Heiko Kalweit is a photographer from Dortmund and specializes in vintage photography. I got to know him a few years ago and I am impressed by the determination with which he pursues his heart theme, “vintage photography”. So I was very pleased that he immediately accepted my request for an interview. Heiko, how did you get into vintage photography? To be honest, I owe that to a lucky coincidence. Before I started my own business as a freelance photographer three years ago, I was employed as a text and photo editor at a Berlin agency. Following editorial meetings – I was working from Dortmund at the time – I often added a day for private activities. So also on May 24th, 2008. For this Saturday I arranged a portrait shoot with a Berlin model at the Oberbaumbrücke. This is an old, well-known bridge on the East Side Gallery. I was amazed when the young woman appeared in a beautiful, sky-blue linen dress. At that time I had little or no idea about vintage fashion, but it struck me straight away that the dress couldn’t come from any contemporary collection. So I asked her what it was all about. She told me it belonged to her grandma who bought it in the 1940s. I was so enthusiastic about the dress, the way she had done her hair, the way she was made up – in short: from her entire elegant appearance – that it sparked my passion for vintage photography. It’s amazing that a summer dress, make-up and some hairstyling have had such a big and lasting impact on your photography. You’re right. Now that we talk about it, I wonder myself. The desire to take vintage photos has probably been dormant in me for a long time without my being aware of it. I have always enjoyed watching old “ham” with James Stewart, Katharine Hepburn and Heinz Rühmann as well as dance films with Fred Astair, Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers. I like and have always liked this mostly simple elegance that the actors exuded. I’ve also found the swing music of the 1940s and the songs by Dean Martin great for a long time. I think the experience at the Oberbaum Bridge was something like the stone that got everything rolling. For example, you show photos of many different women in vintage clothing on your homepage or on Instagram. How do you get to know her In order to build up my portfolio in vintage photography, I made contacts in the first few years through the model file. Now I mainly do it on Facebook. Do you only take photos of the models for your private pleasure? No, my passion for vintage photography came from my private pleasure. In the meantime, however, it has become my third professional pillar as a freelance photographer, alongside wedding and business photography. I only photograph models to implement my own private projects and to keep my portfolio alive. Who will book a vintage shoot with you? It is mainly women who have great fun in the 20s to 60s and dress accordingly. I go to Hamburg once a year. The swing music event “Golden Renaissance” takes place there regularly. I set up a mobile photo studio there and take photos of the guests. Last year I photographed a vintage collection for a southern German manufacturer of glasses. And every now and then I take photos of multi-page editorial series for the lifestyle magazine “Vintage Flaneur”. On your homepage I read the claim “photographic time travel”. Do you own a time machine? That would be great. 😉 No, seriously, that’s how I describe my vintage photography. With my shoots and pictures, I create illusions and fantasies of traveling to another decade. That’s why I don’t take photos in the studio, but outdoors and in special indoor locations. Over the years I have discovered many beautiful places that exude the authentic atmosphere of past decades. Among them even the former Berlin apartment of the silent film star Asta Nielsen. It is now a vintage hotel. I use the old location as a backdrop. Experienced visas, who understand vintage make-up and hairstyling, prepare my customers. A stylist, with whom I work closely, lends me original old clothes if necessary. In the meantime I also have a small network of classic car owners who make their cars available to me for photo shoots. Old issues of Life magazine, suitcases and many other props complete the illusion of time travel. In this way, not only images of people are created in the shoots, but stories in the form of photos. You’re on social media. Which one do you prefer to use? Clearly Instagram. Even if I only have just under 400 followers, this is where I make the most interesting contacts. At the beginning of the year, for example, the American magazine “Pinup Industry” (www.pinupindustry.com) presented me and my photography in a three-page interview. I had a special highlight in the middle of this year: The American vintage magazine Stalletto also found out about me via Instagram and commissioned me with a multi-page editorial shoot for the autumn issue. What are your plans for the coming year? Lots of vintage shoots, of course. In February the “Golden Renaissance” is going to Hamburg again. In August, like this year, I will be presenting myself with a booth at the “Classic Days” at Schloss Dyck. This is a large, multi-day classic car event in Jüchen in North Rhine-Westphalia. And in October I’ll be holding a vintage workshop in Dortmund. Interested photographers will have the opportunity to take pictures of experienced vintage models in a great, old industrial environment on the Zollern colliery site . Of course, the models wear appropriate clothing and are styled accordingly. The workshop will take place on Sunday, October 7th, 2018. That sounds very exciting. I wish you every success with the workshop and thank you very much for the interview.
In the run-up to the event “Mind Mapping 2018 – New Paths in Professional Photography” , for which I was one of the first participants to register, Marc Ludwig from FotoTV. one of the speakers, Nicole Zausinger, was introduced. I didn’t let the chance slip up and asked you for an interview. You can either read it in abbreviated form here on the blog or listen to it in full as an audio interview on my podcast . Thank you for having time for an interview, Nicole. You are a professional photographer, please describe the subject areas you are working on. With pleasure. My entry into professional photography came through a three-day castle wedding in Chiemgau, which I was able to photograph. That excited me straight away. I soon knew that I didn’t want to go back to my old job as an architect and construction manager. In the first few years I concentrated on weddings, over time I added kindergarten and family photography. It quickly turned out that wedding photography doesn’t go well with my job as a mother of two, because weddings take place on weekends when my own children actually need their mother. So now I only do a handful of weddings a year. Instead, I expanded my kindergarten and family photography and I really enjoy it. As a result of my network, other topics have recently been added, such as business photography and food photography. These jobs bring a welcome change in my job. But my main topic remains “everything to do with families”, i.e. weddings, kindergartens and families. You have experience in photography for private customers as well as for business customers, which of the two areas is more lucrative in your opinion? You are addressing exactly my favorite topic. I take a close look at each of my orders and make a note of the effort involved in the individual work steps. So I have a pretty precise picture of whether an order is worthwhile for me and which steps I can still optimize. At first I assumed that business photography was very lucrative because it paid higher fees . But if you put the effort against it, it no longer looks so clear. Wedding photography actually turned out to be the least lucrative for me. My wedding prices are really not cheap, but if you count the effort of preliminary talks, travel times and so on, wedding photography is not so financially rewarding for me. But the financial side is not everything. I still enjoy photographing weddings a lot, so I will continue to offer it. At the moment, kindergarten photography is most worthwhile for me, mainly because I’ve optimized my processes. What exactly did you optimize? I took a very close look at which jobs take up the most time. To do this, I use the Zei cube to have a minute-by-minute overview. As a result, I discovered, for example, that image selection and image processing take a lot of time. In the meantime I have the image processing carried out by ProImageEditors in India. That saves me a lot of time. Of course, at the beginning it was necessary to tell my contacts in India exactly what requirements I have. For example, it is very important to me that the pictures are ready after a few days. It all works very well and I am very satisfied. Tell us a little more about the mindmapping 2018 event I am very pleased that there are such experienced and inspiring colleagues as speakers. Steffen Böttcher, who leads through the event and, to a certain extent, takes on the philosophical part, Fabian Bischof, who runs one of the largest photo studios in Switzerland and Janine Wienick, who is a leader in questions of style in kindergarten photography. The event is suitable for all photographers, even if they work in subject areas outside of wedding and kindergarten photography. The aim is to let the participants think outside the box and to inspire them. If I can use my lecture to encourage people to think about their own profitability as a photographer, then I have achieved my goal. I keep seeing photographers who quit their job because they fail to turn it into a profitable company. And I think that’s a shame. Yes, Nicole, then let’s work together to support photographers with their business issues. Thanks for talking to us, Nicole.
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to success, and the coveted insider tips often have to be laboriously worked out yourself. But if you believe in yourself, have the necessary will to persevere and can also cope with setbacks, you have a good starting position. The information in this article is only a beginning. You can get more tips from other models, from experienced photographers and of course from the contacts in your model agency. How do I become a model? First and foremost, it is important to have a good charisma and act confidently in front of the camera or on the catwalk. Some models are born with this and others have to learn it through training and routine. Take every opportunity for a photo shoot with a good photographer! You will see that you get better and safer with every shoot. Looking good is of course important, although body measurements are particularly important for catwalk models. With photo models, a personable charisma and an interesting, unmistakable appearance are particularly important. If you think you are a model in terms of appearance and demeanor, it is time to apply as a model. How do I apply as a model? You can apply to model agencies and photographers .It is of course important to only contact reputable agencies. As a first contact option, an email is best. Add three to four photos of yourself and state your measurements, your age and your place of residence. In addition, your telephone number for easier contact. If you don’t hear anything after two weeks, you can follow up by phone. If your application was of interest, you will receive an invitation to an interview / go-see or a test shoot. If someone sends you a rejection, don’t be discouraged and try elsewhere. Body size, measurements and clothing size of a model Many photo shoots take place in underwear or swimwear. A well-trained body and general fitness are therefore very important for models. In addition to the correct model dimensions, body proportions and optics are particularly important. Especially in men, the muscles should be clearly developed, but without appearing excessive. A well-defined washboard abs always goes down well. The days of anorexic female models are still not over. Too much orientation in this direction is viewed more and more as critical. Ideally, a model looks fit and healthy, then bookings are most likely. There are strict guidelines for catwalk models, but these are handled differently depending on the agency. Under 172 cm it is difficult for women (for men 182 cm), the best is 175 cm to 180 cm. Dress size should be 36. The reason for these requirements is that the sample collections to be presented are only produced in this size. If you don’t want to work on the catwalk but just stand in front of the camera, then size is not that important. However, many agencies expect you to be able to accept both photo and catwalk jobs. Photo: Michael Omori Kirchner At what age can I become a model? Of course, there are age requirements for certain activities as a photo model, which are relatively narrow. In principle, however, there are no restrictions, neither downwards nor upwards. There are even specialized modeling agencies that place babies or toddlers and others that deal with seniors. So you can start modeling very early, although of course your parents’ consent is required if you are not yet of legal age. In addition, the youth protection regulations must be observed at work. If you are very young, it is best to turn to a correspondingly specialized model agency, they will be able to advise you best. But even beyond the age of 30, your career does not have to end by a long way. More and more photo models in their prime, the so-called Best Agers, are sought. Often these are of course people who have worked as models for many years and have the experience. But entering the model business at the age of 40, 50 or 60 is definitely possible. As always in the model business, however, the following applies here: Your own assessment is important: Are you able to radiate dynamism and zest for life in front of the camera despite your age? Do you look sporty and healthy? Such types are exactly what advertising is looking for. If you fit into this requirement profile, you have a good chance. I was approached by a model scout on the street, can that be serious at all? There are many serious model scouts and photographers who work this way, many great models have been discovered this way. So don’t let yourself be put off and don’t suspect a cheap pick-up behind it. Of course, there are also free riders who pretend to be model scouts and can offer you little or nothing. So first of all only take the offered business card with you. You don’t have to reveal your own mobile phone number, name or address yet. You only get in touch after you have informed yourself about the agency or the photographer and are interested in a cooperation. You shouldn’t get in touch if you don’t get a business card at all if you are immediately asked for private details (such as your mobile phone number) on the street if you cannot find any information about the contact person on the Internet if you find the agency’s business model or business practices obscure or suspicious It goes without saying that you don’t sign anything right away on the street. Photo: Michael Omori Kirchner How do I recognize a serious model agency? Unfortunately, there are also dubious model agencies on the market. They live from making false promises to newcomers and pulling the money out of their pockets. You should become suspicious if you are promised a dream career and high daily salaries are guaranteed. It is also a bad sign to be asked for money. You should only pay money if you get real value, for example a good education or a professional sedcard shoot, provided you can use the results of the shoot outside the agency. Don’t be blinded by promises of secure bookings, which you supposedly only get if you book overpriced model courses. Under no circumstances should you pay any money for inclusion in the agency’s file. A reputable agency earns its money by arranging orders, not with fees for inclusion in their file. How do I recognize a serious photographer? Contrary to popular belief, there are far fewer dubious photographers than expected. Still, there are a few things to watch out for: Have reference photos shown and reference customers named. If the answer is evasive or non-verifiable information is given: Caution! Ask if you can bring an accompanying person to the preliminary talk and / or photo shoot. Ask about a release before a shoot. No serious photographer works without it! Don’t cheat on your age. If you are not yet of legal age, say so openly. This does not reduce your chances, but you need the signature of a legal guardian on the model release. Don’t be rushed into nudes if you don’t want to. No serious photographer disregards the previously agreed limits. Otherwise: just trust your good common sense. What is a Go See? If you are invited to a go-see, they want to get a personal picture of you. Photographers, agencies or clients usually invite people to a go-see. You are expected to bring your book, the so-called model book . This is a folder with reference photos from previous shootings in the format 20 x 30 cm. Anyone who brings a normal photo album with them, perhaps with photos in the 9 x 13 format, has immediately shown that they have no experience. The model book is usually taken back with you immediately after review. You may be asked to take a few steps, put on certain clothes, or do some test shots. Usually the go-see only takes a few minutes. What is a model release? A model release is an agreement on the rights of use to the photos that arise during a shoot. Without the conclusion of such an agreement, neither the photographer nor the model may use the images in any way. Therefore, such a release is ALWAYS signed. Stock photo agencies in particular have the model release presented so that they can check whether the necessary usage rights are in place. What is a TfP shoot? A TfP shoot is a mutual photo shoot. TfP means “Time for prints”. The model invests the time and gets free photos for it. That means: Neither the photographer pays the model nor vice versa For beginner models, this is a good way to get shooting experience and good pictures, and for photographers it is a way to implement certain ideas without paying a model fee. TfP shootings are often used by amateur photographers and entry-level models, but this is also a popular option in the professional camp. It is important to make sure that both sides benefit from the shoot. An experienced professional model will not do a TfP shoot with an amateur photographer and a professional photographer will only do a free shoot with an inexperienced model in exceptional cases. What is a tear sheet? A tear sheet is an extract from a publication, for example a magazine or a brochure. This tear sheet shows the jobs for which the model has already been used and that the recordings made so far have actually been used commercially. If it is also a cover picture or a high-quality brochure, such a tear sheet is a jewel in the model book, and every model is very interested in collecting as many such “trophies” as possible. As a newcomer model, can I bring someone to the shoot? With prospective models, it often happens that an accompanying person is brought to the job interview or to the photo shoot. This is usually not a problem at all. In the case of underage models, it is very welcome or even required that the parents are there. This is rather unusual for experienced models. When your own friend also acts as a “manager”, although he has no idea about the modeling business, it seems rather strange. If you would like to bring someone to a photo shoot, it is best to announce this in advance. You should rather avoid photographers who then strictly refuse and cannot give any reasonable reasons. Photo: Michael Omori Kirchner Do nudes harm my career as a model? There is no clear answer to this question. First of all, it is important that you ask yourself what you can and cannot represent for yourself. If you feel uncomfortable taking photos or regret a shoot afterwards, nobody benefits. On the other hand, nowadays it is taken for granted with models that pictures in underwear or bikini are no problem. The so-called “covert nude” is also considered normal (in a covert nude the model is naked, but the sensitive areas cannot be seen directly in the picture because they are hidden. Most advertising photos for cosmetics and personal care products would be without a covert nude impossible. Tip: Set your own limits and then stick to them. On the other hand, however, expect that if you book for a personal care series you will not be able to take the pictures in your sweater. If you are unsure what exactly is expected of you during a shoot: ask beforehand. How much money can I earn as a photo model? Beginners in the modeling business are of course interested in how much money you can earn as a photo or catwalk model. There is no general answer, only the absolute top models get the dream fees. Before a model can even think about charging a fee, it must first show that it can work professionally. Nobody buys a pig in a poke. Paid sedcard shootings and so-called TfP shootings are ideal for this purpose. If the experience is then good and you can see the talent of the model from the reference images, a daily fee of 200 to 400 euros is paid for newcomer models. At first this is a nice extra income, especially for part-time models, students, etc. Since clothing and make-up have to be purchased from the fee and taxes and various insurances have to be paid, a model will relatively soon aim for a daily fee of 600 – 1,200 euros or more. In addition, there may be a buy-out. It should be noted that as a model you are usually self-employed and register a business. As a model, where can I get good photos? Especially at the beginning of working as a model, the question arises of where you can get good reference photos for applications to model agencies and photographers. In some cases, meaningful amateur photos that you can produce yourself for little money are sufficient for the application. But the chances are greater if you can already present professional photos that show that you can act convincingly in front of the camera. For this purpose, beginners who have not yet completed professional shootings and well-employed models who are often not allowed to use the results of their commissioned shoots for self-promotion book a paid shoot with a good photographer. Choose this photographer carefully, take a look at his previous work, and you should only go to him for a shoot if it meets the professional requirements. Don’t forget that your chances as a model depend on the quality of the resulting pictures. You and your make-up artist pay between 300 and 800 euros for such a shoot. That’s a lot of money, so you should be able to expect a lot. With such shootings it is also common that you get the image files in high resolution so that you can make your own prints or even print a poster from the photos. You can usually only use this for your own advertising, for your model book, your website or if you want to have a poster printed by you. Before the shoot, agree with the photographer how many of the photos are included and how many of them have been edited. Many photographers do not even publish unprocessed images. How current do my reference photos as a model have to be? It should actually be clear: only current photos are allowed on the sedcard and in an application by email. Nothing is more disappointing for a photographer than when the booked model looks completely different than expected in person. So if you now have a different hair length or color, if your body dimensions have changed or if you have just gotten a few years older: Current photos are a must! And no matter how good the old pictures are, they may possibly still appear in the model book on one of the last pages. Models who apply with old photos and write / say: “But now I look different …” cannot hope to get an order. So you always need up-to-date images of yourself. You don’t get the images for your own use on all orders, sometimes you don’t even get to see them. There can be many reasons for this, for example an advertising agency does not want the new ad motif to circulate in advance and the photo to wear off as a result. Later you decide on a different motif and the pictures disappear into oblivion without you having a chance to get the pictures. So it’s not a bad idea to keep in touch with the photographers you work with. Almost all photographers plan free projects from time to time and are open to requests for a TfP shoot. In this way, two birds can be killed with one stone: You get your current photos, and the photographer doesn’t have to book an expensive model for his free project. Success at GoSee, the presentation date for models If you are invited to a GoSee, there are a few tips to optimize your chances: Come on time. Face the host (client, photographer, booker, …) positively and with a smile, spread a good mood. What is not possible is a sad, shy or negative appearance. Wear neat clothing that is neat but not too flashy. Subtle jewelry is ok. Make sure you have good skin. Come on well rested and not sleepy. Don’t wear too much makeup. Present your model book and answer all questions smiling and confident, but not arrogant. If you take these tips to heart when preparing for your appointment, you have a good chance of making an optimal impression. As a photo model, do I have to take care of the makeup myself? A make-up artist is present at many photo shoots. Then the model doesn’t have to worry about putting on make-up and appears on set without make-up. But it is of course gladly seen when the model supports the make-up artist and can replace it if necessary. The cost pressure is getting bigger and so it happens more and more often that a model also has to do her own make-up. There is usually no make-up artist available for test shoots; for TfP shoots, this is clarified before the appointment. In any case, the model should always have the basic make-up equipment with them: Make up Concealer rouge Mascara Lip gloss Transparent powder (very important!) By regularly working with make-up artists, a model learns to apply make-up according to type. Make-up artists like to give tips when asked about them. Professional model posing Professional models can act independently in front of the camera even without precise posing instructions from the photographer. In the briefing, the topic of the shoot is discussed and the model should then deliver the corresponding poses himself. The photographer gives minor instructions and corrections during the shoot, but doesn’t like to start with the basics. Therefore it is important for your success that you have a basic repertoire of poses “on it” and above all that you can act independently and naturally in front of the camera. Of course, you get the necessary security through many many shootings. The more you stand in front of the camera, the better you will get. Thorough preparation is also important in the run-up to shootings: Stand in front of a large mirror and practice posing. A good posing book can be helpful. Or you take a fashion newspaper and do some poses. It is important, however, that you only see such templates as suggestions and that you act independently relatively soon. Availability as a photo model Successful models are always available for inquiries from your agency or from photographers. That sounds a bit exaggerated at first, but it is very important for success in business. And availability doesn’t just mean being accessible by phone, but also always having an appointment calendar with you in order to be able to answer a booking request in a qualified manner. Of course it is understandable that there are situations in which you do not want to be disturbed and you are not immediately written off if you are not available. But many inquiries have to be decided at very short notice and the agency does not phone after you long, but tries immediately with another model. And the possible order has already been placed elsewhere. You should inform your agency of a longer absence, for example a vacation, so that they are informed accordingly. Application as a photo model with me From time to time I implement free projects in which I work with interesting and committed models on a TfP basis. That means, you only invest your time and the willingness that I may publish the photos. You can use these photos to apply to a model agency or for your personal purposes. I am looking for women and men between the ages of 22 and 52 with a positive and charismatic aura.
Do you remember the last really impressive street photos that you saw in an exhibition, in a book or online? What did they have in common? A balanced composition, sure – the right timing, yes, that is also part of it – but mostly we are fascinated by photos that have everything: composition, timing, preferably something that triggers emotions like direct eye contact and ultimately: the right light or . Weather. Here I would like to give you 7 tips on how you can get better photos by only going out in extreme weather conditions: 1. Bright Sun – Let Sunny Rule 16 work for you My favorite time for street photography is early in the morning or in the late afternoon on cloudless days, when the sun is low and you can only see the silhouettes of the oncoming passers-by in the backlight . I do not take photos in automatic mode in such light situations, as you can underline the effect of photos with the appropriate manual exposure. My favorite settings here are aperture 11 or 16, exposure 1/500 to 1/1000 at ISO 400. This is how you get high-contrast, depth-emphasized, expressive street photos. 2. Search for light situations – not for locations In extreme light conditions such as bright sun, you should not choose a specific location to take photos there. You may miss out on the best photos along the way! I therefore pay attention to lighting situations that can often change within a few minutes and position myself there, look for the best position and image section and wait there for passers-by. When the light changes, I move on and look for the next corner with ravishing light that gives me the harsh contrasts I’m looking for. 3. Be patient When you have found a spot with good light: don’t lose patience! Stay there for at least 10 to 20 minutes or until the lighting situation worsens. On days when I found fantastic spots with unique light and then walked on after a few minutes because nobody came, I was always annoyed in the evening that I hadn’t waited longer. Because often the situation you are waiting for comes exactly at the moment you put the camera away. 4. rain? Bring an umbrella That might sound obvious, but I live in Berlin and many people here find it too “uncool” to carry around an umbrella. Instead, you walk through the rain with a deep hood or “topless” and save yourself the shower in the evening. But there is another reason why I am always out and about with an umbrella besides the rain protection: You are more inconspicuous and are seen more as part of the crowd running through the rain than as a photographer. This allows you to be less noticeable. In addition, the screen can be used as an effect in one or the other photo when you are bored and nothing is happening in front of your eyes. 5. Be the first When it starts to rain or snow, grab your camera if you can and catch the first passers-by, surprised by the rain, running through the streets. Is it starting to storm? Even better. Now no one pays any attention to a street photographer standing around, because everyone is just busy recording their belongings. When there is snow, it is of course nicer to hold on to the unused variant without footprints and mud. Here you can better cut out individual passers-by in front of the background. In snow, of course, make sure that you overexpose it slightly. 6. The most extreme weather: gray skies The most extreme weather for me is a gray sky, because then it is extremely difficult to take really good street photos home. Instead of exciting light situations, you will only find mud, gray and gloom. But even then, if you had enough motivation to leave the house, you can take good photos: Watch out for reflections on cars, window panes or side mirrors or go to a busy place where you practice the master class of street photography : Working with the foreground, middle and background, i.e. several layers in the style of Alex Webb. You don’t necessarily need great light for this, but good luck and patience. Train stations are ideal for this, or places with a “clean” background such as beaches. 7. Don’t take photos if you don’t feel like it Most street photographers do not take photos for a living, but because it is simply their passion and it is incredibly fulfilling to see how your portfolio grows and grows. Therefore: If you don’t feel motivated to take photos despite the best (extreme) weather conditions, then don’t do it! Otherwise you will spoil the joy of photography in the long run if it becomes a duty. Sun, rain and snow will be back sooner than you think!
5 tips for laughing children in front of your camera You are happy when children laugh, especially in photos. But laughing straight away, unfortunately children don’t just pretend, especially not when you want to. Almost at the push of a button when you stand in front of them with the camera. And we as family photographers have to be creative in order to make our little photo actors laugh naturally. In this respect, the following points could help you to conjure up a natural child’s smile on the picture. Tip 1 – involve parents Children have parents. Often they are a bit more photo-shy than the children, but I solve that very easily. I just give the parents something to do. This way you look at your children and are busy with them instead of always looking at me in the camera. I often say that too, look at your kids. Then the parents begin to smile full of love. On the one hand this creates exciting and natural situations and on the other hand, some parents know how to get their children to laugh. The parents’ own tricks sometimes surprise me, and so I have a few tricks that I like to use with other families. Tip 2 – sure instinct Which action I use best with which child, of course, also depends on the age and the child itself. In this respect, as is so often the case: a sure instinct. It’s like jokes, not everyone can laugh at the same joke. In addition, you have to deal with different sensitivities. Even with children. For example, not all children just want to be touched like that or it is the parents who don’t want someone else to just touch their children. Of course, on a photo shoot, it’s not exactly like being a complete stranger, but there are shy kids and extroverted kids. As with us adults too. Of course that is clear, but consciously observing which type you have in front of you is an important point. Tip 3 – tickle If I was able to verify the above, spontaneous tickling helps in many cases. For some photo motifs, I like to do it myself. But it is better if the parents play along and tickle their little ones. So I have laughing children and exciting attitudes with their parents in one picture. I have to be careful that I press the shutter button and not miss the many beautiful moments because it is so beautiful to look at. But not every child likes to be tickled off, what then? Tip 4 – hop If there are two children in the family, another very successful action is to let the parents hop on top of each other with one child on each arm standing next to each other. At the beginning, the parents stand about 2 meters apart and then jump towards each other. This ensures that everyone is equally sharp. Be careful, choose a fast shutter speed, otherwise you will have lots of beautiful but blurred pictures. By now the ice should be broken and there will be no shortage of laughter. It always works great indoors and outdoors. And all family members have a lot of fun. Tip 5 – pop noises Fart noises are wonderful! Small children love that. What I always like to say to parents is to snort on the neck or stomach of their children, to make bubbles. That tickles, is funny and also sounds like a fart. Often, however, it is enough to simply imitate the sound yourself. But that laugh as they snort at each other is just priceless. So these were my tips for you guys. Of course, there are no limits to your imagination, just try it out and come up with your own funny ideas. In any case, a lot of fun cannot be avoided.
At first glance, it seems a bit unusual to devote an entire book to wide-angle photography. But already after the first pages in the book, Chris convinced me: He reports on planning a trip where he deliberately left his zoom lenses at home and only traveled with a 24 mm lens. According to him, the best decision he has made in recent years. His really worth seeing sample pictures, which illustrate each of the content-related lesson, prove that he was right. In his book, Chris first explains the technical and creative basics of wide-angle photography and then goes into the various areas of photography in which the use of a wide-angle lens makes sense. And it makes the reader think again and again: Why does it actually make sense to use a wide-angle lens when photographing the Grand Canyon? And why does the same consideration not apply when Mount Everest is to be put into the picture? Chris also deals with special use cases such as the Brenizer method (unfortunately only very briefly and without an optimal example photo). He explains how to use a tilt-shift lens to take photos head-on in a mirror without actually being seen (vampire trick) and describes how you can use the same procedure to photograph a bridge that appears to be in the middle of the river. without using a boat or getting your feet wet. My conclusion A very nicely designed and stimulating book for photographers who want to come up with new ideas in image design and a plea for conscious and decelerated photography.
Photographers who want to set up a photo studio are first looking for a suitable property. But which rooms are suitable for setting up a photo studio? And what should the technical equipment look like? Of course, the requirements are different depending on the type of shoot you want to do there and whether it is done professionally or as a hobby, but there are many similarities. location Every real estate agent knows the saying about the three most important criteria for evaluating a property (“location, location, location”). The location also plays a major role in a photo studio. Basically, a distinction should be made between photo studios that have walk-in customers and those where customers only come with a fixed appointment. In the case of the former, a location is preferably in a pedestrian zone or the like. makes sense, where many potential customers pass the shop window. If customers only come to order or are mainly served industrial or advertising customers, a location in a commercial area with good transport connections and sufficient parking spaces makes more sense. The distance from your own place of residence must also be taken into account, as this distance must be covered every time you drive to the studio. Dimensions of the room For photo studios in which people (full body) are to be photographed, a minimum room height of 3 meters is advisable, otherwise you will have too many problems hanging up the background systems. Background boards are 2.70 or more wide. So that there is still enough space for the flash tripods, a room width of at least 5 meters is required. The length of the room should be at least 6 – 8 meters, so that you can achieve a sufficient recording distance. The aforementioned dimensions apply to people photography. If cars or other things are photographed, the recommendations are of course completely different. window Some photographers like to work in daylight photo studios, in which case large windows are of course helpful. As a rule, daylight is avoided, so windows are more of a hindrance or are masked. ceiling What color and texture is the ceiling? Can I attach ceiling mounts for studio flashes? walls As a rule, the walls in photo studios are painted white, sometimes black or gray is also chosen. Any kind of color does not make sense because you get unwanted color casts from light reflections in the photos. With white walls you always have to expect scattered reflective light. If you want to avoid that, you hang the white walls with black molton or paint them black straight away. To be honest, I would feel uncomfortable in a studio painted black, so the walls in my studios have always been white. heater The rooms should be easy to heat. A comfortable room temperature is necessary, especially for models who are lightly or not dressed at all. My tip: Don’t just look to see whether there are any radiators, but also make sure that the rooms are well insulated. I was once offered a former warehouse as a photo studio that had radiators, but the walls and floor were absolutely uninsulated. In this case, you will not be able to achieve a sufficient room temperature in winter even with well-functioning radiators. air conditioning For some photographers, air conditioning in the studio is imperative. Most photo studios have little window space anyway, so that little heat gets into the room even in summer. Access A large entrance on the ground floor is helpful if, for example, a customer wants to be photographed with his motorcycle in the studio. The transport of bulky things is also made much easier. If, on the other hand, the studio is on the 3rd floor, a spacious (cargo) elevator is very valuable. Sanitary facilities The absolute minimum is a wash basin and toilet. A shower is helpful, but not essential in my opinion. costs Of course, the costs are not entirely unimportant. These include rent, ancillary costs and VAT. If a property is rented out without VAT, this is of course a disadvantage for a professional photographer because he cannot claim the VAT for tax purposes. Daylight or artificial light studio? As a rule, when you think of a photo studio, you tend to think of working with studio flashes. But a daylight studio is also conceivable. If the studio has large windows and you can do your photo shoots mainly during the day, it is quite conceivable to operate the photo studio as a daylight studio. In any case, you are more independent of the time of day and of the incident light with light guidance through flashing or continuous light. daylight In a daylight studio, you only need a few brighteners to guide the light in order to reflect the light coming in from the windows. You don’t necessarily have to use the relatively expensive brighteners from California Sunbounce, for example. Simple styrofoam sheets or the like do it too, because the sheets don’t have to be folded to save space for transport. Steady light A few years ago, permanent light systems had the major disadvantage that they produced a lot of heat and were very limited in terms of light exploitation. Today, however, LED panels and permanent light lamps are available that hardly get warm and are sufficiently bright. Only with the choice of the light shapers are you still somewhat limited compared to flashes. Flash system A flash system usually lives significantly longer than a digital camera. It is therefore worthwhile to spend a few euros more here and focus on quality. The following quality aspects are important: Mechanical stability (is the flash head built of high quality and stable or do the control buttons fall off after a few months?) Repeatability (does the flash head constantly emit the same light output or does the brightness fluctuate from picture to picture?) Color stability when the power changes (does the color temperature remain stable even if the power is changed?) Control range (How many f-stops does the control range include?) Bayonet (which bayonet is installed and are there also light shapers from other companies?) Burning time (how long or short is the burning time? Can jumping movements be frozen, for example?) Recharge time (how long does it take for the flash to be ready for use again after triggering?) Weight (how heavy is the device?) Service (can the flashes be repaired and are spare parts available?) Background system or fillet For the typical studio recordings in front of a neutral or monochrome background, either a background system for recording rolls of paper or a masonry or timbered groove is used. The use of fabric backgrounds (e.g. molton) is only useful in exceptional cases, for example when full-body photos can be dispensed with. Because Molton is never completely wrinkle-free, so you have to eliminate the wrinkles by choosing an open panel or through targeted lighting. However, this does not work with full-body recordings because the person is in the background. Make-up and changing area If you do not only take physical photos in your photo studio, but also (or exclusively) take photos of people, you need a make-up and changing area. Meeting area A meeting area / conference table is useful for customer meetings or preparatory meetings with models. kitchen If you have the opportunity to set up a small kitchen in your photo studio, that’s great, of course. Otherwise, a coffee machine and refrigerator are sufficient for cold drinks. props Some photographers have a prop store that is larger than the rest of the studio. Most of the time you will get by with a larger closet or a small adjoining room. Full equipment? My tip: Do not buy everything possible in advance. It is better to “upgrade” gradually as needed and, very importantly, dispose of any equipment that is not required. Otherwise, the photo studio will sooner or later degenerate into a junk store in which you can barely find your way around. My own photo studio My own photo studio, which I used until the end of 2018, was 55 square meters, which was enough for my purposes (portrait photography). It was equipped as follows Room size: 5 meters wide and 11 meters long Room height: 3 meters Separate changing and make-up area Meeting table (extendable) with up to 10 seats Set 1: Background role system Set 2: Modern seating area with different backgrounds Material and props warehouse Music system Graphic monitor for tethered shooting Sinks in the studio and toilets in the house Good heating options and air conditioning Three parking spaces directly in front of the photo studio The studio flash system consists of the following parts 4 Hensel Expert Pro Plus 500 Ws 2 Hensel Expert Pro Plus 250 Ws 1 Hensel softbox 80 x 100 cm 1 Aurora softbox 90 x 120 cm 1 octabox 120 cm with honeycomb 1 Striplight Aurora 40 x 120 cm with honeycomb 1 Striplight Aurora 40 x 180 cm with honeycomb 1 beauty dish Various normal reflectors, umbrella reflectors, honeycomb inserts, swing gates My photo equipment I have described my own photo equipment here: And your photo studio? Everything I’ve written is based on my personal requirements. Depending on what you want to do in the studio, it can look very different for you. Tell me what you have or will be paying attention to when setting up your photo studio. I’m curious!
Multicopters are no longer just a small, insignificant branch in photography. Highly developed algorithms in control and sensor technology, compact and at the same time powerful image sensors and reliable gimbal technology have revolutionized the market within a few years. The step of getting a flyable copter nowadays hardly requires any more in-depth basic knowledge of model making. Not least because of this, more than 900,000 semi-professional drones were sold in 2017. But how do you get the most out of your copter? After a few years in the industry, we would like to share a few recommendations and tips that should make it easier for beginners in particular to use multicopters. Legal background With the new drone ordinance from 2017, the operation of multicopters was uniformly regulated for the first time. It is essential to consider whether the copter is used for leisure or commercial purposes, what it weighs, where exactly you want to fly and whether you are violating personal rights. You can find an illustrated overview and a detailed description on the website of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). A general and individual permit can be applied for from the responsible state aviation authority in your state. The control Get to know the controls at the beginning! The zest for action when unpacking is always great, but a large number of crashes are caused by pilot errors and lack of experience! The leading manufacturers provide a simulator on which you can practice. Here you can also try out which of the four possible assignments on the remote control is the best for you. Perspectives and possible applications Top down Top Down is arguably the best-known setting when it comes to drone photography. Here the gimbal is swiveled down by 90 °, whereby the camera points vertically at the subject. This creates a 2-dimensional impression of the motif, which is also the origin of the name “Flatlay”. This technique is particularly suitable for photographing high-rise buildings or forests, as these are symmetrical to one another and so interesting perspectives are created from the center to the edge. Landscape photography In landscape photography, just like on the ground, it is advisable to use short focal lengths in order to be able to locate the surroundings as a whole. The combination of low temperatures and high humidity / fog can, however, lead to the copter’s propellers freezing up! You should therefore always take a look at the weather on site to avoid the risk of falling. Quite a few spots are also in nature reserves where flying may be prohibited. Night pictures Images at night, especially of cities, have a very special charm from the air. However, long exposure times have to be used here, which is why good camera stabilization and a low-vibration drone are essential in order to obtain an acceptably sharp and at the same time correctly exposed image. Especially the latest generation of DJI copters achieve very good results and exposure times of up to 2s can be achieved without any problems. Image format and sensor utilization The apps of the drone manufacturers often offer the option to change the format of the photos. Find out in the technical data sheet of your copter what format your sensor has and choose this aspect ratio for your pictures. This is the only way to use the entire sensor and get the maximum out of your copter – you can then still crop afterwards. Iris and ND filter for drones If your multicopter has a variable aperture, you have another option in addition to the ISO and shutter speed to regulate the amount of light that hits the sensor. In various tests, however, it was found that with strongly closed apertures, the sharpness suffers particularly in the edge area. For small sensors as well as for Micro-Four-Thirds sensors, a value around F4 is recommended for the best results. If this leads to an overexposed image, the use of ND filters (gray filters) will help you to reduce the amount of light. These are available for almost every copter model from the manufacturer directly or from third parties. Here it is worth spending a little more to avoid unwanted color falsifications. Battery care and use Almost without exception every copter today flies with LiPo batteries (lithium polymer). Compared to older battery generations, these are characterized by a high cell voltage and capacity with low weight. This means that flight times of over half an hour are possible. The disadvantage of this battery technology, however, is its susceptibility to temperature, mechanical impact and overcharging. At low temperatures, the chemical processes in the batteries run more slowly than normal, which is why their voltage drops and your copter can crash. In the event of external damage or overcharging, the battery can catch fire or even explode. Therefore, it is essential to find out about the proper use of your batteries and, for example, think about preheating your batteries in winter. We hope that we were able to give you a small impression of drone photography with this article and look forward to your opinions in the comments.
From Benjamin Wohlert In the flow – what does that even mean? For me, the photo flow is a state in which you practically no longer think about it, but only do it intuitively. The photographer and model are completely on the same wavelength and the photography is completely coordinated – I think that can best be compared with making music together. Both know what to do and when and “are in time”. In my experience, the very best 1% of photos succeed in the flow – that’s why you will find 7 tips here to take photos in the flow and to photograph people in an extraordinary and authentic way. Adapt yourself and your communication to the model What you will see in your photo later is what communication you do! Does the person like to talk a lot or do they prefer to listen? Accordingly, you should behave appropriately, i.e. be a good listener, if the person likes to talk. Conversely, it is your job to lead the conversation yourself more if you notice that she prefers to take on a listener role. In order to have good conversations during the shoot (or during the breaks), it is important that you get to know the person. Get away from boring small talk quickly! Ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered with just a “yes” or “no”. In this way you build up a better relationship of trust and are more likely to actually capture “the person himself” in the pictures. Your portraits will be more candid, authentic, and real when you do that. Be genuinely interested in your counterpart. In my experience you can learn something from everyone, broaden your horizons through each person or get to know a different, new perspective on many things. This is incredibly enriching not only for the pictures! Increase the well-being of your model Devote all your attention to the person in front of the camera, listen carefully, notice every little sign, give her security, encourage her, make her feel that she is exactly right and good as she is. That sounds so natural and simple, but I often hear from models that it is neglected by many photographers. And it’s not at all easy, it takes a sure instinct and a lot of experience. Because everyone is different, and that’s what makes it so exciting! If you can make the person feel like the most beautiful person in the world while standing in front of your camera, you’ve made it. Praise and compliments are very important, but of course they have to be honest. After my shoots, I often get the feedback that I “exude such calm” when taking photos. And after a while, this is carried over to the person in front of the camera. One thing is very important to know: emotions are always mirrored between people. You have probably heard of it before. Therefore it is important to show security and relaxation to the outside world, then your model will quickly feel in good hands, even if she is still very unsafe at the beginning. Furthermore, you should try to avoid anything that could make your model feel negative. For example: Unwanted “spectators” during the shoot of any kind (assistants can also be included), clothing that the person does not feel comfortable in, time pressure / stress, uncomfortable seating, too bright light, cold or heat … Develop a feeling for noticing, eliminating, or, best of all, preventing such things in advance, even before the person feels them and speaks to them. Train to be able to see and appreciate light In order to be good in the long term and to achieve the best possible image results in all situations, it is essential to learn to see and “read” the light. But one thing should not be underestimated: It can really take some time! It is, however, that you decide everything in this regard. This is your job alone. Whether hard or soft light, a lot of light or rather little, from which direction it should come and so on – this of course has a direct influence on the appearance of your model in the picture. You can only make these decisions correctly when you have seen how the currently available light is falling. They are the basis for many other things that you determine, such as the cropping, direction of the picture and posing instructions. It is therefore advisable to initially only work with the available light, because you can see it directly when taking photos. I recommend working with flashes later, if at all. Because with the latter you can no longer see the light before it is triggered, but you have to be able to imagine what effect the flash has on the image (or check this afterwards on the camera display and then improve it if necessary). So how do you learn to read the light? Here are a few things I’ve done: During a shoot, you can let your model move in the available light (e.g. turn slowly around itself once) and walk along yourself and track how and where the shadows fall and where, for example, highlights arise. When you come to a scene or situation in which you want to take a picture, first identify the main light source and its properties (direction, color, strength, etc.). Think about what effect you want to achieve on your photo and whether and how this is possible with the available light. You can also train your eye for light in everyday life, wherever you are, without a camera, by analyzing existing lighting situations. You can do it anywhere! Whether you are sitting in the office, waiting in line at the checkout in the shopping center or just taking a walk outside – always try to be aware of, classify and evaluate the light. Ask yourself, “How would I take a portrait here and now if I had to?” And try to imagine what the result would be. You can do all of this anytime, anywhere to learn to read the light. If you can think of another exercise on this, I would be very happy if you write it to me! Experiment with perspective Always try out new perspectives – the positioning of the camera to the object (in this case to the model) is one of the most important and powerful tools of the photographer. Sometimes take photos from high above, sometimes at eye level, sometimes take a very symmetrical face, or also from the side. You will definitely develop a lot as you do more such experiments. And what if a perspective doesn’t work out and looks ugly? No matter! Then you’ve just used a little space, nothing else. But you are smarter than before! Also analyze the shooting angles, image sections and perspectives of other photographers. Just start with the photographers whose pictures you like. Then try out these angles yourself during your shoots. So photograph the same pose of your model from different perspectives, because everyone without exception has angles from which they look the prettiest and some that look less advantageous. People with big noses, for example, are less likely to like themselves in a picture if they are photographed from the side. A frontal image is often better here. One of your main jobs behind the camera is to find those best parts of a person. I personally enjoy this task a lot and I always recommend taking the time to do it. It is always exciting to get to know people and their different sides in this way. Don’t look at the camera screen that often and don’t show pictures in between I know it’s tempting. You take a photo and want to see how good it turned out. Just take a quick look! You’re out of the flow again. Now do you think the model wants to see pictures in between? I always explain beforehand that it is my way not to show any pictures during the shoot. This has always been accepted so far. As long as you don’t constantly hang on to the display, that’s no problem at all! And yes, here, too, I sometimes make exceptions if I am absolutely sure that the picture shown gives the person additional self-confidence and does not unsettle them (see below). Many photographers say that their models want feedback about the pictures, how they look in the photo and what they should possibly do differently when posing or printing. You say that gives the person security. However, I take a different approach: I am responsible for everything when it comes to photography, and trust between the photographer and the model can grow precisely by letting me control that. Also consider: The “wrong picture” that you show in between can create a lot more uncertainty than a “correct picture” would provide for security. My advice: Set the review time of photos on your camera. Take picture series of 15-20 pictures and check in between with a quick glance whether the settings of the camera are still correct. The more experienced you become, the longer your series of images can be before you look at the display again. Try the creative, the crazy and the unusual Use props and things that not everyone can simply buy. Just look for what you can find in the household. This way you save money and train your creativity! In addition, your results will be more individual and you will automatically stand out from the image results of other photographers. For example, if you use a curtain from your grandmother’s attic for light and shadow play, nobody can imitate you exactly! To get your creativity going, here are some things from the household that I have already used when taking photos: curtains, broken glass, mirrors, pasta sieves, sheets, sand, water, drinking glasses, flowers, flashlights, cell phones … The only limit is your imagination! Leave your photographic comfort zone Yes, you’ve read so often that you should leave your comfort zone. It’s already coming out of your ears! But there is something to it. When I started portrait photography, I was the most introverted guy (can you even improve it?) You can imagine. My communication, if it existed at all, was, in German, horrible and full of uncertainty. And today? I’m still an introvert, but I really enjoy getting to know new people through photography and I’m confident in my demeanor. I’ve learned that being good or bad at taking photos has NOTHING to do with it. If there was only one thing I could give you on your way, it would be this. Don’t let anything stop you, grab your camera and go! I wish you a lot of fun, success and good light in our hobby and exciting encounters with great people!
Northern lights photography – what a highlight in my “photo career” so far. In this article I would like to tell you what you need to photograph the Northern Lights. It’s actually pretty easy to answer: 1. happiness Happiness is really the most important prerequisite for seeing the Northern Lights. The weather is simply unpredictable and as long as this is the case, one is simply dependent on luck. But I don’t want to fob you off here, because you can consider many other factors to increase the chance of seeing the Northern Lights. 2. Preparation Unfortunately, it is not always possible to fly to Iceland or other polar regions at short notice, because the weather forecast has just announced a clear night … the case that you have a memory full of money is excluded at this point. Most of the time you book the flight a little earlier and the weather forecasts often do not go far enough and are too imprecise to predict the weather in your holiday week (s). But there are actually some regions where, statistically speaking, the weather allows clear skies more frequently and the probability of precipitation is lower. There are some tables for the individual regions on the Internet and so we come to the first point: simply plan a station for your stay in such a region. As far as I know, the Myvatn region in Iceland is particularly known for little rainfall. In Norway, for example, the coastal regions are more volatile in terms of weather and inland it is statistically drier. During my penultimate stay in Iceland it was mostly rainy and the sky was full of clouds. Only in the Myvatn region did the sky clear and at night it was clear with stars. For the travel period, it should be noted that you go on the hunt for the northern lights in the months between September and March. At this time the nights are dark enough to see the Northern Lights at all. 3. phases of the moon Second point , look at the phases of the moon! I keep it that way that I always prefer the new moon phases for nocturnal recordings. Without the moon, it’s just darker at night and the stars come out better. However, this point is worth discussing and opinions differ at this point. Information about northern intensity When you are there, and that brings us to point three , find out about the intensity of the northern lights in your hostel or guesthouse. If you have internet on site, you can of course do it yourself. I recommend two pages to you: http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast/Europe/2013/10/21 http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/aurora/ I particularly like the second page because you can also see how the cloudy sky is developing at what time of day. So if you don’t have such a fixed travel plan, you can spontaneously decide differently 🙂 The second page offers information about the northern lights intensity and the current moon phase at the same time. You are now well prepared in theory, so let’s move on to practice. 4. Equipment I’ve been to Iceland twice now. The first time with a Sony Alpha 500 and the last time with my Nikon D600. My attempts to take night shots with the Sony failed miserably because the noise was so loud that you couldn’t see any stars. So we come to point four , the equipment Today’s cameras have improved significantly in terms of noise sensitivity. Nevertheless, differences between full format and APS-C cameras are clear, especially in the ISO behavior . So if you are really busy photographing phenomena in the night sky, in my opinion it is worth investing in a full-frame camera. Another important component is your lens. The basic rule here is: the brighter and the less focal length (between 14 and 24 mm focal length for full format), the better. The smaller the focal length, the longer you can expose without the stars leaving any traces on the photo. The stronger the lens, the lower you can leave the ISO value. This just makes the photos clearer. Another important part is a good tripod. You don’t believe how the wind can blow on Iceland. I was traveling with a Cullmann Magnesit 528Q , which is really bombproof and I can only recommend it! You should also think of a headlamp, so you have your hands free to set up the tripod and the camera and don’t have to hold a flashlight. 5. Place of admission We come to the last point of your preparation and thus to point five . When you are there, think about what can serve as a suitable foreground for a great northern shot and look out in daylight. At night, there is a high probability that you will not find anything, because everything outside of your headlights will disappear into the darkness. I also had to make this experience and so once I stood in front of an empty field and the other time in front of a place full of gravel and therefore three photos as it should not be: Oh, and I almost forgot something: If you are so lucky and see the northern lights, put your camera aside and enjoy the natural spectacle. What you see then is unique and beautiful memories are at least as important as a great photo (!), Right?