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Posts Tagged ‘Amherst Media

Book Review: Ellie Vayo’s Guide to Boudoir Photography

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By Diane BerkenfeldVayocover

Have you thought about adding Boudoir photography to the other services your studio offers but was unsure of how to go about doing so? Then Ellie Vayo’s Guide to Boudoir Photography is just what you’re looking for. The book, published by Amherst Media (www.amherstmedia.com; ISBN 978-1-58428-253-2) retails for $34.95.

“Boudoir photography is more than posing and lighting; its about building confidence, trust, and of course, producing the highest-quality art,” Vayo explains. And her book is filled with helpful information regarding all aspects of boudoir photography. The author includes an important chapter on “The Psychology of the Woman” to help the reader understand their clients better.

Within the pages of her book, Vayo shows the reader how to create glamorous, flattering images of any woman—regardless of her age, shape or size. “My ideal client is in her forties,” Vayo says in the book. These are established career women with the income to purchase high-end photography. This is so important, especially from the point of view of a photographer looking to add a specific type of photography to their business. Not all clients will look like models, so you really need to know how to best shoot women of all body types.

The book is a comprehensive volume from marketing boudoir photography services, how Vayo books jobs and sells/upsells clients, as well as posing women with different body types.

She points out the importance of shooting without distraction of studio personnel, or family members/friends. And she notes that male photographers should definitely have a female assistant present to alleviate concerns that clients may have about posing in the nude or semi-nude.

One of the great things I like about Vayo’s tone throughout the book, is that she understands that not all professional photographers have the access to large budgets for props and backgrounds. She offers tips from her own past experience—for finding inexpensive items that can be used—while you are building your studio business. One of these tips is that you don’t need a wind machine when a hair dryer on the “cool” setting will do.

She discusses various settings that can be used for these images, using sets or backdrops, window lighting, and outdoor settings, including location shoots.

Numerous images are peppered throughout the book, showing the wide range of imagery that makes up boudoir photography. While most folks would think of nudes as the definition of boudoir photography, many beautiful boudoir photographs feature women wearing clothing or draped in fabric. Even the creatively posed headshot of a woman wearing little clothing, and with a seductive expression is a boudoir image.

Although much of the boudoir photography that Vayo shoots is of female clients, she does on occasion photograph guys too. In these cases, she makes sure to have a male assistant with her. Regardless of whether the subject is a man or woman, Vayo recommends meeting with your boudoir clients beforehand for a consultation. This is a great suggestion and can help you immensely in capturing the ideal images for your customers.

As well as the sections on shooting, Vayo spends a great deal of the book explaining how she markets her boudoir photography, client booking, as well as how her studio presents proofs and final images to clients.

The author includes information on post-production, from the standpoint of enhancements that clients may ask to be made to their images, such as retouching away years. She also includes examples of various software techniques that can be used to create finished images, and the software that her studio uses.

Ellie Vayo’s Guide to Boudoir Photography is a definite read if you’re interested in adding this niche to your studio’s photographic offerings.

To see more of Ellie Vayo’s work, check out her website at www.evayo.com.

Written by PictureSoup

August 1, 2009 at 11:30 am

Book Review: Sculpting with Light

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allisonearnestcover

By Diane Berkenfeld

With her first book: Sculpting With Light, Techniques for Portrait Photographers, (Amherst Media, www.amherstmedia.com ISBN: 978-1-58428-236-5) author and pro photographer Allison Earnest eloquently begins by explaining why we as photographers use light to sculpt our portrait subjects. She goes on to explain the physics behind light, for the scientific view of how light—its intensity and color—helps us create our photographs.

Earnest discusses the types of light: natural ambient illumination, strobe (studio and on-camera flash) as well as hot lights. She also touches on techniques for capturing great portraits on location, softening harsh sunlight, the use of flash-fill in daytime photographs, as well as mixing artificial and ambient light in the evening. The author touches on lighting ratios and why it is so important when using digital capture to get it right in the camera.

The author explains in detail how to use dimensional lighting to sculpt a portrait. She covers the basics of portrait lighting and then explains the different lighting set-ups and poses to use to flatter your subjects while minimizing distracting facial features. Earnest includes a list of distracting features that your clients will likely want minimized and explains the lighting and posing you should use for each, for a more flattering portrait. Examples are included throughout the book, often showing both the more flattering way of capturing your subjects and the not so flattering way so the reader can compare the images and build an understanding of why certain techniques work. The book also incorporates many lighting diagrams and illustrations showing where the light falls on the subject(s).

Earnest muses about finding a subject’s inner light and bringing it out in a portrait—the goal of the professional photographer. Being able to do that effectively, sculpting light creatively to flatter your subject is what makes the difference between an amateur picture taker and a professional portrait photographer.

In addition to showcasing the basics of lighting, Earnest also explains the different qualities of light and how they allow a photographer to sculpt their subjects with illumination.

Earnest shows how lighting and posing work hand-in-hand to flatter a subject’s features. She also talks about how clothing choices can improve a portrait, and shows examples.

Earnest touches upon the technique of painting with light, one of the more unique ways to light your subjects. She explains how it is done and shows examples of images that were captured by painting the subjects with light from flashlights or other constant light devices during a long exposure. The photographs that Earnest uses to illustrate this technique are absolutely beautiful.

I would have liked it if the author spent more time discussing this technique, as it is such a unique way of creating beautifully sculpted images and is a subject not often talked about in great detail in books on lighting.

Earnest discusses the technical aspects of photographic lighting in a way that is easily understood by the reader. And she incorporates commentary on why certain aesthetics make for a better photograph—for a more rounded volume on the subject of lighting. Much of the book contains the author’s photographs, however for the section on ambient lighting, she also includes images by other pros that illustrate techniques used to turn harsh daylight into soft dimensional illumination.

Whether you’re just beginning your photographic career or want to brush up on lighting techniques you don’t often use, check out Allison Earnest’s Sculpting with Light and you won’t be disappointed. The price is $34.95.

For more information on Allison Earnest or to see more of her work, check out her website at www.allisonearnestphotography.com.

Written by PictureSoup

July 25, 2009 at 6:09 am

Book Review: The Art of Pregnancy Photography

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PregnancyPhotogBookCoverBy Diane Berkenfeld

Buffalo, NY-based book publisher, Amherst Media, (www.amherstmedia.com) publishes photography books, covering a variety of topics, educating photographers in learning what is involved in genres they may not be familiar with but want to add to their businesses. One of the titles published in 2008 is The Art of Pregnancy Photography by Jennifer George (ISBN: 978-1-58428-218-1).

Maternity photography—photography of the expecting mother-to-be in her glowing beauty—is a growing market that many portrait and wedding photographers are adding to their offerings. Many of these photographers, though certainly not all, are new moms themselves who have discovered the beauty of maternity portraits.

Jennifer George, an award-winning photographer based in San Diego, CA authored The Art of Pregnancy Photography to share with other photographers how to go about adding maternity photography to their businesses. The book, written for the advanced photographer, discusses the artistic and aesthetic aspects of maternity photography.

Annie Leibovitz’s infamous portrait of a nude, seven-months pregnant Demi Moore, on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine in 1991 greatly affected how Americans respond to such portraits—to the point that we’re now comfortable seeing and displaying these tasteful images in our homes.

The use of lighting to flatter the female form in addition to explaining how props such as flowing fabrics allow you to create beautiful portraits that show the mom-to-be but also allow for creative partial or full nudes to be captured that are quite artistic. She discusses flattering lighting on location as well as in the studio, which is helpful to the photographer who doesn’t normally shoot with artificial lighting.

George is thorough in her coverage of the genre—from discussing the aspects of adding maternity portraits to your existing business, how to go about soliciting clients and building a relationship so you become their photographer for all life events, to which types of poses work well, how to blend the lines between single portraits and add the husband or partner, and other children.

One of the most important aspects to Maternity photography is the photographer’s ability to connect with the client/subject as well as the mom-to-be’s comfort being photographed. George explains this and continues throughout the book, not only displaying examples of her own imagery but incorporating captions that explain the technical challenges of the specific images shown.

Capture alone is not the only way to create such beautiful images as the ones displayed in the volume. George talks about the way that Photoshop can help a photographer take their images to a new artistic level.

She also offers examples and suggestions for post-production manipulation techniques and includes screenshots and detailed instructions. These serve as an added educational aid, which is important because not only does she show final images, but explains in detail how they were created.

One of the most helpful parts of the book is the section on marketing and sales. George explains what types of final items clients are often likely to purchase. This is important to know, because these images, while beautiful, may not always be appropriate for display in a living room. She also goes into the tips photographers can use to build a mom-to-be client into a client for life. Such programs include the ‘First Year of Life’ Line, how to integrate baby portrait settings; as well as where to advertise to potential clients.

Another great part of the book is the section where George talks with nine other pro photographers about their perspectives on pregnancy portraits. By including the views of other photographers, the book is more well rounded and not just a solitary viewpoint from the author.

If you’re contemplating adding Maternity portraits into your studio’s repertoire, check out The Art of Pregnancy Photography by Jennifer George. The book is packed with information that will be helpful to you, and is well worth the $34.95 pricetag.

For more information about Jennifer George, visit her website at www.jennifergeorgephotography.com or her blog at www.jennifergeorgephotography.wordpress.com.