A comment on the photos above. All of these are HIGHLY compressed in order to follow Goggle's requirements for fast loading on mobile devices. As a result the quality may suffer immensely. Go here to see these image with low compression.
This advertising Beauty project started out as a still shoot, but I then decided to shoot video too. It was shot inside the Purple Door salon in Atlanta, GA. Hair and Makeup is by Sav Wood.
This Beauty photograph was shot in a salon in Atlanta, GA. The model is inside and I'm outside shooting inside. You can see the reflections in the glass. Hair and Makeup is by Sav Wood.
This Industrial Lifestyle Advertising image was shot for a major American industrial supply client. It was cold, overcast, in the early evening with rain and we discovered that we really needed the police... go here to read the rest of the story.
This Advertising Beauty still and video project was shot in a private home near Atlanta, GA. On this project I did not know for sure what the light/weather was going to do, which is not uncommon for summer in the southeast USA, so I brought a wide selection of lighting gear: A Sunbounce roller bag with reflectors, silks, boom sticks w/grip heads, a case of Lumedyne strobe gear, 3 1000 & 5 500 watt hot lights, 2 with softboxes, several "C" stands, sand bags, apple boxes, a bag of cameras with 7 lenses, plus a fluid head with CF sticks. In other words, a lot of gear.
I walked into the home and said hello to Emily, the model, and Sav, the make up artist and hair stylist. When shooting any image with models, it is important to make the model feel comfortable with everyone on the set. However with any close up image, like when shooting beauty photography or directing a beauty video, it is really important as facial expressions are critical and fleeting. If the model is the least bit uncertain or uncomfortable with the situation... you as a photographer or director, may be unable to overcome these emotions.
After saying hello, I then looked to see where I wanted to shoot. Knowing that I wanted dramatic light (High contrast), I noticed in the living room there was a French door that had great soft light washing into the house.
So after dragging a mountain of lighting gear to the shoot's location, I only needed 4 small items: The tripod, the fluid head, one camera and one lens. Oh, the chair we were going to use for the model to sit in, it was too high making the hair "Hat" even with one of the picture frames in the background, so I used an apple box of the for the model to sit on and I used another apple box for me to sit on. There was a table with a lamp and shade plus another decorative item on the right side of the photo/video, so I asked a crew member to move them out of the frame.
I directed Emily for each clip so I could have a selection of different looks: Lean forward, roll the head to give different angles, put her right hand behind her neck, slowly look to her left of the camera and to avoid looking into the camera. Fortunately for us, Emily is primarily an actress so she takes direction very well.
The stylist had her in a strapless black dress and I shot about 100 images and I was not thrilled with any of them. After stopping and analyzing the images, I realized I just did not like how the dress made her shoulders and arms look. So the stylist changed her into the fabulous little black dress you see in the video. After she sat down to shoot with the new dress, Sav checked the make up and hair and gave me the go ahead: 155 still images, 6 video clips and 13 minutes later, we were done.
Hair and Makeup is by Sav Wood.
This Cowboy advertising image was shot in Colorado in a driving rain with pea sized hail. We were at the corral and the rain started. Then it started to rain very hard and the cowboy asked if we were going to shoot and I said yes... go here to read the rest of the story.
This advertising beauty image was shot in a train station in Atlanta, GA. We were shooting inside the station and knowing that I had shot enough on this one "look" I decided to look around. I saw this sliver of light, and knowing the model had near perfect skin, I asked her to stand in the light. I shot about 200 images and felt that I had something good and told both the model and the makeup artist/hair stylist we were done. When shooting beauty photography, a fraction of an inch makes a huge difference and this image is no exception. I literally pointed which way to move her head and I told her to move slowly then I'd say "Stop". Because we were shooting using sunlight, when wanting to have the light perfect, this change is non-stop. The original look the model had a large bun. When I saw the hair down I said "Stop!"... go here to read the rest of the story.
Hair and Makeup is by Sav Wood.
These advertising beauty images were shot in Nesso, Italy, on Lake Como. When I was in Italy in 2007, I rented a car with the intension of driving from Milano to Bellagio, some 60 miles (95KM) away and rather taking the fast way I decided to drive the scenic route, from Como to Bellagio on the road that is beside Lake Como. Being Spring, it had been raining and most of the streams, rivers and lakes in northern Italy were swollen. While driving through Nesso, I crossed a small bridge, maybe 12 feet long (4 meters) , I noticed out of the corner of my right eye, a waterfall. I parked the car and grabbed a camera and started shooting, and shooting, and shooting. While trying to find a better spot, I noticed a narrow path between 2 buildings, so I took it to the top. What I discovered was a set of community wash tubs. I'm guessing there was a time where the women, and some men, took their laundry to wash and rinse here. It is this spot that I decided to shoot this image.
The first 3 images were shot using a Lumedyne battery powered strobe system with just a reflector and was about 3 feet away (90 cm)... go here to read the rest of the story.
This industrial lifestyle advertising image was shot for a major industrial client in Mississippi, USA as a part of an advertising imagery library building project. The challenge in this type of imagery is to design the lighting, set up the lights and light control devices and shoot the imagery as quick as you can, while still being safe, in order to save time.
There are 2 reasons time is important:
1-The clients always want more shots than time permits and
2-We are delaying production while we are shooting, and sometimes while we are setting up we can delay work, costing the company we are working with a lot of money... go here to read the rest of the story.
This personal project was shot in Bellagio, Italy on Lake Como. I was staying with friends in Lenno, also on Lake Como, and they said we were going to go to Bellagio for breakfast. This was a chilly day so we grabbed our coats, walked to the boat house and Emiliano was our pilot... go here to read the rest of the story.
3-26-2018 - This Street Scenes personal project was shot in NYC. I really loved the different colored chairs in this park. I walked up, found where I wanted to be, grabbed a chair, sat down and 20 seconds later I was done.
A Canon camera using a
Sigma 85mm f1.4 lens
3-3-2018 - This Personal Project was shot just before an aborted landing at NYC's LGA (LaGuardia) airport. We were so low we can see the faces of people walking. We could tell the wind was an issue. Then we heard the jet engines spool up when the pilot applied full throttle, followed by
the retraction of the landing gear and the slow raising of the flaps. A "Go Around", free flying!
1/15/2018 - This editorial fashion image was shot in Milan, Italy for "Cowgirl Magazine". The arched doors are part of the train track supports that lead to Stazione Centrale, Milan's main international train station.
This fashion project had an "Issue" and was delayed about 4 hours. Steve had two models on hold until the day before the shoot date, at which point he then confirmed his "A" choice. Unfortunately around 3:30 the morning of the shoot, model "A" sent Steve a text message saying she was experiencing a lower GI "disturbance". When Steve woke at 5:00 a.m. to prep for the shoot he got the message and knew that his A choice was now not going to work. So he sent the agent an e-mail asking if his Plan B model was able to shoot. Around 9:45 a.m. the agent called Steve apologizing profusely. It seems the model told Steve but did not tell her agent, so she was clueless about the problem until she got Steve's message.
"Yes", she said "the other model is available!" so Steve asked the agent to send him the model's address so he could pick her up along with the make up artist/hair stylist. By the time he had collected all of the players and started Hair & M/U it was noon and he did not shoot the first look until 2:15 p.m. and finished the project's last look at 8:10 p.m. having shot 9 different looks in 3 different locations 6 miles apart (9.4Km), most of it being in Milan's traffic, in just under 6 hours.
Steve said that he really wanted to shoot something that said "Milan" (Actually Steve says "Milano", but that is just due to him having lived in Italy on and off since 1985). But due to the disastrous loss of time in the morning, coupled with Milan's incessant heavy traffic, not to mention the extreme difficulty in parking in the center of town, he decided to shoot the train station vs. the main cathedral, called the Duomo.
This is from Steve about the lighting: "I slid a Lumedyne round head onto the hot shoe of my camera using a LightwareDirect Mini Mount."
Note: Steve sent one of his flash heads back to the Lumedyne factory... go here to read the rest of the story.
1/12/2018 - This editorial fashion style image is one of a series of images Steve shot for a very cool art hotel in Palermo, Italy, who wanted some off-beat sexy imagery. In this shot he is squeezed into the shower in one of the hotel rooms (Steve is 6½' tall - 2 meters).
He tried to shoot this with a 14mm flat field
(rectilinear) lens, but because the door was blocking his field of view he could not move far enough back to get all of the model in the image... go here to read the rest of the story.
1/11/2018 - These fashion & beauty images of Annabell, who is one of my favorite models, were shot in the back seat of an old Cadillac in the California desert about 2 hours out of Los Angeles, USA. It was raining lightly making the dirt on the windows collect in small pools. I really did not have to give Annabell a lot of directions because she is what we call a "Mover". In addition to moving, because a lot of models don't move or move mechanically, she is also graceful and has fluid movements. These are the rare qualities that all great models have. I included several images above to show how great she is as a model.
There is a short video here, about 28 seconds not counting the end credits.
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1-9-2018 - These advertising lifestyle images were shot near Miami, Florida and are quite difficult to shoot. Between having to hold the underwater housing (the camera and lens are inside the housing), the 9" glass dome port and the 45° finder (about 16½ pounds total - 7¼ KG), just above the water, I also have to contend with the waves picking me and the models up and the ocean currents moving us in frequently different directions or closer together or farther apart all the while trying to frame the shot and direct the models.
The models in all of these images had just met maybe 20 or 30 minutes earlier on the beach. We would meet about 30 minutes before sunrise to get the styling done, introduce the models and get into the water. Coupled with all of this, sunrise light will only last maybe 20 minutes before becoming ugly, meaning everyone had to be "On" and stay focused in order to get some cool shots quickly.
In the top image, the sun was not yet above the horizon, the light is being reflected off of a cloud, the same light that is hitting the clouds above the trees and the models. This why I want everyone to be in the water roughly 15 minutes before sunrise in order to shoot predawn light and give the models time to get comfortable with each other. To me, advertising lifestyle photography needs to look real, by giving the models a few minutes to get comfortable you will have a good chance of getting something that is 100% believable.
1-8-2018 - While in Cologne for Photokina, I shot a couple of fashion advertising images for Alan Michael USA, a client in Beverly Hills, California. I had shot with Esther 2 years earlier while giving a presentation on Guido Karp's "Leading Photographers of the World" stage at Photokina. I knew I wanted to shoot at the train station and had e-mailed Esther about the shoot and she agreed to meet.
I asked a friend if I could use his studio to shoot a little and have the makeup artist/hairstylist work on Esther. We shot some in the studio and then got into the car to drive to the station.
We parked and was able to get to the first location just in time to shoot with the last of the sunset... timing is everything.
Go here or click on the beauty image below to see how I shot it.
If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!