On Location with Profoto and Nikon in TTL

We went out along the Salt River in Arizona for our webinar on TTL lighting control with Profoto equipment. In our first shots, we had our model wear a fantastically non-traditional wedding dress by Simply Bridal. Samantha, our model, was a an absolute champ. Balancing in that form fitting dress was quite a challenge in our out of the water. We had a great time and got some fantastic images. Here are the images we used in the webinar, and you can see the full webinar online, just follow this link to Profoto’s webinar page.

bride in wedding dress on a lake in arizona

bride in wedding dress in a lake in arizona

model at a river crossed road in Tortilla Flat, Arizona.

model at a river crossed road in Tortilla Flat, Arizona.

 

 

For this month’s webinar for Profoto, we took our crew and a kit of Profoto B1 off camera flashes  out to the lakes in the desert of Phoenix, Arizona.  This time, instead of shooting Canon, we were shooting with a Nikon D800 on the Profoto Air Remote TTL for Nikon.  Now Nikon users can also take advantage of the TTL abilities of the Profoto B1 lights.  Join me on our Profoto webinars on September 17, 2014 for a free webinar on shooting in TTL and Auto Camera Modes.

Register now:  www.profoto.com/int/webinar

Kevin Burdick, The Ivory Coast, Album Cover by Jared Platt

The Ivory Coast: The anatomy of an album cover.

The Ivory Coast: The anatomy of an album cover. from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

Making an album cover photograph for piano rockstar, Kevin Burdick, gets increasingly difficult, as we continue to push to limits of where we can take his pianos. His most recent album, The Ivory Coast, took us and his piano to the sand dunes in Yuma, Arizona, where we suffered through extreme heat as we tried to hoist this heavy piano through the sand. It was fun, but challenging to put the album cover together.

This video includes interviews with Kevin Burdick about the making of the album cover, video footage of Kevin’s exclusive sand dune performance of Freight Train and many of the photos from the album photo shoot.

The video was edited exclusively in Adobe Premier CS5, which uses the 5D Mark II video file natively without requiring a conversion like Final Cut Pro. One more reason that Adobe is the best choice for image making professionals.

The final album cover contains four different photographs: the piano, Kevin on the sand dunes, the ocean and boat and then the texture.  Follow the post below to see the various elements of the album cover and the progression of the album cover.

Kevin Burdick, The Ivory Coast, Album Cover by Jared Platt

Moving the piano was very difficult.  We obviously could not get it to the top of a 30 foot sand dune, so we found some small “mini dunes” that were accessible by truck and off loaded the piano there.  But even then, it took three of us to move the piano and I think all of us almost popped a disk in our backs.  This was one of those old pianos and it was HEAVY!

Our first photograph was the piano.  Since it was the hardest thing to move, we figured we would start with that and match all of our angles for future photographs to that.  We shot the piano early in the morning as the sun rose so we could get the same lighting we would get at the top of the sand dunes down the road.  We had to shoot pretty quickly so we could get out the the large sand dunes before the sun got too high in the sky, so we got our shot done and sped off for location 2.  The Sand Dunes.

Kevin Burdick and his Red Piano on a small Sand Dune

This is our second shot, which is not too complicated a shot to create, it is just getting to the spot that is difficult.  In order to get out to a spot that has the same angle as our piano shot we had to hike in a mile or more into the Sand Dunes.  This is not like walking on the beach.  First, it is hot as hell.  Second, the sand is very deep.  Third, walking up hill while the sand falls downhill makes for some very intense stair step workouts that create the sense that you are not going anywhere.  Fourth, did I mention it was HOT!  And of course, Kevin is not wearing shoes!

Once we climbed high enough to get a shot from above looking down on Kevin and a series of dunes behind him, we got many many variations, as well as some video footage for music videos, etc.  We also got some cool shots for Dixon Golf in the United States’ biggest sand trap (watch for tomorrow’s post).  And then it was up to me to get the rest of the shots.

Kevin Burdick on a Sand Dune for the Album Cover Photograph

This photograph, which I had taken earlier at a wedding in San Diego worked perfectly for the background.  We wanted our Sand Dunes to overlook the ocean with some kind of a boat back there, so I searched my image catalog for the terms ocean and boat and come up with this image.  I worked perfectly.  I suppose, had we been going for realistic, the clouds would have been completely wrong for the photo montage, but we were looking for a dreamlike album cover of a place that exists only in the mind, so this fit the bill.

Sail Boat on the pacific Ocean

Then it was off to the image catalogs again to find the right texture to distress the image a bit.  The texture also helps to mold things together that otherwise wouldn’t fit all that well.  I keep a collection of textures for this very purpose in my image catalogs.  When I am shooting weddings or travel photography, I keep my eye out for interesting textures and collect them for uses just like this.  Being organized enough to find them is the real key.  So, I typed in the word texture into my Lightroom Image Catalog and choose the texture I wanted.  If you are having trouble finding your images, you need to do more key-wording!

This is what the photo composite looks like without the texture, before it is cropped and placed into the album cover design.

Man on the sand dunes with a red piano and an ocean and sailboat in the background

And again, once we have added the texture and the text to the photograph.  You can see how much the texture helps to soften the look of the image and make it a bit more dreamlike.  I actually prefer the tall skinny version of the image more than the square album cover.  I miss the days when you purchased a CD in one of those long skinny cardboard boxes that you could further design.  This would have been a perfect photograph for one of those.  But alas, now you will simply go to iTunes and purchase Kevin Burdick’s new album, The Ivory Coast, on iTunes and see only the square front cover.

The final album cover before the final crop

But of course, if you do that, you can see the back cover here.

Kevin Burdick's, The Ivory Coast Album Cover Back

We actually set up the piano the night before the shot so that we wouldn’t have to cary that thing in the dark.  So as we left it for the night, the sun set in the desert and the lonely piano stood quiet and alone among the shrubs.  I love this shot.

Piano in the desert at sunset

Photo Shoot Details:

Photography: Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Music: Kevin Burdick, (follow him on Facebook)
Photo Location: Yuma, Arizona
Video Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Video Editing Software: Adobe Premier CS5

Lightroom 3.0 – My Favorite New Features

I have a list of favorite new features in Adobe Lightroom 3.0 but the best feature is the speed.  It is so much faster and more responsive than the prior versions.  They did a great job with it.  I am looking forward to teaching my fall workshops with the new version.  See you all out there on the road.  Check out the tour schedule at www.jaredplattworkshops.com.

Adobe Lightroom 3.0 My Favorite New Features from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

Lightroom 3.0 is faster with lots of new features. This video is a list of my favorite new features in Lightroom 3.0 and how I use them.

Do You Want A Discount

I just read a blog post by Melissa Jill about her rule on discounts.  So many people would like a discount on the services we provide as photographers.  It is interesting to me that the dentist, or the lawyer, or the mechanic is not interested in giving me a discount on their services, but when they come to me for services, they would like a discount.  It is a classic issue of pride: overvaluing ones own worth and undervaluing everyone else’s worth.  My father always wants to buy his new car at a discount and yet, he wants to sell his old car at a premium.  Of course, if one can get away with it, it is good business for them, but if I want to stay in business, I can’t work for free or even half price…  It is hard for people to get this concept, so I am re-posting this video Melissa found that puts the issue in perspective…

My Discount Rule:

So, what is my discount rule?  It is even more simple than Melissa’s.  I work for full price.  If you are special enough to me to get a discount, my services will be FREE, otherwise, it is full price.  My price structure puts my photography within reach, so I don’t offer discounts to anyone.  I enjoy doing things free of charge as a service to the ones I love, or for those in extreme need, but I also have a family to feed, so when I work, I work for full price.  It’s that simple.

I do have one exception to my discount rule.  I give a discount to our military.  They are willing to give their life for me, so offering a discount to them is the least I can do.  I have many friends and family in the military, and I hope that everyone out there is taking care of them.  We all owe them a debt we can never repay.

My Golf Lesson with a Golf Pro

Just thought you might want to get brushed up on your golf game.

While I was shooting a portrait of Long Ball World Champion Sean Fister, he offered to give me a little golf lesson, which the film crew got on camera, and now it is in the Dixon Golf You-Tube Promo.  Sean Fister is a funny guy.  I had a lot of fun shooting the portraits.  Now I just want one of his Punishers (his driver) .  I hit it, it is a very nice club!  My drive was long!

Dixon Golf makes the Earth Ball.  It is a long hitting ball that also happens to be the worlds first and only completely recyclable golf ball.  Oh, and did I mention that it is a LONG ball?  It’s a long ball.  Put that Punisher together with the Earth Ball and you’ve got a long drive.  (Yes, I golf).

My golf lesson is at 2:20.  Let me know what you think of my form.

My New Regular Blog Post at Pictage

I am now posting a regular blog entry at Pictage on professional photography topics like workflow. Each week, I will be posting a small tip of some kind, so put the blog on your reader and watch for new entries.

This week’s entry is an introduction video, filmed in my office late one night last week with my 5D Mark II.