Moonage Daydream

Portraits

Had a ton of fun making more images for Lindsay’s portfolio!

Treasure island gave us some unusually spectacular lighting this time around!


Ok so first up is this bad boy.
So we were just shooting, seeing how things looked in camera with that incredible slit of light coming between two shipping containers and at the time I didn’t think too much of this shot but once I got it into lightroom I knew there was something special about it.

I absolutely love the way the containers look in the back and set the scene for this supernatural looking ray of light to illuminate the subject. The colors were just so incredible together, seemed like a Wes Anderson color palette. IMG_5009-1IMG_5015-1

 

Now on to business, this was a shoot to pad her nude modeling portfolio after all.

I loved how the shadow almost seemed to take on a life of it’s own in this shaft of lightIMG_5038-1

#humpday, right?

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To defeat the noise, you must first become the noise. IMG_5127-1

And finally, you know this wouldn’t be a JBK Imaging session without a little wacky curves adjustment in black and white. Actually, this really is not at all far from what it looked like straight out of the camera.

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I hope you enjoyed this set from Lindsay!

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Witchy Woman

Portraits

So I’ve been working with a new model lately, setting her up with a new nude portfolio so we’re going for breadth AND depth with different styles and looks. The other day we hit upon the idea of shooting on treasure island in the abandoned and graffiti’d spots on the island.

It turns out that Treasure Island is AWESOME for shooting nudes AND Lindsay is just an absolute pleasure to work with. She hits poses like she’s been doing it for years, she knows the looks I’m talking about when I say “do this with your face” or “do that one thing that looked cool.”

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This one was *hashtag* for instagram #censored #freethenippleLindsay -1

For this one I saw this sharp shadow on the ground and new something had to be done with it so I had her stand directly over the line and let it bisect both her and the image as a whole and I loved the results!Lindsay -6

Did this one not seeing it in black and white like sometimes happens inside my head when I’m composing an image, but once I got it into Lightroom I knew it could only exist in monochrome. The wind blowing her hair all over the place and her forlorn expression combined with the sort of wasteland/forgotten area in the background came together in what I feel like is a really solid editorial headshot. Lindsay -3

#tfw you’re on a boat in the middle of an islandLindsay -2

You know when someone says “give me a smolder?” well this is it. This is the benchmark for all future smolders. Lindsay -4

Thanks for looking! I appreciate you all and I can’t wait to be posting more delicious content for your head-orbs to gaze upon!

Be well and remember you’re all beautiful and you deserve to know it!

 

How I light Portraits

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If you’ve had a camera in your hand for any amount of time you’ve probably heard about the rule of thirds, the “law” of composition where you divide the frame into 3 vertical and 3 horizontal sections and align the pieces you’re composing along those lines and cross points. If you’ve looked up anything to do with artificial lighting or speedlites you’ve probably heard about power outputs, color temperature, and so on and so forth.

You may see these as hard and fast laws to abide by when making images. Well that’s great to learn.

It really is.

But, and this is a BIG BUT. I would like to tell you about a theory that one of my most beloved photography mentors told me.

“Learn the rules so you know how and when to break them.”

Photo courtesy Chinniah Poosapadi

 

You can probably tell that I like to use artificial lights a lot when I can. I’m particularly fond of dramatic and borderline exaggerated lighting to create a sense of intrigue and story.

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This first image was just a test shot I made of my little nephew Brandon in the front yard. He was lit from the front left by the sun and behind right by a speedlite set about head height facing right at him with no light modifiers. “NO LIGHT MODIFIERS? YOU’RE CRAZY!” you probably said to yourself. Well friend, let me tell you WHY I did what I did. Actually, just look. It looks tight. The Speedlite gave a sweet flare and decreased the contrast without having to do that Lightroom “fade” filter that’s so popular these days.

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This next image was really very simple in execution but *I feel like* it had great results. Basically, I had an assistant (my lovely girlfriend Madison) hold a speedlite with a little octabox as high as she could above and the right of the model, pointing straight down at her. I did this because to me it felt like it gave the scene this sort of extraterrestrial vibe, like aliens were coming down to beam her down from their flying saucer. Which would explain the odd attire!
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This last image was made for a clothing company lookbook. You can probably guess what trick I used for this one too! Speedlite set just above head height pointing directly at the model from behind, again with no modifier.

I guess the point I’m trying to make with this post is that people are going to tell you a lot of things, their opinions, stuff they believe as gospel, and sometimes just a big fat pile of horseshit. They’ll criticize your use of a certain look, certain way you edit your images, or way you photograph. Don’t let the fuckers get you down and discourage you. DO WHAT YOU THINK LOOKS SICK and fuck all the rest of it!

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My tattoo artist, Sarah Grossman, who was recently featured in a KQED article about women and tattoo culture let me go nuts with a really fun dramatic high-fashion style maternity session about a month ago and I’m happy to report that she was more than thrilled with the results!

Not only is she an amazing creator of tattoos, she makes incredible paintings as you can see in the background of these photos. She recently had a gallery opening I got to go see (titled “A Bucket of Bees and Ghosts”) in which she had showcased about 10 magnificent paintings that, from my understanding, represented how she sees women in our culture as well as the rich artistic lineage that female artists share.

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Her Instagram feed is incredible and should be followed immediately. If you’re anywhere within 500 miles of San Jose, you should come get tattooed by her!

The Witching Hour 

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For those of you who know me or have seen almost any of my photography, you probably know that one thing I absolutely love to do is MacGyver a lighting solution. 

Does my Canon 5Dmk3 have exceptional low light performance? Yes 

Does a scene become more epic if it’s lit using only cell phone flashlights? Most definitely. 

That’s right, aside from the ambient sodium vapor park lights the only lighting I used on this shoot was cell phone flashlights! 

I really like this one because of the color contrast in her face and hair and how that really amps up the emotion in the image. 

All that being said, it’s no match for having some sick Broncolor or Profoto strobes but the fact that you can carry a powerful lighting tool in your pocket is something I find really cool.

What are some cool or innovative photographic techniques you’ve used on location or on set? 

Dawn Patrol

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About 3 times a year my dad and I will get up a couple hours before dawn and head off to a cool spot to see and photograph the sunrise. Then obviously a hearty second breakfast follows and then we head back for a nap.

 

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This last week we got up at about 4:30 and headed off to The City to catch what turned out to be an absolutely glorious sunrise over one of the finest architectural achievements that California has produced!

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Dawn broke and the usual gaggle of photographers was there waiting with tripods at the ready and drones just lifting off into the air and it was seriously magical.

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Eye of the Tiger

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So the other day my buddy John messaged me about possibly making some promotional photos for his upcoming title fight. I of course agreed happily since dramatic and contrasty action shots and portraits are some of my favorite things to photograph.

The day of the shoot arrives and I get there and realize the gym is full of people training. What did I expect? An empty gym after hours (8pm) where I could set up my strobes and do an almost studio-style shoot in this gym. But it’s full of people, and not wanting to look foolish, I quickly improvised and made use of a couple speedlites, a very helpful girlfriend-turned-assistant, and some actually really impressive ambient lighting.

All told I felt like I made some really solid photos and John was beyond stoked when I delivered the images. AND I got more practice in reacting quickly to changing situations and relying on my training and experience to end up with a very happy client.

HUGE shoutout to CSA Gym in Dublin, CA; Desiree, John’s girlfriend; and Yongnuo for making affordably priced speedlites that are comparable, if not superior to Canon products.

 

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