Portraits for London Communications Agency Website

I was asked to shoot portraits for London Communications agency, a client of mine I have worked for for many years now. The portraits were going to have quite a contrasty and slightly desaturated feel (the sort of feel I love putting on my portraits). The light was quite channeled and I used a beauty dish for this off to the side to give some shadow, I initially put a honeycomb grid in but was too harsh even for this shoot so a white shoot through cover was added which was perfect. the background was cleanly lit white and I wanted a clip light on one side of the face. I had an extra head to the side with a brolly and it was about 3/4 of a stop hotter than the from light which gave a nice clip which just lifts the shadow and gives a nice dynamic to the face, this of course had to be poly-boarded off to avoid lens flare as it was shooting back into the lens slightly. Below are a few examples. Yes they are portraits on a white background but it’s nice to make them as interesting as possible and good, strong lighting is the best way. Enjoy!

PS. recently got my hands on the new Lowepro Pro Trekker 450 AW which is an outstanding bag! you can fit so much in it, numerous lenses, 2 bodies, cables for my laptop and hard drives, all the other little extras you can think off for a studio shoot but its also outstanding for outdoors and my landscape work.. it even had a camel back water pouch space for summer shooting.. Genius..!

LCA portrait Copyright Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

LCA portrait Copyright Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

LCA portrait Copyright Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

LCA portrait Copyright Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

LCA portrait Copyright Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

LCA portrait Copyright Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

LCA portrait Copyright Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

JMP_8517

Portrait shoot at a craft vodka distillery in Brooklyn, NY

I recently shot a portrait session at a craft vodka distillery in Brooklyn, New York. It was for my agency (Image Source). Having not scouted the location beforehand it was a case of turning up and thinking fast on my feet as time was limited. However, the location itself was excellent. It had lots of natural light and lots of scientific looking instruments that would add interest to the shots.. (as well as the obligatory bottles of vodka).

I shot these with fairly slow exposures and a a wide open aperture giving bright and clean feel (around 1/15 sec and around f2). I shot them on a tripod with some new lenses i just picked up, a 21mm carl zeiss distagon and a 35mm carl zeiss distagon lens, both have proven to be amazingly sharp at even low apertures. i used a small flash head as a front light and two daylight balanced continuous lighting heads (make unknown) for some fill light to soften the harsh flash.

The main string of shots took place in the lab itself but a few were in the workshop. I loved the juxtaposition between a clean, refined final product and a room full of drills, lathes, tools and welding apparatus. I did a few tweaks in post to clean the images up and gave them a desaturated feel but apart from that it was all shot as is, in-camera.

enjoy and please feel free to comment

Images Copyright of Jesper Mattias Photography

Images Copyright of Jesper Mattias Photography

Images Copyright of Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

Images Copyright of Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

Images Copyright of Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

Images Copyright of Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

Images Copyright of Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

Images Copyright of Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

Images Copyright of Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

Images Copyright of Jesper Mattias Photography 2015

Emmerdale’s Barton Brothers for Inside soap Magazine – Jesper Mattias © 2014

A few weeks ago I was commissioned to shoot the four brothers on the British Soap Emmerdale for Inside Soap magazine. The Brief was to get some moody portraits and make them look as good as possible!! The picture editor and myself thought a nice grey background would work and apart form that the only proviso was to keep the lighting constant and get them looking as brooding as possible for the singles and a nice fun group shot of them together. Lighting Wise for the singles I had a play around and initially was going to use a gridded soft boxy at 45 degrees to the side bout the light that was coming out was too harsh and you were losing detail in the shadow areas where you really still wanted some light, so I used a normal soft box and hit them with a Key light (clip light) from behind to just lift the face from the background. A bare head for this rear light was too much so I attached some trace to the front to soften it ever so slightly. The background was lit with a few heads with barn door attachments on them and I tried not to light it too evenly but to have some fall off at the bottom to create mood. I did use a few polyboards which were brought in closer to lighten or darken the face which sometimes is all it takes to get it just right.

The Singles:

 

Bill Ward - emmerdale

Bill Ward – emmerdale

 

 

Michael Parr - Emmerdale

Michael Parr – Emmerdale

JMP_7522JMphotography copy copy JMP_7302JMphotography copy JMP_7557JMphotography copy copy

 

 

The Group Shot was lit more evenly. I used a large silver umbrella on a large boom above and angles slightly down and a small soft box on the floor a bit further away from them to just keep the fall off of light from the brolly from going too black, again, to have some mood but to still have detail in the shadows. Then it was a case of having some fun, which all four of them did. The post was fairly limited as I got most of it in camera (as you should always try and do!) I tweaked a few things here and there but that’s my technique and I won’t be sharing it here 😉

The Group Shot

 

The Barton Brothers - Emmerdale

The Barton Brothers – Emmerdale

A really great shoot for a lovely client. Hope you like the images and feel free to comment if you so wish.

 

My Review of the HTC one Camera and image functions

A zoetrope is a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures. The term zoetrope is from the Greek words ζωή zoe, “life” and τρόπος tropos, “turn”. It may be taken to mean “wheel of life”

and much like the spin of this old fashioned forerunner to cinema, it was only composed of a few frames, yet it breathed life into what were in essence static imagery. Much like this old victorian invention the HTC Ones Zoe function utilizes the same principle, yet with 21st century technology.

The new HTC One phone comes with a multitude of in camera features, you may have seen them on other models and makes enabling you to distort pictures with wave and whirlpool effects, give a variety of colored filters, from lovely desaturated

effects to sepia and black and white images, showing you how the photo will look ‘In-House’ so to speak. This is of course is not a new invention, similar features exist on many of the other top Android and Apple phones, but where HTC have cornered the market is the brilliant way you can change, alter, improve, tweak, poke, squeeze, remove and generally be a creative devil with the photos you take. It works like this…

The Phone’s Zoe function takes a 3 second film and within that has five still images,  and it is from this selection that you can pick and choose, improve and alter your photo so you get that perfect shot every time as well as letting you do multiple exposures and HDR which up until now you could only Do with a high end computer running the latest Adobe Creative Suite  software. Let the tinkering commence!

Smile Please!

Grumpy subjects are the bane of my life… and no matter how many times you tell them to smile they won’t.. well., not when the camera is pointed their way.. however, this sneaky Zoe function starts its 3 second recording before you have even hit the capture button, GOTCHA!. so by simply selecting their face you can push the slider up and down until that illusive smile magically appears.

Before

Before

After

After

As you can see, my non plussed wife is now looking resplendent, however the old adage of never working with children is true as ever. I did swipe backwards and forwards to se if i had captured an illusive smile but it wasn’t to be. A really nice feature and i can see if you were out with friends and time was short or indeed you only had a few seconds to pose having this feature could help make your photos even more perfect and turn the most sullen faced of friends and make them smile with everyone else in the group.. providing they smile for a limited time so Zoe can capture it.

More powder please!

Shooting with celebrities or even regular boys and girls, one thing they all have in common is once they are put under hot studio lights, a bit of pressure to perform or even if you are shooting outside on a summers day, they will all sweat which leaves the face wet which can result in bleached out skin tones as the light bounces off the surface and leaves bleached out (photographic term for not nice looking skin). Ordinarily in an instance like this you would call the Make-Up artist over and after a few expertly applied strokes from the powder brush, the harmonious balance of light and dry skin would once again be restored.

This is not something most people have if they whip out their phone to take a quick snap of friends… and the cries from the females within the group the moment it goes on facebook or twitter is “ I look all sweaty, don’t you dare post that photo!!”

What the HTC does is give a little bit of professional make up artistry to your fingertips. Again, taking the example of my wife and child from the before and after you can see the change and really does do a great job in smoothing out those blown out skin tones and smoothing out the skin.

After

After

Before

Before

The results are surprisingly good. The skin does have a much better look, its more flattering and gives an impression that the face may have had a bit of powder applied (or a touch of photoshop work done), either way it takes mere seconds and the results are really effective.

Please stand still.. or not..

Multiple exposure function

Multiple exposure function

Zoe has the ability to allow you to shoot multiple exposures. The same principal applies, you select the best frames and compress the shots to give that sense of motion and action.

This could work with anything, sporting fixtures like tennis, motor racing, golf.. basically any sport that involves relatively fast paced movement within the frame. This is probably my favorite feature as a photographer, when i was a student many years ago, multiple exposures on a film camera was always something i enjoyed but was quite tricky as you had to dive the exposure by the number of intended frames and hope the overall exposure worked compositionally. You have a choice of how many frames you want to use, so you can just use two or use all the frames given, which is five.

Object removal

Taking out objects in shots is something that professional photographers like myself do day in and day out, from everything form landscapes, to beauty to portraits to still life. Using my son as an example of how this camera will be used in everyday life you can see by just a push of a button he is been removed from the scene. by using the 3 seconds of footage and the stills where he isn’t in that location it has seamlessly dropped the background over him and hey presto a tranquil scene is restored!

Before

Before

After

After

There are other cool Zoe functions like eye widening, (perfect for a sunny day if your subjects are squinting slightly. There is eye brightening, which is a great function, it allows you to lighten the eye which without flash or a bit of fill in light can sometimes have shadows and after all, the eyes are the gateway to the soul so you want to be able to see them.

Summary

The Camera on the HTC one produces images that are roughly 3.5mb compressed and once opened up in Photoshop you are looking at about 11mb files. For a phone this is ample quality! ti would allow you to get a pretty good A4 sized print, its not magazine quality by any stretch but for a phone it really isnt about the top line quality of the camera but more about the amazingly diverse and innovative functions it offers for keen photographers who may not want to bring their DSLR’s out and then spend hours in photoshop altering the images. Its a camera for the tech savvy generation, those who want to produce fun results quickly and effectively and allow them to upload it and share it with friends straight away.

RSPB Campaign at Highclere Castle

I was asked to shoot the portraits of Lord and Lady Carnarvon at Highclere Castle (or Downton Abbey as it has become known) for a new RSPB campaign called ‘Homes for Wildlife’. At Highclere the Carnarvons have taken many measures to attract and develop wildlife in and amongst the grounds of their lovely home. I got to the location early after picking up my asistant at Newbury and set about taking landscapes of the house in the early morning light. It really is a magical place early on as the mist hangs in the valley and all you can hear are the birds gradually waking up and the hum of Bees in the wildflower meadow. I only had an hour with the Carnarovons so I paid the house a visit earlier on in the week to sort out places to shoot in my head. I wanted to keep it simple really, shoot where possible in the shade and use my Profoto with a softbox on to light them. This would mean I could control the daylight on the house (as it was to feature heavily in the images) as well as lighting them in a flattering way. If the house looked overexposed in the background I could either up the power of the flash which meant I had to close down my aperture or increase the shutter speed. As I was shooting on a relatively long lens (this brings the background closer in the frame but can also give a lovely blown out feel too) I had the shutter speed up high on about 200th of a sec anyway and as it was a bright day it meant my flash had to be on a relatively high power to match it otherwise it would be overexposed in the background.

Considering the time we had we managed to rattle off a good selection of portraits and the client was a happy bunny, which is always nice. Below are a few images from the mornings shoots.

Portrait 1

Establishing shot of of Lord & Lady Carnarvon

Portrait 2

Double page spread shot- right hand side

 

 

Portrait 3

Double page spread shot- Left hand side

 

Lord & Lady Carnarvon in the Wildflower meadow at Highclere

Lord & Lady Carnarvon in the Wildflower meadow at Highclere

 

 

Very little in Post was done to the images, a few tweaks of the levels and processing it in my own way and maybe a few blemish removals, but pretty much shot as is in-situ.

Hope you like the images, feel free to read my other blog posts and please do comment if you so wish.

 

 

Family Run Food and Drinks Business Portraits – Session 1

I have started a project in coordination with my agency Image Source to produce a series of portraits of family run and owned business’s who produce food and drinks. This could be Ice cream makers, Cheese producers, or even (as in this instance) Champagne makers. The emphasis is on well made products that have not been tampered with and are made with love! The first of my projects was a Champagne maker called Cottonworth, who are based in Hampshire. The owner was one of two brothers called Hugh. He is young, knowledgable about Fizz production and passionate about what he does. He made an ideal candidate for the project. As he was my first subject (more to follow, so watch this space..)

I have decided to shoot two types of shots and keep them consistent. The first is on a black background with a gridded softbox from the side and a gridded spot at the back to give a key light to lift them from the background a bit. I want the portraits natural in every way, i want the clothes as they are, no grooming with the focus on strong lighting and simplicity. Attached is the Black background shot (image 1)

Hugh Liddell - Cottonworth Champagne and Vineyard

Hugh Liddell – Cottonworth Champagne and Vineyard

The other images  were shot using the location as a backdrop, therefore showing the working environment in the background to give a sense of ownership, See image 2 and 3 below.

Hugh Liddell - Cottonworth Champagne and Vineyard

Hugh Liddell – Cottonworth Champagne and Vineyard

Hugh Liddell - Cottonworth Champagne and Vineyard

Hugh Liddell – Cottonworth Champagne and Vineyard

The Last two images were shot in the Golden hour, I wanted the tips of the vines illuminated with warm light and hugh to be softly lit. I used a small of fill light with my profoto from camera left just to give a small trace of detail on his right side.

Hope you like them!

Portrait fo Jo Elvin – Editor of Glamour magazine

I was asked to shoot Jo Elvin in relation to an article she was writing. I had to get one shot by her clothes and wardrobes and then a few on a white colorama backdrop. The first was shot in her dressing room and i balanced daylight from a bank of windows to camera left and used flash to fill any shadows (Image 1)

_MG_1774JMPhotography

copyright Jesper mattias photography

Image 1.

The second lot of portraits were just about getting some clean shots of her, and by clean i mean nicely lit and flattering. I whited the background out and used a softbox at the front. As space was tight i used a silver reflector below the camera to add bounce and fill under the eyes and chin, which when using just one softbox above camera can sometimes leave dark areas on the eyelids and under the chin which isn’t always flattering for a woman. That was it, simple as that, the portraits looked nice though and worked well for the article.

Image 2

Jo Elvin – editor of Glamour magazine

_MG_1805JMPhotography

Jo Elvin – editor of Glamour magazine copyright of Jesper mattias photography

You can see the final article here in press : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2334819/Confessions-clothes-aholic-Emotional-dependence-clothes-shopping-spiral-worryingly-control.html