Photoshoot for Smaller Jobs
For shooting smaller jobs, we started experimenting with this new camera. I think we're gonna move towards it. We're shooting with a 7D Mark II Studio Version. You guys have probably never heard of it. I've talked to a couple people about it and people think I'm a liar, that it doesn't exist. I'm like, "I got one in my hands. It's real." It's a basic Canon 7D Mark II. You buy the wireless transmitter. You hook that onto the bottom of it. And they've rewritten the camera operating system, so it hooks up wirelessly to a barcode scanner. So what you're able to do is scan a barcode. It will embed the barcode data into the metadata of the file. What else is cool is as the administrator on this camera, I can go in and lock up all the functions. So you can't even change your exposure if you want to; You gotta have the password. It's probably 55555. (laughter) You gotta have the password though. So it's literally this camera that allows you to do this. So what we're looking at doing is integra...
ting barcode stickers onto our order forms, instead of writing numbers, so we can eliminate a position on the assistant day. Because literally what we would do is put a sticker on it, scan it, have the coach pose them, get them out. Save you some labor. We haven't done it yet, so I don't want to tell you guys that this is it, because I haven't actually put it into practice. But we've been doing a lot of testing with it and I'm really excited about it. And it seems to be a piece of technology that not a lot of people know about. If you want to buy one, you cannot buy it from your camera store. It doesn't exist. You can only buy direct from Canon. So if you call B&H, if you call Autorama, they won't know what you're talking about. It is real. You can have one. It exists, I promise. You just have to call 1-800-OK-CANON and they'll get you to the right people. For this what we did is literally you can just scan the barcode from their order form, then kick it right in. We go in, we metered up. It's super easy, one big light. You go in, you take the picture. That's kind of what it looks like. One of the biggest issues I see though when people are doing and team and individiual sports in gyms is color shift and light falloff in the background. So if they go and they take the same kid with the same light, that's the picture that you get into the gym. Some parents are gonna complain to you about this. They're gonna say the background is too dark. If you get into, it's kind of a basic principle of photography but I want to address it. Dragging your shutter will affect your ambient light. So I didn't change my aperture. I didn't change the power of the light. The one on the left is 1/30 of a second. The one in the middle is 1/100 of a second. The right on the right is 1/250. You just adjust it to get the look that you want. If you start dragging your shutter though, you can get that real weird caramel-y background that some people are gonna complain because the lights are gonna be different than your flash lights, so the background can look off. You'll get a color shift. Figure out what you like. Then we always do our green screen setup like this. Two lights and a beauty dish. Two rim lights and a beauty dish. So that green screen is a Westcott popup one. I love it because none of my employees can figure out how to fold that thing up. So it makes me irreplaceable. They can't get rid of me on shoot day because I'm the only one that can put it away. But one of those, it's a single light stand. I bought a background clip. It's like $4 on Amazon. So I don't have to do the two lights-- I don't have to do the two background stands and the crossbar. It's just one little clip. Done. And you position it so that both legs are here. The background falls flat on that. We set it them up, we measure it out so all of our sports are photographed the same distance to the camera. Everything is the same. Everything is the same. Lighting is the same. File is the same. Shot in the same way. You have to watch your posing with this stuff because these kids will try to get away with stuff. You really gotta pay attention to it. We do not photograph full body. Basically, I don't want to deal with making a sweep. I don't want to do it. It's a lot more work. And I just don't think it's necessary. That would be the shot that we would take. We're gonna demo the whole poster process. We're gonna demo how we make this at a later point in this. We will demo how we show that. Some of the people-- I posted this image online, this one, and somebody commented that they thought that because there is only one light, that shadow is creating an issue. It's not. And I'll show you guys. It's perfect, it's good. It takes not even 30 seconds to knock it out. You can get a perfect clean background. So that's the image. If you turn off one of the rim lights, that's the look you're gonna get. I like to acknowledge what each light is doing. If you were to turn off both of them, you'd get that image on the left. If you turned off your main. But those are the basic principles of what we're doing for the light.
You said you have everything setup as far as your measurements. So you have pretty much a diagram of how you do everything, so you kind of completely have it dummified. Is it just the look that you come up with that gets you where you want to be?
There's no right answer to what is gonna work and what's gonna sell for you. I mean, shoot whatever you want to shoot. Shoot however you want to shoot. But the reason why we go through like, tape measures and diagrams, is this is the look I like. It's weird because you'll notice when you start doing more volume stuff. It's a less sophisticated photographic palette from a lot of the consumers. So flat light will sell better. I'll get complaints if images have shadows. You have to simplify your product line. It's not necessarily the same as a high-end traditional portrait client. So we go in. Just this is what I like. This is the lighting I like. This is how we do it this way. And by measuring it up, it allows me to be in a position where if we have multiple shoots going on in a single day, if I'm in Napa drinking wine, if I'm in Vegas losing money, and people have to go and do my shoots and I'm not there, I know they're gonna look the way I want them to. If you shoot high school seniors for me, if you shoot families for me, there's not a ton of direction I'm gonna give you in what I want. You'll know kind of the studio style. You know what I mean. But we allow a lot more freedom. You can pose kids the way you want posed. We allow a lot of freedom to our photographers. I do not in this. This is done this way. This is not your opportunity to be creative. This is your opportunity to shoot the way the studio shoots this job. And it's not a, I don't trust you, I don't like your lighting. It's none of that. It's just this is how we do it. Taking the time to set it up, take time and go figure out what you like, and then write down your measurements. Bring a tape measure. Write it down. Get a light meter. Write down what your lights were set at. Make sure that when you go out and you spend an hour figuring out which lighting you like that you can duplicate that lighting again without spending an hour trying to figure it out. To me it's stuff that's really, it's basic in concept, but it's amazing how many people just don't do it. And so it's not to belittle how easy this is. It's really just this easy. It really is. Figure out what you like. Make sure you can do it 1,000 times. Make sure you can do it 1,000 times quickly. And then sell it to anyone who's got a checkbook, or a convenience charge on a credit card.
So your workflow on the day of. You showed the diagram where you've got the two-sided background. You've got your custom background and then the green screen. You have a light of shortest to tallest, right? Are you taking the first child and you shoot them on the custom, and then...?
They go back to the end of the line.
Back to the end of the line. And you shoot them in the exact same order.
It doesn't matter. That part doesn't matter. The individual doesn't matter.
What I'm getting at is how are you keeping track of their envelope and the image number?
So when they come through-- So when they come through the team background, we'll take all the order forms. We just toss them in the envelope. Then they get in line and we stand there and we go, "Lorenzo! Boom. David! Boom. Megan!" And we hand them back their order forms. At that point it doesn't matter what order they're in because they're getting-- their individual number is gonna be written on that frame number. Then what we would do is I would say, "David, you're the first kid." As soon as I'm done with David I would say, "Go to the back of the line "and make sure you tell me when you're up here again. "Make sure I know you're up here again." Then when David comes up and he goes, "I already had my picture taken," then we spin the background to the green screen. At that point we don't even need to know whose kid is who because everyone goes on the poster. So we don't even need to know again. So it doesn't matter what order they go in for the individual. Gosh, that was a great question. I'm glad you asked that question. So it doesn't even matter what order they go in for individuals because we're writing the frame number down independently. Then we switch it to the green screen. So as long as every kid gets their picture taken, doesn't matter.
So kid and envelope are tied together when they get shot on the custom background.
And then green screen is just for that one group photo.
And you're not putting people in the front row, like varsity captain guy goes front center.
No. The only way that we would do that is for the high school stuff, one of the schools that we work with for the baseball, we did a deliberate move with that but they had the seniors wear different jerseys. So then that's easy. Otherwise it's not really a... I don't want to get into a position when we're doing these banners that I have to take notes. I don't want to have to sit there and be like, "Okay, this is John. John is a senior. "And John's mom didn't use me for senior pictures "so he's going in the back row." (laughter) "This is Bill and Bill's a junior. "I really want him to come and see me "so I'm gonna put him front and center." I just don't want to do that. It's too much work. It's too much thought that goes into that.
And the other thing, you had five stations. When you're shooting one team are you shooting five separate photographers for that one team? Or are you doing one team, one line.
Let's go back to this. We go back to the slide and I'll walk you guys through this. Because one of the things that we are talking about is I shoot-- You guys will laugh when I tell you this. For our individual cameras, what we actually shoot our team and individual stuff with, I use Canon 20Ds. Some of you are probably older than the cameras that I use. Like, it's ridiculous. It's old, old digital camera. I use a nifty 50. I use a $100 lens. It's a $75, $100 camera. Some places you can get them used. And it's a very, very affordable lens. Why do we use those two things? One, 20D shot at ISO 100, 1/160 of a second, with great portrait lighting, on a prime lens at f/ is sharp and beautiful. I'm making 8x10s out of these. There's plenty of information in these files to produce that. I don't want to go broke buying high-end cameras that we don't need that. Now for our school stuff, there's an integration of the cameras into the software so we will use new cameras for that specifically. And if you do have to buy more cameras, don't buy them, rent them. If you've got a job like this. If you land a sports job like this and you're like, "Oh man. "I'm gonna need five individual cameras, "and a team camera, and blah blah blah blah blah." No you don't. If you have a camera and a backup camera, just rent all the individual ones, and you've got yours for teams and one backup. You're good. Let it ride. Just pay out the money. Because if you're not doing a ton of these and you want to use the newest technology, it's not going to be cost effective to dump all this money in if you're doing one job a year. Like, just don't do it. This station right here is a full frame camera. That would be the 5DS, or 5D Mark III, something like that. That's what this is. But again, it's literally two lights, exactly the same distance, two backgrounds, two floors. Everything is the same. So the guy will stand here. (clicks) (clicks) That's it. That's the move. That's what this job does. And there's someone at this to bring them in and block parents. Then what we do is these stations all have assistants. And sometimes I have to hoot and holler over this, but if they don't have a team, the person who is the assistant should be standing right here. Grab a team when they're done. Grab them and go. So then they go boom, boom, boom. And then as soon as they're done we kick them out. "Go find your mom. Go find your mom. Go find your mom." And we chase them out. And so it's this beautiful process. And you guys probably don't believe me, but it is so peaceful on this side. And I deflate all the soccer balls, so when they get up there and they're like, "Steph Curry," and then it doesn't bounce... I'm like, that's why. You don't need it inflated. We aren't playing soccer. We aren't playing basketball. But it's an easy, easy workflow. And it needs to be. If this is a job that you're dreading doing, you aren't prepared for it, go do something else. You've gotta like what you're doing. And this makes it a job that I am happy to do every time. I wish I was doing them every weekend. I'd be a lot richer. (laughs)
Can I ask a question for Jeremy Garver from online.
What's up Jeremy.
"Can you tell us again why you prefer "the printed backdrops that are customized, "opposed to using a green screen "for those individual portraits "and merging the background in post?" Another question did come in about that as well.
So why don't we just do green screen all the time? I want my individual portraits and my banners to be different. I like that they're different poses. So our poses for the individual stuff are always very-- It's like bat, turn, that's the picture. It's ball, turn, that's the picture. So I like that that's what it is. If we wanted to get in to doing the composites on all of it, it's another step in the workflow that I don't think is necessary. And I think that it limits the specialty of my posters. I think it makes my posters less interesting. And it also means that every single kid I gotta do a composite of. Right now I only do composites if they buy. If they don't buy, we shoot it. We don't do any work on it. And we don't have any minimum orders, and I'll do it if one kid buys a poster because it doesn't take that long. But we don't do that work on every single kid. It's way easier. And I like the look. It's just an easier process, and I like the vision, and it makes my posters more special.
Just to clarify from the diagram. You're potentially staging about seven teams at one time through there?
I mean I guess theoretically, but that never happens. That never happens. There's an ebb and flow to how it goes to the day. There's always going to be teams that are a little bit late. There's always gonna be teams that are early. There's always gonna be a natural flow. Most of the time what will happen is, the worst times, the last one that I did where I jumped up on two teams, we're generally running three individual stations at a time. So generally what happens is as these three are going, this person is open. This is the overflow one. So that would be four teams, and probably one. We generally aren't running two through that. We can if we need to, but that's not like our all the time. Then what will happen is if I see that all four-- I'm a floater. I do everything and nothing at the same time. I walk around, I shake hands, I kiss babies. I update Facebook. I make sure that everyone's pictures look good. I setup all the backgrounds. But my job that day is just to oversee. And so as I'm walking around, if I see a team that doesn't have a place to go, that's when I jump in. By the time I'm done with that team, these guys are good. Somebody has caught up to me. But I will also always shoot my team, my Kemmetmueller photography team, just because I want to make sure that looks really good. (laughs) So we have a lot of fun. Even though it's super structured, and even though it has to be done the way I want it done, and there's not any margin for that, it's not like this is not a fun day. It's a pretty easy, laid back day. You show up. Your wear your outfit. You do your job. You make some money. We go have drinks. You go home. It's easy. It's easy. It's fun. And it should be. So don't be afraid to interact and have fun with those clients because I'll tell you right now that the coach had a blast with it, those kids had a blast with it. I'm using those pictures on my marketing stuff. But I don't want to just be the photographer who gets everything dialed in and done right away. I also want people to have a really good time when they're there. Outside shooting. This is the easiest way that I've found to train my photographers to go shoot outside and find the lighting. When you're outside, you always want the shadows coming towards the camera. Always. So we pick our backgrounds based on lighting, not on the backgrounds. That's what we want. The shadows come straight towards the camera. And we go out, and the thing that I see that drives me nuts is blown out skies. I want my kids to have skies that are not pure white. So what we do is you go out with a camera. Put it on aperture priority. Pull it up. You got a little meter. Aim it at the sky. Pull it down. Start rolling your aperture until your shutter speed is coming in below 1/200 of a second. So maybe it's f/13, maybe it's f/16, maybe it's f/8. Who knows. Whatever, figure out what it is. Take a picture. Okay that sky looks good to me. Look at what your settings are. Okay, so I now know that an f/13, ISO 100, this shutter speed, that's what my sky is gonna look like. I want that sky. And the reason why, one more thing about this, we don't do high speed sink is if you get into high speed sink, the actual flash, the way it works, it's not as good a light. If you lower your shutter speed the high speed sink it's actually like a bunch of little (clicks) stutter steps. It's not as powerful. It's not as good. So we want to reduce that. And we're okay with shooting super deep depth of field. We're okay with having that information in there. So there's the kid. (exhales) He looks angry. There's my background. Then what we're gonna do is setup one of those GODOX lights above, aimed right at his face. All I do is I set that light up on half power, take a picture of it, and I move that light in or out to get the light that I want. Now as the online Internet blows up saying we could talk about light meters, and we can talk about all this. Yes, I'm fully capable of it, and I understand it. This is so idiot proof that I can teach you all how to get a great portrait not even having to teach you all that. It's just understanding what you're working with. And if it's too bright, you turn up the power to full on the flash, you pull it in closer. That's what you do. It's what you do. So that would be the picture straight out of camera. There's the flash. And that's what they'd see. Easy. Looks better than an iPhone pic. We'll talk about posing too. You wanna be aware of head tilt with guys. We talked about this in the senior class. This is just basic posing, that if you want guys to look aggressive, strong, girls are gonna look-- you bend the leg. You go with an S curve for women, a C for guys. There's some forgiveness in sports posing with that because it's okay for women to look more aggressive in a sporting situation. But all in all, most women don't want to be photographed in a masculine way. And most guys never want to be photographed in a feminine way. So that's it. That's what we do for lighting. There's our golf guy. There's a track guy. This is our individual lighting. Easy.