Podcast Interview with FujiLove

From time to time I have the opportunity to chat with people from various parts of the world about my photography, and every once in a while that conversation gets recorded in the form of a podcast and broadcast to the internets.

My conversation with Tomash from FujiLove.com happens to be one of those recorded conversations.

If you have 30 minutes and want to listen in on what I have to say about my approach to my work, what it takes to do this for a living, and what kind of gear makes sense to me, then listen below:

As a side note, FujiLove listeners were offered a 20% off discount code for my Custom Lr Preset Pack.

The discount code is FUJILOVE20%OFF and can be used at the time of purchase.

To check out the Lightroom Preset Pack CLICK HERE.

Cheers
-Nate

Shooting DH3 Clothing for Mark's Canada

This is a story of how I landed a big client that I've been waiting a long time to shoot for, and how almost everything that could go wrong at the beginning of the shoot did, but we still made it happen... Let us begin.

A few weeks before the shoot, the ad agency for this job reached out to see if I was interested in shooting the upcoming DH3 campaign (DH3 is a Mark's clothing brand). Saying yes was a no-brainer, so we arranged some time for me to sit down with the Art Director & Producer for the shoot to go over the specifics. The 'specifics' generally means "we've never met before, so let's have some face-to-face time to see how our personalities mix and make sure we would like working with each other". Fortunately, you have to be a pretty big asshole for me not to get along with you, and they were far from it, so all was good. Hurdle one passed.

From there we moved into the bidding process, which usually requires some back and forth, especially when working with a new client who has specific needs and is used to handing them a certain way, but we managed to land in a place that worked for both of us. Hurdle two passed.

This is where things get a little rocky. The shoot was to take place in a rather cool, but also rather small brick loft. Knowing that the light would be travelling rather quickly across the sky (the shoot happened mid-December, so the days here are short that time of year) and that we wanted to use some of the natural light coming through the windows, we made plans to scout the location the day before the shoot to see where the sun would be at certain times of the day. I showed up at the location to scout it, but the people who we were renting the loft from never showed up to let me in... I guess we're winging it!

That night I slept like shit, waking up roughly every hour to make sure I didn't miss my 5:30am alarm. Early call times can be less than awesome, especially when you are all jacked up about a shoot. Sleep deprived I got up the next morning and headed to the location.

The crew arrived (we had talent and hair/makeup flying in from LA, Vancouver, and Toronto) and we all made our introductions. Everything is going a-ok. We set up for the first shot, and about 4 frames in the tether to my laptop loses connection. 
....
Unplug camera - reset laptop - everything seems to be working...
....
Couple of frames later the camera loses connection again.
....
Try a different tether cord - reset laptop - looks like were working...
....
A couple of frames in we lose connection again.
....
Grab a different camera body - reset everything - hoping it works...
....
A few frames in and it loses connection again.
....
At this point it's been about 20 minutes of screwing around and we haven't shot a single outfit. Inside my brain I am freaking out, and on the outside I'm doing everything I can to remain calm but I am pretty sure I am noticeably sweating. We have about 20 people on set, including the client, all watching me, and nothing is working.

So, at this point I give up on the tethering and just start shooting to card. It's a pain in the ass because the Art Director now has to try and see the LCD screen on the back of my camera while were shooting to make sure we are getting what we need, but he's awesome about it and we make it work. 

We also have to rename the files on the fly (as an example: 5CPBDHSP7-C2402_DH_SIGNAGE) so that they can be easily cataloged, which is another reason I was shooting tethered. I sent one of my assistants out to the nearest camera store to buy a card reader, and my digital tech dumped cards after each outfit and renamed the files as we moved on to the next shot. Fortunately I had about 12 memory cards with me (because you never know when you'll need them) so the process worked seamlessly.

From that point on, everything went smoothly. We spent the day chasing the light around the loft, which kept us guessing and would last for anywhere between 5 minutes to 15 minutes before changing again, and had a blast creating work that the client was super pumped with. I'll take that as a win any day.

Here are a few Behind the Scenes photos from the day. I feel like the wide angle makes the space feel larger than it was, but you get the idea:

And here are a few of the images we created:


GEAR LIST:

  • Nikon D800
  • Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART
  • Sigma 85mm f/1.4 ART
  • Paul C. Buff Einstein heads
  • 10 & 20 degree grids for mimicing sun beams
  • Profoto large deep umbrella
  • Profoto medium deep umbrella

All images edited using my CUSTOM LIGHTROOM PRESETS which can be seen by CLICKING HERE.


And there you have it, so next time you're on set and everything seems to be going south, just remember it happens to all of us. Take a breath, think it out, and make it happen. Thanks for reading.

Cheers
-Nate

3 Lighting Setups in 3 Minutes

Back at it again, this time with 3 simple lighting setups in 3 minutes. Check out the video below to watch how the images were created:

And here are a few of the images we created that day:

All of the images were shot using the Fuji X-Pro2 + XF 56mm f/1.2 and edited using my CUSTOM LIGHTROOM PRESETS which you can check out by CLICKING HERE.

As always, if you have any thoughts / questions, use the comments box below.

Cheers
-Nate

The Fuji GFX 50s

The Fuji GFX has been one of the most talked about cameras over the past year. From the rumors of it's production, to the announcement in September at Photokina, to the pre-production models that are now making their rounds to certain photographers (myself included), it's been an exciting time for fans of Fuji.

After having the chance to use the camera for a few days, I put together a short YouTube video giving my general thoughts on the camera which can be viewed below: 

And of course here are a few images:

And a couple of quick BTS images for fun:

All of the images were edited using my CUSTOM LIGHTROOM PRESETS which you can check out by CLICKING HERE.

Cheers
-Nate

BLK LBL VLOG 006 - PHOTOS & BTS

Alberta is home to some of the most amazing natural landscapes, and Pincher Creek County is no exception. 

A 5:30am call time, amazing weather (although crazy chilly), untouched landscape, and the kind of sunrise that dreams are made of, all made for the perfect recipe to pull off this shoot exactly as we had imagined it. We had 2 hours from the time the sun peaked over the hill tops to get all of the looks we needed before the light turned to shit. We made it just under the wire.

BLK LBL is the client we were shooting for, and what they've done is created a new style of bi-pod for the AR-15. The purpose of the shoot was to show how efficient and discreet the bi-pod is when attached to the gun, and the photography will be used for future ads and marketing materials. 

The entire shoot was done with the Fuji X-Pro2, which performs crazy well in these lighting conditions, using mostly the XF 16mm f/1.4 and a little of the XF 35mm f/2, 

Here are a few of the images from the shoot, larger versions available in my portfolio:

And of course, a full BTS video from the shoot:

 

If you have any questions, sound off in the comments below.

Thanks for following along.

Cheers
-Nate

Profoto Deep Umbrellas - My Thoughts

*Disclamer: I am in no way a product reviewer, and this post will have nothing in terms of graphs or technical comparisons, but quite a few people have been asking me what I think of these modifiers since I started using them, so I thought I would share my experience thus far.

Just over a month ago I was looking to replace a few of my sacred octaboxes as they have been put through the ringer over the last 5+ years, and the bent poles / ripped fabric were starting to look a little ghetto. 

I've always been a big fan of the circular modifiers. From the catch lights to the way the light travels across the faces of my subjects, circular has always been my preference. Octaboxes became my weapon of choice, as umbrellas were typically to shallow to have the control I wanted to create the dramatic style of portraits that I am known for.

Enter the Profoto Deep Umbrella. 

I picked up one Profoto Deep White L (51") w/ optional diffusion panel which essentially just turns it into a circular softbox (like an octa), as well as two Profoto Deep White M (41") w/ the diffusion panels. My reason for going with the white vs the silver is that I will often use these umbrellas without the diffusion panel when I want the shadows to be a little harder, but silver tends to be too hard for my taste.

A few samples of what the Profoto Deep L without the diffusion panel looks like:

And then a few using the Profoto Deep White L mixed with constant light + shutter drag to create some motion in the image:


What I like:

  • They are deep, and deep means beautiful light and contrast, which I am obviously a huge fan of.
  • The ease of setup, which means that my assistants, whether brand new to the game or experienced, will all know how to open an umbrella. The bent poles / ripped fabric on my octaboxes that I mentioned earlier were typically the result of new assistants not knowing how to setup or take down modifiers properly. This also makes setup and take down take far less time.
  • Way more portable than any other modifiers I own. They fit into slim bags, and all 3 slide into the lid compartment on my ThinkTank Production Manager 40 studio case. No more stacking of modifiers on carts to move from location to location.
  • Build quality is awesome. Every photographer that I've shown them to instantly says they feel solid. It's Profoto, so I guess it should be expected.

What could be better:

  • I wish the pole could be split via a threaded section, so that when I move the light deep into the umbrella to focus the light more, the pole wasn't sticking out like a spear waiting to take out someone's eye.
  • I'd say cost but you get what you pay for, and yes $350 cdn for an umbrella seems a little pricey, but for a modifier that is as versatile as these are, and will last for as long as I expect them to, they are priced fairly. 

With that, here are a few more portraits, using the Profoto Deep White L w/ diffusion panel, and a Profoto Deep White M for fill. Behind the scenes image for these images at the top of the post.

So to wrap up, if you've been looking at these modifiers as an option for your kit, I wouldn't hesitate to tell you to pull the trigger.

Questions? Use the comments below.

I also post a lot of behind the scenes images and videos to my IG account, so if you don't follow me already, be sure to check out some content on there: www.instagram.com/nathanelson

Cheers
-Nate