Why I Shoot So Many Images as A Professional Photographer

Discussion in 'Photography Techniques' started by Landshark, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    SoCal
    Real Name:
    Bob
    I have no idea where to put this, so here it is
    While discussing whether it was better to store images as Tiffs or jpegs, David and I got off topic from the original post and started a conversation on shoot volumes, which brought us to the question what do I shoot that requires so many frames per shoot. Even though this has very little to do with serious compact cameras, some though it might be interesting to read

    Well I shoot entertainment advertising, editorial and publicity campaigns for movies and television, The average show gallery (term for the photo shoot) has a cast of somewhere between 5 to 12 people, usually the whole year’s art work needs, has to be shot in one day, with new shows sometime we get two days, the shopping list from marketing, studio, and networks can be quite large. First thing we do is to watch the project to get a feel for what will be needed, then we meet with the prospective agency/marketing team and publicity team, brainstorm out some ideas, discuss what the marketing needs and ideas are. Next we bring in a set designer to discuss what we need to build and find out whether it can be done or if the ideas fit our budget. Speaking of budgets these shoots costs, hair, make-up, wardrobe, set design and build, studio rental, equipment rental and assistants run anywhere between $35,000 all the way up to $165,000. From there we have a shot list that usually is 2 or 3 Publicity single setups per actor, 2 to 8 ad single setups per actor (depends on role), 3 to 6 group shots, plus plate shots of the set and props; each setup averages between 100 to 250 frames.
    Each setup has to be built, dressed and pre-lit before we start shooting which is done the day before, the actors usually have limited time so they are just walked to each ready to go setup with limited down time between, after the shoot I edit, check the process profile and organize the setups, a hard drive goes to lab which process out the files make multiple sets of tiffs and jpegs, they are then sent to the agency, studio and or network. I store my images as raw files on multiple 4tb external hard drives. When it comes to the marketing stuff my participation is done at this point but with the publicity images we consult over the build concepts and execution, retouching and selection.
    During the busier times of the year I am shooting 3 or 4 of these a week or we are on the road traveling to one on location. All in all the whole process can be very stressful but also extremely rewarding.

    Most everything I shoot is with medium format digital back cameras, they are anywhere from 33mp to 60mp and push out raw files of 75mb to 100mb, which then process out at somewhere between 96mb to 170mb. Maybe 10% of the time we shoot with a full frame Canon DSLR and have on occasion used the files I shot with a 4/3 or P&S for background files. Once in a while we bring out the 8X10 or some other medium format film camera just to be different.
    Please ask anything you want. Also the web site' images are a little dated, it is something I need to address next year
    Here are a few examples; most were done in one day, some live, some in parts; the Lost shot was done in many parts shot over 5 days, the set one day in a studio, the actors over 3 days on location, one day background plates
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    oscar shoots over the years
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    some ad shoots
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  2. buyhighselllow

    buyhighselllow SC Regular

    26
    Nov 29, 2011
    San Diego
    I remember thinking what a cool photo of the Lost cast was when I first saw it. All the cast members were photographed individually?
     
  3. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    Definitely a good read, thanks for sharing a day in the life of.. [or sometimes 3 days as you said]
     
  4. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    SoCal
    Real Name:
    Bob
    Yes I shot the sets in LA, then shot the actors over three days ,individually in a hotel ballroom in Oahu, I shot each of the actors in two different group shot setups and three individual setups, all to be dropped into the sets, each one had to be lit to match the sets they went with, the background images were shot all around Oahu, the sunset in the image was shot off of Waikiki
     
  5. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    SoCal
    Real Name:
    Bob
    One other note I have been doing this for a long time. I started shooting this career with Nikon F2s and Kodachrome, probably in many ways the hardest time, no snips, no pushes, no pulls, no Photoshop every exposure and lighting had to right on, then moved on to Mamiya RZs with Fujichrome, later added in the Fuji 680, plus a slew of other esoteric film cameras, then the worst camera ever made the Kodak DCS digital cameras, then the Contax 645 with a Phase one back and Canon D, then Hasselblad H2 with a few leaf backs, then the Leaf AFI/Rollei camera with Leaf back, now the Hasselblad H4 with Hasselblad 60 back
     
  6. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Real Name:
    Sue
    Now I see why you have that "using for work" list. OH MY! Seems to me you earn every penny of what you get paid, those are long long shoots. How do you manage to keep tabs on whats what?
     
  7. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    Jack
    Wow!!! Great work!
     
  8. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    SoCal
    Real Name:
    Bob
    Thanks so much
    My first assistant runs my computer, besides make sure everything is capturing correctly he also has to make sure everything is going in the right folders, 98% of the time I have a producer who keeps the call sheet, I have another 3 or4 assistants on every shoot and I have been doing this for a long time. I am pretty good at the organizational part, shoot very efficiently and a fairly fast shooter.
     
  9. Hauki

    Hauki SC Regular

    58
    Dec 2, 2011
    Somerset, England
    Fantastic and a great read. Thanks:smile:
     
  10. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Bob, I'm going to send a link to this thread of yours to a couple of either aspiring or formerly aspiring people I know. Many of us, myself included, have no idea of what goes into these photographs we see in magazines or on billboards. Now when I look up as I drive down the West Side Highway, I'm going to always be wondering if what I see is a Bob D'Amico original!

    This is an eye opener for me, that's for sure. Great website you've got there, I must add - love your introductory page, too.:2thumbs:
     
  11. Brian

    Brian SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    638
    Jul 7, 2010
    If you think the Kodak DCS was bad, you should have tried the Nikon E2/E3 series.

    You have to remember the Kodak DCS was done over 20 years ago, and Digital cameras were new.

    The Kodak DCS200ir was the first commercial digital camera that I bought. I had Kodak custom make it for Infrared. $12,400 for the body. It still works, and is older than the camera on display in the Smithsonian.

    Before that, we made our own Digital Infrared "cameras" starting in 1981. I used a 28-track High-Density Digital Recorder for storing data 11GBytes at a time. That was a lot of data for 1983.
     
  12. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    SoCal
    Real Name:
    Bob
    Brian, what made the DCS so awful was the very fact it was ahead of its time. It cost a fortune and was absurdly slow for what i shoot, but because digital was the new hot thing we were forced into using it before digital was really ready for our needs. i used to shoot 20% with it and the rest on film at the time, just to make sure we were covered. One of my DCS sits in my office as a very expensive paperweight.
     
  13. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I know nothing about medium format digital so I'll ask a naive question - all this gear is shot tethered ?
     
  14. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    SoCal
    Real Name:
    Bob
    Speaking of cameras, I though maybe I should spread my time line a little more, with the 35mm cameras, I went form the Nikon F2 to the F3, the F4 and then jumped ship to the Canon EOS because of faster auto focus, I have stayed with Canon ever since including the switch from film to digital, upgrading with each new generation.
    With the medium format film cameras I started with a Hasselblad 500cm a camera I disliked almost as much as the DCS, then years with the most dependable camera I ever used the Mamya RZ, with a sprinkling of use by the Fuji 680 one of my favorite cameras, I also shot with both the Linhof and Fuji 6X17 cameras, Toyo 4X5 and the Toyo 8X10 to shoot Polaroid transfers. After this I made the switch to the digital medium format cameras I mentioned in an earlier post.
    For my fun cameras I started out with my first camera a Minolta Hi-Matic 7s, then my first Nikon F (which I still own), shot with a few different Nikons until I discovered compact cameras, the first of which was a Rollei 35 and a Minox 35, then on to the Nikon L35AF, which I loved, from there it was on to the ContaxTvs series, Contax Tix and if you do not count the plastic cameras my last film fun camera the ContaxG2. From there it has been quite a long list of digital compacts, first was some Nikon, then a series of Sony's, Canons, Leica/Panasonic, Ricoh, M 4/3 and Fuji
    I still have most of these compacts or have passed them on to my two daughters. During this I also got inspired and started to collect vintage miniature cameras, Minox, Mamiya, Pentax, Rollei and a bunch of others from the past, it is fascinating how many small cameras have been made over the years.
     
  15. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    SoCal
    Real Name:
    Bob
    When the first came out they had to used tethered to something, but now all will shoot to cards, the problem is that many clients got used to watching a monitor so it is now hard to break them off so that we can shoot to cards
     
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  16. Brian

    Brian SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    638
    Jul 7, 2010
    It's amazing how things have changed over the past 30 years with Digital. Working in a research lab gave a different perspective. When Spring rolls around, I'm going to take the DCS200ir out and get some shots from the 20 year old camera. The original 80MByte disk still works.

    I remember using the original DCS-100 on it's tether at a show, but waited for the DCS-200 to come out. Then called Kodak and talked them into a custom run of the detector to leave off the IR cut filter.

    The first Digital Sensor that we built took four flight racks of equipment to operate, and the P3 crew could not run the Microwave oven during the flight while the sensor was running. It sucked a lot of power.
     
  17. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I'm sure your clients love your organization skills as well as the speed with which you can shoot because they are busy people and don't generally have a lot of time to offer it would seem. Since you've used a great range of cameras you probably know every trick in the book by now.. though the layers of that Lost shoot is mind boggling. To think at one time you had to actually get people all together like that just to do the same.
     
  18. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    SoCal
    Real Name:
    Bob
    I still do live group shots as well this shot from last years Modern Family shoot is all live except the background was added
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    SoCal
    Real Name:
    Bob
    This years shot was also shot live other than the tiger which was added and maybe a head strip
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    Jack
    Awesome photos Bob! Keep them coming!