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

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

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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.

Portrait of Journalist Liz Hoggard

I was commissioned to shoot Liz Hoggard who is a journalist. It was to coincide with a feature she was writing on relationships (specifically the one between her partner chris and her friends and Liz). The article was to illustrate the differences between her and her partner and the fact that being a journalist involves being on your phone and attending parties quite a lot, as opposed to her partner chris who doesn’t drink and prefers an early night. I interpreted this visually with the use of props (cocktails on one side, green tea on the other etc…)

I wanted to create as much drama in the lighting as possible yet still give it a clean feel. I used a gridded softbox at the front and positioned it above camera. As there was quite a bit of depth to the image I needed o throw some lighting into the background. I used a head with a orange gel for the background shot (to give a bit of warmth to the bar behind). But the real tweaks came in post. I underexposed the image itself to make sure there was detail across the full range then upped the contrast quite considerable and desaturated the shot. I think it worked really well and gave a depth and texture to the image

 

Portrait of Liz and Chris Hoggard

Portrait of Liz and Chris Hoggard

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)

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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

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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

Beauty Shoot 2

I was asked to shoot a beauty feature for a large UK newspaper and its beauty section. It was all about lipstick folks.. and how to get that matte look. I wanted to light this shot clean, my last shoot i could go moody and hence i used a beauty dish with a honeycomb insert, but for this i used a large Octa. The Octa itself is used in a number of ways, as a large window light or as a beauty dish (without the outside white diffuser). I used it on order to throw lots of soft light at the model and get an even coverage, i had a white polyboard (reflector) on camera right and a tri-reflector underneath her chin and below camera level to eliminate any slight shadowing under said chin and to a degree between the eyelids and eyebrows which can sometimes be darker than what you want them to be. The background was of course lit to white it out and this was just a couple of heads firing into two polyboards each to spread the light over the white colorama.

 

There was a little retouching for this shoot, blemish removal, teeth work and a bit of hair work in order to fill gaps etc. She had good skin and that helps massively.

 

Final Look:

Beauty Photography

Beauty Shoot 2 – Lipstick

Contrasty Corporate Portraits

I have been (half way through the job) asked to shoot portraits of all the members of a large investment house in london(about 90 in total). It was the usual white background type affair, but I could light it and tweak it in post to my own specifications. I chose to light the portraits with a soft covered beauty dish above camera and straight on with a silver reflector under the light at about waist height and a silver reflector to the side kicking in a bit of light to the side of the face. I wanted the end result of the portraits to be quite contrasty and punchy so in order to achieve this you can go one of two ways.

Firstly; shoot it contrasty with the lights coming in from the side at 30 degrees keeping it soft yet still giving a nice gentle fall off of light, which is usually enough for portraits of this kind.

 

Secondly; shoot it flat and push the contrast in post production, but to do this  I aways find it easier to slightly under expose and use reflectors to create lighter areas or slightly darker areas, (remembering that a slight shadow on the face once pushed in post becomes main shadow area so cant be too dark beforehand otherwise it will limit just how far it can be pushed afterwards).

I chose the second route….

The results of this are below, although the client wanted them in colour I have added some black and white ones as well. I also slightly desaturated the image and took a touch of green out too. I think they look a little different to most run of the mill work and somehow seems to really work well, giving them really good depth and quality of character.

 

enjoy!

 

Copyright Jesper Mattias 2013

4 colour portraits, desaturated and contrasty.

Copyright Jesper Mattias 2013

4 black and white portraits.