The Art of Post Production: Stills Part 2
Same thing I'm going to start just narrowing through the photos I'm gonna give them star yes stars so again I'm even his bligh's in the background or jordan's in the background trying to just get the boat in the right position I'm just trying to get a feel for the light I see instantly that there's a soft box reflection on this glasses that's not gonna work I think he dipped his hat there so we lose the reflection but I didn't like it so I hate jim what's actually let's lose your sunglasses, sunglasses go down there's some obvious issues with this frame that are going on that we're gonna have to deal with. There was nowhere to tie the boat off for the kayak off on the docks. So we put a twenty five pound weight right there on the dock and the rationale is that's pretty easy to remove that weight later. I mean there's always a starting point in a portrait. Don't be frustrated as you start making the picture, you know, it's jim's doing exactly what I asked you. Hey, jim, can you grab you...
r paddle? You know, put your hand on your hip and it's it sort of works but it's about evolving the shot, so, you know, jim was looking at me and try more serious both hands on the paddle I don't think these are the most flattering pictures I mean the elements are there you know gyms in the photograph and you see the kayak in the background but it's not quite what we're looking for that that feels a little better and that you guys were there you heard me asking jim hey how would you hang out like if you were going to stand here and have a conversation with me standing on the dock what would you be doing and that ninety percent of the time that leads to some of the best pictures because it's really authentic it's what they do and so it's having that dialogue it's the same thing that we talked about this morning with the interview it's the more comfortable like that the report that I developed with jim during an interview or reading voice over we're doing this portrait the more comfortable he gets like his posture will change he's a pro he knows to be knows how to be in front of a camera he does this a lot he's on television but it's still you've gotta individually build that report with your subject whether that's the still portion of your chute or whether it's the video portion of your shoot you know obviously I noticed that like someone's foot is in the corner I can see a light stand in the corner but you know you guys understand that's pretty quick to remove in the ideal world so so these air ok? And I think the smiling is good, but, you know, that's actually kind of a nice frame now, I think I switched from the fifty millimeter lens, I felt pretty constrained, it was too tight, so I went to a twenty four to seventy so that I could really shoot a little bit looser, knowing that if I started shooting loose or, you know, we're gonna end up having to remove some stuff in the upper right hand corner of the frame in this a tight spot for doing this shoot, but so I go to the twenty four to seventy, and I'm probably in that thirty five millimeter range here as I'm shooting it's, starting to fuel better in terms of just how tight the frame is. And then jim actually tells me says, you know, usually I'm not, like, smiling and these photos, like I do this serious look better and instantly when he goes to that serious look here, it starts to feel better. Obviously his eyes are covered by the half, okay goes back to smile, it that's pretty good smile that actually feels pretty fun feels pretty authentic, you know, that's pretty nice that's pretty good and that all of a sudden that change in posture when he moved his body direction and I think jordan increased the light out of that pack behind jim so just a little more room what makes you believe the sun is actually coming from that left side so I like that I'm gonna tag that frame it's pretty nice I don't like the days elbows cropped out of the frame it could cause a problem later kind of like that it's a little awkward that it looks like the boats like sticking into his back you know, I wish there was a little more separation between jim and the background obviously that little thing floating in the water we're gonna have to get rid of that's kind of a nice moment and I like that there's just almost some separation we probably chief this we could create a little separation between jim and the boat right now and I managed to buy a lot hide the weight behind his back I mean bligh's like voting for this image she's like yeah it's pretty much done like I don't have to do anything to this photograph so let's give that three stars just sweet identify it see that little subtle movement I moved the camera just ever so slightly and behind his hat boom appears the little floating thing in the river on the other hand now there's great separation between this elbow and the boat so that's kind of nice that's really nice, totally different posture you know wait showing a little bit but I really like that posture you know hands both under the pft looking right at camera I wish I would have given a little more room on the left side feels pretty left justified and you're not sure where he's looking but it could work if ad copy went in on the upper right bottom of the frame with a tag that with one store that's kind of nice I like that I'm kind of getting looser focused that's an out of focus frame that might be the first time in my career hallway count now um who knows what I was doing and it's okay you just shoot a lot of out of focus frames that's that's an infocus version what I like is the way that I framed him and I'm not saying this is the winner I like that he's framed in that white zone so you see the dark trees and then you see the white reflection in the background that's kind of a nice nice shot there obviously we'd have to do some cleaning up I'm gonna give that three stars looks like I double fired the strobes to see other stroke didn't fire on that one fired there didn't fire there that's kind of nice that's nice nice moment that's nice nice that's nice I really like that I mean now we're giving the image the breathing room has some space around his head he's not pushed into those trees super clean reflection we don't have anything to clean up in the background which is pretty nice give that three stars that's quite nice now here it doesn't bother me that his arm is cropped out of the photograph you know it's an intentional crop I'm never cropping right on an elbow or right on the wrist that sort of you know have intentionally it's right kind of in the middle of his arm and that's a good rule of thumb you're never going to crop right at their knees right at their way stride their elbow right at their wrist and so it kind of worked did I give that excuse that that's really nice like tilted camera a little bit filled the frame so far that might be my favorite actually and of course there's not a lot of work we need to do in terms of compositing were probably losing that weight and that's about it in terms of compositing kind of like it when he's making eye contact with me that's your loss for him okay so the question is I like the's last that's nice I think I like that tighter one more and then that's nice but he's not looking at me let's do three stories okay let's cr three stars women will decide on a single frame okay so we'll take one of these to a four star and it's okay now it's not quite as appealing yeah it's nice I like that I think that's pretty during nice and so is that okay, so here we go one or two guys so that's number two that's number one one two ok, who likes number one? Well, this is gonna be a tough one that that was that was forehands and who likes number two does well, I'm gonna take other boats all right? It's almost like a neck and neck but let's talk about this actually from the perspective of what we're gonna do work wass I don't want you guys to see kind of the greatest amount of work to me this frame was just removing the weight we're probably going to burn down maybe just a little this top edge there's not a lot open up the boat a little bit I'd love to burn jim's face down just a little bit um make it a little more contrast in maybe I should bring the shadow down on the left side of his face it's a little more dramatic a supposed to this frame that's not lipstick I'm sorry that one pretty comfortable let's actually go with the tighter frame I think we'll go with number one here, right? Okay, so I would say that the steps here we're not going to go in and recompose the frame we have a pretty nice frame to work with so we're gonna work with that full frame we're gonna open up the boat number one would say that that's probably a top priority because eric is going to call me my client and say, hey buddy, like I hired you'd actually shoot my kayak and I can't see it's camouflage in the background and you can see there is that one speck of life on the tail of the kayak and of course what we want to do is open up the entire kind not that right we just want to make sure that your eye sees that kind of in the background and like I said before, you know really slight adjustments since korea is so talented what he does that you know you can hardly see difference here I've warmed it up a touch and also pulled just a little bit out of the shadows because I thought it was touch harsh we can always come back with corey wants and and dodger burn a little bit more to make it a little more dramatic, but I like to start at the at a little more flat, so first off obviously there's big glaring wait there in the foreground and again all I've done is a dupe debated the background layer because you never want to work straight off of a background there makes it very complicated to try and go back and fix your mistakes and I'm going to go right into using the stamp, the clone stamp tool again, because, you know, luckily he's included enough doc for me that it's really easy to kind of go in, follow these linear lines that we have here and just try and match these linear lines up with the other part of the dock so that, uh, it matches the other part, something like that can quick and dirty, but, uh, someone like that is is pretty simple justice bligh's doing that one of the other things we could do, and we'll see how we do in time, you know, we didn't know if we were gonna be standing on a beach, or if we're going to be standing on a dock, you know, relative to this, this compliments of the storyboard, the other thing we could experiment with doing, actually, if we can get most of this done, would actually get rid of the doc and make it water. We could either try to reproduce water if we had a client that was dead, set on, they really wanted us on a beach, we could go into aurora photos archive for another stock agency, or if I had something in my archive and try to find a sandy beach and stick it in there, but just just in terms of the way we think that would be an option, we could make this look like we just pulled the kayak up onto a sandy beach when you're doing stills in motion simultaneously, one thing that you always need to think about it it's really protecting your client it's a conversation I have a lot with my clients is let's just say eric really wanted me to go in and actually remove the doc and we put a beach in I would actually point out to eric that, hey, people are going to wash that thirty second video spot online, and they're on. I can't remember if we show the doctor or not in the video spot for some reason, I don't think we do, but let's just say we did show the dock in the video spot there's a continuity issue and the last thing you want is the public saying, especially discriminating public fishermen, kayakers that it's in their genres there vertical it's their space. The last thing you want is to draw attention away from your product if you're the client and have folks criticizing hey, is this all b s like? How come the video spot was shot on a dock? But then the photograph, which clearly came from the same shoot there's, a sandy beach that looks like it's from the bahamas, you know, or whatever that beaches that you put in so it's something that we think about a lot, I showed you guys the polartec video the other day, and we did a lot of still in motion in the same shoot, and a few of the still photos there was, we flopped, one of the images imposed, we didn't do it, the ad agency did, and it was for a pretty core audience, and we haven't been called out on it, but I'm sure a few climbers that that's their backyard, they recognized wait a second, I'm I'm in these mountains once a week, those mountains, they go the opposite direction, but he got flopped and polartec in the agency decided this is within our threshold of comfort. We're not trying to say this, you know, we're we're trying to sell a product and make it make a powerful statement. Let's say, you shot the two photos for the client, and you got creative, and there were a couple others you really liked. Would you send them potentially the two they wanted, plus a few extras, and if so, then would you? We have a discussion about usage and that they you know if they wanted to use more they'd have to pay more kind of just that well I guess the one thing that's really important is I would first make sure that they were happy with the two pictures they asked for because I think it's a it's a sure fast what sure way to have your client's upset is when you you know, basically they've hired you to do these two photographs and you go to them with nine other photographs and you tell them like why the other nine are so great and then they look get there too and they say, well, maybe if you would have spent more time working on those two that we hired you to shoot we'd be happier like we don't care about those other images if on the other hand eric jackson is blown away he loves this first image he loves thie image with the kind you know, the portrait and he loves the fish popping out of the water then I think I would say oh and by the way we have these other frames that we happen to shoot because we had time while we're on location and at that point depending on how you've negotiated the project if you were getting paid for your time and and you know to buy out it's a done deal way on the content if it's they have all they have access to all of the content for a certain duration time then it's a done deal if you had agreed on a certain number of images, then certainly there would be hopefully it's predetermined there's usage and there's you know your fee, but I would be really cautious about showing those images straight out of the gate and be really careful if eric were on location and by the way blind interrupt because I know no go for, uh, I guess the last thing I would say on that front is if the client is on location, you really need to be careful. They've hired you to do one thing and you don't want to make it look like I mean, we got if you got really lucky and you nailed the first shot in ten minutes and he nailed the second shot another twenty five minutes. Then you can sit back and you say, well, I'm still getting the whole day, right it's a dangerous thing like really worked those photographs and not just for the illusion of the client that wow, this is really hard, complicated stuff, but also because the more you work, the better the pictures really do become I mean, it turns out to be this really important the two images we selected it turned out they were the it was the last frame and the second to last frame and shoot, and I guarantee you, if we would have kept on working on these pictures, they would have gotten better and better and better and better until finally, maybe we would have got to the point where what we all looked at each other and said it won't get much better than theirs given this situation. So, you know, if this is what you're getting hired to do this first because, you know, a lot of thinking has gone into this, so on the fly on location to, like change, the plan can be really problematic. All right, well, tell us what you're doing. Um, so from cory's, you know, uh, notes beforehand, um, I have gone in, you know, we removed the weight, which is a pretty simple fix and court kind of knew that when you sit on the doctor being the images in camera and from, you know, a client standpoint as faras trying to sell the kayak, we went in and brought that kayak out. Just a touch. Well, that is is making a quick mask and applying a curves layer to it to really just kind of make that pop on, help bring it out, create some separation from the water. Quick adjustment there I also kind of tone back that that hot spot back there because that was bothering my eyes are kind of pulling me into the back of the kayak there on dh what I went in and did was just a few other adjustments as faras um you know, we kind of wanted to give him you know, he's he's a great guy but we wanted to give him a little more character maybe in his space on and this is just a quick um, quick and dirty again but I went in and implied a high pass filter to kind of sharp in his face a little bit you know it doesn't always work if you're shooting weddings and you're shooting the bride you know you'd never do something like that because you know, it's increasing pores and wrinkles and all of that but for a scene like this with the feeling that we're trying to give I think it works really well, you know, I would never go in and really remove those sunspots or remove you know, some of the blemishes that he may have on its face. Jim doesn't have any um on ly because of the feeling of this entire photograph that you're trying to give you know he's a he's a rugged guy spent a lot of time outdoors on dh so we kind of want to give that feeling in his face rather than trying to soften it out and kind of take away some of that contrast and smooth this pours out do that kind of side of things I thought that this worked a little bit better as faras kind of you know I'm dodging his shadows and the wrinkles in his face and kind of bringing out some of the highlights so the more I look at this picture the other thing that's kind of bothering me and I just want to experiment and see if it's better this white space behind this head is really distracting I think we should grab some of that tree reflection and just layer it behind him and I think it'll make it a bit more of like a monotone image you have this cool green boat sort of you know uh outdoors in color feels very kind of camouflage your part of the environment and that one hot spot just seems really right to me so it's this might actually focuses and focus us in on jim's face a little more by bringing trees in but if you're if you're a fisherman that lives on beaver lake you might question wait there's no trees reflecting off the docket twenty two o seven beaver street for street I can take a few questions because I think you guys are really getting a feel for what our process has imposed production when we when we're really putting a heavy hand on pictures which is not all the time it's if it's the client like jackson kayak it's an advertising shoot and we really to make two images shine we'll do this kind of work a cz often as possible were trying to shoot no in the camera we want it's close to a great picture as possible and we want less work on the post production front here from sours are are you delivering a layered psd or a flat piece of state of the client? Most clients just aren't acid in the layer psd I mean, the truth is the reason they've hired us is because brains bligh's really good at doing photo shop work and exiled to make the picture in the field and we have a team that can make it all happen with the client for the most part what we find they want to get that final image they're going to hand it to a designer and designers going put lowe goes where they want them and deliver it to a to a publication in the end so my experiences it's very rare that we delivered a layered photoshopped file but do you deliver a pasty or teo? I'm sorry. Yeah well oftentimes it's a tear for a joke? Yeah, oftentimes the client will actually tell us they want a tiff also a high rise j peg and cata batic jase s were you editing destructively because of time pressure and would you normally do a nondestructive workflow? I didn't notice if you were editing uh I'm not quite sure what he is trying to well you normal you normally have a nondestructive workflow I'm assuming photoshopped nondestructive work feel absolutely you always want to be able to go back and change everything that you've done you never want teo you know make an adjustment that can't be redone later whether the client doesn't like it whether korea doesn't like it you know you always want to do that okay? And then another question from pro photographer half and your clients ask for changes in the stills after you deliver them you know I have to say a lot of our clients I would say the bulk of our clients over seventy five percent we don't even do the post work I mean a lot of our clients we shipped them raw files I mean they want to see the best raw files and that in fact the agency or or they'll send it to a re toucher infact we sometimes lose track of how they manage those files in the aftermath but so often we're very often sending raw files to clients and you send them more or less depends on the client some clients they want everything so we'll send them a hard drive with the entire shoot and then we'll also most clients want to see our show select so if I shoot ten thousand photos, we try to cut it down to about, you know, ten best ten percent, so if we shoot ten thousand images will show them the select folder, which is one thousand, and then we'll also give them the entire raw take, which is all ten thousand and but it really depends on the project. I mean, agencies oftentimes love to see the entire take because they're going to do what blind I just did. They're going to start looking frames and stop compositing pieces from different frames. Other clients, they're just going to go through that drive. They're going to go right to our select, they'll never look at the the rest of the take, and they're going to find the favorite select and they're going to use it almost as it came out of the camera. Awesome. All right, let's, take some questions from you guys. Quick question on that. So when they then like for your own portfolio use, would you then get that? And it had filed back from whoever final? Is that what you guys just edit in house to use report, we would probably added in house, in our our philosophies, we like tio, will only show, like the full image unless we have a tear sheet gallery or published work. Then we love to get to tear sheet the way the client used it, but if we're going to put in our best still images were going to control what that image looks like we're going to go in and tone and the way that we like it and of course we'll wait until after it's out of embargo often times I'm sometimes I'm so excited we're going to shoot, we've made fantastic images and I'm dying to put the image on my website just to share it with friends and but the reality is, like you is the photographer can't publish that image before the you know, the cornet that hired you actually gets it into print around to their website, so just be really conscientious of that. Would you send notes along like on this shoot where you knew that you were gonna have to add in the fish and the sky? Would you set tell them that you're shooting for posts almost there, just taking the raw image? Sure, and, you know, this style of client that would ask for the raw image? We would have worked this until there a perfect image, like I wouldn't have been a sloppy we wouldn't have shot it where the weight chilling in the background stuff stick, I would have just shot and shot and shot until we got just the perfect angle and it was there was a frame that was usable without filling in and doing a lot of post production it's hard to kind of make this you know, general statements but clients that you aren't going to do post production it's gonna be pretty darn close there's gonna be editorial clients of the best example if I were shooting this for the new york times sunday magazine a portrait of jim I'm going to deliver to the new york times sunday magazine a pretty darn perfect frame but I would have spent half the day making that frame and one more question our client's asking for specific aspect ratios for the stills are you cropping for those or do crop more for composition in general we deliver everything in the actual aspect ratio of the camera and then let the client crop whether that's vertical or horizontal to me I mean, unless they're asking us to do something like shoot too square I mean we're doing the most important thing is do you want vertical or horizontal? And if we can't get a straight answer then we deliver both very horizontal. One thing that we hear a lot from clients is they want paneled images you know they want because because they can they're gonna wrap a bus for example or they're going to do a billboard and so polartec is a great example of that I showed you a photograph of you know this epic climbing scene where the guy's like planting a flag on top of this rock spirt. And then you see this entire valley on both sides. So we shot a ton of frames of the actual climbing action. And then we finally at the end, because, you know, every time the light would change, I would do six frames vertically of the entire scene, because we just wanted to have a huge horizontal sweep. And so then those got stitched together so that we had some gigantic file at the end of the day, with the great action, which was one vertical frame, and then we stitch together. A bunch of we didn't do the work. The agency did stitch together frames to make one gigantic file. That could be, you know, wrapped around the skyscraper, that's, what they wanted to do with it.