After years of chasing those soft-focus photographs with milky tones that I always wished I could capture on film but never knew how to achieve; I finally caught them. No editing and rather inexpensive equipment is what it took for me to accidentally lock in the vibe.
Camera: Contax 167MT
Lens: Yashica 50mm
Film: Kodak Portra 400
Lighting: Came TV B30 Set (no modifiers or gels)
Never stop experimenting and learning. True masters are life long students.
I’m starting a new personal exercise where I randomly pick a new point and shoot 35mm film camera each month and see what I can create with it. Little fun exercises like this keep your eye sharp and the mind constantly looking for how to frame images and not get so caught up with the technical aspect of what you’re capturing the moment with. It’s been said millions of times and I’m a firm believer of it, “the best camera, is the one that you have with you”. For the first round I decided to go with a Yashica™ Partner AF that I randomly found on eBay. I like it because it’s brand new, never used and after holding it for the first time and testing the shutter, it’s the epitome of a “plastic fantastic”. I’ll share the images at the end of April.
Personal rules for this exercise:
- I can’t use a P&S camera that I already own or have used (no T’4 or MJU’s or Minilux’s)
- The camera has to be selected or thrifted at random
- The camera can’t cost more than $100 (this will also be a exercise to sharpen my haggling skills)
- The film has stay consistent - Portra 400 only
- The film lab has to stay consistent
- One photo a day
- Zero editing or cropping
A package just got delivered that I’m really excited to try out. If you’re like me and pretty much survive off of coffee and espresso but fear that the vast amounts of caffeine consumption is closing your third-eye and drastically putting you through intermittent nose-dives throughout your work day, then I’m sure you would be interested in MUD/WATER™. I really hope I can transition to this much healthier substitute and look forward to sharing my unbiased first impression of the product.
There are many different definitions that people toss around but in my own personal work, a paid test shoot is when a model or agency books me to test a concept or idea. They either want to a shoot a look that they have or capture a quick sitting to use as content for social media. How is this different than a traditional booking? For starters, the location is usually up to me and there really isn’t much production involved. Most of the time it’s just a one on one session meaning the shoot will be simple and usually only lasts for about 30 minutes to an hour. If the modal only has one look that they want to capture (as shown above) then I’ll spend the remanding duration shooting looks or styling that I want to use so the model has more frames to select from (if they choose to. Sometimes they just want to sit for 15 minutes and call it a day). Also, the rate is much lower. A testing session with me usually runs about $600 opposed to what I would typically charge for a project shoot or a one on one with production. And finally comes the editing. Rather than giving a full range of selects for a model or company to go through for editing, my test shoots typically consists of one roll of film and a few digitals that results in about 10-20 final images.
I was randomly going down a YouTube rabbit hole last week watching videos on photography and film camera’s because I’m starting a new project where I buy a new camera each month and only shoot with that one camera for the entire month and document my experience with it. Anyway, I don’t know how I ended up on a product review for the Canon® Selphy CP1300 photo printer but I was instantly sold. I’ll admit, it was definitely a 2am impulse buy but buying random stuff is the last of my counter-productive vices and sometimes you just have to live a little. I ordered the printer and some extra inks and photo paper and after turning on the miniature unit I quickly discovered it’s the 4x6 printer that I never knew I wanted but definitely always needed. You can print directly from your camera, SD card or simply through blue-tooth from your phone and within 30 seconds you’ll be holding a quality print at your finger tips. It’s honestly amazing and I highly recommend anyone who is shooting on locations to purchase one so they can leave their clients with an instant tangible keep sake.
I’ll be including free signed and numbered 4x6 prints in our next SS release. Stay tuned.
I just started opening up slots for paid test shoots which is something that I haven’t really done in a couple of years. Like I stated many times, I was on a hiatus from making photographs and dealing with anything that put me in the same mental space of my old, wild life. To be honest, I didn’t know if I still had “it”. I didn’t know if the new sober, conscious me could compete with the old heavily induced free-spirited me. It’s easy to create when you’re mentally and physically checked out, in la-la-land with the aide of drugs and booze. It’s even necessary when you become co-dependent on said substances because it’s how you made all of your work over the past decade. And yes, I am taking about myself. So of course I was a bit intimidated and wondered if I could tap into the same vibe I used to have but this time do it with true creative intentions rather than trying to turn every experience into an opportunity to get wild. I quickly discovered that the answer is yes. When you’re a creative, a true creative and someone who absolutely loves the medium, the spirit you thought you could only conjure up in the dark can actually be called upon as soon as your camera turns on. While shooting I felt a tremendous focus come over me and I went into a flow-state where things moved at a fast pace (something that I was always known for. Most of my shoots rarely ever took over 30 minutes) and everything just sort of worked out. I felt way more present, way more alive than I ever have before. So, why do I bring this up? Because if you were ever like me and thought you needed to live a rockstar lifestyle in order to be creative, you’re mistaken. To be completely honest, the fact that someone is paying me to do a job, it’s my responsibility to give them a clear mind that sees all perspectives and can adjust and steer the visual atmosphere rather than being a one-trick-pony and expediting the process just to chase down another wild night.
Why would someone pay for a test shoot if so many photographers would shoot for free? The experience. The content. Most of all, the fact that they trust the person behind the camera.
In todays climate I’m a firm believer in being adaptable. Being mobile. Being able to transition to any location or space while keeping the same integrity of your work intact. I think it’s time for me to create a video on my process and how I can shoot the same style of product shots regardless of where I am. I’ll discuss how I choose my equipment on a budget in order to keep everything easily replaceable. When being creative you need to see things as tools and to never hold them too precious. Just because you have the most expensive gear doesn’t mean you’ll output work that’s good.
Supreme® released a plastic fantastic point and shoot 35mm film camera with Yashica® last week and though I’m not really into Supreme® these days, it was cool to see them pay homage with the camera company that I feel really kickstarted the raw identity that the brand used to embody when captured through Terry Richardson’s now infamous Yashica T4 lens. Say what you will about Terry Richardson, even I have my own discrepancies with his ethics but I can’t deny the fact that if it wasn’t for me being really into Supreme in 2008 and discovering the books that they used to put out, all shot by TR, well, I highly doubt I would have ever pursued my own photographic journey.
The gal and I have been so busy that we haven’t really been able to spend much time outside together in a couple of weeks which pretty much just leaves us with eating homemade banana ice cream in bed at the end of the day. It’s a bad habit, I know but we finally broke the evil chain by getting some sunshine today. It was nice to hit up our usual spots for groceries and goodies before dropping off a few rolls of film at Dark Room Lab. They have this extremely convenient drop-off box outside that allows for zero contact and they process and scan your film within 48hrs. It’s honestly the best and I highly recommend using them if you’re near the Topanga Canyon area. After that we went location scouting for a couple of shoots that I have coming up. All in all it was a pretty lovely Sunday with an even lovelier girl.
I read somewhere that if the world were to stop producing clothes today, we would still be covered tomorrow. Consciously shopping and supporting sustainability is a small part that we can all partake in while giving old clothes a new life.
New vintage pieces are now available on our Depop.