Skip to main content

Anatomy of an Epic Photograph

Lesson 1 of 3

Anatomy of an Epic Photograph

Benjamin Von Wong

Anatomy of an Epic Photograph

Benjamin Von Wong

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

1. Anatomy of an Epic Photograph


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Anatomy of an Epic Photograph Duration:1:54:52
2 Bonus Video: General Q&A Duration:07:27

Lesson Info

Anatomy of an Epic Photograph

Everybody, it is time to get started with the next class, and it is my pleasure to welcome to creative live anatomy of an epic photograph with benjamin von wang, he is known for his epic style of photography that completely inspires and creatively challenges both himself and his viewer. He is a hyper realistic art style of special effects and innovative concepts, and we know you are all going toe love his class. Welcome, benjamin, wait so excited that you're here and I know you have a ton of content. So all of you guys out there, we know you're going to have a lot of questions for benjamin there because the content is so tight, we're asking that you tweet your questions that you have during this class to at the long, long that savio and th e v a n w o n g and include the hashtag create a photo photo week alive, and when you do that, we're gonna grab all of those questions and benjamin is going to do a bonus video just for those people who purchased this course of all the questions. So ...

with that I'm handing over to thank you. Well, hello, everybody, I'm very happy to be here today, um got a nice class in front of me and then bunch of people that I think I know over there so I'm very excited to be here today a topic of what I'm supposed to be talking about today's anatomy of an epic photo shoot so it's kind of funny because when I was invited by creative life tio speak it's something that I wanted for so long tio like a no opportunity that I wanted for so long but I've never actually had the opportunity come up and when they when they presented me with a topic when they ask me for a topic I said I didn't really know what I wanted to talk about so I ask him to just toss topic to me and they said well why not do anatomy of an epic photo shoot that sure sounds great so now do you have an epic photo shoot what exactly uh does that mean there's there's a couple words in here that I'm just going to deconstruct very very simple we have anatomy on dh photo shoot anatomy of an epic photo shoot so anatomy meaning that I get to break down behind the scenes photo shop the constructions great that's what I do on a daily basis I got my behind the scenes video is my block post on youtube channel I do this quite regularly so great on photo shoot well preproduction shoots post productions from the shooting phase we got lighting camera settings all the other technical about that stuff that everyone's always excited about but the one word that I kind of got stuck on was the word epic. So what? What? What is epic mean? I mean, the word epic is tossed around so much it's completely over used. I mean, I had an epic burger from for breakfast this morning. My hair is looking absolutely epic. Today means something that you use all the time. So I kind of went through my my my, my work and I was trying to figure out what's what did people usually qualify my work? Like, which shots that they qualify his epic. So, uh, this was one of the shots that people had come into the lot like, wow, that's so epic and I was like, I don't like okay, so medieval army's got some heroes got zombies, the smoke machine, dark dramatic sky, all of this stuff, you know, definitely call it qualifies for the word epic. All right, great. What about another shot? This one over here band shot of the agonist. We have a moment frozen in time that's completely surreal. It doesn't. It can't actually exist in reality, exploding shards behind the main character in the background so completely improbable serial time, I guess that qualified as epic, too, but by and large the most epic comments that I received have always been about my fire photography so I guess I kind of come to the conclusion that people find fire very epic. So if you like a person on fire that qualifies as epic, if you like a bridge on fire and not just any bridge the oldest bridge in paris born, if, um, on fire that qualifies as epic a few light, an art piece and fire that also falls into that category a car on fire. Um, girl on fire. And why not even ladies church on church on fire, right? So, um, I guess some of you out there, like, well, that's, that's really great, but you know what if I can't like people on fire and, you know, I can't, you know, make people fight each other, and I can't, uh, put them in medieval costumes. Can I still do epic photography? And I have the answer for you guys and like to answer this question with story story of a young boy, what the tender age of twenty was working the mines desolate lands alone with neither friends nor family, he toils the long hours in texas was in this trying time, that tragedy struck, and he found himself single and heartbroken foreign land last not even twenty one to drown his sorrows lifting his eyes and despair to the heavens you noticed the stars twinkling with promises of a new great one of shutter speeds and I so that stops and composition thus fun long was born so why this story now the story is important because it's actually just the story of my life on dh I just put it in a very, very epic way I I took something that was very ordinary andi made it grandiose really what it came down to was I was working the mines in nevada that part is true girl broke up with me on dh I had to figure out what I wanted to do to keep myself busy so I wouldn't go absolutely nuts on guy decided to take pictures of the stars so I went to buy a camera on di took pictures and then one thing that's another and then eventually I became a photographer so it's very boring story but put in the right context it can become something completely ethics so you make that choice what is epic and what is ordinary right so a zoo photographer I guess we were uniquely guested with the ability to show people what exactly is going on in our minds we can show people this story and we can make it epic can make it dramatic because our the lenses we choose the compositions we true's thie lighting all this stuff define how you want others to see the world right? So this light, by simply changing angles, are changing light, light lighting, changing the color tones you can take the same image and give it a completely different mood. So I think that to do epic photography, what it really comes down to is asking yourself to questions. The first is, what is the story? What story are you trying to tell to the people that are going to be looking at your imagery on the second to make it just a little bit epic is to constantly ask yourself, how can I make this image better? How can I take this shot to the next level? And you're always trying to push yourself farther and farther, making making that that project just a little bit nicer, just a little bit more polished, so I'm sure there's some of you out there that are just like, well, you know what, ben? All that is nice and cool, but, you know, you have it easy because you got you got all these cool models and people to play with, so, you know, I do babies, I can't do that, and it actually like to challenge you guys, I did a really quick research just I just took five minutes to look through photographers that have stood out on blood online. On just see what they were doing and there's all sorts of people doing a whole bunch of random things. So I kind of type out their names really, really quickly. We got jason lee. He does a kid photography. He actually, he does these really cute portrait of his two dollars, in these really storytelling settings as just these two asian girls and a whole bunch of really fantastic settings we have joel greenberg, you guys, I'll probably no child photography, the crying babies. Same. You know, it's it's babies, but taken to a different level. There's a nice story, there's. Something different about it. Um, I think photography quinn miller. You might not recognize the name, but if I say the t rex bride struck, you guys all probably have seen it right? Getting out of the box, coming up with something different. Seth castillo, maybe you don't recognize the name either, but it's a guy who took the pictures of the dogs jumping into swimming pool with their mouths, all like poppy and popping up. So dog photography. Joey lawrence taking the nat geo stuff and bring it to the next level by bringing on location strobes, making these really editorial style images of of people in completely inaccessible places, way have matt malloy on pacific so he just popped out he took basically a whole bunch of landscape images of of these cows and stack them one on top of another so they ended up looking like he's a quarrel streaks on the skype completely serial looking you have maybe product photography martin kill miss yeah, he has those shots of he dropped these porcelain figurines these conclude porcelain figurines and the just at the point of explosion so they're just just shattering so I mean, these are all people that I mean, I hardly I don't know all of them very well, but I know these project that I stood out and why? Because they took something, you know, and didn't tell them they didn't limit themselves limit themselves or something to try to take it and bring it to the next level make sense so anatomy of an epic photo shoot back to the topic I'm actually going to talk to you guys more about what what I do best, so I'm just going to kind of walking us quickly through the work flow if you have any questions, you can either list her hand and I'll get to you are well kind of gather them all together and go from there what I'm planning on doing today is to kind of hopefully split it up into preproduction and shoot in post production not necessarily in this order but I do want to talk about a little bit up your production. So preproduction. What is that? Well, it's, how do you gather people? How together your resources? How do you get all these people together? How do you plan it? How did you in locations got? How? How does it all come together? And I do this beautiful little diagram in power point, basically splitting it up that you have one story and that's stories or concept that's your epic story that you're gonna be presenting to the world. And they're a bunch of different elements. I'm sure I missed a couple here, but I just decided to kind of simplify a little bit. We got location. Where you going to shoot it. The model? What is a subject that you're going? The shooting? We have clothing in my case. Usually costumes, customer oriented. The concept is something surreal. There's. Something natural. What does it look like on the technique? How are you going to get there, but technically going to use? What lighting it you're going to use? Is there anything special you need some special gear? So, um, I'm going to try to break these down and leave the fire out of it. To keep things a little bit eso finding an epic location how does one actually go about to finding epic location? I think there are many different ways their resources I think if you take the time to look for something, you'll find it I personally like to go and find abandoned locations just because like the weird abandoned stuff in canada, it was urban exploring you we are not cia is a really good web site type urban exploring on google you can find whatever you want for about implications you also have the standard things maybe flicker and facebook everyone knows flicker and facebook on flicker there is literally a group for every single city and any any single topic that you could possibly ever want so you can always go there look for images you like places that you find interesting things or geo tag nowadays and just send the guy a message they might not respond maybe your you know wasn't nice enough right a second time, you know, keep chasing after these people and sooner or later you will get you know, a couple hits you got to put in the work the results come from there facebook, facebook every single I mean it's a little bit hard to search for these groups, but a group for just about everything exists on facebook find it in your local area wherever you're visiting, ask where can I find a cool place to shoot? Glory is quite cool they have the panorama collapse so if you're looking for some kind of epic landscape you know you can most likely find panoramic shots of just about anywhere by simply browsing an area if you know you're going to be shooting in the general vicinity for weddings, let's say and you're looking for a nice tree well, you can just browse these images who knows use google street view go through his image is confined different places and I think for me the biggest thing is death social media I think social media is the the strongest thing because I've taken the time to build a following so I have twenty two thousand fans on facebook so any time I go up there and say, hey guys, I'm looking for ah hot air balloon looking for, you know ah trapeze artist that will be willing to be suspended from a hot air balloon I'm looking for a helicopter that it can shoot from to shoot the trapeze artist on a hot air balloon I can put this out there and maybe maybe there's no bites but at the same time sometimes somebody is going to bite so social media I think is great somebody knows somewhere that's awesome that's going to fit your needs so you just need to find that one person on dh keeping an open mind I think that one's probably overlooked so to give you an analogy when you ah when you go to work every day to take the same route your your mind shuts down so you don't see what's going on around you you don't have an open mind but if you take the time tio, keep your eyes open looking for these interesting spots everywhere you go, then suddenly opportunities will kind of manifest themselves it's like that saying where you create your own luck. So I have a couple examples of locations that have been kind of cool and I just wanted to talk about how I found them. This over here is ah friend of mine by the name of michael demszky he's on actor and martial artist and as you can see he's hanging out in a waterfall it's really, really cool place and how I found it was actually a complete fluke. I had to shoot for bands over in toronto on what tradition like to do is just invite fans and followers anyone who wants to help out to come and participate in the photo shoots. So this time I had one of my assistants running this pasha she came to help out and the shoot went on a little bit late and I offered to drive her home, which was a good hour hour issue and she said, well, you know there's a really cool water for next to my house you want to see it ten p m sure let's go check in a waterfall so we just well do a slight detour go to the waterfall, go down I see the place absolutely phenomenal and saying, you know what? We gotta shoot here so this kind of falls into the category of open mind just because I met someone who while driving her home you had a cool place really close her house and then the whole shoot got build from there another example of an epic location this over here is ah was shot in mission bc a couple months back in abandon it's like a boat graveyard that's actually the byproduct of ah workshop that it was busy putting together in vancouver on dh I really want to find a nice epic location because nobody wants tio nobody who takes my workshop wants to end up in the studio because that's not really what I do, what I do is epic locations, epic models, all that stuff, but without the location we couldn't really locked on the the costumes without the costumes you couldn't walk down models and without them also everything really depends on the location, so when I landed I just started putting on face because like guys, I really need a cool location where we're going to find this one of my friends renee robin she she said well I know this photographer his name's pete jones he's over in in vancouver and issues that cool locations great locations browses stuff I find I find this boat graveyard and I said in the message is you know I'm putting together workshop it's really last minute I'm really you know I really need some help here can you tell me where the safe is like oh just type boat graveyard on on google and mission and mission bc only go so I found it couldn't find the contact information so I went back to him and asked if you had managed to get in contact with the owner did I called the owner who happens to be this like seventy five year old dude talks really slowly talks about just about anything on the phone call lasted a full hour he's asking the difference in a chinese person a japanese person a korean person and then at the end of day I just didn't let him go so he just said did you want to come by tomorrow morning? Yes I will come by what time any time you think I am done so six a m wake up we got the car go over this property and he's got this kind of at the time in years we thought he had this complete paranoia complex he's like the government's after me they don't want to let anybody do any shoots over here you know look at the sign over here agricultural land commission won't let us shoot and the city hall is against me and anna so what can we do to shoot here to you know make you feel good like I need written permission from all these things all these places that called me problems so telephone number agricultural land commission called them ask them can shoot is any problems we have own release forms you have insurance when two mission city hall lined up sat there talk to the girls during the shoot here we're just in a photo shoot you know we're not going to do anything crazy it's not a big budget film there's nothing you know we're just taking pictures andi came back with this sign papers that here we go man you can use this for the future if ever you want to bring people over now you have something there for you so we drove back and then I could start organizing shoot so then we found the the gallery the house gallery boutique pride the clothing then we found the models then everything that came together and that's how he got the broker so lots of steps lots of hard work but at the end of the day once again it's just reaching out being open and you know not giving up right finding what you want and really working towards it so finding exciting models how do you get about finding exciting models? So in my case I work a lot with dancers they were circus people I find people that are generally a little bit weird a little bit alternative so what is the process for that? Well there's nothing very secretive about it I mean model mayhem or equivalent over here in the u s canada model mahan's pretty big so I think this purple port over in the in the u k so every country has their own little models model haven where you can go hunt for models facebook groups every single city also has a facebook group open models creation collaborations people that are starting up people that are trying tio um they have meet up groups you have especially organizations that's the one I really, really want to talk about because that's the one that I think that nobody really considers that much. So what do you mean by specialty organizations? What I mean is you look for that niche that you're trying to shoot, that one thing that you think is weird that you think is exciting or eccentric whether it's fetish whether it's you know people that fight with swords what those people that raised baby owls you know, if there is if you can think about it there's a group of people there somewhere maybe in a city close by that that does that one thing you're trying to capture and what's fun about this is that these people really, really want to work, they want their they want pictures of what they do because they invest so much time and effort and looking the way they do, we're doing the things they want to do, that they love to have pictures of that so it's super easy. All you need to do is go up to them and present your work, present a project and set up a date, right? And most of the times they come equipped with a whole bunch of things, they have their props have the clothing, they have locations in mine because that's where they go to hang out, you know, so they have makes our job so much easier. So specialty organizations is a great one that's commonly overlooked, and then if you have money, you can go to an agency. But if you don't well these these these sources were here, I found or very, very, very good, so examples of different people that I've worked with interesting models, this was strong in toronto in a graffiti ali I thought that it would be really interesting to try and do a photo shoot that blended breakdancing versus park or so this shot over here, we took a guy, a couple guys in park or over the top, just flying about on a couple guys on the bottom really? All it took was to find one person you find I went on facebook again I said looking for break dancers and people that do park or in toronto and I found one guy I found then we're gonna be on the bottom there he heads a group called cassara versus people or something and he hit me up he said, well, I know this other these other groups of people they have they have a free running state park or studio it's flipside studios just writing a message or the message that sure they found three four people break dancers funds for people where can we do this? We'll graffiti on these critical graffiti ali and then that was it was a simple is that because we find one person they know all the people you need to do all the people you need to ask, how many people do you want what you want them to look like? What skills that are you looking for? So if you have all these answers ready to go you have to shoot you have all the it's the puzzles that come together that much easier. Another example over here we got a bunch of victorian gothic victorian people so how did I find these guys? Well, every year in montreal there is something called a picnic battalion on what that is exactly is a group of people that have a picnic just as a big talking people. So at these events they generally attract they're like photographer magnets. You end up in these events where you have fifty photographers, all pointing at the same group of people, taking the same picture with a different lens and a different one degree angle difference in their shots. But I mean it's worth it because you go there and you have a bunch of people that are dressed completely different in a completely different world, and you can you can put them in whatever set up in my case. I wanted to take it to the next level, so I just went I contacted them first. I said, I'd like to bring my studio. Is it ok if I just come bring on my studio over myself and just take some pictures? They said, sure, just ask permission first. Great. So I brought my assistance but my bags of lights but everything and just landed there, andi started picking out people that I thought were interesting. You might look good with you with you. You guys want to shoot. I have a video of this on facebook, I actually tried to be cool about it and went in disguise I work with said I took it off after. Well, that's, just the first start off. And I think something like joy was gonna talk about this. When you go somewhere, you don't just immediately try to take pictures of people, you start talking to them, get to know them a little bit, you know, just hang out. I mean, everybody's a person and, you know, if you take the time to respect them, get to know them a little bit more, learn about them, then suddenly they're going to be much more open to something that you have to propose. Even if it's something weird, like he's climbed the tree and watch, you know, so not a problem there. So finding creative questions, how do you do that? Well, actually, it's kind of boring because its exact same things that I just said before, I like to bypass one either the costumes side or the models model side by simply finding the groups of people that have both straight off the bat, you kind of kill two birds with one stone, but let's say you arrive in a place and you really don't know where to start on top of these three groups over here, you also have profit antique stores, and these are also places where you can. Sometimes strike up deals because once again they're looking for visibility. Their inventory sometimes gets stuck there for very, very long periods of time. This really just collecting dust so you can go that you can present to them cool project an interesting idea, it's nothing they haven't heard about it is something that they would love to be a part of. You have some pretty good leverage right there, so props or is antique stores are always great places start if you like the surreal things, all right? If you like, I don't know cupcakes go to cupcake store, you can find something that relates to whatever you happen to be doing examples of crazy costumes that I've had the chance to shoot with over here we have these mechanical birds, they're absolutely fabulous, they're these completely articulated wouldn't birds, their eyes move the it's manipulated by people that are in still so each bird has personality, each writer has their personality on each one of these birds can kind of move independently that different color and to have a show that they put on. So how did I bump into these people? Well, it's, one of the another one of those situations with keeping an open mind at one point in my career, had a studio, and I'd organize the creative shoot on the model that came in actually came by and she was walking by she's ok, did you know that just three doors down there's ah is a girl who makes these really cool costume props and she signs performer seven today would you like to get introduced? Yeah I'm going to go any time so way just went over and knocked on the door took a little quick tour around instead of set up a meeting and said, you know what? Why don't we do something together then taking the approach is saying, well, I'm sure you have lots of pictures taken all the time, but is there something that you've never had the chance to build before? Do you want to do something different if you think I'd love to go in the woods, you know, get the birds out in the wild and capture something where they can be in in their certain elements on dh that's exactly what we did another example of a shoot driven by costumes. I can't quite remember how I met these people I think it was a hat designer by the name of yuki she just send me a quick message on facebook saying like, hey, we're hat designers and we'd love to do something together I said, do you have any samples of your work uh show it to me, I'd like to check it out they said, ok no problems so they sent me some pictures I said that's kind of interesting none of the pictures were really they were just kind of iphone snaps of their creations because I don't know why but it seems just like how a lot of photographers don't have their portfolios ready designers and all that they don't seem to have their body of work that's captured in a proper way it's really odd thing when she sent me a bunch of images and I noticed that they had these really really nice hats that looks very wintry so we built a concept around these wintry costumes they had actually designed for bentley so bentley had retrieved them back so richard back from bentley just for the photo shoot and then the thematic was well, because we have these costumes these costumes are completely surreal they're completely white it would be nice to do something along the winter queen thematic await its july what do we do? I will just take a bunch of flowers sprinkled across in the in the middle of the woods and then there you go. We had a set we have to find the three blonde girls went on went on model mayhem hey looking for three blonde girls approximately in the five eight range people submit check him out, you know, move on from there you have a starting point and that really comes from keeping an open mind that comes from doing good work. And then from that point forward, you can't take things board finding a new technique. And I think this is a this is probably the one that people have the least problems doing a two least, especially the male photographer, is actually because us male due to be like our toys. We like our digits. We like our new lenses and new clashes and all this stuff so that, you know, we want to try something out knew that that that brand new seven point lighting set up that you know, nobody's ever heard about what you're gonna do it and you gonna build a shoot around that technique. So techniques are a great way to go out and push yourself, father. I I think the danger, though, is making the chute entirely about the technique and not about the story that you're trying to tell. I mean, the shoot the technique is great to push the concept initially, at the same time, you need to be able to have a complete story to deliver us. The chute becomes kind of pointless. No, no one cares about your seven point lighting so that they care about the final shot. So where do you find new techniques for me? It's blog's I got the photography f stoppers peta pick so slr lounge these air like four sites, they put out a lot of material, a lot of behind the scenes videos, anything that's interesting that's happening on the web site these air, some cool web sites that no down and of course there's also brand websites. Anything that that's gear oriented, so borrow lenses it's in their best interest to feature equipment that they rent out, the women that they went out and how it can be used. Pocket reserve. How can you use the pocket in a different way? So they always kind of look for these interesting contents and try to push the equipment that you might already own and push it farther. So that's also a good way to look at new techniques, for example, of shoes that were driven by techniques over here is a collaboration of the model by the name of gen brooke in a visit from the u k on this's a shipwreck concept. I just bought a three stop neutral density filter on I really wanted to try combining flashes with long exposure, that's exactly what we did. She had her own concepts, we just emerged two shots the two shoots together into a single day when out found some rocks on dh er you know, lie down in the water, wait for the right wave to come in, capture this long exposure and freeze it with a flash so the technique was well, I want I want to capture some long exposure motion trails of the water coming in and shoot the story was what we have to cast we victim a shipwreck you know she's landed there we have a couple interesting beings couple interesting props to complete the story other shoots that I've been driven by concept this over here is a friend of mine who's name is glad if you don't recognize a technique it's just like paint sing I think thes little sparklers of the doll around the sparklers a lot of people like the draw little hearts for engagement things I wanted to do something a little bit more exciting so we took this nice body dude who could jump really really high on decided to do a superman concept so we built once again the idea the concept was what we're going to use this new technique which is thiss effect that we discovered which is these little sparkle these little sparkle devices that light up and we can light paint with it but what are we going to do exactly with this? This device that just, you know creates a cool sparkle well, I want him I want to imply motion I want imply movement I want to tell a story with it and then after that just becomes trial and error well, what settings were best where I'm going to place the guy how I'm going to compose it and that's where all the photography comes in and finally the last part finding a cool concept well how do you what if you what if you want to just create a shot specifically from a concept one there is everything we just said you can drive a concept from all those other little bits and pieces but you can also and this is one thing that I don't do very well try to find these concepts from within people that have had emotional experiences something in your personal life for example these are things that you can draw inspiration from and say well I'd like to represent ah heartbreak or I'd like to represent the memory I would like to immortalize the memory of a person or or in essence or something different perspectives on the world based on the places you visit the places you go what type of story can you build from there? So a couple examples of that once again concept driven photo shoots this over here is a re toucher by the name of chester and bam o I think it's kind of funny because re touches like photographers don't usually have a lot of images of themselves so the concept was to create the image which was a portrait of a re toucher portrait of a re toucher being well what goes on in the mind of a re toucher I met this guy completely randomly I saw the work of a girl that I liked very much her name is yoo and art she just some fantasy talk coffee and then I noticed that there was a little credit line that said retouched by chester van bommel and I'm like oh really check out chester sentiment email hey would you like to work together he said sure we did a couple of minutes back and forth and then eventually he happens to be in belgium when I went to belgium I just said well let's let's meet up let's take the time to do something together let's take a let's take a photo will you be part of a project with me on dh this came out so we had to find the location well I want to put the re toucher in a really cool location I want to create a set because it looks so surreal right? So we we looked for an urban explorer over in belgium and we found one don't forget what it's like on he showed up he showed up he guided us into this amazing thiss amazing location and then all the post production was done afterwards the bird wasn't created and tell you from bits and pieces of wood that I actually renovating my first floor of the house that there is a piece of the wind scatters we just I just took stock images and built it now it manually from scratch one thing to note it's very, very hard to do porch it's of a re toucher because they know better than you do what's right and wrong but at the end of the day you do get a very cool image so that was that was the result of that another shot that's concept driven when I went to detroit to give a workshop mostly you know, detroit lots of abandoned buildings really, really cool place when I went there I had all these high hopes and dreams I was like, you know what would be so cool? We're gonna go break into something and we'll go find a really, really cool location all we need to do is grab, you know a girl in a white dress something very tim walker like you know, I really wanted to have a fantasy feeling girl in a white dress in an abandoned location contrast ing the pure and really derelict nothing very complicated but unfortunately all the people that had spoken to all the urban explores that I found they also this is just a really bad time to go now it's either really dangerous the police is tracking down the places that accessible all graffitied up you can't go with a big team, and I typically gather whole bunch of people together because I like to have my makeup, my starting, my clothes, the models, my assistance, my year, I'd like to bring these really, really big teams together, so it became completely unfeasible, so, you know, I just kind of kept the possibly open. Well, I'd still like to shoot can you find a place? So he finally ended up finding a studio in an old in an old greece still functional, completely revamped on dh we had twenty four hours to put together shoot by this point in time we do it. Yes, we're going to do it all right got the entire team models, stylists, any pictures at three o'clock in the morning? Hey, do you like this dress like that's? Great! What you still wake three o'clock sends me the thing. Twelve o'clock everybody arrives on set. I get there about an hour earlier do some quick scouting. Well, what are the three places we can shoot? And this is a result of that. So managed to find pull things together because we had a group of really, really motivated people really driven people and it didn't take more than then the initial concept, so I had I had a mood board on pinterest if you guys don't use pinterest it's great, you just collect a bunch of images senate off the person and say this is the mood of the shoot it's a very, very easy software to set up, so there you go. That would be pretty much a summary of five little bits and pieces. Do you have any questions in the crowd? Maybe take a quick one. Questions from the from the internet if you don't mind. Ok, so adrian, far from england, is asking, do you have any tips for creating an epic conceptual shoot when you have big ideas but a really small budget? How can you find a happy balance? Well, these are all really small budgets. Yeah, the region, these air actually most or all, I think almost almost every single shot that I describe your here was done on a zero budget, and they're done by simply gathering the right people around you by gathering people that are very motivated by presenting a complete project and getting the right people involved you, khun you can pull these things together. I mean, I as a photographer, all they do his book, press a button organized the whole thing, but it all depends on getting the right people around they're going to contribute to the shoot you find people that believe in your project then you can do a whole bunch I'm actually gonna go over that a little bit quick really quickly how to gather these elements so perfect last time on that great move on so they said how do you put the elements together on dh I think that a lot of people a lot of people think that the secret is money right there that that I think is actually it always ends up being more than more an excuse than anything else um saying I don't have enough money I don't have enough gear I can't do it anyways I'm not going to try the reason is not money because what I've discovered is people want money not because they want to keep it in the bank they want money so that they can spend it and they want money so they can spend it on the things that they want to do all right so if you can actually you can actually offer somebody the opportunity to do something that they want to do without even factoring the money part into the equation then then you can get people to work with you like people are going to want let's say I say um would you like to come with me on a shoot tomorrow it's going to involve ah really cool place with thirty five models and they're going to fire you know I need some help I need to make sure hands want to come and then from your perspective well I'm a photographer I'd love to come maybe be fun I want to try something new I want to see it so your gain is the experience you don't care about the money even if you had to drive an hour and a half across town maybe buy gas rent a car get a friend to drive you whatever posting favors you're going to do it because it's something that you want to do and the money becomes kind of relevant in that point now of course everybody needs to live and I'm saying this is generate middle class you can't take we're not taking like the extremities the guys who are really really poor you're saying somebody who's relatively well off who's got his things in order who wants to push like artists in general they want their work to be seen they want their work to be good if the makeup artist has been working with people but their work's been subpar then their work doesn't look very good but if you can for them that opportunity to put their work in the best of light then money becomes who cares about the money you're giving them what they want straight out of the back and actually not even charging for it so if anything you're doing them a favor right? So if you're trying to toss a team together I found two things just keep two things in mind and I'm kind of writing this in a way to kind of prompt a reaction is that one, people are selfish on dh two people like to feel important and what I mean by people feels people are selfish, well, everybody does things, the only reason people do things because they want to do it. Um, you have to give, you know, people have to have a gain from it. So for example, I'm generous, I love bringing people in on the shoot, it doesn't matter if I need them or not. I love creating content for free, like, putting my blood posted like my behind the scenes videos, but the end of the day, I'm getting a feeling of satisfaction. I'm getting a little ego, that's, probably I'm getting, you know, the joy of being out with a group of people of hanging out and, you know, leading, leading a crew, you know, there's a whole bunch of reasons that I haven't bothered thinking about too much, but there's, there's reasons why you do things right on it's, usually because you're going to gain something out of it, and it doesn't matter if it's money, terry doesn't matter. It's physical byproduct, you gain something out of it, and people like to feel important, I mean, that if I'm talking if you if you have a competition and you're sitting across the person and I don't know having a coffee with a girl and she's on her phone the whole time that's not cool but if they're listening they're grasping to every single word you're talking about that's fun that's an interaction you feel validated you feel important so just keeping these two things people are selfish people are important can help you a lot put into context photoshoot context you got to make up artist or let's say let's take something else areas to make about let's say you go up tio ah costume designer you say wow I've looked at your work your portfolio is absolutely phenomenal your costumes are needed in my portfolio you should definitely work with me I really need like your stuff in my portfolio um the first thought that comes to mind is, well that's great but how does that help me? How does it help my portfolio? I don't really care about your portfolio you know it's not it's not important what matters is what you do. So if you take that exact same idea of reaching out to somebody and asking them for help and say, hey, I've gone through your portfolio, you know, and I've noticed that you haven't really had the chance to do very much stuff on location that actually happens to be one of my specialties you know what I'd love to put something together with you. I think it would look great in your book. I also happen to have a pretty decent following. So who knows? I could not only give you some great imagery, but also, uh, you know, you get some good visibility out of it. Would you like to, you know, work on something together and you notice I say, would you like to work on something together? Not what you work for me and that's a huge difference, because in one case you're using, you're using the person as an employee or just a something underneath you beneath you you're saying I'd like you to work for me, but you're saying let's, do something together. I want to sit down with you. I want to create something. I want to have an exchange of ideas. Give me your feedback. What? What? What do you want out of this? And let's do something together from that. And then suddenly the project becomes a group project. So if you do that let's say you have a model. You have a model, you go out with her, you do a photo, you have a shoot planned your approach her in the right way you say, you know what, you look fabulous but you don't have certain shots, or I think I could add to your portfolio whatever it is on dh from that point forward, she says yes, and then you ignore her for three weeks and then the day of the shoot, you may be the day before you just call it confirms there. Are you still up for it? Um, sometimes you have then that's when you have something like a flake for someone like, oh, you know what? I you know, I don't feel like it because why they haven't been involved in the whole three d suppress don't even know what's going on, they don't even know if the shoot was going happen anymore, right? But if you flip this around you, delegate stuff, you you talked to hear you say, you know, what do you have any clothes that you'd really like to shoot that would fit with? This concept says yes, there's this red dress, maybe it would work and can you send me a picture of it? So she'll take the time to put on the red dress, take a picture, send it to you say, you know what? It doesn't really work. Is there any anywhere around you and the people that you know, that might have this? Oh yeah maybe store down the line I could go there take a couple shots and go that she's already invested for five six hours now she's starting to be a part of the shoot is going to be a part of the project so then the day of the shoot right before she's already invested let's say six, seven hours the day be for the shoot she just had a fight with her boyfriend things aren't going well she got drunk she's feeling tired in the morning which is already put seven, six, seven hours of work so you know it's not a guarantee but you might just be a little bit more involved more engaged a bigger reason there's a stake in it because they've been part of it it's not just your project anymore it's it's a group project so these are all the people that you've brought together to get involved with and that's a very, very powerful and I'm not saying that you're manipulating people you're not manipulating them at all you just making this you're just keeping your putting other people first and that's what it really comes down to so if you put other people first and you get them involved that's the easiest way to gather a photo shoot and you don't need any money to do it all right so let me give you guys a case that I just released a game of thrones short film fan film it's called a tale of vengeance dark the six minute short film on dh was a massive production definitely one of the biggest that I've ever done andi what it didn't involve what we had fourteen zombies to horses, one of which was a zombie horse costumes, special effects makeup ah a photo video crew postproduction voice voice actor assistance catering behind scenes so we had a massive crew people they're over fifty to sixty people that were involved entire project and it all took place with no money not a single person got out of that was paid myself in a couple of other companies put a little bit of money and why? Because we thought it I mean offering coffee in the morning, offering people breakfast, paying for lunch, you know that was within our means it was a couple hundred dollars per per group of her group of, you know, companies so myself as a company, for example, or the location themselves, they provided the free place for us to stay. So all of these, like everybody pitched in basically what they could to make up artists about their own make up the special effects people about their own special effects, the camera crews brought their own equipment, we were missing some cameras, we pulled some favors get other people involved, you know? What are you looking for? You're looking for visibility, all right? We can we can do something. This is going to be great for everybody because we have such a good team together that we're going to be offering a great visibility. We're going to be able to pull something really strong together and then because because it's a group project because you sit down you're like, you know what? Rather than have a horse, why don't we make it into a zombie horse? You know, special effects kind of goes like, wow, that's going to cost us an extra three hundred dollars? Yeah, but the production value is going to be amazing. Can you imagine the zombie horse and the lynch just kind of like rearing up. It would look fantastic. All right, all right. We'll do it. You know, that's that's kind of what it comes down to right on by you. Never. You don't force people. People want to do it. People working with you together. So when you, when we have our our our work schedule, our shoot schedule was absolutely nuts. We start at five a, m there's, nobody running around waking people up. But we just said five game is called time guys, be nice for you guys ought to be awake by five fifteen people to start trickling down you know, shooting six o'clock start setting up a set seven o'clock we're shooting, we're shooting until six p m people take lunch makes whenever they can there was no schedule. We only had two and a half days to shoot, you know, everybody's here on their own time, they can't stay much longer at six pm we come back, we have a quick dinner. All right, everybody who want who is able to anybody who want to take photos, get all your makeup back on, we're going to we're going to put all of the equipment on a sled to go through to, you know, knee deep snow need a waist deep snow dragon across the sled go across the mountain up to the hill. We're going to take pictures until midnight they're going to come and people came and the next morning have to start at five a m again and people woke up. Why? Because they're all there because they wanted to be part of this thing only, you know, it was it was part of being something greater, the models that we found for the most part, the zombies, their larger is meaning they they like to dress up in medieval costumes, so you know, this was the first time that they're awesome this was going to be captured on screen for the world to see so you know, of course they wanted to be part of this of course they wanted to be there and you know be a part of this so no, these were kind of some stills that we ended up taking we did these massive fight scenes out of you know, hours of sleep but some very motivated people with some very very high production value we have a nice decapitated head we have decapitations we had pyrotechnics and we had special snow effects that I achieved by taking a ball of snow in my hand hitting it knowing so little things like that and just making the magic happen you're gathering all these people together what happens you need to deliver really really cool result at the end so I actually have it um all right yeah this is this is a full team of people so we had a massive group of people you can see he was in the middle of winter. It was february on dh this's the show some value finally the video six minutes long I really would like to get checked it out like this absolutely phenomenal way had a really, really strong on it was supposed to be released in june which didn't happen but product still came together we actually delayed it we had we had the opportunity to really sit over at comic con so we premiered it just sunday right before coming here and we put the video up live on wednesday so that was a huge thing for us for very very excited so that was our project with some bees and everything and it all just came together and you know what if you take these same principles this just happens to be one you know, I took all the principles of photography and applied it to a video project which for all intents and purposes is infinitely more complicated to do but you can just take this and apply to any other product that you're doing on dh and really what it comes down to if you want something bad enough, nothing can stop you if the people around you want the same thing that you do then suddenly that awesome energy all gets concentrated in one place and then the project just clothes and even if you encounter an obstacle you just run over it and keep going and on really that's what's about so when you're kind of getting tired and not too sure if you can do it dude over there is running faster than you, you know you push you push forward, everyone does what they can and it doesn't matter what you're doing this is a little crew of people we did something called the nikon symphony asking that kind of you would lend us thirteen cameras to compose a little sound track out of it they said sure um uh doesn't matter where you are? This was over in belgium in an abbey with same my favorite pyrotechnician andre does in the same another abandoned location using the urban explorer that I used from the retest her shot tomorrow and this time around he wanted to do some capital era people in the middle of an abbey so we ask for permission they said yeah, you can come in the day uh daytime we can't really do fire effects it looks really, really you know, it's really tough to do I will try anyways so that behind the scenes videos coming out in a couple weeks on dh it doesn't matter like none of those things matter those are just details and if you can find people that believe in you, if you can find people that trust in something and they want it just as bad as you then then then it becomes that much easier. So this is a picture that I think especially nothing the picture itself is quite terrible resolution wise, but this was shot in the six hundred year old tavern in my workshop over in london, the guy that organized that merkel over trying to create he he actually really, really, really wanted me to come to london so bad that he was ready to fly to me when I was over in paris and just have a coffee too tend to the possibility of me coming over and I said, oh I don't bother I'm actually going to go to london and like three days so you know what? Why don't we just meet there sat down coffee went really good he said you know what would you be willing to do work shot I'm like yeah but workshops you know, the work that I do are quite complicated it's very work heavy you know I want big teams like having a lot of people here just tell me what you want we'll make it happen so we got three models we make a part of us we got three makeup artist three her style is three designers nine models in a six hundred year old tavern and he pulled it together in a couple of months so you know, on this is because he really wanted it so anytime he would send you something I'd be like trivia models he went back worked on it he got it working again and is this ok? Yes let's go and that's how it came together. So it's I'm really you know, people that believe in you just help you out on dh that that is built that is something that is built because if you can prove that you can always constantly deliver that it's not even about the photos about the experience you want everyone to have fun on the set so if you haven't at the team, all you need is to not screw up, you know, don't screw up and that the nazi group is very important, that doesn't mean, like, be scared of failure, it just means that you don't want, you know, like don't treat people as drinks, you know, make sure they have a good time of, you know, they make sure at the end of day, they have photos that you promised them if for whatever reason, you couldn't do it, for example, I've done shoot before, where I had to light a guy on fire, and for some reason he wouldn't light up. We didn't have the right fluid, the pyrotechnician didn't have the right stuff so he wouldn't burn properly at the end of the day. What did I do? I still deliver the pictures, I edited some fire into it, and I said, thanks for being a part of the project took the time at the pictures, you know, I'm never going to put these in my portfolio, but I wanted to thank you for being a part of this year it is right? Um don't screw up you don't you don't try this on clients, I did this guy write to me and he's like, then I followed your tutorial on how to shoot fire but I wanted to try something a little bit different on I was working with this really, really high end clients on guy tried a new effect, and it just didn't work. What did I do wrong and like, why you trying a new effect that you've never attempted before on a client that is really high profile? I mean, it's just it's, not the right thing. Do you have a time to try things out? If you're not too sure if you're gonna be able to pull it off to say, I have this new thing, I read it about internet, I'm going to try it out, no guarantees I'll take some pictures, some safety shots just for you, but we're gonna try something at the same time. That's what I mean by don't screw up, you know, it's good to feel it's good to screw up and learn from it and grow. I had an experience where on one of my shoots, I was working with a hair stylist that got really, really pissed off and why? Because we didn't have coffee at the shoot, so he felt completely disrespected by the fact that there was nothing. There is nothing to bite there's nothing in the middle of a studio shoot, which apparently was really commonplace, and this was two, three years ago, and I didn't know that so that's that that photo shoot went completely over I'm gonna have to explain to the model isn't say sorry you know what? I'm sorry the chute didn't work out you know I didn't you know it's not not under my control but you know if you want we're going to something in the future I'll be sure you know we'll do something again on my time and since then well no I bring confidently shoot so there's something positive that comes out of it these failures lead to experience that improve the value of your production at the end of the day if you can learn from these little things that are hopefully not critical you don't want to screw up anything too big and that's where practice comes in practice practice practice things get better good so any questions here audience I do I think he needed I have like you have a girl yes you do have a very positive outlook and I like that you make it seem like everything is very easy. However, um I guess looking towards some of the negatives like when we're looking for things that we want to correct, you have a lot of experience what are some of the hardest things that you've had to go through that we might want tio learn now are there any like what's the hardest part of setting whether shoots up that you found his early was consistently difficult thing. The hardest part is the first project that you try to do so let's say every single time for now, you always shot in studio, so now you're comfortable with studio photography on dh you want to take it out on that first, when you do it into the hardest one, why? Because you're gonna approach your modeling like I'd like to go outside, they'll say, can I see what you've done? I haven't done it before, so that first step is really hard. I think people sometimes it's stuff on that because because they feel a little bit heartless if somebody is not really good at grabbing more than one model, same thing they've never tried before, so that first step is really, really hard. The minute you get the ball rolling, you've done it once, okay? I know what I need to improve this time I'm going to try to get going, push it a little bit further pushing another thing that I think is a little bit hard is that to deal with the rejection because, you know, there are people that just won't reply to you, you're right, the nicest email in your opinion, you've done the best, we push something for the best you can, and it just didn't actually go through so dealing with rejection is a little bit tough but it gets better as you go on you realize like oh, you know what? Maybe they just didn't see the you know where they read it you're too busy try again later and sometimes these things just come around just need to wait for that happen, you know? And then I guess the last tip that I can offer is don't just launch one project you know don't approach one person have all your time and effort centered on one project start two three four of them if one falls okay, I got three more another follows okay, I'm going to take that piece that I you know, the model it couldn't do it but that makeup artist is really cool I'm gonna take her I mean we're in this project and you kind of recycle the elements and then just start getting that together so the thing is it's really easy to build upon success it's really hard to you know get stuck on failure if you spend three months and nothing goes forward that's very demoralizing that's hard to accept but if you just launched ten projects reform a lot of pieces you still have seven more to go so it's a lot easier I'm going to move forward just a little bit and then we'll come to some questions over there I could only thirty minutes what is photoshopped? I think this is something that a lot of people get really, really caught up on, people say, well, your work looks like absolute compass it's so what I've done today is I've actually taken a bunch of deconstructions I just kind of fast, you know, before and afters and explain what photo shop is to me, I mean, photo shop is a tool, I think that's what you have to look at it, I work, I had to bring it down thirty percent production, thirty percent shoot thirty percent post production every part is a part of the equation you can't do without one, I think a lot of people, the purists let's say probably you're just like, well, I don't actually want to bother howto learn it, so I'm just going to say, I'm never going to do it, that happens a lot. So for me, my my prerogative, is to deliver a final image that's awesome! I don't care how I did just the final result has to be great, and I'm going to do whatever it takes. I'm going to learn every little bits and piece on the way, whatever it takes so photoshopped to like any other one thing I do to enhance images, so this was an image that we shot nikon d four suspended on a kessler crane over the water I was looking at a monitor and I can monitor and I had black light suspended over the water we had these three people trying not to drown looking awesome with their mouth open that's how we take the shot what do you doing? Photo shop where you just take that image and you clean it you brighten the center I can't I don't have control over the black lives town of control over the intensities so I just taken image and I make it better write it starts with a good image and try to make it better cleaning shots up this is a shot that I took it the national slovak theater we have two amazing dancers in a really cool position but there's the black in the background it's really, really distracting to make cuts the image in half and we didn't have enough black tarp to cover it so we do but finish up come save me were clean up the bottom you noticed that I the smoke the light cup has it just it was a little bit too bright on the left eye gets attracted over their balance image out the ice starts now on the other side this is what makes the image stronger now there's another reason why do you push up to for this story thiss over here from the game of thrones street we have a nice image of a dude looking really gross charging at the camera that's no effect from camera taking a balls of snow we had three people talking snow three to one toss no hit it hit the back now we have an explosion of snow put a light in the background everything's well, it looks cool, but the zombies are supposed to have white ice. So what do you do? You know, fix it up that those eyes nice. And palin this suddenly it kind of looks more zombie like. Maybe you prefer the image without it, but this was required for the story, but the story tweaking an image here we have that shipwreck image I showed you before. What do you see happening from before? And after what you see happening from before and after a couple of things it's. A lot of a lot of little details for one. The red of our lantern is to read over here on the left there's their streaks of water that air coming in from the wrong direction. Her hand is standing out too much. The poor octopus has an amputated leg, so with photo shop you can you can fix all of these little things, these little details and the image goes from being nice to becoming just a little bit, you know, like cleaned, almost perfect and that's what I really like about commercial work. I'm someone like eric. Hamas has great super clean work and that's what I'm trying to emulate here and there. Um, polishing images of this comes down again cleaning an image of disney concert hall. Looks nice and futuristic, but the floor is really, really crappy. I limited equipment. So what we use with a white t shirt as a diffuser to create a soft bucks, um, and the sunlight in the background is what creates the orange glow. So what do we do? Clean the image on the nice polish drowns. Everything looks almost space like you take an image. That's. Nice. You make it nicer, right? Adding magic ten image and this is this is maybe a little bit more of the photos of complete compass it's happened right now we have a shot at this guy jumping there's a ladder. You know how it's done it's boring. You see a ladder to get rid of the letter at some flying objects and suddenly you have an image that just becomes magical, right? Taken image that's cool, make it even better, we had no equipment this is all from the top natural light adding drama to an image what do you do well this is me spitting fire the purpose was to showcase the henna but you know the fire balls a little bit whiskey it doesn't take up the full screen we have a flying torch that I was trying to toss and coordinate and there's some great spots on my chest what do you do nobody knows now the fireball looks awesome it's bigger there's no torch flying it just it looks a lot more epic right so adding drama just little little tweaks and then you take an image from good and just finalized polish it and that's what photoshopped should be used for these little details good fixing mistakes I think I think this is the one that you really don't you don't want to end up in this situation this was this actually one of the shots from the belgian abbey shoot with cap where a good answer is you'll see one of my assistance very discreetly hiding next to the pillar in the back he's in the way he shouldn't be there there little bits of fire that bled onto the shot from the bottom from the guy actually doing this swing even though he was dressed in black what'd you do get rid of that except perspective make the image clean all right there's a little tale thing that's hanging between the dude's legs that's part of the costume but it just looks a little bit awkward in this case so getting rid of that right? So fixing mistakes um you don't want to rely on it for photo shop you can fix it in person do it in person get your system get out the way he's watching but yeah that's exactly what happened so that I think is what photo shop but it comes down to don't think about it too much it's just another tool for the job if you know what you're looking to achieve it's just a process and all you need to do is learn how to do it it's very, very, very simple it's practice not that one probably not the answer you want to hear but that's the right answer it's just practice so the purpose of these just right now I kind of wanted to start reconstructing some images with the amount of time I have left on dh the purpose of these these deconstructions this kind of just to show you guys that you don't really need that much you just need the idea the idea is clear then things can slowly magically start coming back together you just need to know what you want s o the idea is not to teach you how to use photoshopped the idea is to teach you what to look for anything that's something that's very, very often overlooked because you can find any technique on the internet how to light it's on fire. How to make a person disappear, how to make a person float, how to make a person look beautiful, how to make a person look older? I mean, you can do anything on youtube and they're all free. So when you have the idea all you need to search for it and then practices and then you know that you have you slowly develop your stuff because you slowly practiced things that you like to do. Right? So I want to show you guys a couple of things. What it looks like when it works. What it looks like when it doesn't. Andi, I got I got four deconstructions here for you guys. The first concept camera. Um uh, it's going to be a shot where you start with the cool image it's lit for the purpose of the concept. And then it's finalized in post production. You push it as far as you can in camera and you develop it from there. Second, building a compass it everyone to see the compass, it part of things. Break it down. Show show what happens when the compass it is done properly. Two simple rules to follow and a deconstruction on if you apply those to rules and all of your imagery. The result will be a lot stronger and and I get there I think it's to really, really simple things and I think you'll like it very, very much on the last is what you do when you screw up on dh what it looks like what it means for me on dh why you shouldn't do it if you need a reason not to screw up so the first image over here it's my friend john brooke the same girl from the shipwreck concept the concept was simple this was taken in the same shipwreck concepts but now she was shipwrecks was lying down what would it look like if she got up? I had my technique I still have my nice neutra density filter ah but I didn't want it to look completely blurry on the bottom, so I just kind of drag a little bit a little bit of emotion she was already wet great all she had to do was stand in the water for a couple more minutes longer, freeze for a little bit more and then lift the lantern up so he brought the lantern as a prop because it was a shipwreck concept but my lantern obviously doesn't light up this is also shot in the middle of the day, so we combined a couple wade combined some off camera lighting to pull off the effect you density fielder to drop down the ambient light right so camera settings everyone always gets caught up on camera things I put them there just to show great d eight hundred twenty four seventy set your camera one eighth of a second of six point three I so fifty I guarantee you're not going to get the shot, but you can try setting the camera things that they mean nothing. Those camera settings are absolutely useless I don't know why people want to see them really the camera settings were there because the shot has to look a certain way it doesn't matter the shot was shot at five point six or one sixteenth of a second or so two hundred everything kind of shifted up the shot would be tweaks, but why do you want to change it? What you're trying to look for the shutter speed is important because you want to know how blurry do you want the ways to be? You know, the the aperture is important because you want to know how deep, how much? How much of the field do you want or what power settings can you push based on your flash? You know I so same thing like how hello, how high do you want to go these these? These are the things you need to think about, not what camera settings that use it's not going to make a difference in your life three stop in the filter and that I think is the reason I managed to make my my cloudy day my overcast in the middle that they go from you know nice and bright too doctor so what is the camera settings? The light instead of letting says I think are a little bit more exciting why? Because you can understand a little bit the flow right simple tip one simple tip over here if you get your model to look at the light source usually it looks quite nice on the face because it's going the light is going to wrap around the person's face is going to come naturally their face is going to be well lit you really don't know what to do look at the light and take the shot even works with some hard lights you usually want to go for something bigger, something softer so my case adam one simple light up the box very helpful assistant holding it on the other side had a cto joe I had I had an extra guy he wasn't really under water this is for dramatic effect but we had him booming weighed in booming the light over put put it put an orange gel over why? Because I knew that I was going to be lighting my landesman in post production so what does this look like actually before? Because that's probably living were actually looks like this so you see, we have an image that already started off quite nice and really all we did was enhanced we added the magic back into it, but it was there for purpose. If I didn't have a cto, what would I have done? I would have shot it without a cto and I would have just colored it in post production. Um, I used what I had available happens have a cto used it, make use of it. So what does this kind of look like on a level by level construction? Well, this is the original you start off your nice image, a little bit of an orange cast sky's nice and dark in the background, so nothing is overexposed shots probably exposed a little bit of movement in the ways we're all happy, but there's some things that don't work out, I don't really have a proper workflow. This is not a good thing. Someone had to take my file and edit from there. They would probably want to kill me, but I tend to like the instant gratification part of things. So, like, I really wanted to see how my landing look if I lit it up so I lit it up, how do you do it? Radio glow using radio glow and some curves makes your hands from light up you keep it, you'll find it from there I was like, ok, well, let's, let's start by fixing a little bit the waistline because her address was heavy, it was drawing it down, I was reading shape in for in the body. I don't know, I kind of tweaked the bottom there. I wanted that wave to look a tiny little bit bigger too from there the next step well, I wanted to add some color into the image because, you know, it didn't quite have thie impact darken the sky a little bit at a little bit more blue because I thought the blue and the red, the blue and the orange would go really well together so dark in this guy I mean from there I started adding rain. I was like, you know what? This is a pretty picture it's nice, but if it was raining, it would have a little bit nice serve if you'll hurt entire dress was wet. I wanted a little bit of fantasy into it. The luncheon was really lit why not add some rain so it's like a rain brush from deven art by a girl the name of a more fists with like four s is I think if you're curious but you can just type rain, brush their hold on just home with your resources online and then from there, color tweaks tweaking the colors, just refining the colors, making sure that on the edges we also have the entire side of her body. That's well, it's, just like just like a lantern should be doing. Make sure that all that works and then I ended up here and I looked at the image that's really good. It looks pretty pretty, pretty final, but there was one thing that was bothering me. Her hand looks like it's going on extra piece of risk because the dress was a little bit too long. So what did I do? Well, I just shortened her hand certain terrorists because we didn't do the proper job of fixing that up, so fixing mistakes step and that's that's it there's nothing more fancy than that. You started with the concept, got it right in camera and finished it in post production. Another shot um the agonist this's nice epic fight scene completely impossible to achieve in real life or if we did, we'd probably take a lot of time and have a lot of injuries. So the only choice saluting composite. So what does that mean? Your cameras on a tripod, it's not moving on dh your people are moving around it environment ideally, you keep it as close as possible to what it's supposed to be from there so my camera settings again nikon d seven hundred fourteen twenty four one two fifty five seconds five six and I saw one hundred I saw one hundred louis I so I could get to one to fifty the second fastest thing speed kill the ambient light that's the only reason those are the reason the only thing you need to remember is I killed the ambient light with it that's how you achieve it so was look like well, this is a quick video of every single shot that was taken right? We just had them jumping around really was quite ridiculous but the final result was worth taking the time this is this is a lighting set up and this is probably the part where you look and you're like whoa man, what are you doing? And you know it looks complicated but in reality each thing kind of the reason I had three and four hours to set up the lights so I was really you know, I just started setting things up and I really, really took my time because I had so much time so I made sure that my lights look good the first time around and this's the image that we started from so it's really, really close to what we wanted so you go back over here that's a little green jill in the center right behind the door that green adds a lot of nice balance of image the blue chips the blue comes from the two lights in the back there's a flag over on the right side to make sure that it didn't light up the wall because there's a wall in the right no one on the left we had a smoke machine it kind of lit a little little bit really really low power just to add a little bit of atmosphere we had some blue gels over some blue speed lights blue gel to be light on the floor level why if you look closely the reflections of the wheel the feet the shadows on the bottom so on the first plane kept that same blue tone too so that background in the foreground both matched and then after that we just had to like our characters up so we just had those there's three flashes two on the side for edge lighting making them pop out of the background just a little bit very very standard and as well as have a light in the front like them up so if you break it down that way everything has a reason you want your subjects to be well it how do you want them to be lit? Well, you want them to pop out of the background how do you talk about the background had to edge lights right now they're popping out of the background. How do you want to put them out? You need to like them up in the front too, because you don't want them to look like, you know, super evil. So you just stop, stop big light in the front at that inn now you're like, ok, well, you know, I want, like, the background, what I do, you know, put two lights up, get them a little bit late from the back, like the entire environment up, and I'm just gonna put two lights up there, you know, it's very, very logical and it's just I could have tossed on the purple first and said, no, I don't like the purple take the purple down, put up blue. Oh, that looks better. Let's do that, right? So how does it work past the lighting setup? The lighting setup? Very logical. Take what you want a light and light it. Take out the lights you don't like this is trying to trial whenever three, two, one go three, two, one go! You take this beautiful position and we're done. We moved on for the next shot. The next shot that we saw, I wanted the girl to be hit with a shovel shovel on dh I know it looks like his leg is actually sinking into the so friends being eaten up, it was actually like that so his foot got so far so at the end we had to do was add him back in very simple right? He was in position sofas and move this was this is the easy part. The next character was a little bit tougher because we didn't really know where to put him initially I wanted him to be on the second level just a little bit higher that's why? She looked at a little animation and he was at one point holding a barrel of high, but it didn't really work. He looks too small I didn't really fit the composition, so eventually moved them back down the promise every time he jumped, he started moving things around. So you notice that there's only supposed to be to fire hydrants, but at the end of the there now three but nobody knows that doesn't really matter. Three fire hydrants, but we have our characters, so you have this shot over here? This shot looks actually quite nice, but it's missing that little that little bit of extra right and that's? Why I said, well, why don't we just toss in a little explosion in the back? So how do we do that we took to fluorescent light tubes? Mashing together and then you know, we had these beautiful shards that were just sprinkling everywhere by the way that's was tries at home we're professionals on this is dangerous so this is how you achieve that effect and then after that you just added back in at the bits and pieces that work that ad the magic to the image and then you have that shot and then from there it's like, ok, well, we just need a balance it out let's add a little bit more color into it darkening a little bit of sharpening a little bit of tweeting and then the image is completely right so well it's a good concept pushing the concept further finalizing the image that's that's the way a company is supposed to work, I'll show you what happens in a compass that doesn't work the next one actually is probably a shot that you guys all probably want to see the underwater room the's are some amazing amazing group of people that I met you should totally check them out the underwater realm I found them completely randomly on the internet. They launched a hundred thousand dollars kickstarter campaign and they wanted to do a series of five short films underwater and it's never been attempted before. It's usually done in siege I or it's not done for very many segments is just james bond falling into the car falls into the water to get that you know there's not very many scenes but they wanted through the entire film underwater so they invented a bunch of new technologies to make this possible and there in the field group and he wanted to turn two words kick started to help it out so I saw this problem is like I want to be involved so I sent them an email and they said sure we'd love to have you on board but you're in montreal and we're in london okay keep it in mind keep it in mind eight months later I was actually putting together my own kickstarter project to tour through europe and shoot inspiring people inspirational people that were living their dreams and doing cool things. I reached out to them and said, hey guys, I'm passing through europe would you like to do something so that link that random email I sent eight months before suddenly became something an actual reality so we put this thing together I asked them if they needed anything they said well because it would be really, really cool to have this behind the scenes shot of the crew at work illustrating them at work making this production that's exactly what we did they had their first underwater tests all the costumes on the water meaning that you know the hair had to float nicely underwater, which means that the hair didn't have to look good on the surface so everything has to be done. How were the clothes going to flow? How were the people going to swim in them? How long we're going to be able to hold their breath? All these things had to be developed and lights those lights go underwater, they develop them themselves they designed them they built from scratch it's an amazing group of people and all with it like state similar like what I did accept this guy did it for two years and he's you know younger than me my age they reynolds amazing amusing guy the videographer that they got was actually he does he just stuff for the bbc he has a red epic housing that goes underwater and that guy really wanted to participate in it for free because it was you know, it's a good good project to be a part of so why does this image work? Well, this image works for me because it's got some very, very strong triangles in it we have the black on the edge pointing inwards to the image. No, they create an arrow in the center. We have a triangle so from the outside in your eye gets drawn in that's where all the action's happening brilliance and then from there this is what the original looks like so you'll see the urgent was a lot messier a lot of the elements were still there. We still start sunk everybody. You got a couple complications when you shoot underwater. One it acts as a big red filter heats up all the red light. It's problem. Teo, you can't talk to people three, they can't breathe, so, you know, it takes a lot of effort to get people in the right place, so we couldn't get it all right in one shot. It wasn't gonna happen, but the time we had available, so you made it happen way worked with it, and we still you built it back up. So would it have to do what I have to get all the characters and put them in the right places? So the reason these people have been placed in this specific positions because compositionally it made sense and that's, something you need to keep track of when you're putting a compass it why is that person going there? Not just because they have to be there, because they help the image to be there. Well, you see this this image is still not strong, not strong enough. Why? Because the brightness is kind of scattered across the image. All right, so if you take center of the image, where do you want the guy to go and make it brighter? And keep the edges a little bit darker than the image starts have flow and you give by mention to your image and then from there you add color the eye goes to the parts that are brightest but they also go to the parts that are the most colorful so you color the center and that's how you finalize the image now that now the image is complete so if you could take those two principles the's saturate edges darkened edges keep the center brighter or whatever it happens he doesn't have to be the center has to be the part that makes sense or you want the eye to look in your shot gets better if you want on def you add color in the right places meaning where you want the guy to go to is brighter more colorful and the edges a little bit darker in your shelter becomes stronger so keep that in mind really makes a huge difference in the final result so last thing what happens when you screw up this shot is a screw up and it's a screw up for a couple reasons one because the final result is still messy yes it's a big yes that's fun there's a lot of people is very very medieval and all that but it's still a messy shot I personally am not a huge fan of things that look too surreal so now the little glows they have a reason behind them I thought they would look good a cz characters characters in a video game we usually glow so the story is the story made sense but the final result is still a very very busy shot but this is after fifty hours of work so what did the original image looks like? The original image actually my camera settings for anyone who cares it was actually exposed for the ambient light and then the reason I met I so four hundred is because I had some fancy pro photo lights running on battery power because the medieval in didn't have any power outlets and I didn't want to drink them too fast so that's the reason for the iast four hundred that's the only thing you need to remember their further on dh um fancy per photo light so fancy pro photo lights there's a fun story to that is because I was really, really excited I wanted teo I pitch this project to my local camera story liz oh and I said hey guys would you be willing to lend me some lights from pro photos never use them before and see I was using white landings at the time so you know, I was like cool and I got some really really cool lights I got my good camera I got really really cool group of people but at the end of the day I was using equipment that I wasn't familiar with on dh was shooting conditions that were actually quite tough with a very large number of people they're all collaborative base and I didn't have my concept completely ironed out so at the end of the day I had all of the pieces that were there but I didn't have I didn't apply it properly so that's something to keep you know you'll be worry of it doesn't matter that you have the best flashes or the right people if the end of the day if I didn't pull it together didn't work. So what does it actually looked like before there's actual what it looks like before so you can see it's way worse it actually looks absolutely crappy because you have no idea what's going on it just looks like a tavern brawl and you know the site, the sides and the back then the brightest spot is behind the guy with the axe over over on the left side and it looks like crap quite simply because you can't read the image and this was this was after a good thirty minutes of tweaking them, putting them in different positions and trying to make it work with what I had but it still wasn't enough I did I did the lighting set up what was going on in my mind was saying, well, I want to kind of create a little spotlight effect center of the images the brightest part most important like that, like them up from above at a second soft bucks because I only had a soft bucks as phil light and then after that, we'll to make them pop out of the back and just a little bit more out of much of the lights in the back to make them pop out. It didn't really end up working out. I mean, at the end of the day, the shots still completely messy, I did make them pop out of the background, but now became too bright, but I didn't have time to tweet had fifty people waiting after me. Like I said, you want to offer a good experience now, everybody's participated. I've shot this image, they need a final result because why don't screw up, make sure that you deliver at the end of the day a good picture that everyone can be happy for, right? So, um, I had originally planned on adding to people in jumping, so I did shoot them, calm positive them back in, so I had my circle of outside people with my core heroes of inside people that was the idea, right? It flows makes sense, but then applying the two tips that I mentioned, making the parts that are in port, unimportant darker, this suddenly now becomes a tiny bit more readable. A very, very simple all I did was dark and all the parts that weren't important, right? And then from there I had to kind of complete the image I had to fill the gaps over here on the bottom there's a there's, a there's, a big hole, my ninja there's, a big hole in the center of the image. You know, in the back corner there was a big hole in the image. So what do you do? You have to add the people back in, so the flow of the image makes sense and that's achieved by simply bringing and putting people back where they're supposed to be right from that point forward well, adding the contrasts now every now things a little bit more readable because the center is brighter, the outside is darker, but what about color? You add color back in now soon the the guys in the center are a little bit redder, their little that lower the living greener, so they works just a little bit better, you know it doesn't save the image, but it works just a little bit better, so I achieved this result on dh after that it was about well, I better add something give it a little bit more magical of a field is fantastical anyways, so let me fix it so this this is fifty hours of work on but it was a lot of work I didn't know what I was doing this is what my layers look like there are a lot of layers I had a good time taking screenshots of these so yeah that's what happens when you screw up so don't screw up it's not just photo shop it's not just saying well you know what? I'm going to figure all this out really it came down to me seeing some things didn't work I'm going to have to fix them now why? Because I promised that I would deliver good pictures I'm gonna work on my pictures and make sure that they have them so that's pretty much that's pretty much what I wanted to say you'll notice I didn't really talk about the shooting much on dh that's because the shooting process is probably the easiest part what it comes down to is that you just need to practice all the information is out there if you just get out there and shoot you going to improve I don't think I mentioned this I'm completely self taught used to be an engineer I quit my job last year this is a result of lots of weekends lots of nights not a lot of sleep on constantly pushing and trying to create things that are better that are bigger that are more exciting and that's that's what's important for me is to create images like these things that make people dream things that inspire and I share this I'd like to teach this I have that's why how my block every week I put all that behind the scenes video and it shows how we did it the vengeance dark thing I explained how we did it how did we like head on fire how do we cut it off? How did I cheat the snow effect I share these because uh chased arvis co founder of creative life he started doing it that's why I'm here today because people on the internet shared how to do this now I can give back in return so it's very important to me at the same time has explained these things to you I understand which images work and which ones don't and why I did something so I have to think about it so these are very, very important processes so I think I'm up pretty much done here I don't I don't know if we have any time for questions I wanted to thank triple scoop music for that very dramatic piece that I was really working hard on that he's going to work out but the trip was good music thank you for that nice dramatic song actually used their music pretty much all over the place on my behind the scenes videos I always like to credit them on there we go we don't have that much time. I don't do we have any time for questions? Maybe one question if everyone question yes. So for all those who don't get the chance to answer questions for you have to tweet at three of live on dh what was the was actually tweet to your twitter handle, which is the long, long and include the hashtag photo week live, and then that from there, you'll answer those questions and put it in a bonus video race those yeah, so that was for the questions. If you want to see me back here on creative life sweet, creative, live and save more than one and I'll come back, I'll gladly do something constructions live in front of you. There was not that much time. I just try to put in a much information as possible guys, so I hope it was entertaining. I'm on facebook on youtube, twitter and basic just google me and so thank you, we have time for one question. Perfect. I would ask a question from dave chi piper, a fashion photographer over in the u k he would love to know who you would love to have on your perfect creative team, what goes into that? I am in the process of building my perfect creative team on I actually I'm a one man team for the most part because I travel six months of the year and I haven't been able to find somebody who one can keep up with me and to who I don't know it's so complicated to build a team and I don't think it's about names I think it's about chemistry it's about having the same goals and having the same direction it's something I haven't taken much time to invest and I build temporary teams everywhere I go every time I land somewhere nam instead of I have a settled bond long in seattle and it just gather people any I need something andi just say guys come shoot I want to do something creative I land in london I have a group there on one in the u k so I have a group pretty much for every city I've ever visited on that's how you build my temporary things but I don't have a full team but if you want to work together if you want to be part of a team or something send me a message I'm super accessible I answer my emails answer my facebook um have a newsletter um with cool content so yes and me a message I actually even internship little tablet thing, but I'm looking for somebody in montreal much help people awesome. I think we're probably going to break your email. Now with that message there, we'll avenge minute. This has been an awesome class, so many people are inspired. Can't wait to have you back. Hopefully someday soon, everyone just join me in giving infringement a great global creative, live a plot theme.

Class Description

In today’s world of digital photography, it’s all about having the perfect flow — from setup, to shooting, all the way into to post-production.

Join Ben Von Wong for this workshop on building epic collaborations, simplifying your approach to lighting, and taking your imagery to the next level — all by following just a few simple rules of post-production.



Positive, inspiring and energetic.

a Creativelive Student

Great energy indeed; and exitingly creative! Love to see him back.