Turn Your Ideas into Pixels

How many creative shoot ideas are floating around in your head? How much stock revenue are your ideas producing? How can you turn your ideas into pixels? Simple! Write them down. Make a storyboard. Your ideas are the door to your success and writing them down on paper is the key that opens that door. Set goals on when and how to achieve them. Every shoot we do, and I am going to repeat this, every shoot we do is written and sketched on a storyboard first, organized down to the location, props, models, camera angle, lighting etc. Once you start this process you will not only benefit by being organized and more productive, but will find that once you start putting your ideas on paper your creative ideas will flow freely.


Messy Closet – Production

I have an idea – a messy “Closet” to represent disorganization, confusion, disarray, mess & disorder! Ha! – Now what to do, let’s see… I have a closet, I’ll use that. Mmmm, that carpet will never work, I’ll go to the big box hardware store & get some easy to install flooring I can remove later.  Now props, mmmm, I know the thrift store has lots of cheap items & a great selection of clothes, hats, old radio, old shoes, tennis racquet & the first Monday of each month is 50% off, I’ll do that instead of pulling my wife’s clothes from her closet, trust me, bad idea… Now how about a model, I need someone thin, young & can understand the concept of what I want, hey, how about that art student, she needs some extra cash & will have a understanding of what I’m trying to do. Cool.

OK – you get the idea, use what you have & adapt to it. Find cheap props from yard sales & thrift stores. Lighting, I choose tungsten for this shot, I can control tungsten much better than flash or strobes. Talent, I find students for some of my concepts, they can always use the extra money. Camera, use what you have, I shoot Canon 5D for some shots & my Hasselblad H4 for others. Total time for this shoot was about 10 hours with getting props, flooring retouching & metadata plus cleanup, the shooting was about an hour.

Fashion – Production

VIDEO > Click Here >Fashion Production

What does it takes to produce a fashion shoot. This was a medium size project involving about 17 people including producers, stylists, 3 assistants, 4 cameras & bunches of lights, strobe & continuous lighting. We found a terriffic location with plenty of natural lighting as well as lots of open space complete with kitchen & large cyc wall, Ambient Studios in Atlanta . Eighty thousand dollars for props & wardrobe were also used. We flew the talent in from Italy, California & Idaho. All images & video were shot with the Canon 5D MKll – enjoy!

Tokyo, Japan – Shooting On Location

On Location – Tokyo

Video > Click Here > Tokyo, Japan Photoshoot – iStockalypse

I was recently invited to shoot with istockphoto in Tokyo, Japan for 12 days – shooting everything from kids playing in the park to board room meetings, what a fantastic trip!  A trip like this takes lots of planning, planning & then more planning. What to bring, should I shoot with my Hasselblad or Canon? Lights? Props? Talents? Locations?

Fortunately for me istockphoto had producers to take care of the models, lights & locations, all I had to do was come up with creative ideas. When planning a trip like this is just like any other shoot, but this time I can’t make mistakes. I’m 6,852 miles from Atlanta where my studio is so I need to plan carefully, my ideas, props to bring, props to get there etc… I brought as many props as I could carry with the extra luggage, a hammock for a family in the park setting, a birdhouse partally put together complete with an pre-sharpen carpenters pencil, good used hammer, a few nails & even some sawdust to sprinkle around, along with some other props.

Shooting with istockphoto on location was a great experience. Meeting lots of other istockphoto photographers as well as istockphoto creatives & staff was a tremendous value as well as making new friends that will last a lifetime. While shooting I would come up with ideas & then make request to production, hey, I need a birthday cake with eight candles, an orange bicycle, then a green water can for a garden shot… all delivered within 30 mins! Getting great photos takes lots of work, planning & support, it’s all a team!

The language was a bit of a problem, we did have language interpreters on hand but sometimes they would be busy helping other people. If I had to do it over again I would make small cards the models could read when I showed them, cards like:  ”go back & please do it again”, “smile”, “Look to the left”, “Look to the right”, “Get closer please”, etc…

Also after 12 days of shooting there are gig’s of  images. I had three backups before 10pm each night. There is a copy on my MacBook, the other two on 500 gigs lacie rugged hard drives. Also… just in case, call me paranoia, but one of the backups I stuck in the fedex box to be delivered to my studio later that week in case there was a loss luggage disaster or accident.