staged and executed (and craft and gear help facilitate the staging/execution). But there is another important component that generally is completely overlooked and one that I often struggle with myself – ingenuity and imagination. Training your eye to truly help translate your imagination (using your craft skills) into an effective finished photograph is not a trick, but rather is built on experience and experimentation. The ingenuity part is how quickly you can visually problem solve when an obstacle arises to challenge (and possibly negate) your vision. Imagination is not easily acquired (it seems innate to me) but ingenuity can be improved and even learned (in my opinion).

Thanks for taking the time to look. Please don’t hesitate to leave a message. If you have questions, I will try to answer them. All images and content ©2019 by Bill Deuster. All rights reserved. (Note: the posters are not for sale, but rather created to demonstrate style and capability and for my own personal use inside my studio.)

Why is M43 “Ready to Rumble”?

As a professional image-maker, I want to say that my objective is to deliver images to my clients that satisfy their needs and help to communicate the message that they want delivered. It may not be common knowledge, but client-guided, copy/headline writers more often than not drive what visuals will be created. Based on this, a lot of pre-planning (creative, stylistic and production) is done to capture the image(s) as quickly and competently as possible. While changes can and do occur on set, the objective is to deliver an image(s) that matches or exceeds a client’s imagination and expectation.

I also want to convey that I am not a gearhead, but a guy who uses gear professionally to create visual images. I have been a commercial shooter for over 44 years and shoot in manual focus more than 70% of the time. I want my gear to get out of my way so I can concentrate on the job at hand. If I am interrupted by my gear, I am distracted from the final image. I like seamless operation and stuff that just works. And though I like improvements in image quality as much as the next guy or gal, the quality of the pixels has been so good for so long, that discussions about “A” being better than “B” is time better spent improving creativity, craft and/or technique (all three, perhaps?).

With the above sentiments in mind, why is M43 “Ready to Rumble”? Simply stated, because it helps to facilitate (in a highly compact and light-weight form) image creation that satisfies the most demanding profession requirements….

Now to address the images I posted last week –

It might seem counter-intuitive, but the in studio set up was shot in high resolution capture on the Lumix G9 (using the Olympus 17mm f1.2 @5.6-7.1) and the outdoor shots were shot using the comparatively heavy Canon 5Ds and the Canon L135 f2 (@4.5-5.6). I have found over the last 10 months or so that the Lumix high resolution capture is equal to or higher quality than the Canon 5Ds in many situations. I think this is influenced by the fact that M43 auto focus lenses are corrected optically so there is no manual “clean up” on RAW import – also, the native lenses are very good, especially the Olympus Pro primes. As the 5Ds is what one might call a bit “grainy” because of the ultra small photo-sites – the G9 high res capture tends to deliver slightly less noise and equal to or better color than the 5Ds when compared at the same settings. Note, as well, that the Lumix file is 80MB and the Canon one is 50MB.

This first BTS photo is just for setting the scene, so to speak – shot on the G9 at 1/30 sec, f2.8 and ISO1250. (At this point in time, the stills in the studio are done and we are ready to record some video of the Polaris RZR UTV.)RZT_BTS_1045023Below is another image (a final client select) that I will use to examine the final results. It was shot on the Lumix G9 using an Olympus 17mm f1.2 Pro lens at f6.3 (1/6 sec; ISO400).POLARIS_RZR1000_Portrait_FL_1034967_WEBWhat follows are several 100% crops from the 80MB file (10368px w x 7072px h) using a 1000px w x 800px selection parameter to isolate the images displayed.Crop_ONECrop_THREECrop_TWOCrop_FOURYou may notice in a couple of the images that there appears to be some smudging of detail and some noise based banding, quite possibly a result of noise reduction or some other digital artifacting that occurred on capture or import. Based on over 20 years of experience, none of this will show up in any form of actual reproduction – especially since most of the images will be down-sampled by as much as 3 times (though final large format prints in the 5 foot range and up might require a bit of touch up to mask the problems. I know things like this cause much consternation online – discussions I generally don’t understand because it can and sometimes (often) does occur with every digital camera made.

 
Next is the Canon image from outdoors (50MB) and its 100% crop. Note that the ISO is 400, but the shutter speed is 1/500 at f4. Yes the noise is slightly less than the G9 in studio (where the lighting conditions are far more challenging), but the file is also substantially smaller.POLARIS_OUTSIDE_DRIVER_3-4_SIDE_VIEW__J7A0374_FPOOutdoors_100p_CropNow, please understand that I could have shot the studio shots on the Canon, but after testing, it did not perform as well as the Lumix G9 in those lighting conditions. I went with the tool I determined to be the best for the job. And outdoors (single capture) the Canon filled that requirement (remember, the G9 is only 20MB in single capture mode).

 

In conclusion – “Is M43 ready to rumble?” The answer is yes. While the format may have been started to attract consumers, it matured to a level where challenging professional work can be handled with seamless ease. Is M43 the perfect tool? No, but it is sometimes.

As there are no perfect tools, in general, but rather a range of tools available that can satisfy a wide range of shooting applications performed by an even more diverse group of individuals who think and see differently, M43 has capabilities not duplicated in other equipment offerings. Pick the tool that is right for you and don’t let internet chatter send you down the endless path of technical one-upmanship and false-equivalency.

 

Observations, questions and comments are most welcome!

All images ©2019 by Bill Deuster. All rights reserved.