Shooting with Chester Paul Roberts

I had an opportunity to shoot Chester Paul Roberts collection a few weeks back and the photos were released today!  Check out the shots below!

 

Photography : Brock Lawson

Designs : Chester Paul Roberts

Makeup: Sarah Stafford

Model: Elida Garza

Little Black Dress by Chester Paul Roberts

Back Detail of Chester Paul Roberts dress

Silver Dress by Chester Paul Roberts.  He also designed the mannequins getup with scrap material in the studio on the spot!

Closeup of the Silver Dress by Chester Paul Roberts. 

Houston Lighting Workshop - 2-22-14

I know this is a bit late to be posting this but.....

Want to learn how to take photos using emotional lighting? Join me this Saturday from 10-2pm for my lighting workshop.

We will cover how to create mood in fashion photography using simple 1 & 2 light setups. Plus, you will have the opportunity to work with two out of town agency models. 

$50 to reserve your spot. email me today to register. Today is the last day!

 

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

While I sit here in this coffee shop waiting for my partners to show up to discuss our new project (coming soon!  look for it!) I began thinking about the all mighty comfort zone.  We all have it and we all spend far too much of our lives in it.  I read an article recently written by my friend Solstice Retouching (click it, great read.) about staying motivated and inspired in this fast paced world of ours.  He talks about how sometimes hearing about our idols mistakes vs. their accomplishments is a better thing for us.  Everyone messes up from time to time.  The difference is, the greats keep on going, while everyone else shy's away and heads to the comfort zone.   The key part to being successful in your chosen field is by getting out of that comfort zone and doing something great.  Pushing away the fears, doubts, and insecurities and just going after those dreams.  Sure it is scary, no one wants to do it.  Why would you want to leave your comfy little spot where nothing goes wrong and you have nothing to worry about?

I have never been interested or shot Men's Underwear images.  The opportunity came up and I went for it.  I ended up with one of my favorite shots to date.

I have never been interested or shot Men's Underwear images.  The opportunity came up and I went for it.  I ended up with one of my favorite shots to date.

But I can tell you from my personal experiences, my greatest accomplishments all come from me breaking out of my mold and doing something risky.  Whether that be sending that email to the client you have always dreamt of having or trying some out of the box photography technique that isn't the flavor of the week.  I know, I know.  We have all heard it time and time again.  Don't be afraid to be told no.  Don't be afraid of failing.  It really is true.  There exists only two outcomes from these situations.  You succeed and create something wonderful or you learn an extremely valuable lesson from the situation.   Sure, one is better than the other.  But honestly, they are both positive outcomes.  So I urge you all to step right on out of that comfort zone and do something outlandish.  If you do, send it to me.  I would love to hear about your experiences.  Of course, you could take the other route...you know....sticking with what you know and continuing on the same path.  Fine by me,  I'll let you know how the ride to the top is! 

Haus am Moor by Bernardo Bader

Check out this incredibly minimal and natural house in Austria designed by Bernardo Bader.  Images from The Cool Hunter.

The house has an attached studio and is located in Krumbach in Lower Austria.  The entire house is built from local materials.  I love the unfinished exterior and the gorgeous , smooth, minimal interior.    The house was constructed from 60 trees retrieved from the owners own land.  Bricks were constructed from clay dug up near the construction area and air dried on site.  The bricks are used for the floor under the wood slats.  The entire house is kept warm by the centrally located wood burning oven.  Put this on the list of dream homes. 

 

Haus am Moor by Bernardo Bader
Haus am Moor by Bernardo Bader
Haus am Moor by Bernardo Bader
Haus am Moor by Bernardo Bader
Haus am Moor by Bernardo Bader
Haus am Moor by Bernardo Bader

Nicolas Jaar - Incredible Musical Artist

Wonderful interview of Nicolas Jaar on one of my favorite websites, The Avant/Garde Diaries.  And check out the cool short film they produced as well!  

How did you discover your sound?

Improvising has always been the most exciting way to get at something new and internal. Music allows you to be in a state of mind where you're just letting go. I think everyone is that way, even a soccer player, for instance. The best soccer player can be seen as a combination of pure passion and method. The passion part of it is letting go, even though you know all the rules. You're in the heat of the moment. The feeling of freedom that comes from letting go and allowing your mind and body to speak is very important for creating anything. I guess I'm obsessed with that freedom. The real beauty in music is finding something sacred deep inside, but I feel like the older I grow the more distractions there are.

Read the rest of the interview here... 

Bang by Ai Wei Wei

Seriously love me some Ai Wei Wei installations.  Here is a recent(ish) one titled "Bang".  886 3 legged stools suspended at the 2013 Venice Art Biennale.

The inspiration for this piece comes from the common practice of Chinese families to have one of these hand made wooden stools in their household.  Most families had at least one of these and they were passed down generation to generation.  But now, due to the influx in population and the huge economic boom in China, many families have swapped out for plastic and metal alternatives for style/convenience.  I like to think of this piece as an odd to times past.  Over here in the Western world we are not as aware of the changes taking place in China and just how quickly it is happening.  If you have some free time take a look at some websites and news reports dedicated to this topic.  It is pretty interesting, in my opinion. 

Bang by Ai Wei Wei
Bang by Ai Wei Wei

Buildasign.com Banner Review

Here we are again with another review/giveaway!    I wanted to give a quick review of this 3'x6' banner I received from Buildasign.com . They also happen to     This review will probably be pretty short because, well, it is a banner!   Check out the photo below to see what I am talking about, followed by a review, and an opportunity to win your own banner or a myriad of other items from Buildasign.com

Banner from Buildasign.com

First off, their website is great!  It was extremely easy to create and order my banner.   I had some slight hesitation going in, since I am not a graphic designer by any means, nor have I ever created a banner.   But it was really easy!  I created the graphics I needed in Photoshop and imported them into Buildasign.com's banner maker and went from there.  I also had a look at their sign maker and found it just as easy to navigate.

 

The shipping was incredibly fast. (Could have something to do with the close proximation to Houston.  They are in Austin.) and the packaging was adequate for the product.  I wasn't really sure how I felt about the whole thing until I unrolled it on my floor and it sank in.  This thing is awesome!  I never even knew I wanted one of these until I had it!  The material quality is great and I have a good feeling it will last a very long time.  The print itself was nice as well.  Both the blacks and whites were very true to what I sent them.  I was expecting the blacks to not be as rich as the design but they ended up looking very nice.   

 

So now lets talk about this giveaway!  Open only to North American residents.  I have partnered with Buildasign.com to give one lucky person their choice of:  

 

-An 8"x10" Canvas Photo Prints From Printcopia

-25 Bumper Magnets

-50 Bumper Stickers

- A 3' x 6' Vinyl Banners

- 2 Single-Sided Plastic 18" x 24" Signs

- 250 Business Cards

 

All you have to do is fill out the entry form below.  The winner will be notified by email in the first week of August.   So sign up and good luck! 

Lähtö / Départ

Take a look at this incredible piece of theatre by WHS.  I wish this was coming to America so badly.  It looks awe inspiring and utterly amazing.  

Lahto / Depart by WHS

From their website:

There is a woman and a man, who have a complicated relationship. Confused, they stand on a stage, surrounded by clothes. Feelings and thoughts are expressed through the movement of their bodies – and the movement of the clothes, which have a life of their own.

Lähtö / Départ is the latest production of visual theatre & circus company WHS. Directed by magician and visual artist Kalle Nio, the performance brings to the stage a couple that has drifted apart from each other and is now floating in the middle of dreamlike imagery and illusions. Inspired by the work of 19th century magicians’ stage illusions, the performance creates a mysterious atmosphere where absurd humor and tragedy alternate. The piece will provide a unique theatre experience in which circus, magic, dance, clothing design and visual arts merge.

 

Working with Animals

My girlfriend has a big dog.  Not your run of the mill 120 pound German Shepard or something. No, I'm talking big,  Like, they don't get much bigger than this.  So I thought to myself, what would happen if I tried to use him in a photoshoot?  Well, first off, the results were fantastic in my opinion.  Corbin was an incredible model and also was able to bring along a personal wardrobe that many menswear stylists would be jealous of.  So today, I wanted to share with you some of the photos we created, as well as some helpful tips on working with animals in your own work.

Studio Pet Photography

Jackson is a Great Dane.  If he was an article of clothing, you would only find him in the Big and Tall store.  XXXXXL!  Coming in at around 170 pounds and standing almost as tall as my chest.  And the best part is, he is still a puppy!   In my opinion, a large animal works the best for photo shoots.  They are easier to fit into your compositions and your subject does not have to bend down or pose awkwardly to interact with the animal.  

Studio Fashion Photography

This is Corbin.  He is a male model currently residing in Los Angeles and focusing on his acting career.  He made a trip down here to Houston to visit family and we decided that a photo shoot was in order while he was here.  The great part about working with actors is they really understand direction well, and can emote exactly how you envision.   Fun fact: Corbin appears as an extra in the new Star Trek: Into Darkness movie!

Studio Fashion Photography

To prepare for the photo shoot, we worked with Jackson on his basic commands (sit, stay, etc.) and we just so happened to be going through a training course to work on his obedience.  So we picked up a few tips along the way from them.  I also suggest, if you are wanting to use your animal for any sort of Photography, get them used to the lights and various studio sights, sounds and smells before hand.  We had some issues with him responding to commands due to this.  But then again he is still a puppy and will only get more comfortable with time.  I also stopped at a local furniture store to pick up a chair to use for the shoot.  I had a specific shot list in mind before hand so I knew exactly what I was needing as far as a prop went. 

Studio Fashion Photography

Another big thing to keep in mind is patience.  I had Corbin get into a pose I was happy with, get the lighting where I wanted it, and then we brought in Jackson.  I asked Corbin to hold the pose and then basically shot away until Jackson was in a satisfactory pose as well.  This may take 2 shots or 20, it really depends on the attitude of the animal and how comfortable they are.   If you are finding that they are just not cooperating like you want, take a 15 minute break.  Animals get tired mentally quickly, so it is best to work in short bursts with breaks in between to allow them to rest.  The results will be much more to your liking.  We would shoot the animal shots and then let him rest while we shot the upper body photos and some solo full body shots and then would bring him in and try again.  We did this for each clothing change and it worked well for us.

So in conclusion I leave with you the following tips. 

 

1):  Work with the animal weeks before hand if possible to get them used to what you are hoping to accomplish with them.  If you are hiring animal talent from an agency this will probably not be an issue.  But if you are sourcing the animal from the public it helps to know how the animal behaves and reacts to various commands. 

 

2): Don't forget to tell the rest of the team and talent that you will be working with an animal.  You don't know who is allergic or uncomfortable about the idea and it is best to get it all straightened out beforehand. 

 

3): Patience is the key, for everyone on set.  You really have to work around the animals schedule and temperament and allow plenty of treat breaks. 

 

4): Allow the animal to wander around and check out the set and studio.  Get them comfortable with the lights and sounds of the studio.  Try to remove any unwanted distractions if possible.  Ask the rest of the team to be sitting still and stay relatively quiet while the animal is on set so they can focus their attention on the handler. 

 

5):  Have fun!  Working with an animal can be extremely rewarding and I think this may have been my favorite shoot to date for that very reason. 

Don't Overthink Your Lighting

I recently had the opportunity to work with the wonderful Fadairo from Wilhelmina Brown.  I went into the studio fashion shoot knowing the effect and feel I wanted to use but still wasn't quiet sure about the lighting.

Model Photography

I knew I wanted a dark and gloomy sort of feel to the whole thing.  It would compliment the mystery that the smoke effect created and would fit well with the wardrobe we planned on using.   

High Fashion Photography

As a photographer, I see a lot of photos every day.  Whether it is from the various friends and groups on Facebook or websites like 500px.  The one thing that I notice the most is the plague that is over lighting.  Every video tutorial and workshop you go to seems to be about lighting.  Well, it is an important part of photography, if not the most important.  But it gets overdone way too much for this very reason.  Always having lighting theory drilled into our heads puts us in this weird mode where we feel we have to use every single light at our disposal to create a photograph.  And it ends up killing the contrast and mood and making the image very flat.  

Best Fashion Photography

So as I started to set up my lighting, I spoke with Fadairo about what she was hoping to accomplish with these photographs and how she felt about mood and overall dark images.  Finding out that she was on board with the whole idea, I pulled out my trusty beauty dish and 1 light.   

Fashion Editorial Photography

Placing the single light on a stand behind and camera left of Fadairo, I was able to ensure that the lighting would be very subtle and provide just the right amount of light I was looking for while maintaining the drama and mystery in the photographs.  By placing the light behind my subject and feathered towards me, I was also able to control my lens flare creatively to enhance the shot further. 

Houston Fashion Photography

Houston Fashion Photography

So my recommendation next time you go into a shoot.  Put away the 6 lights and start with one.  Get it right and add another if you really need it, but don't be surprised if that single light will work just fine for you!   

 

I've been waiting to post this, due to publication.  But they are finally released! The images made it into Giuseppina Magazine Issue 14! 

Fashion Photography
Fashion Photography
Fashion Photography