Conducting research for a music video or photo shoot takes a tremendous amount of time, but it's worth every minute that you spend on it. This is an article and video on how I created the video for Dalton Rapattoni's first single, HEAVEN.

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Favor broad lighting over short lighting. Broad lighting is when you light the side of the face aimed toward the camera. Short lighting is when you light from the far side of the face. Broad lighting in this instance sends the angle of reflection off a way from the camera. Short lighting often puts the camera right into the path of the reflected light. 

Orig article referenced here


Barbara Palvin being photographed in Curacao Janine Berey

Barbara Palvin being photographed in Curacao Janine Berey

High-profile shoots rely on complex lighting setups, which in turn rely on a large team of assistants. For the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, photographers tend not to use any lights at all. Instead they work with available light modifying it with strategically placed light modifiers such as a scrim and a bounce.

A scrim is a large silk screen that resembles a giant fly swatter. It is placed between the sun and the model to soften sunlight. This reduces the sun a quarter-of-a-stop of light or a half-of-a-stop depending on the thickness of the material. SI photographer James Macari uses a scrim “if [the model] has recessed eyes and the sun is coming up to minimize the harshness of the light.” At times scrims are essential to reducing shadows, but are also used for stylistic reasons. “I like definition in the face," says Macari. "But obviously flat light prints better. It’s what sells in the commercial world. But with what we’re selling they have to be fresh looking.”

An assistant hold a skrimm above Rose Bertram Janine Berey

An assistant hold a skrimm above Rose Bertram Janine Berey

Scrims are quite large, generally 6x4.5 or 8x10 feet. They can be quite cumbersome to use and can turn into sails if turned in the wrong direction on a windy day, causing them to snap.

Assistants and photographers should also be aware of the shadow scrim’s can create. "You’ve got to be careful with the shadow," says SI photographer Ben Watts. "It creates a square shadow which you want to camouflage in with other shadows like palm leaves or retouch out.”

But scrims are often only half of the battle. While scrims reduce the intensity of the light, reflectors can help add light and contrast into the shadows areas like the face and the eyes. There are a variety of bounce materials, each with different shine qualities. The most common are white, silver, and gold. Each photographer has their own preferences. For James Macari it’s old silver reflectors. “I don’t use any gold. I prefer to use a silver bounce. I also use old bounces because they’re weaker.”

A reflector (on the right) bouncing gold light into model Hannah Ferguson

A reflector (on the right) bouncing gold light into model Hannah Ferguson

It is worth noting that beach shoots also provide quite a few natural reflectors. Sand and water can bounce a significant amount of light into the subjects. Macari prefers to shoot without any light modifiers at all when the light is perfect. That approach worked so well for his shoot with Ashley Graham it ended up on the cover of last year’s issue.

Using scrims and reflectors might be essential but the true trick is in the timing. On a typical SI shoot, James Macari wakes up at 3 AM, starts shooting around 6 AM until 10 AM. He then edits and quickly naps before shooting again at 7 PM to around 10 PM. The photographers and tireless photo staff lead by MJ Day maintain that breakneck schedule for ten to 18 days a few times a year. “It is a dream job sure, but it sure can run you down," says Macari.

Article Originally Posted Here
Written by Josh Raab


Photoshop is every photographer's favorite tool and it's used as a verb in many situations. For the most part every photoshop update has the exact same tools. For that reason this shouldn't matter which version of PSD you have. Just get to know the tools and practice with each one.

Here it is... you use this icon to
move things. Shortcut "V" -
that's about it. 

When you want to zero in on an object, the marquee tool is a good option. You can create a round shape, single column, single row or rectangular shape. You can even make a perfectly square image by holding down the shift key when you drag. It's one of the most used and useful tools, very basic actually. When I'm working with a the brush tool, I will sometimes use the marquee tool to set my boundaries if I don't have a steady hand. 

*Did you know that if you click COMMAND + T, you'll be able to further distort the shape? Try it out. 


I had two gifts around December. The first was to photograph the daughter of legendary singer, Annie Lennox and of course dirty windows and some rain to make the perfect filter. Using the soft light created by the dirty on the studio window, we had the chance to create a beautiful haunting image of Lola Lennox by utilizing the dirt on the windows. 

Watch the Youtube video from our Instagram Stories. The informative and instructional Instagram stories will always live on the Youtube Channel for everyone to reference. 


Carmen Electra, Photographed by Walid Azami

Carmen Electra, Photographed by Walid Azami

When I had the Carmen Electra project, I wanted to capture her in a variety of ways other than a bikini or lingerie. We dressed her in a beautiful tight dress that still revealed her toned body but the intent was to focus on her face and personality. Of the numerous looks captured that day, but the tropical Carmen is one of my favorites because of the simplicity.

To me, simple is timeless and the best.

How would I give Carmen Electra (over 40 magazine worldwide) something "simple" but stylized? Also how would we do it without a huge budget and not a lot of time?

The solution was simple. I want strong light and strong shadow. I want to give the illusion of tropical without showing the sand, water, or palm trees. I wanted to stay on budget and on Carmen's brand. Here's what we did: I asked my assistant to find a couple palm fronds from nearby trees. I would use them to cast a shadow that is universally understood as tropical.

Carmen Electra Photoshoot, Walid Azami

Carmen Electra Photoshoot, Walid Azami

The morning of the shoot, I ran over to the garment district in Downtown LA and purchased a vinyl alligator print cloth. I'm not sure what anyone else wanted that for, but for Carmen I wanted an alligator print wall that would not only give texture, but help us bounce some light back on her. In addition the print created a shiny background with the harsh lighting, which helped us achieve nightclub vibe, perhaps something on the beach. Any dull textures and I feel the effect wouldn't translate. I also picked a bold alligator print because she's a bold woman, and she has a wild side.

Finally I used a 1K Fresnel light to illuminate Carmen. The tungsten clearly has a very warm temperature and because of that I photographed her at a lower/cooler temperature on my camera settings. This helped me balance my image and helped me avoid an orange subject. Additionally, I balanced the colors in post (Lightroom). With a strobe, I wouldn't see the shadows the palm fronds created. I need to see the shadows while I photographed her, so I could ask my assistant to raise them up if they were near her face. With a continuous lighting source I can see where the shadows dropped and how Carmen would look. A harsh light also made the shadows pronounced. If we had a softbox or similar, you couldn't make the shape of the palm fronds and it would lose the tropical feel.

The 1K tungsten came with another set of problems. How do I photograph Carmen without the harsh light making her eyes water? For that I relied on timing and giving her plenty of rest. For example, I would count " (click click click) OK close your eyes!"

That was our recipe! We shot for 3-5 seconds, and let her rest for about 10 seconds. 




Adventure photographer Benjamin Jaworskyj gives us 5 great tips for learning more about Lightroom. Everything from getting yourself more screen room to seeing where you are overexposed with the click of one button. Check it out!

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