Industry Trends

Double Exposure “Spirit” Photography: 8 Examples from Famous Photographers

In the late 19th century, spirit photography became popular amongst individuals who believed spirits could be caught on camera. These images were created through double-exposure photography and experimentation, often using uncleaned photographic plates and preexposed images to have the appearance of ghostly figures. Since then, double-exposure photography has come a long way, and what began as a way to capture images of departed friends and relatives is now a form of creative expression. 

Double Exposure Photography: How It’s Done 

Before digital cameras were invented, double exposure photography was either done in camera (with no way to rely on post-processing) or in the darkroom. Regardless of which method the photographer relied on, it was difficult to create a beautiful double-exposed image.

Today, some higher-end digital cameras can create double exposures right in the camera, with an LCD screen that shows you the result as soon as you take it. There’s no guesswork and no laboring away in the darkroom. If you aren’t lucky enough to own one of the cameras that can do it for you, Adobe Photoshop makes it extremely easy to layer images on top of each other with a couple of clicks of the mouse. This makes it simple for anyone from an amateur photographer to a seasoned expert to create interesting double exposures.

From Gjon Mili, Duane Michals, and Jerry Uelsmann in the age of film to newer photographers such as Freeman Patterson and Tamara Lichtenstein, here are some examples of how double-exposure photography can be used to create spectacular images.

1. Gjon Mili

An Albanian photographer who is known for his years of contribution to Life magazine, Gjon Mili is most well-known for his photographs that illustrate human movement through the use of external flashes. He was one of the first photographers to use stroboscopic photography – the use of a specially timed external light source to capture a sequence of motion. Many of his photographs have an eerie quality to them, one that seemingly could only be created through the use of multiple exposures.

Photo by Gjon Mili

Gjon Mili is unique in the sense that although he didn’t use multiple exposures to create his images, he was the inspiration for many photographers who became interested in double-exposure photography after him.

2. Jerry Uelsmann

Jerry Uelsmann, an award-winning American photographer known for his surreal montage photographs, used double-exposure photography to contribute to his unique approach of layering images.

Ueslman combined elements from various photographs to create new, dreamlike images, creating everything from a study with no roof to a transparent box floating over the ocean – all without the use of a tool like Photoshop. At times, Uelsmann even used multiple double exposures to get the desired effect.

3. Freeman Patterson

Freeman Patterson takes an interesting, unique approach to double exposure photography, straying away from the eerie and surrealist qualities of the technique and instead using it to create photographs that look like Impressionist paintings.

freemanpattersonphotography

Impressionism is a style of painting that originated in the 19th century and was used to attempt to capture the changing effects of light and color over a period of time. Patterson uses two exposures of the same image, layered on top of each other yet shifted slightly, to give the same Impressionist feeling to his images.

4. Lee Kirby

Lee Kirby, like Gjon Mili (although much more modern), does not actually use the technique of double exposure in his images, yet the images themselves are inspired by photographers who have used double exposures in the past.

Instead of layering images on top of one another, Lee Kirby uses a projector to project the second image onto his subjects in a sort of real-life double exposure. In many of his photographs, Kirby combines the use of projection with blurred movement to create images that sometimes look more like paintings than portraits.

5. Duane Michals

Duane Michals is an American-born photographer who uses the technique of double exposure to create images that are dreamlike, whimsical, and a little eerie at times. His fascination with the dream state also extends into his fascination with creating and preserving memories, a theme that is seen in one of his well-known books, Sequences.

doubleexposurephotography

In this book, his photographs and double-exposed images are coupled with hand-written text that reveals more about his life and what the images mean to him.

6. Philippe Halsman

It is very likely that you have come across the famous surreal portrait of Salvador Dali jumping in the air while water flows across the composition and cats seem to be suspended in mid-air. This portrait was due to the artistic mind of Philippe Halsmann, of which Dali was a favorite subject.

PhilippeHalsman

In collaboration with Dali, Halsmann created an entire book entitled Dali’s Mustache, in which he cuts up negatives, enlarges portions of images, and uses double exposure to create unusual portraits of the surrealist artist.

7. Tamara Lichtenstein

Tamara Lichtenstein, a modern double-exposure photographer, focuses on taking portraits that are filled with happiness, beauty, youth, and sunny days.

doubleexposurephotography

Her double exposures are dreamy and full of beautiful, bright colors, qualities that have made her quite popular within the Tumblr and Flickr community.

8. Christoffer Relander

Christoffer Relander’s photographs are a prime example of what we can do with modern technology. His series of photographs, We Are Nature, is a series of stunningly beautiful double and triple exposures that are (almost unbelievably) done completely in-camera, with post-processing only being used for some tonal changes.

ChristofferRelander

We Are Nature is a series of portraits of humans that seem as if they are slowly changing into different ferns and trees.

Experimenting with Double-Exposure Photography

Whether you want to use an older film camera to create double exposures in camera or try to manipulate images in photoshop, there are a variety of ways to experiment with double-exposure photography. To get more inspiration from interesting photography techniques, check out our photography student showcase.

 

Five Nature Photographers Everyone Should Know

The awesome, majestic beauty of nature has given inspiration to photographers since the very beginning of the artform, no doubt evolved from centuries of paintings and drawings that drew upon similar landscapes.

Ansel Adams public domain

Photo: Ansel Adams

Some photographers have made careers out of focusing on nature. Even if your focus is more on portraiture, fashion, or urbanscapes, there is still plenty to learn from the images of these incredibly talented nature photographers:

Gene Stratton-Porter

Born in the late 19th century, Stratton-Porter grew up in Indiana and was an active nature photographer, as well as a novelist and silent-film producer. She was a vocal and strident conservationist, passionate about protecting the vulnerable environments she so lovingly captured in her work.

Ansel Adams

Born in San Francisco, Adams had the chance to live in one of the most naturally diverse states in America, photographing desert, nature, and the ocean scenes in his unique style. Like Stratton-Porter, he was a lifelong environmentalist, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980 for his work shooting national parks for the United States Department of the Interior.

Karen Lunney

Lunney is a Brisbane-born, contemporary photographer whose work explores transition, liminal space, and where one thing has ceased and another not yet started. She has won multiple awards for her work, many of which use stark black-and-white photography to capture animals and their migration, as well as ocean shores and the light of sunrise and sunset.

Oriana Koren

Los Angeles-based artist Oriana Koren has exhibited their work in several major publications, and is known for both photographs of food and celebrity portraits, among others; their nature photography however is some of the best in the contemporary scene. Koren uses their background in documentary photography to create embodied, attentive, and lucid imagery from around the world, making for incredible, fully-realized images of nature.

Eliot Porter

Eliot Porter is best known for his vibrant color photographs of nature, but it was birds specifically that first captured his eye as a young, amateur artist. Porter wasn’t just interested in imagery, he also delved deeply into cultural studies of many of the locations he’d capture on film. Porter traveled around the world to photograph ecologically important and culturally significant places, including Utah, Maine, Baja California, the Galápagos Islands, East Africa, Iceland, Mexico, Egypt, China, Czechoslovakia, Antarctica, and ancient Greek sites.

Ludovic Coutaud is a NYFA alum and writer. For more information, click here

6 Great Online Photo Magazines 

The internet and social media have made the world of photography simultaneously a smaller and a much larger place, creating countless online communities of visual artists who may have never been able to share their work or even collaborate before the digital age.

Photography Camera

Online photo magazines have no doubt sprung up, giving the world no shortage of places to find the work of amateurs and professionals alike. Some are extremely niche; while others are content to showcase the wide spectrum of the genres the medium provides. Here are six of the best photo magazines you can find online:

F-Stop A Photography Magazine

Founded by Christy Karpinski in 2003, this bi-monthly publication features contemporary photography from established and emerging photographers from around the world, with each issue having a theme or idea that unites the work presented to create a dynamic dialogue among the artists.

Social Documentary Network

Launched in 2008, Social Documentary Network (SDN) is for documentary photographers, editors, journalists, NGOs, lovers of photography and focuses on photography that plays an important role in educating people about the world and those curious of the human condition. SDN encourages work about joy, love, happiness, and ordinary life anywhere, as well as both societal problems and their solutions, recovery, peace, reconciliation, and rebuilding–provided the work is authentic, even if that means messy, awkward, filled with contradictions, or lacking answers.

1000 Words

Founded in 2008 by Tim Clark and nominated as Photography Magazine of the Year at the Lucie Awards in 2014 and 2016, this online contemporary photography publication looks to prove the age-old maxim, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The magazine publishes photo book reviews, essays, exhibitions, and interviews that encompass every aspect of the photography world.

Bokeh Bokeh

Bokeh Bokeh was founded by David Garnick and is named after bokeh, the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens that helps separate the subject from the background in photographic works. The online mag features all photographic genres, including fine art, documentary, portraiture, and street, with an emphasis on work that is original, beautiful, and startling. 

Burn

Launched in 2008, Burn is an evolving journal for emerging photographers that is curated by founder and Magnum co-operative member David Alan Harvey. This uplifting artistic magazine showcases photos full of hope, eagerness, and a desire to share in one another’s experience, publishing new stories or singles at least two times per week.

LensCulture

LensCulture has a simple, self-described mission: to discover the best of contemporary photography and share it with the largest audience possible. For over fifteen years, this magazine has been highlighting creatives and professionals in the industry, from over 160 countries, seeking to boost their exposure to the larger community through awards, exhibitions in major cities, festival screenings, and books.

Ludovic Coutaud is a NYFA alum and writer. For more information, click here

Autumn Photography: 5 Tips for Capturing the Best Photos of Fall

As summer starts to wind down and we embrace the cooler months, outdoor photographers tend to gear up. Autumn is arguably the favorite season for photographers due to ever-changing scenery, vibrant colors, and moody weather.

The Photo Arts Conservatory at New York Film Academy (PAC at NYFA) instills students with a passionate focus on the technical elements of photography. Below are some tips to help you enhance your landscape photography and really capture the fall weather. 

The “Golden Hour”

“Golden Hour,” the time of day when the low position of the sun during sunrise and sunset creates a soft glow that dramatically enhances the environment and gives a vibrant “pop” to surrounding colors, occurs all year round, but can be at its most striking during the fall. Getting up early or staying up late can make for some very vibrant landscape photography.

Overcast Days

Foggy and overcast, cloudy days create lighting conditions that may help you capture some interesting shots. Focus on areas such as lakes, rivers, woods, and streams–bright colors from the leaves of trees will help create separation from their darker, foggier surroundings. 

Composition

There are different ways that you can compose your photo, including the rule of thirds and the golden ratio. Let nature guide your framing by utilizing your surroundings of branches, leaves, and other trees to emphasize your main subject. 

Use Warm White Balance

White balance is how warm or cool the overall colors look in your photograph. When taking photos outside during the fall, we recommend you ignore the white balance presets on your camera–auto-white balance can neutralize colors, so avoid using the auto setting. To really bring out the fall colors in your photos, you’ll want to use a warm white balance. Increase the white balance to a warmer Kelvin temperature–try around 6,000 degrees–but be careful not to overdo it. A high Kelvin can make the photo appear to have an unnatural looking color cast. 

Circular Polarizer

A circular polarizer–also known as CPL–is a screw-in filter that goes in front of your lens. The benefit to using a CPL is that unwanted glare and reflections are reduced when photographing wet surfaces or in direct sunlight. A CPL can also enhance your landscape photography by adding more color and contrast. You can use a slower shutter speed when photographing a river or stream when you have a CPL with your camera. Make sure that you are using a neutral CPL to help enhance your fall photography.

5 Books on Photography Everyone Should Read

While there are plenty of YouTube tutorials and other digital media on every minutiae of photography, sometimes it helps to turn to good old-fashioned books. Whether it’s on equipment, fundamentals, or specific artists, there are countless books every photographer can learn from. Here are just a few you should check out next time you’re at the library or browsing through Amazon:

Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment
by National Geographic Society

Women of Vision showcases the stunning work of women photographers from the first decade of the 21st century, from the Iraq War to the Jersey Shore and everything in between. The riveting results of photo assignments presented here are introduced by National Geographic editor-in-chief Chris Johns, with a foreword by journalist Ann Curry.

Vivian Maier: Street Photographer
by Vivian Maier

Many people discovered photographer Vivian Maier through the 2013 documentary Finding Vivian Maier, but this book allows you to spend as much time as you need with each of her indelible images. The street photographer with a one-of-a-kind point of view only became well-known posthumously, but her work is now immortal in the pages of this work.

Yonkeros
by Jaime Permuth

For those looking for a more specific collection of photos, look no further than Yonkeros, a series of works by New York Film Academy instructor
Jaime Permuth documenting the “Iron Triangle,” an area of New York filled with scrapyards. The photos bring to life an overlooked world where first-world trash is recycled and handled by working class people who live and work in the Iron Triangle.

The Lens: A Practical Guide for the Creative Photographer
by N.K. Guy

This simple yet informative book is a straightforward guide for all types of photographers looking for the right lens for the right image. While it may not serve as a beach read, it’s a great reference to keep on your shelf that you can turn to when planning your next shoot.

The Photographer’s Story: The Art of Visual Narrative
by Michael Freeman

Once you’ve mastered the technical fundamentals of photography, you’ll still need to learn how to present your art in a meaningful and engaging way that does your images, and your story justice. The book is a thoroughly modern one, working in how digital media, online galleries, tablets, and the trend of photo-essays all come into play when figuring out how to showcase your work in the contemporary scene.

photography tips and hacks

Keeping photography books in your library is always a good idea–but of course everything starts with a solid background in the art and craft of the medium. If you’re interested in studying photography, check out the programs New York Film Academy has to offer here.

Ludovic Coutaud is a NYFA alum and writer. For more information, click here

The Cyanotype Process: What is Cyanotype Photography?

Recently, New York Film Academy-Los Angeles created a Cyanotype workshop for alumni at NYFA instructor Andrew Hall’s darkroom in downtown Los Angeles.

Cyanotype is one of the oldest photographic processes we know of, and has a distinctive blue color. Cyanotypes are made by treating a surface — paper, cloth or leather — with iron salts which then react to UV light. Originally used to document botanical specimens by placing them on treated papers and exposing them to the sun, it was also an early way to create copies of drawings, especially architectural drawings – thus the name “blueprints.”

Cyanotype

Before the workshop, paper was pre-coated with the cyanotype chemistry so it would be dry and ready to go when participants arrived. Instructors also demonstrated the process on a large mural print he was making for one of his art projects that is up for an award.

First, the instructors taped paper to the table using Frogtape — a green tape with little tack so it wouldn’t damage the paper — and then measured out the chemicals. Cyanotype is equal parts ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide. Measuring each chemical separately so as not to add too much, he combined them in a glass bowl and began brushing on the mixture as evenly as possible onto the paper. Then he used a hair-dryer to dry the paper, and the rest of class went upstairs to begin laying out our cyanotypes.

Many students had followed the instructor’s instructions from the previous week and printed black and white negatives to match the pre-coated paper size. Some used pieces of glass and cut out shapes instead, and some used a mixture of both. Once the negatives and ephemera were placed on the pre-treated sheets, they were put under glass and transferred to a large UV Light box that acted like an oven to bake our prints for 10 minutes each.

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Everyone in the group were able to get several prints done each and experiment with various timings and placements. After exposing to UV light, the class went downstairs to Hall’s darkroom and washed the remaining chemistry off the prints until the water ran clear, then squeegeed the remaining water off and lay them in the drying racks to dry.

It was fun for NYFA faculty to catch up with alumni and hear how everyone was doing and what they were up to. And it was great to see them interact in a mixed group of students from various cohorts.

NYFA MFA Alum Federico Imperiale stated, “It was great to see professional photographers working on a laboratory project. They were able to guide us through the understanding of the process, giving us a complete overview of the cyanotype technique and its expressive and aesthetic potential.”

The results of the cyanotype workshop were wonderful to behold and now students know how easy and fun it is and can do it from the comfort of their own home!

Interested in learning photography? Find out more information about the Photography programs at New York Film Academy today!

Written by Naomi White. Naomi is Chair of Photography at NYFA Los Angeles.

Photography Hashtags to Increase Your Reach on Instagram and Twitter

Few could have expected the # sign, previously called pound or number sign and only recognized on a phone, would become an important part of social media.

Hashtags are used to identify a message on a specific topic, allowing people with similar interests to discover each other’s content in the expansive sea that is the internet.

The Power Of The Hashtag

As a photographer, you naturally want other fans and professionals of the art form to check out your work, especially if you’re confident in your abilities and seeking exposure. By using the right hashtags, you’ll increase the number of people in the online photography community who come across your stuff. Many popular pages even look to hashtags to select what photos they share or add to their featured pages, which inevitably increases your social media reach.

Choosing The Best Hashtags For You

From professional to amateur photographers, many have made a name for themselves on Instagram and Twitter with the help of well-chosen hashtags. While it’s not a death sentence, some people are put off by posters who get carried away with how many hashtags they use. In fact, a big mistake to avoid is using hashtags that aren’t relevant to your photo or just aren’t trending.

Instead, your best bet is to carefully choose relevant hashtags while also keeping an eye on whatever is trending. To help you find the best, here are some excellent hashtag choices for some of the most popular categories in the photography world:

Niche Hashtags

Arguably the best hashtags you can use are the ones where people with the same interests will discover you. Although you’ll reach less people, they’re likely to appear on someone’s relevant search who will continue revisiting your pages and follow you.

Trending Hashtags

Sometimes, all it takes is a well-timed post that uses a hot hashtag to earn tons of exposure. If you hop on Twitter or Instagram and see that the latest trend is photos of funny old people, sand castles, or whatever, there’s nothing wrong with jumping in to see if your stuff becomes popular.

Generic Hashtags

These are the hashtags everyone uses and for good reason: everyone follows them. For example, the most basic and timeless photography hashtag is simply #photo. It’s harder to stand out from the crowd with a generic hashtag, but you still have a chance of getting your work on people’s devices. These are best mixed with trending and niche hashtags.

Most Popular Photography Hashtags

Photography Hashtags

#photo #photogram #photographer #photooftheday #pictures #photographyislife #capture #instalove #picoftheday #keepitsimple #exposure #collectivelycreate #instagood

Wedding Photography

#Beachwedding #Beachwedding #weddingcake #Weddingphotography #Weddingphotographer ##Engagement #weddingideas #weddingdress #beautiful #gorgeous #bride

Urban / Street Photography

#urbanphotography #streetphotography #urbex #buildinggraffiti #shoot2kill #graffitiart #streetmobs #instagraffiti #urbanandstreet #guerillaart #urbanromantix #spraypaint #urbanphoto #wallart #streettogether  #streetart #streetartistry #streetexploration

Portrait Photography

#postmoreportraits #portrait #photooftheday #portraits #portraitmood #feelgoodphoto #portraiture #makeportraits #selfshot #vsco #vintage #selfportrait #portraitphotography #selfportrait #selfie #selfies #myself #face #lips #hair #me #eyes #mouth #cute #pose #moi #closeup #model

Nature Photography Hashtags

#nature #naturegirl #awesome_earthpix #discoverearth #earthfocus #mothernature  #naturesbeauty #sky #wanderlust #natureseekers #sun #summer #wildlifelovers #explore #birdphotography #wildlifephotography  #photooftheday #skylovers #animalsofinstagram #wildlifephoto #natureisbeautiful #travelphotography #wildlifeplanet #picoftheday #traveling #summer #wildlifeonearth #naturelover #wildlifeperfection #sunset

*Top 5 Pieces of Gear You Need for Travel Video and Photography

Landscape Photography

#landscapephotography #travelphotos #nationalgeographic  #nakedplanet #places_wow #optoutside #earthofficial #natgeo #beautifuldestinations #pixel_ig #landscapelover #amazingplaces cityofdreams #landscapephotomag #natgeoyourshot #exploretheglobe #landscape_hunter #splendid_earth #ourplanetdaily

Travel Photography

#travel #travelphoto #worldtravelpics #getlost #travelphotography  #travelscenes #thegoodlife #instatravel #explorer #travelworld #instapassport #hdriphonegraphy  #travelingram #mytravelgram #keepitwild #mytravelgram #traveladdict #arountheworld #travelwithkids #paradise #travelawesome #wonderfulview  #travelstoke #lifeisbeautiful #adventuretravel #goodoldmemories

Food Photography

#Chefmode #foodoftheday #foodaddict #onthetable #hautecuisines #chefsofinstagram #foodpost #foodlife #foodie #hungry #sweet #fresh #homemade #foodgasm #yummy  #foodphotography #foodpics #foodstagram #instafood #Eatingfortheinsta #foodgram #nomnom #cleaneating

Black & White Photography

#blackandwhite #bnw #monochrome #instablackandwhite #bwstyleoftheday #monotone #monochromatic #bnw_society #bw_lover #bw_photooftheday #photooftheday #bw  #instagood #bw_society #bw_crew #bwwednesday #noir #insta_pick_bw #bwstyles_gf #irox_bw #igersbnw #fineart_photobw #monoart #insta_bw

Fashion Photography

#fashionphotography #fashionphotographer #FashionDiaries #Ootd #Liketkit #StyleTheBump #fromabove #outfitinspiration  #todayiwore #lovethislook #streetfashionstyle #newshoes #shoesday #makeyousmilestyle #howtostyle

*7 Fashion Blogs Aspiring Photographers Should Follow Now

Don’t have the ability to attend in-person programs? At NYFA, we offer Online Photography workshops to help you build your skills as a photographer. These workshops are hands-on and cover a variety of techniques and disciplines.

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Street Photography to Use as Inspiration

There comes a point in time when every photographer faces a creative block, whether is it general frustration with capturing the perfect moment or not being satisfied with your photos. Some photographers might only feel creative when they are traveling; others may struggle with finding a fresh angle when photographing their usual subjects or genres.

You may be wondering how you can get out of your creative rut. Why not borrow from street photography?

We have some tips below to help you get in the zone and try out new methods to inspire your photography:

Shoot with a New Camera

Sometimes, using a new piece of equipment can really give you new perspective and liven up your street photography. It is possible that your shooting style will change as well when shooting with a new camera. If you use a digital camera, try using film, and vice versa.

Borrow a camera from a friend, or if you are up for a challenge, try shooting with a smartphone. You may be surprised with the results.

Try a Different Focal Length

A different focal length will change your point of view and help you see things through a fresh perspective. If you are used to shooting with a 50mm lens, then trying using a 35mm lens. It will force you to get closer to your subject and shoot more dramatic photos.

Change POV

Try changing your point of view to shake up your habits and push yourself out of your comfort zone as a photographer. For example, if you have a habit of taking photos from the ground, also known as “rat’s eye view,” try taking photos from a high level looking down at your subject. Different angles will allow you to see new things that you may have not noticed before.

Create a Project

Here’s a good long-term challenge that will get you outside and force you to find a way to see new things in the everyday. Find a new, interesting spot in your city or town and photograph it every day at the same time. Photograph it for a year, and at the end of the year, do a comparison of photos. Through your photographs, you will be able to see all the interesting things that were happening at that spot on a daily basis.

What do you do when you are in a creative rut? Let us know below how street photography inspires you! Learn more about Photography at New York Film Academy. If you’re ready to take the next step, apply here.

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Photography Studios to Follow: Social Media Roundup

When it comes to artistic practice, every creative professional knows that staying true to your own style is pivotal in not only transforming your individual works into a brand but also maintaining artistic integrity. That said, perfecting your photography is rarely done without external influences and drawing inspiration from other photographers, so keeping an eye on current studio trends is always important — not to mention that it can give you some great ideas for your next shoot! So here is a roundup of some of the most influential photography studios to follow on social media:

Acme Brooklyn


Instagram: @acmebrooklyn

Twitter: @ACMEBrooklyn

Facebook: @AcmeBrooklyn

ACME Brooklyn is comprised of ACME Studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and ACME Props in Bushwick, Brooklyn. They offer studio space for rent as well as a prop house with a unique collection of props, furniture, and flats. As well as a 4,000 square foot studio with easy access via a private loading dock, the studio also offers a hair and makeup vanity and stylist area.

Milk Studios


Instagram: @milk

Twitter: @MilkStudios

Facebook: @MilkStudiosNY

According to their lively Instagram feed, “Milk is a culturally conscious company built to enable creative expression and collaboration.” Besides the incredible projects from music videos to modelling shoots, Milk invites participation. In March 2018, they launched a celebration of their community with a virtual road trip under the hashtag #GenderDiaries, asking people to submit their own gender photos. Along with studios for rent in both Los Angeles and New York, Milk also offers event production services internationally and hosts exhibitions at their own gallery in Manhattan.  

Root Studios

Instagram: @rootstudios

Twitter: @RootStudios

Facebook: @ROOT.NYC.BKN

Root Studios are a premier photo house offering studio space, equipment, events, digital, motion, creative production and rentals. Their main studio is located in the heart of New York City’s Gallery District with a full equipment room and digital capture services. Their newest addition in Brooklyn, NYC also offers four pristine rental spaces with all of the Manhattan style amenities.

Smashbox Studios


Instagram: @smashboxstudios

Twitter: @smashboxstudios

Facebook: @SmashboxStudios

Founded in 1991 by Dean and Davis Factor, the great grandsons of makeup artist Max Factor, Smashbox has earned a reputation among the industry as a hub for world class photographers and directors who produce content for major magazines, music and entertainment projects, and ad campaigns. Along with their global cosmetics brand, Smashbox Cosmetics, the innovative brothers have created iconic spaces within their two locations – having five studios in their LA space and one in Brooklyn, NYC, totaling 25,000 square feet.

FD Photo Studio

Instagram: @fdphotostudio

Twitter: @FDPhotoStudio

Facebook: @FDPhotoStudio

FD Photo Studio offers 23 stages totaling 36,000 square feet in one LA studio. Their point of difference lies in their competitive prices for rental space whilst specializing in producing high quality content around fashion and beauty, headshots, and ad campaigns. They also host events for photographers as well as offering high-end retouching on client projects.

Magnum Photos

Instagram: @magnumphotos

Twitter: @MagnumPhotos

Facebook: @MagnumPhotos

More of a photographer’s cooperative insofar as the collective works of photographers than a studio per se, this alliance was founded in 1947 by four pioneering photographers, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger, and David Seymour. Magnum represents many of the world’s most prestigious photographers and maintains its founding ideals with a mix of journalist, artist, and storyteller. With a vast international client base of media, charities, publishers and brands, it’s been providing content for almost 70 years that chronicles world events, people, culture, and places that redefines history. According to their website, “when you picture an iconic image, but can’t think who took it or where it can be found, it probably came from Magnum.”

Ready to learn more about photography? Check out our program offerings at the Photography School at New York Film Academy.

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Photography Marketing 101: 4 Tips for Developing Your Unique Selling Proposition

In a time when just about everyone has a smart device with a camera, more people than ever are giving photography career options a shot. With an influx of individual photographers out there, those who really want to make money off their work must have a unique selling proposition that draws attention and makes them stand out.

To set yourself apart from the crowd and find success as a photographer, consider the following nuggets of marketing advice.

Make It All About Your Strengths

A unique selling proposition should always revolve around what makes you “better” than the competition, no matter how big or small the advantage is. If the average photographer takes X amount of time to complete a certain task and your strength is doing that same task efficiently in half the time, there’s the foundation for your unique selling proposition.

If you need an idea, consider how Domino’s Pizza got its explosive start. Instead of a crazy topping or special ingredient, their original selling proposition was promising that your pizza would arrive in 30 minutes or else it was free.

Do you have a knack for photographing pets or have time for free pre-event photo shoots? Figure out what you’re good or can offer and go with it.

Find Your Target Audience

No matter how versatile you are as a photographer, you’re more likely to find financial success if you focus on a particular area. For example, there are photographers out there who have mastered the art of capturing food and know there are plenty of websites and magazines willing to pay good money for their work. Because of their specialty, their unique selling proposition will tend to be different than someone who photographs, say, boats or lawn gnomes.

Once you narrow down who would be most likely to like your work, build a unique selling proposition around what they want and why you’re the one they need. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask what they’d love to hear to be convinced that you cater specifically to them and have something different when compared to the competition.

Develop An Elevator Pitch

You may be in trouble if you can’t express why your photography is worth checking out without reading off a paper or going into a lengthy, robotic monologue. You can’t have a strong selling proposition without an elevator pitch— a concise explanation of why your talent and work will make their life better and/or solve their problems. While there’s no exact length it needs to be, shoot for trying to capture a consumer’s attention in as much time as the average length of a TV commercial.

In other words, less than a minute. If this sounds like a daunting task, even if you’re confident in your work, then perhaps you need to either do more research on who your target demographic is or go back to analyzing your strengths. Having an idea of who your ideal customer is, along with a lively, condensed pitch you developed just for them, is a key part of any unique selling proposition.

Inject Your Personality

The challenge big companies have is coming up with an image that encapsulates the entire strategy. One advantage you have as an individual photographer is being able to wield your personality in order to sell your work. There’s no better way to flaunt your skills, experience, and character traits than by adding a touch of yourself.

If you’re confident in your abilities or always know how to make a good impression with humor, stamp that bit of yourself into your unique selling proposition. It’s hard for competitors to go up against a personality that resonates with people, especially when talking about fashion photography and other areas where you’re expected to interact with models.

Marketing your photography is just as much about marketing yourself. See how the students develop and explore their individual strengths in the NYFA BFA photography program.

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Top 5 Pieces of Gear You Need for Travel Video and Photography

As a photographer or a videographer, traveling to locations outside of where you live is sometimes inevitable, so don’t leave yourself unprepared for the road! A lack of planning can lead to damaged, lost, or dirty equipment.

We’ve outlined the top five pieces of gear to use when traveling with photography and video equipment. With these essential pieces in place, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your equipment safe, and ensuring you get the best shots that you can get — no matter where you travel.

Travel Bag or Backpack

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A bag or backpack to carry your camera body, lenses, and other photography accessories is a must when you are traveling for work. It’s worth it to invest in a backpack that is specifically made to handle photography equipment, with specifically design compartments and special materials built to protect and encase your equipment. Don’t make the mistake in throwing your equipment in whatever bag you have available, because the chances of your gear getting damaged will be pretty high.

When selecting a backpack, there are a few components you will want to have to help keep your equipment organized. A standard photography backpack will have padded, internal dividers to hold multiple lenses, as well as the camera body. External pockets are great to hold accessories like USB cords, batteries and chargers, memory cards, and cleaning kits. Depending on your budget and needs, some backpacks can also carry mono- or tripods, tablets or laptops, and may include a rain cover.

If you need help selecting a backpack that fits your needs, read Carryology’s article, “The Best Camera Backpacks Buyer’s Guide 2017.”

Memory Cards and Memory Card Readers

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It’s a good idea to always keep extra memory cards on hand. Every photographer has their own preference when it comes to brand and size, but keep two or three extra handy. Nothing is more disappointing than damaging or losing the only memory card that’s with you.

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A standard USB memory card reader is also a great tool for you to have while you are traveling. USB is a lot more common, and gives you the flexibility to use it on more devices. You can connect to any laptop or tablet no matter where you are located.

Mono and Tripods

 

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Mono and tripods are essential to capturing a great photograph in all different types of situations. Why should you use one?

If you are photographing nature or animals, you could be there for hours waiting for the right shot. If you are using a telephoto lens, they tend to get heavy. They are also difficult to steady and could lead to blurry photos. Tripods help reduce unwanted movement when you are trying to get creative with close-up shots. The list of reasons to use a tripod when photographing and traveling is endless.

If you don’t have the room to carry a tripod, you can also use a monopod, or a tabletop tripod or clamp.

Cleaning Gear  

Cleaning gear is sometimes an afterthought, but you should always keep a kit in your bag. No one wants to be on location for a shoot only to find a grease spot or a large piece of dust on the lens.

Rocket blowers and brushes are great to have because you can dislodge dust from the camera lens or from inside the camera body. There are more extensive cleaning kits that include lens pen, cleaning tissues, and microfiber wipe clothes.

Power Strips

When you are traveling, access to multiple outlets may be out of the question. If you have camera batteries or other items to charge, it can be difficult to charge everything at once. A collapsible power strip is a great solution: it is easy to carry, can fit in any camera bag, and you can plug in multiple items.

Monster Outlets to Go 4 plugs into one outlet, but allows you to charge up to four items at one time. The design allows you to wrap the cord securely around the flat power strip for easy traveling.

Whether you are staying stateside or traveling internationally, you should always be prepared. The photography gear outlined above will help you protect your equipment, keep it clean, and get the best photographs possible.

What photography or video gear do you have to have when you are traveling? Let us know below! And learn more about photography at the New York Film Academy.

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National Selfie Day: 3 Fun Facts About Selfies

The selfie has become more than just a contemporary phenomenon: It may go down as one of the defining features of the 21st century. We have phones specially designed for selfies, social media would not be the same without selfies, and even if we claim to hate selfies, we’ve all taken part in them. From the “I woke up like this” no-makeup selfies that make bad hair look so fashionable to “group-fies” with friends and families, the average selfie is a ubiquitous part of daily life.

As you gear up for National Selfie Day, here’s a short history of this cultural trend…

1. The Selfie Was Actually Invented in 1839

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So it’s not that recent a phenomenon after all!

American photographer Robert Cornelius took a daguerreotype of himself in 1839 and even wrote on the back ‘the first light Picture ever taken.’ (Pity, the word selfie wasn’t in use then.)

The trend of taking self-portraits with a camera became gradually more popular in the 20th century. Without the use of zoom lens or selfie sticks, it was a cumbersome process, aided with mirrors, tripods or other props.

When the instant Polaroid cameras arrived, more and more people began to experiment with photography as a hobby and a way of preserving certain life events. The habit even made its way into the movies, such as the 1991 film “Thelma & Louise,” where the two lead characters use a Polaroid camera to take what we now call a ‘selfie’ before embarking on a disastrous road trip.

2. The Word “Selfie” Was Actually Invented By A Drunk Man in 2002

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In Australia, Sept. 13, 2002, in an internet forum there appeared the following post by Nathan Hope:
Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer (sic) and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.

Mr. Hope however denied coining the term, claiming it was a common slang. Over the years, linguists have analyzed this phenomenon and pointed out that it is a typical feature of the Australian language to shorten words and end them with “ie,” citing how “barbeque” and “postman” become “barbie” and “postie” respectively in local usage.

Soon enough there came mobile phones with front-facing cameras, and the world was never the same again.

3. “Selfie” Became The Word Of The Year In 2003

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The Oxford English Dictionary announced “selfie” as the word of the year in November, 2013, sometime after it was first included in the online edition of the dictionary.

Meanwhile, there have been specific apps and filters created for taking and editing the perfect selfie, and the Oscar selfie of 2014 became the most retweeted image ever. Now, selfie sticks may be a thing of the past with the rising popularity of selfie drones.

Whether you think it is fun and empowering or you just feel it promotes narcissism, you cannot ignore the selfie, for it looks like the selfie is here to stay for a long time.

Interested in photography? Learn more at the New York Film Academy.

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Say Cheese! Tips for Photographing Children

When it comes to photographing children, traditional photography rules are put on hold. In order to successfully photograph children, you have to approach the photography session differently.

For National Photography Month, we’ve got some useful tips on how to photograph children, below.

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Exercise Patience

You know that saying, “kids can be kids”? One moment, a child could be playing with you and striking a pose, and the next moment, they shy away when you point a camera at them. If you get any type of shy behavior during a photoshoot, don’t rush anything or punish the child for their behavior. Instead, be patient and let the child warm up to you.

Photographing at Their Level

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Don’t make the mistake of photographing children from your level — it will make them appear smaller in your images. Instead, get on their level so you have more equal ground. Be prepared to get on the ground and crawl around with them if you want some good pictures.

Be Ready for Anything

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With children, anything can happen in the blink of an eye — and that’s why it’s important to be ready for anything. You need to be ready to capture the unexpected on camera. Stop reviewing your photos and keep your lens at ready. Capturing the right moment means being at the right place and the right time. You can always review your images at a later time.

Relax and Have Fun

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Don’t worry about looking “professional” when you work with children. It’s OK to relax, let loose, and have fun. Make those silly faces and weird noises: Throw everything you know out the window and enjoy the session. If you make it fun for you and the children, they’re more likely to have fun and you’ll get some really great images.

Create an Action Plan

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Sometimes, the best-laid plan doesn’t work out and you have to be flexible. But it also helps to have a plan, a backup plan, and a contingency plan. If a child is having a hard time cooperating, just remember to stay patient, and don’t yell or get upset with them: try plan B. If that doesn’t work, have another strategy or idea ready. Just go with the flow and remember it’s about having fun, and getting the best photos.

Do you have any tips on how to photograph children? Let us know below. If you have a photograph that you are proud of, share them with us! Ready to learn more about photography? Check out our many photography programs at the New York Film Academy.

National Photography Month: Outdoor Fashion Photography

 

Every great photographer knows that there are multiple components to a successful outdoor fashion shoot. Whether you are doing a shoot in the alleys of New York or in a field of wheat in North Dakota, nailing down your subject’s outfits will help you with your outdoor fashion photography.

Students passionate about learning the ins and outs of a fashion shoot can get hands-on training and experience at the New York Film Academy’s 4-Week Fashion Photography Workshop. We also offer two fine arts degrees in photography — bachelor’s and master’s — as well as intensive conservatory-style programs. Our students will learn practical elements, and master technical and business practices to help them achieve their professional goals.       

If you’re already in the field and need some quick tips, here are some things to consider while you are preparing for your outdoor fashion photography shoot.

Research the Location

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Don’t wait until the day of your shoot to pick out your location. If you have an idea of where you would like to shoot, scout out some spots days prior to the shoot. Make notes and plan out the frames that you want to take during the shoot.

Keep Your Model Comfortable

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Make sure you get to know your model before the shoot to ensure that they will be a good fit for your project. It helps to establish a rapport, as you will be working closely together and will likely be offering your model directions during the shoot. You can help keep your model comfortable by establishing a connection beforehand and maintaining a professional, friendly environment that will keep their poses and expressions relaxed.

Use Natural Light

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You should try to use natural light during your photo shoot, even though you can’t control the intensity of the sun and the direction of the natural light source. However, you can overcome this by placing the model correctly, which will help you achieve the amount and direction of light in a frame that you desire. If you can, avoid placing the model directly facing the sun because it will wash out the natural skin tone of your model and create deep or harsh shadows.

 

If you want to use artificial lighting, you can use a flashlight or studio lightning to underexpose the background. Using a light source directed toward the model allows you to control the direction of the light without causing spilling.

Use the Correct Lens

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You should know what type of lens you will need for fashion photography — whether it’s a wide-angle or telephoto lens. If you choose to use a telephoto lens, your depth of field will be shallower and will be more flattering to your model. Wide-angle lens will allow you to capture everything in focus.  

Experiment With Camera Angles

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Don’t be afraid to experiment with camera angles — you should never take photos at eye level for outdoor fashion photography. Try and position your camera so that the angle is high or low. This will allow you to get some out-of-the box frames with perspective while keeping focus on the model’s eyes.

For example, if you want to get a low-angle shot, have your model stand or climb up on a ladder or you can stand on the ladder to achieve a different perspective.

Do you have any tips for having a successful outdoor photographer shoot? Let us know below! And learn more about photography at the New York Film Academy!

7 Fashion Blogs Aspiring Photographers Should Follow Now

The internet has created a wonderful subculture for fashionistas, sartorialists, clothes-horses, and dandies of all stripes. Websites like Pinterest allow for people to pin inspiring or cool outfits in an easy to access place so they can look at it whenever the fancy strikes them, and image searches mean there’s a plethora of fashion to be ingested at any time.

However, as an aspiring fashion photographer, your interest in fashion runs even deeper. Which is most likely why you are always on the hunt for inspiration and fashion news, seeking something a little more curated. To aid your research for your next fashion photography shoot, New York Film Academy has rounded up a list of eight fashion blogs worth bookmarking, putting in your rss feed, or following on tumblr:

1. PUT THIS ON

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Started by podcaster extraordinaire Jesse Thorn, PUT THIS ON made its name as a premier place for vintage and American classics. If you’re a man looking to start dressing better or a photographer interested in menswear, PUT THIS ON has guides on everything from thrifting to belts.

2. THE SARTORIALIST

Featuring a deep catalogue of street fashion photos for men and women, The Sartorialist has been an internet fashion mainstay since 2005. Scott Schuman’s blog has also spun off into books featuring international daily style. It’s a great resource for fresh, street-inspired ideas.

3. RUNWAY SASS

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If you’re looking great high concept runway style, Runway Sass is the place for you. Keep up to speed on the fashion world’s runway trends. All of the Fashion Week 2016 posts are in an easy to access link at the top.

4. HANA HALEY

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The first thing you http://hanahaley.tumblr.comnotice when you go to Hana Haley’s tumblr is the pink background. A NYC-based photographer/director in NYC who’s in love with “femininity and 35mm film,” Haley dominates her blog with pastels. Recently featured: a videoed trip to Cancun. It’s a nice way to juxtapose your fashion inspirations with lifestyle imagery and may give you some ideas for your next fashion photography shoot.

5. EFF YEAH INDIGENOUS FASHION

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Steadily updated, this blog is about the beauty of indigenous fashion. As stated by the site’s duo of indigenous founders: “Indigenous artists and designers are still awfully underrepresented in the fashion, art and design business today, and often get passed by in favour of appropriative knock-offs by customers looking for ‘native’ or ‘indigenous’ art to wear or use.” Find inspiration in authentically created indigenous fashion.

6. BLACK FASHION

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Black Fashion is what it sounds like: pictures of black men, women, and nonbinary individuals dressed in their best. The blog even has separate sections for black fashion at prom, graduation, and with friends just hanging out.

7. HIPTIPICO

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The tumblr for ethical fashion based out of Guatemala, there’s plenty of photos of beautiful South American landscape and colorful Guatemalan designs.

Want to take your interest in fashion photography to the next level? Apply today for NYFA’s upcoming fashion photography workshops.

Your Photo Mojo: Photography Project Ideas to Tap Your Creativity

If you’re a NYFA photography student, you may be scrambling in your busy schedule to find inspiration and ideas to help you infuse new life and variety into your projects. You know that art directors and even gallerists are not looking for photography generalists; they are looking to hire or represent that person that has something no one else does, this is seen through a solid, concise body of work. In your quest to create a strong body of work, you may be feeling low on creative juice. So if you’re looking for new ideas on how to express yourself within your body of work, these project ideas may give you that extra spark.

To help you find additional ways to synthesize what you’re learning in class with hands-on application, we’ve come up with some fun suggestions for extra-curricular projects that can help you try new things, evolve and improve. These projects can inspire new ideas no matter what genre you enjoy shooting:

1. Sign Up For A 52 Week Challenge

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There are many ways of doing this. You can easily search for “52 week photography prompts” online, make one yourself, or mix and match to suit your needs.

Once you’ve started a challenge, you can interpret the weekly “word” or theme both literally and metaphorically. Having a particular theme to work with each week not only allows you to explore the subject from a variety of perspectives, but also proves to be an entertaining and informative experience. For instance, if the word is “vanilla,” instead of food photography you may want to photograph the “vanilla” sky or different “vanilla” moods you can think of.

2. Experiment With Light

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If you’re into abstract art photography, experimenting with light is a fun way to build a portfolio. Using different materials and lenses, try photographing refracting surfaces, light trails, light spirals, bubbles, oily refractions, disco lights, fireworks and firecrackers and even smoke. Alternatively, you can make “light” a theme for the day and try photographing the city at sunrise, at dusk, and at night. If you’re photographing the city at night, try doing a photo series on urban night life and so on.

3. Do a Self-Portrait Series

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If you’re an introvert but want to build your skill at taking amazing portrait shots, do a series of self-portraits. Think about the words and ideas that best describe who you are and try to express that in a photograph. Or think about your relationship with society, factoring in issues of race, gender, class, religious affiliations, and interests, to paint a series of pictures about your life that can also work as a social commentary.

4. Try The 100 Strangers Project

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Do you want to get over the fear of talking to random strangers and take some amazing candid shots as well? Then try the 100 Strangers Project! All you have to do is approach a random person, talk to them to discover their story, and then take a picture best representing them. Then, repeat it with 99 other people. Just remember: be safe!

5. Go on a Scavenger Hunt

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You can do this on your own, collaborate with other photographers, or do it on a road trip with friends. All you have to do is make a list of things both physical and abstract, then look for them in real life to photograph them.

For instance, your list may be: gasoline rainbow, sunlight through broken glass, and desperate love. Giving yourself a specific focus and as you search for images representing these ideas will help you discover new possibilities and juxtapositions. Not only will this hone your photography skills, but also teach you to think unconventionally and pay closer attention to your surroundings.

We know you’re working intensively to build your body of original work while studying at NYFA’s Photography School, so we hope these additional project ideas can offer you a fun and engaging way to practice what you learn on your own time. Don’t be afraid to customize a project to suit your preferences, and make sure you have lots of fun.

Do you have some project ideas that you want to share? Interested in learning more about photography at New York Film Academy? Let us know in the comments below!

Names that Changed the Fashion Photography Industry Forever

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When it comes to fashion, all the attention goes to the stunning outfits and gorgeous models who wear them. But without a talented photographer there to capture it all, it’s impossible to convey the allure and excitement of the apparel.

We’ve compiled a list of people who entered the fashion industry with a desire to give us a closer, more passionate look at the beautiful clothing and accessories available. Of all the great fashion photographers that have existed in our time, the following used their creativity and talent to provide images that not only generated sales but also influenced the next generations of photographers.

Helmut Newton (October 31, 1920 — January 23, 2004)

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This award-winning fashion photographer changed Harper’s BAZAAR, Vogue, and other top fashion magazines across the globe. He pushed the envelope with his provocative black and white images that often featured nude models — a bold, controversial style in the early 20th century. Before becoming a photographer in Australia, Newton survived the Holocaust in Germany and was also imprisoned in Singapore for a time.

His greatest achievements include being awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by France, the Grosses Bundesverdienstkreuz by Germany, and the Chevalier des Arts, Lettres et Science by Monaco. Newton was also given the Life Legend Award for Lifetime Achievement in Magazine Photography in 1999 by Life Magazine.

Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004)

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Richard Avedon is considered one of the most iconic fashion photographers ever to grace the industry. Using unconventional techniques and his unique style, he shook things up by photographing models that showed emotion and were in action. For this, his obituary read: “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century.”

Avedon began as a staff photographer for Harper’s BAZAAR and rose to chief photographer. He eventually moved to Vogue and became the lead photographer, shooting memorable campaign ads for Calvin Klein Jeans and other top brands. Thanks to Avedon, future fashion photographers had the courage to take risks much like he did while working.

Irving Penn (June 16, 1917 — October 7, 2009

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An American photographer whose work spanned six decades, Irving Penn is credited with revolutionizing and perhaps inventing what we think of as fashion photography. His 1950 cover of Vogue was the first black-and-white photo featured on the magazine’s cover since the advent of color photography in 1932, and boldly introduced not only a new advent in fashion, but in photographing fashion.

Moving from creating situational contexts to display fashion in the 1940s through stark, high-contrast opulence, surrealism, and focus on fine detail, Penn tirelessly pioneered shifting perspectives and aesthetics in his work. His stark black-and-white photography has attained icon status. Known as a modernist, he was also a great portrait and still live photographer, famous for capturing iconic artists at different times and in different styles as well as experimenting with ethnographic photography around the world.

Deborah Turbeville (July 6, 1932 – October 24, 2013)

If you’re into fashion photography that evokes a darker emotion, you can thank Deborah Turbeville. She is known for providing content that went against the common trends of the early 1970s, when models were always shot in well-lit and unprovocative situations. Her photographs boasted an edgy and mysterious feel that few could match at the time.

Born in Massachusetts, Turbeville got her start as a fashion editor for Harper’s Bazaar. Eventually she became a photographer who provided work for countless notable publications and fashion advertisements, including Macy’s, Bruno Magli, and Ralph Lauren. Along with her style, Turbeville was also known for avoiding gender stereotypes and choosing models who showed humanity and not just beauty.

Ellen von Unwerth (1954 — Present)

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Ellen Von Unwerth is a fashion photographer and director known for her specialty in erotic femininity. But before shooting her first professional photograph, she served as a fashion model for a decade. Her experience in front of the camera is one of the tools she used to become one of the most prominent fashion photographers today.

After gaining fame for her photographs of German supermodel Claudia Schiffer, she went on to provide work for Vogue, Interview, Vanity Fair, and more. Many of her films have received awards, and and she’s also directed music videos for notable stars like Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, and Duran Duran.

Steven Meisel (June 5, 1954 — Present)

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If there’s one person all aspiring models dream of working with today, it’s Meisel. He’s not only shot every cover of Vogue Italia since 1988 but also has the privilege of photographing Madonna for her ground-breaking 1992 book “Sex.” Meisel has shot campaigns for everything from Calvin Klein and Versace to Valentino and Louis Vuitton.

But more so than his work, Meisel has helped change fashion photography by proving that a photographer has the best eye for spotting the best models in the industry. He has proved this by turning nobodies like Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and countless other women into some of the most recognizable models in the world.

Mario Testino (October 30, 1954 — Present)

 

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You can’t become a fashion photographer and get far without knowing the name of Mario Testino. One of the most desired photographers today, Testino has worked for Vogue, V Magazine, Vanity Fair, and other top international fashion magazines. He has created countless images for top brands like Michael Kors, Gucci, Versace, Chanel, and more.

His ability to create unforgettable work is credited to his practice of not seeing models as blank canvases, which is what other photographers prefer. Instead, Testino sees his models as people, allowing him to convey their human beauty. Testino has also helped catapult many models into stardom, including some (like Gisele Bündchen) who no one else wanted to work with.

Making a name for yourself in the photography world can be difficult. The 4-Week Fashion Photography Workshop we offer can help you build the foundation you need to change the photography landscape while working alongside well-known photographers in the industry.

Gorgeous Fashion Photos and What They Teach Us

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In an ad culture dominated by beautiful images — visual representations of products meant to appeal to our desires and imaginations — it’s easy to stop paying attention to individual photos, even if they are sitting on the cover of a magazine, or displayed boldly on a billboard, or hidden in the corner of a Facebook feed. At NYFA, we are training students to create work that breaks through the noise, calms the overstimulated eyeball, and captivates the attentions of onlookers. Our new Fashion Photography workshop will teach students how to create the best images through, in part, the examination of the greatest existing fashion photographs. Here are some of the most elementary steps to creating your own gorgeous image.

Subject: Give your subject icon status.

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What would a discussion of fashion photography be if it did not acknowledge the quintessential image of Audrey Hepburn in her “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” getup? Though Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly in the film is what ultimately garnered her the most adoration and respect, the succession of promotional images of her in her black gown and pearls, holding a cigarette, gave her some serious star power. She is also known for her uncommon beauty and her expressive, bushy eyebrows.

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In choosing a subject for your image, it is not necessary that the model fit certain requirements, like having poignant features or unique looks, or adhering to traditional American beauty norms. Rather, the perspective of the photograph, and how it portrays the model, should be special. Give your model a cool hairstyle or a striking costume or a relentlessly emotive facial expression. This can be done in many ways and it is truly up to the photographer’s preferences, in combination with stylists, designers, and other artists.

Staging: Be dynamic.

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Whether the image shows many models, a focal point model with supporting models in the background, or a single model alone, the models should be positioned in a way that interacts with the rest of the image and/or the camera. They can fill the frame or they can appear to be far away. Regardless of how the image is composed, it should draw onlookers in. A person passing by the image can be surprised by its unique staging, or confused about the actual narrative of the image, or just visually delighted by the way the image has been put together.

Lighting: Play with contrast and shadow.

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In a fashion photograph, strategic uses of darkness and light are incredibly effective. By its nature, lighting draws attention to what it hits: highlighting it. Beautiful images are taken with a consciousness for the parts that are necessary, or most appealing, to highlight. Lighting can bring emotion to an image. For instance, the use of extreme shadow in Pablo Roversi’s fashion images gives them a certain ethereal quality, one for which the photographer has been recognized time and time again. Also, consider using deep contrast.

Editing: Honesty is beautiful.

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Keep in mind the real issues with fashion photography and image editing. Airbrushing and PhotoShop are criticized for making photographs fake, for positing an unattainable beauty standard that is damaging to the general public. Pose this question to yourself: How can I treat these issues without compromising the artistry of my photo? A beautiful image is often created by a great photographer, not a great editor. Our fashion photography program will teach students to build these skills, to discern what must be concealed and what must be exemplified in the composition of an image. We have already considered how a photo can do this in terms of subject, staging, lighting, and editing.

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What are the fashion images or icons that inspire your photography? Let us know in the comments below!

Fashion Photography Tips Every Budding Annie Leibovitz Needs

Fashion photography has generated some of the most inspiring, iconic, and wide-reaching images, yet it’s not without its challenges. One of the most challenging — and rewarding — experiences you can have as a photographer involves an editorial shoot. Of course, arranging a shoot that goes along smoothly and without any hiccups is a difficult feat.

Despite the challenge, photographers love these opportunities because they offer their own form of fun and creativity. No matter whether you’re completely new to the world of fashion photography or you’d simply like a refresher on the basics, we’ve rounded up some tips that can help you refocus and plan your fashion photography editorials. Especially if you’re new to fashion photography and want to prepare an editorial shoot of your own, keep this advice in mind:

Before You Start, Have An Idea

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Every good fashion shoot starts with an idea well before the scene is prepared and model is chosen. Going into the shoot there should already be an emotion or atmosphere that you’re trying to create in order to better promote the clothing, hair, etc.

The good news is you don’t have to be too specific, nor do you have to stick with the idea if inspiration arrives later. Whether you’re just going for an ‘80s vibe or want a goth look, having a general concept in mind is the best way to start.

Seek Inspiration If Necessary

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Having trouble with that last tip? Or perhaps you do have an idea but you’re not sure how to best convey it via your photo shoot? With the advent of the internet and social media platforms, finding inspiration from other people’s work is easier than ever.

Don’t worry: Finding inspiration from the great fashion photographers before you isn’t “cheating,” and even the top photographers in the world sometimes gain ideas from elsewhere. We recommend studying fashion editorials and scrolling through photo sharing platforms like Pinterest and Instagram to check out pictures that can help you hone in on your own idea.

Find The Right Model For You

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This step is arguably one of the more nerve-wrecking ones, since your model will be the face of your editorial. Fortunately, there are talented aspiring models everywhere who are looking for the opportunity you have to offer. If you’re new to the scene, you may have to pick from non-experienced models, which is a gamble. If you can, find yourself experienced models that have done this before and are serious about it.

The internet is ripe with places to find agency models that are pretty much guaranteed to show up and do a good job. It may cost you money but if you plan to submit your editorial to a respectable magazine, it’ll be worth it. They’ll also have a good selection of models for you to choose from so you find the perfect collaborator for your idea.

Assemble A Team You Can Trust

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By “a team you can trust” we mean people who have proven their talent and are responsible enough to commit to your project and follow through. While your good friend might say they’re amazing at makeup, we recommend connecting with someone who has professional-level experience. The same goes for the other two important people you’ll need to work alongside your makeup artist: a clothing wardrobe stylist and a hair stylist.

If you think you can also handle one of these tasks yourself, fantastic. In fact, this might be necessary for newcomers who don’t have enough time in the field or networking under their belt to know a lot of people in the industry.

Perhaps one of the most important qualifications when considering potential teammates is that they are excited about your project. They should be just as invested in the shoot as you are. That way, the work has a real chance to shine.

Find A Good Location

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You have your team, your idea, and your model. If you haven’t already, you’ll definitely want to start considering the best locations for your shoot. No matter how fantastic your model and clothing look, a good or bad location can make all the difference.

Outdoor shoots are usually a bit easier since most places have no restrictions — though, depending on where you are, you may still need a permit to hold a photo shoot in a public place. Most indoor places such as a church or mansion require permission, and you’ll need to shoot an email or file a permit to square away your location beforehand. You might even find a great local venue that lets you shoot there for free.

Take A Deep Breath And Shoot!

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Once the date you set for your shoot has arrived don’t worry if you’re suddenly a combination of nervous, stressed, and excited. Our advice is that you take a moment to relax yourself and remember that this is your shoot, so have some fun and remember what you know about portrait photography! Remember that many shoots don’t go exactly as planned, and that’s OK. Sometimes, the hiccups and challenges on the day can lead to new ideas and great images.

Instead of panicking, just work with what you have and try to enjoy the process. Whether everything goes as planned or you run into a bump or two, remember: It’s all about the clothes. Do what you can to keep your focus on the fashion.

Decide Where to Submit

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You probably already had a particular magazine or two in mind before you even started shooting. This is the best approach, since every magazine comes with its own style — which means they tend to select work whose aesthetic fits with theirs. Use the power of the internet to search for places that might be interested in picking up your work.

Lastly, be patient. Some photographers grow anxious when their first choice of magazines don’t agree to publish their work. The biggest mistake you can make is to give up and forget about your photos— or worse, show them off on social media. Magazines especially prefer their photos to be exclusive, put off tossing your work online and just keep sending them out until you find success. Fashion photography is full of challenges and rewards, so happy planning!

What are your favorite fashion photography tips? Let us know in the comments below!

HDR Photography Tips

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While the argument of HDR versus non-HDR remains heated, many photographers see that both technologies are useful tools for capturing precious moments, new perspectives, or the beauty of your location. The following are some tips to consider if you want your photos to share (as best you can) the feeling of being “there” in person.

Be Willing to try New Things

Ah, the joy of HDR: many times, the feeling is that nothing else compares anymore. But as you gain experience, you may be lucky enough to find new ways to experiment both with HDR, and without it. This includes scenes where lighting is even enough that one exposure is enough to capture the scene, along with highlights and shadows. It can also be worthwhile exploring alternatives to HDR when photographing moving people and objects.

Know When HDR is the Perfect Choice

On the other hand, it’s also important for aspiring photographers to learn when HDR is the ideal choice. HDR’s unmatched ability to capture detail makes it perfect for taking shots of man-made objects, architecture, and more. Pictures of gorgeous landscapes with many shapes, colors and textures also come out great with HDR, even when shot during sunrise, sunset, and any time in between.

Bring the Tripod

This may seem like an obvious tip but we feel it’s still worth mentioning. Without a tripod, it’s difficult keeping your f/stop consistent between shots. This is very important if your goal is to capture the full dynamic range of a scene.

Master the Art of Tone Mapping

This is Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square, which reminds me of Times Square in NY. I spent a couple of hours here and was lucky to get a colorful sunset. This is an HDR of 3 shots (-2, 0, +2), tonemapped in Photomatix. In PS: - Imagenomic Noiseware twice, one stronger on the sky. For the next commands I masked the sky. - Smart sharpen - Freaky details masking - Nik Tonal Contrast - Vibrance increase on the whole image - A bit os saturation boost on the sky - Curves - Burn the top of the sky and the edges - A bit of Nik Glamour Glow.

Or at least get familiar with a few of the many tone mapping software programs available today. Many consider tone mapping to be the heart and soul of HDR photography, but it’s also a slippery slope, as it’s easy to get carried away and create an unrealistic look to your photos — although, of course, that’s could be your goal. But if you’re aiming to capture the location as it would appear in real life, you’ll want to avoid strengthening colors too much. Although there are plenty of great free programs, the best come with a price tag.

Take More than One Exposure

A common mistake made by new HDR photographers is taking a single exposure and tone mapping it. Why doesn’t this work as well? The fewer images with different exposures you take, the less data you have to pull from in post-production. More levels of exposure data (easily boosted with multiple exposures) means superior high dynamic range for your photographs, especially with great landscape shots. This doesn’t mean you should always capture hundreds of photos with varying exposures for one image, but at least take enough so that you’ll have more to work with later.

Don’t Stick to Presets Alone

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Pretty much every post-processing program out there today has several presets for you to use. These can be great places to start, but also don’t forget to grow and experiment past the presets. You’ll want to get to a point where you know which settings to play with in order to make your photos look as desired. By experimenting with all the available settings, including reading up on tutorials, you’ll eventually know how to fine tune your program’s settings to get your shots as close to perfection as possible.

Any other great tips to offer your peers on HDR photography? Let us know in the comments below!