The Beauty of the Gray backdrop

One of the most significant features of any studio is the ability to have control over the light. The other is the choice of background. Backgrounds vary in complexity and construction. Often the background consists of a simple sheet of paper or fabric backdrop. These come in a variety of colors and textures providing a wide range of choices for image creation. It is not always practical to have every type and color of backdrop on hand.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to having multiple colors of paper or fabric. Enter the gray backdrop.  Light takes on the color of any object it hits, this is referred to as producing a “color cast”.  Since white, gray and black objects don’t have a “color” as such they do not produce a color cast. Gray backdrops are particularly good at taking on the color of colored light that hits them.

The examples above are the result of colored light hitting a gray backdrop. The intensity of the light can be varied to get various color densities in the background. Colored gels are placed in front of the light source(s) to color the light. The variety of color combinations are limited only by one’s imagination.

Another option to achieve multiple backgrounds with a simple gray backdrop is to change it at the post-production stage.

The gray color lends itself to blending with colored images as it does not influence the actual color of the image or pattern being blended in, just the intensity of the pattern. The images above were photographed against a gray paper backdrop and the backgrounds added in later.

Using these techniques opens up a host of options for the look and style of the image one creates while having the convenience of needing just one backdrop. Please stop by www.pixyst.com to see more examples of my photography or contact me via photo@pixyst.com to find out a host of imaging solutions I can put at your service.

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Actor and Model Headshots

As an actor or a model, you trade in your visual appeal. Your headshot is not just for identification, it is your calling card and the best way to make a first impression. models_beautYour headshot is a way to convey your personality at a glance. Yes, people make snap judgments based on appearance and you want that to work out in your favor.  Even for experienced models, it helps to get effective direction from the photographer because you can’t see yourself while you’re posing 🙂

Very often in castings, the headshot photo will determine whether or not an actor/actress/model makes the first cut.

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For new talent, it is especially important for the photographer to be able to guide and direct the model. Part of growth as a model is being able to learn from photographers and to get to a point where they know their “angles”.  This makes it necessary for the photographer to actually have the knowledge to pass on. Otherwise, it is a case of the blind leading the blind. For more experienced models/actors, it is a lot easier but they still need some guidance, especially if the goal of the session is to achieve a particular look.

Other considerations are the photographer’s skill at lighting especially when in comes to being able to handle indoor and outdoor locations, to make use of natural and artificial lighting and to blend them when the occasion calls for it.

It is always advisable to take a good look at the photographer’s portfolio to get an understanding of their competence with lighting, checking how much work they have had published and if they have worked with agencies. If you are looking to get your portfolio built, you want someone who has a good sense of what agents/clients look for. A phone call or in-person meeting would be a very good idea. Get in touch with me at photo@pixyst.com if you need help with this.

Finding a Commercial Photographer for your Business

Creating a visual representation of your business is a great way to attract customers. With a wealth of options, how does one find the right fit? If you have the right skill set, you can, of course, decide to do the work yourself. Most people quickly discover that there is more to commercial photography than initially meets the eye. Some tips to keep in mind when one decides (or is considering) to hire a photographer.

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Communication

Every situation has unique features. Even when a photographer has previously worked with a business, there will still be a need to understand differences that may arise with each new assignment. That is done by asking the right questions, by listening with an open mind and by presenting options to open up the client’s mind to the possibilities that exist for what can be delivered.

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Versatility

In order to showcase a business, a variety of image types and genres may be required. A variety of subjects may need to be photographed. This will, of course, depend on the nature of the particular business – subjects vary from people to products. Whatever or whoever the subjects are, they must be shown at their best. That can be done with a deep knowledge of lighting, posing and staging.

Competence

It may be difficult for someone who is not a photographer or an art critic to properly evaluate photography. Who is going to make our people, products, and business look attractive to the public? One method is to look at the ads in high-end magazines and compare their look with the look of the photographs you are evaluating. A good photographer should:

  • be able to handle a variety of lighting situations
  • be able to direct pose and give concise directions to the subject
  • be able to work quickly and efficiently so as not to waste the client’s time

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Ultimately, this is a partnership, between the representatives of your business, and the photographer, with a common goal of providing the best images to help the business to sell their goods and/or services. Contact http://www.pixyst.com for support with developing your imaging strategy.

 

Executive Portraiture on Location

Are you involved in any service in which trust is a major selling point? Do you have an online presence? Then people want to see who you are. They want to see what you look like, and then they are going to draw conclusions based on the images they see of you. You want those conclusions (impulsive as they may be) to be in your favor. People form opinions about you based on the visuals you present, and there is no substitute for a good first impression.

You want your customer-facing representatives to have strong headshots on your website and other collateral. The look should be consistent from one image to another and it would be nice if you did not have to face logistical challenges of having everyone go off and look for a photo studio. What if the studio could come to you.

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All you need is a conference room and we can set up a studio with backdrop and lighting right in your premises. Very precise direction is provided, so the subject never has wonder what to do while in front of the camera. The result is a minimum of time expended and a maximum of convenience – a win-win.

Portrait Photography

When choosing a photographer, it is important to look at the quality of images they present. These days, cameras have very high resolution and are able to capture high levels of detail. Look at the images and determine if the photographer is able to take advantage of this strength or if they rely on Photoshop tricks to disguise their inability to adequately light and compose their images.

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If you can go to a store and buy a sophisticated camera, why would you pay a photographer to do your portraits? Well, because the camera, no matter how wonderful it is, is still just a tool. A true professional is a master of their equipment, not just the camera, but the lighting equipment too, understands posing, is a master of lighting, knows how to make the best of any location, knows how to solve problems on the fly – and there will be problems. It is this expertise that you pay for. That is why you need to choose photographers who do in fact have this expertise.