How’d You Get That Shot with Michel Leroy

 A Spotlight Series About The Technique Of Photographic Imagery by Photographers For Photography!

 


NAME:

Michel Leroy
Michel LinkedIn
Tweet Michel
Facebook Michel

WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALTY:
Portraits and large group ensembles

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS:
I got started in photography for my high school newspaper and yearbook.  Then I got into the business of photography in college working for the Dayton Daily News.  Finally, I got into a career in photography after I arrived in New York assisting Gregory Heisler and a select group of very talented commercial photographers.

FAVORITE TOOLS FOR YOUR TRADE:
Leatherman Skeletool (My absolute go to device)
Princeton Tec headlamp (Next to a Sharpie it’s the single most used item I own)
Bosch laser measure (My favorite gadget)

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE “ON THE GO” CAMERA TO SHOOT WITH AND WHY:
Canon G10 – because it’s always in my bag.  The best camera is the one you have with you at all times.

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE PHOTOGRAPHIC REVALATION GOING ON OUT THERE WHERE EVERYONE HAS A CAMERA?
There is a huge difference between everybody having a camera (iPhone) and being a professional photographer.  The idea of crowd sourcing good photography is a zero-sum gain, editing through all the not-so-great images is endless.  If you have hundreds of thousands of people with cameras there are going to be some good shots created for sure; it’s just statistics.

However, if a client wants a great image for their campaign what they really want is a guarantee that a fantastic image will be created on schedule and on budget.  Clients expect a return on their investment.  Only a professional photographer has the experience, skill and talent to “create” those kinds of images.  A professional also has a personal style and brings their own visual instincts to a project adding extra value to the final result that is greater than the some of its parts.

WHAT EXPECTATIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHY INDUSTRY AS WE APPROACH 2013:
I see a distinct return to the principal concept of photography; content.  The market has really shifted toward images that are creative and successful regardless of how they were created.

In the recent past a big part of professional photography was the closely guarded secret of craft.  The exact type of film, camera and f-Stop actually mattered if you wanted repeatable results.  Then everybody, myself included, went crazy over sub-menus, megapixels and RAW processors – for what?

Very few changes in the past one hundred and fifty years of the photographic process compare with the current technology revolution. The rate of change in our field has accelerated beyond anything previously experienced and remains on a fixed trajectory.  However, for the first time in years I see photographers comfortable enough with the tools of the digital age to create great images, regardless of how.  The legacy of photography is not tools but images.

I’m really excited about the future of our field in the near and long term.  Photographers are creating incredible images with point-n-shoots and $45,000 digital backs with equivalent emotional impact.  The photography industry has leveled the playing field in such a way that every photographer has the tools to express their own style – limited only by personal creativity.  With so much of the craft of photography supplanted by technology the moment has arrived for content to reign above all else.  Content is the future of photography.

TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THE IMAGE YOU ARE CHOSING:

The creative team at Body and Pole reached out to me to photograph the rapidly growing roster of instructors for their 2012/2013 season.  The co-founders, Lian and Kyra, wanted an image that highlighted the incredible physical prowess of the instructors while remaining approachable.  They are top performers in the field and yet remain dedicated to a welcoming and nurturing atmosphere.  The large group image would find it’s way into print, marketing and web placements but also stand as a keystone 4×6 foot fine art gallery print mounted in the lounge of their new 5000 sq. ft. midtown mega studio.

After preproduction meetings with the creative team we created a mood board that ranged from highly staged sets to subtle arrangements with beautiful, directional studio lighting.  For most groups, props help the talent relax and become part of their environment.  However, in this case the strength of character and physical presence of the instructors is so dominant that we shifted from props to personality.  Each of the instructors looks like a statue – it was like doing a shoot in the Roman sculpture hall at the Met.

This section is where you take over. Format is free here for you to describe your image. Some ideas you can mention are:

Over my years in New York I have had the great fortune to work on some enormous productions involving tens or even hundreds of people for a single shot.  It’s intimidating the first few times and then the numbers become transparent and the project is all that matters; three or thirty it’s all the same.  The client expects the best – the stakes are high either way.

This is a good time to mention that this was shot in-camera, not a composite.  What fun would it be to shoot 17 people separately and composite them into a background?  Coordinating a group this size is no small task but the rewards far outpace the challenges.  Dancers thrive on the pressure of performing and feed off the energy that builds as the group takes the stage.  Directing a large group means there are interweaving moments when everything connects and those precious seconds are when the magic happens.

There is a wonderful quote by Yousuf Karsh that best describes this singular moment: The revelation, if it comes at all, will come in a small fraction of a second with an unconscious gesture, a gleam of the eye, a brief lifting of the mask that all humans wear to conceal their innermost selves from the world.

The technical aspects of creating a group shot of this scale are the kind of problems that I relish.  When you understand the principals of studio lighting you can scale them to fit any group. However, when you are scaling the light to cover a 30’ stage with flawless, even lighting from left to the right your lights needs to be very large and very powerful.  For this I rely on a really talented and trusted lighting director who I have collaborated with for years to make sure that the crew has enough lights, grip and power to make it work.

For this shot I scouted the Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo a week in advance for a better idea of what we were getting into. The setup took a full 6 hours while the shoot itself was over in just thirty minutes.  We were wrapped and out the door before we hit O/T at 8 hours.

FREE SHOUT OUT:
The success of this group shot is the cumulative effort of everybody involved.  Special thanks to all the stylists and makeup artists who worked tirelessly to highlight the very best of the entire Body & Pole team.

Body & Pole Dance Studio – Client
Michel Leroy – Photographer
Lian Tal – Art Director
Kyra Johannesen – Choreographer
Kyle McBeth – Photo Shoot Producer
Jonathan Orenstein – Lighting Director
Brian Bloom – First Assistant
Keziban Berry – Second Assistant
Linn Edwards of Feather Creative – Retouching

(L-R): Tiffany, Rica, Marlo, Issac, Kelly, Kat, Kyra, Steven, Michelle, Tracee, Meritza, Brooklyn, Roland, Olga, Rebecca, Lian and Lauren.

 

To check out ALL of Michel’s work 
please go to his website! If you are
a professional photographer or know
of one that should be in this series
please email us today at: hello@iheartmrktg.com 

How’d You Get That Shot with Cristopher Lapp

A Spotlight Series About The Technique Of Photographic Imagery by Photographers For Photography!

 

NAME:
Cristopher Lapp
Cris LinkedIn
Tweet Cris
Facebook Cris
Pin with Cris

WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALTY:
Celebrity and Fashion

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS:
My dad had a Konica 35MM that I used to take pictures of the neighborhood kids. At 7 years old, I didn’t know I needed film!

FAVORITE TOOLS FOR YOUR TRADE:
Actually, it’s my camera’s strap. Having an extra cardholder on the strap let’s me work all day without slowing down.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE “ON THE GO” CAMERA TO SHOOT WITH AND WHY:
I use my iPhone’s camera a lot. It is always with me, and oh yah, it’s a phone too!

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE PHOTOGRAPHIC REVALATION GOING ON OUT THERE WHERE EVERYONE HAS A CAMERA?
What an amazing time in photography! What was once an art form seems to becoming a commodity, and where we end up is anyone’s guess. However, I do feel it is essential to know your value and charge for it! Remember, the next time some asks for a ‘freebie’ or a silly price, what’s the first thing they will grab when the house burns down, the pictures! 

WHAT EXPECTATIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHY INDUSTRY AS WE APPROACH IN 2013:
My hope is that the buyers will continue to understand that this is a business and an industry. As photographers, it is our job to constantly educate them on the cost of services and overall quality of image making.

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR CLIENTS THAT GET TO BENEFIT FROM YOUR CREATIVE EXPERTISE AND PASSION:
A smart photographer never talks about his or her client list. However, it is safe to say the higher you reach, the better the clients will be.

TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THE IMAGE YOU ARE CHOOSING:
I like these desert images since they show a ton of moving parts in front of and behind the camera. They were for an Italian department store and use a variety of designers and models all in motion. It was shot using natural lighting and on location. Tents, trucks, RVs, generators and gallons of sunscreen were involved. 20 people needed to be feed and hydrated for 20+ hours. Bathrooms and changing rooms were also brought in … no easy task. Not to mention the full-time job of keeping the dust off of everything, including my computer and card readers.

FREE SHOUT OUT:

 

 

To check out ALL of Cris’s work 
please go to his website! If you are
a professional photographer or know
of one that should be in this series
please email us today at: hello@iheartmrktg.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

image (c) Alex Geana

How’d You Get That Shot with Alex Geana

A Spotlight Series About The Technique Of Photographic Imagery by Photographers For Photography! 


NAME:
Alex Geana
Website
Tweet Alex
Facebook Alex
Link to Alex 

WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALTY:
I work in fashion and still life, with a focus on fine art conceptual pieces and commercial work.  I know – vague.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS:
I’ve always loved it. When I was in high school I had a really amazing photography teacher named Mr. George Talley. This was before all electives were cut. He showed me how to develop film and work in the dark room – an experience that forever changed me. It wasn’t until I got published by Gawker and started attending fashion shows that I really looked at photography as a career. I had access to an industry I loved and the moments to make good pictures were plentiful.

FAVORITE TOOLS FOR YOUR TRADE:
I use a 5D Mark II and have a Leica D‑LUX 5 for my blog. I work with a variety of lights, from Impact to ProFoto, I’ve even worked with Alien Bees. Each shoot is different. I’ve really wanted to work with Broncolor but I’ve never had a chance to.  Recently I’ve become obsessed with Hahnemuhle Baryta for my fine art show.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE “ON THE GO” CAMERA TO SHOOT WITH AND WHY:
I try to always keep my Leica D‑LUX 5 with me. I really want an M9, but that’s really just a dream till I book more commercial work. The small camera takes really honest photos. When you have a DSLR with you, the camera takes over the moment, people try to pose, we’re in an age of over-styled street fashion and everyone’s watching out for cameras, they’re either drawn to them or afraid of them. I really like having a small “walking about” camera. But readers on blogs are really judgmental and they need a good photo. If you can’t make a good photo for your blog, they turn away quickly.

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE PHOTOGRAPHIC REVALATION GOING ON OUT THERE WHERE EVERYONE HAS A CAMERA?
It makes educating the client harder. I’ve had clients tell me they can’t afford to work with me because they spent 4k on a camera and don’t know how to use it. They wonder why they can’t get the same pictures I do with the camera we both have. It breaks my heart, because for half that cost, we’d have enough cash to make some good photography.

Photography has really moved away from the camera, it’s just a tool we all have. It’s become more like sculpture. Michael Weschler (@MichaelWeschler ) a photographer friend of mine likens being a photographer to being a director. We produce photography. We make the picture happen. That’s what people don’t really get about photography. We need to make the photo. Then you also have to know how to record the image you’re making. It’s a holistic 360-degree process, which people don’t get. You don’t just show up, point and shoot.  Then fix everything in Photoshop. Photoshop can’t create a pixel. You need the right exposure to capture an image that Photoshop can improve on.

We can’t stop clients from thinking it’s the camera, but it would be nice if they spent more on photographers they liked, instead of gear they can’t use. It would help everyone and make better content.
Clients, especially new clients don’t understand how much time and planning photography involves. I also think this is effecting the top of the market, because art buyers seem very weary to try anyone new, unless they have proven themselves a countless number of times.

WHAT EXPECTATIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHY INDUSTRY AS WE APPROACH IN 2013:
Have no clue. Probably the same as 2012, I don’t see technology effecting us greatly. I think their needs to be changes. Lots of changes and I see no organization. Which is frustrating. Lot’s of young photographers are depressing their own industry because they’re jumping at every “Work for Hire” contract sent their way and lowering their rate to next to nothing. It would be great to educate and figure out a way to communicate to all the “cool kids” who don’t really understand the business of photography. I was one of them. Now I really understand how to estimate and say no and build value for my work. So much of art has to do with making your own market. I don’t know if my long road will pay off. I’m hoping it does. When an emerging photographer gives in to a “Work for Hire” contract everyone suffers.

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR CLIENTS THAT GET TO BENEFIT FROM YOUR CREATIVE EXPERTISE AND PASSION:
My work is in two museums. The Museum at FIT and Leslie Lohman, I had a chance to work with Icon Fitness and Elisabeth Hasselbeck (she’s really sweet, smart and nice in person). Daphne Guinness is my hands down favorite subject and model, she was a joy to work with and I’m very excited to have been included in her Yale University book. I’ve worked with a variety of fashion designers and look forward to growing in that realm. I’m never satisfied with my work and always want to get better.  I also love getting published on La Daily Musto – Michael is a lot of fun to hang out with, I love going out with him and taking pictures of club kids. Daily Intel hired me because they saw my work on his blog.

TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THE IMAGE YOU ARE CHOOSING:
I started applying my knowledge of fashion photography to food; I really loved the concept of manipulating and styling. So I just started making work and wanted to experiment with process and light. Finally it came together as a show, I’m trying to place it now and starting to build relationships with galleries that have a base.

I don’t know if it’s a unique technique per say, I think it’s obvious that it’s on a light table. It’s two lights above, two below. What does make it unique is my obsession with styling and creating the work. It took me two hours to find the perfect lettuce, take it home, and style it just right. Add water droplets in all the right places and redo it a few times. Eighty frames were shot. I finally chose one and spent two hours retouching and refining the printing process. All told each photo in the series took an average of eight to twelve hours to make.

Photography simply takes time, we become more efficient with it, but good pictures take time and patience and there’s nothing we can do about it. Everyone wants everything to happen quickly because of the just in time Internet culture. But to get something truly extraordinary – it’s simply, time, patience and planning and there’s simply no short cut.

FREE SHOUT OUT:
Check out my blog Making a Picture and check out my Online Portfolio.

 

To check out ALL of Alex’s work 
please go to his website! If you are
a professional photographer or know
of one that should be in this series
please email us today at: hello@iheartmrktg.com