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Studio Tour // When Should You Look At Getting A Studio?

When is the right time to add a studio space to your business?

That’s a question that I get a lot from photographers, so I decided to create a video that tackles that question as well as give a tour of the studio space I work out of here in Calgary, AB.

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

Shooting Fashion with the Fuji X-Pro2

This blog post going live means the Fuji X-Pro2 has been announced, and if you're here reading this, that likely means you're looking for a little real world info on it. I've had a pre-production version of this camera since the beginning of November so I've had a little time to play with it, but rather than do some huge write up about it I took some time to create a behind the scenes video / small wrap up about the camera which you can view below:


And here are a few of the images from that shoot:

Model: Jeremias

Hair / Makeup: Karen Malcolm

Styling: Lauren Larsen

Assistant: Alyssa Howland

Being that I am not a camera reviewer (all I really care about is if the camera does what I need and if the images look good) I joined up with Chris and Jordan from TCSTV who know a whole lot more about the specs of this camera than I ever will, so that might possibly answer some more of your 'techy' questions.

 

Some point form notes:

  • It feels pretty much exactly like the X-Pro1.
  • The larger file size is great.
  • I haven't had any way to access the RAW files yet as the only software Fuji could give me wasn't written in English, so I don't know how much DR there is in comparison to the older sensors.
  • This camera is basically the X-Pro1 on steroids.

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the videos / images.

Cheers
-Nate

Riaz Mamdani | CEO of Strategic Group

It's no secret that I'm always looking to take business portraits to the next level, so when I'm hired to take a portrait of someone like Riaz Mamdani, who has a boat load of style and owns a bunch of downtown Calgary Real Estate, you better believe I'm putting him on a rooftop of one of his buildings. We shot these portraits in the middle of October, taking advantage of what's been a really warm winter this year, just as the sun was starting to drop down and reflect off the buildings around us.

Riaz-Sun.jpg
Strategic-Group-032.jpg

To see larger versions of these portraits, simply hover your mouse over and CLICK HERE.

Graham Construction

Sometime in the beginning of August my wife and I were driving and we passed by a Graham Construction sign, at which time I told her that I needed to figure out a way to add them to my client list. Having grown up around Estevan, SK, which is always undergoing some form of construction, I've grown up seeing Graham Construction signs all over the place my entire life.  Coincidentally, two weeks later I got a phone call from an agency in Calgary that was working with Graham and wanted me to bid a multi-day job shooting a bunch of portrait work for the company. Boom. Graham was very specific about wanting to use their actual employees for the portraits to best represent who they are as a company, so we spent a couple of days shooting at the head office in Calgary as well as at one of their construction sites downtown.

Here are a few of the portraits we created during that time:

Graham-001Graham-002Graham-003Graham-004Graham-005Graham-006Graham-007

 

And some behind the scenes, because well... who doesn't love behind the scenes.

CM4_6284CM4_6296 In all the years I've worked with Karen, this is the first time I've ever sat in her chair, and it was glorious. CM4_6326Graham-BTS-001Graham-BTS-002Graham-BTS-003Graham-BTS-004Graham-BTS-005CM4_6399Graham-BTS-006 Graham-BTS-007Graham-BTS-008