Posts Tagged ‘lifestyle’

We started our Learning Tree shoot in a class room situation at their offices. I’ve shot several times in this classroom, but we did it a little differently this time. I’ve lit this room several different ways, bouncing heads into the ceiling, soft boxes off camera, HMI’s punching through the windows, but this time I opted for hanging Kino Flo’s from the ceiling, skinned with #250 diffusion.  The client specified they wanted a very nice pool of even soft lighting. For all you grip fans out there, here is my advice for hanging Kino’s from drop ceiling situations. I originally was going to use a scissor clamp, since that’s what they are designed for, but upon my pre-light day to test these out, I discovered not all drop ceilings are treated equally. The scissor clamps did not fit on these ceilings. I opted to mount baby plates on some 1×6 boards and slide them on top of the frame by removing the panel. A much better solution since the weight is now distributed over two of the frame bars, instead of just one. This worked out beautifully. It also keeps the head a few inches taller in frame, which was critical for these low ceilings.

Baby plates mounted to 1x6 boards

Our stage 10

Next, we went to a studio situation. Well, this is even better for control if you have the option. We had a rather large shot list to try and get as many points of view as we can with these scenarios. Shooting on a large cove would allow this. I wanted to surround the talent in the tables with soft light on all sides. We mounted several heads on speed rail for the cove walls, and punched in 4 more heads through a large silk for the foreground. This worked out beautifully. The only trick was to keep adjusting the power output for the narrow depth of field shots (F4) to wider depth of field shots to around an (F11). Assistant Hugh did a fine job sprinting around the cove to adjust power settings though.

Notice the jib for the camera. Certainly not necessary for a still shoot, this is for the smooth flowing video shots. Although, since we were constantly changing angles and heights, it was great to be able to do that on the fly with the jib, as oppossed to re-adjusting the tripod legs all day.

We were able to shoot at the swanky Quixote Studios in Los Angeles. Right next door, were the standing sets for Criminal Minds. Great fun to go explore their sets since they were on location

Wacky Stephanie doing her thing

Hugh doing his thing????

Wardrobe stylist Annett

How the talent get pampered on set

Results of some pampering

Beautiful model

Client and crew shot

Thank you Learning Tree!  Looking forward to next time.


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I was really pleased to be able to shoot one of the iconic hotels in Los Angeles , The Beverly Hilton. This hotel opened in 1955 by Conrad Hilton with great fanfare as you can see from the video above. Merv Griffin took over owner ship of the hotel from 1987 until 2003. So much history has passed through those front doors. Now days, the hotel is most known as the home of The Golden Globes for the past 35 years.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that when Zsa Zsa Gabor and Conrad Hilton were married, Zsa Zsa always traveled with her poodle. On one of their many trips, the couple went to Chicago where the manager of the hotel (a Hilton of course) informed them that dogs were not allowed – and there would be no exceptions, even for the wife of the founder. Apparently this situation turned into a learning experience for the hotelier. When he opened his flagship property, The Beverly Hilton, dogs were allowed from the first day – making it one of the first pet-friendly hotels in the United States.

After several scouting trips, I knew we need to do some extensive lighting and compositing as you can see from some early scouting shots of the front.

Sun Seeker App in use!

Existing fountain lighting

I think we're going to need some lighti

Always enjoy putting our heads together with my clients

To view more of my Hotel and Resort work, visit:  www.rexgelertproductions.com

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We’re just off a shoot for The Beverly Hilton. I feel very fortunate to have been asked to photograph such a historic hotel. This is one of Beverly Hills Iconic hotels. We did three long days of lifestyle and architectural shooting. Although very cold at times (well at least I wasn’t the one in the bikini ) and some quite long days, I had another great time.

These are just a sampling of some behind the scenes photos. We’re in the process of retouching the group of images. I certainly will be posting the final images soon.

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Directing your models on a shoot can be one of the more challenging aspects of a shoot. For the record, there is a huge difference posing and shooting fashion as opposed to lifestyle, which I shoot. When shooting lifestyle, I’m always trying to find the unexpected “real” pose the person in front of my lens is portraying. In fact, I don’t even like to use the word “pose,”  it’s more the reaction to something that is happening in a real situation. So many times when shooting people, especially when shooting “real people,” not models, the subjects will get in front of the lens and say,”so what do you want me to do.” Yes, valid question. The trick is to set an environment as to where they are free to move about, and not think about actually “posing”. Again, this is true in a lifestyle shoot, not so much in a fashion shoot. This is one of the challenges I love about shooting lifestyle. The trick is to make it look REAL.

Now the reason behind this post. I love to observe people on the street, or where ever, and study their body language. Just using my iphone, I’m starting to build a library of real people, in real situations with “poses” I love and would find challenging to use in a commercial situation .

This takes me to this iphone image I just grabbed at a bookstore recently. I love all the subtleties of the boys “pose”, his little hand cupped on his lap, crossing of his legs, his pant leg a little dis-shuveled  showing his white socks, and his head buried in the book. Now if I was shooting a lifestyle image for a client, and we wanted a very “real” look to it, not overly styled and posed, this is what I would try to re-create. Maybe it’s an ad for child education and the need to keep kids interested in books. Don’t you think this would be a stronger image then one where the kid is sitting straight in the chair with perfect posture, his pant leg is perfectly pulled down and he has a fake smile on his face., I think so.

The trick is to really set the mood on the set where the actors/models can feel comfortable to move about and let them play a role in the scene. This is the main reason I prefer to cast actors as opposed to fashion models for my lifestyle shoots, let them ad-lib, thats what they love to do. Here are just a couple of examples from a shoot I did for cell phone provider. I just directed the talent to have a good time taking pictures of themselves with the phone, and let them come up with the actual body positions. It will ring much truer if you don’t over direct them too much.

Now just for fun, I Googled, “posing tips for photography,” It found, 210,000 items, Wow! Here are a couple of images I found interesting.

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Thank god for fun clients! I always have such a great time shooting at Learning Tree International.
Learning Tree is a leading worldwide provider of effective management and IT training.
The concept of these shots was that you can take their classes “anywhere” including your home.
Some of the challenges in a shoot like this are,  that we’re pretty limited to the talent sitting in front of a computer and directing them to act like they’re actually engaged in what they are supposed to be doing ….learning. The client will strip in images on the computer screens later.
Secondly, for this shoot, finding the right home that had what we are looking for. We needed clean, simple decor not too distracting , yet with style.  Also, this home worked out beautifully technically that it had a lot of available light coming in, which we augmented with our lights. I love lighting this type of scene where my aim is to make it natural, but still give it some shape with a directional feel to it.
It also was so spacious that I had lots of room to control the narrow depth of field.  I wanted to concentrate the viewer to the student at the computer and have the background identifiable, but out of focus. You need a good bit of space to accomplish that.
For shooting models sitting in front of computer screens, we have more fun then should be allowed. 


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