Chase Jarvis Photography - iPod | iPhone Edition
Summary: This is the hub for award-winning photographer Chase Jarvis' behind-the-scenes videos. Look for RAW (our b-roll footage from several shoots), FRAMES (the stitching together of every still frame from a shoot), TECH (technical tips) and CURRENT (full length video of Chase's speaking engagements). Welcome to the untold story--the black box--of commercial photography. Enjoy.
So many of the photography videos out there show great behind-the-scenes footage and tons of gear-related details. This video is more than that. In this Chase Jarvis TECH, I'm responding to the dozens--seemingly hundreds--of emails I've received recently asking me to highlight the various steps that comprise a professional commercial photo shoot. Therefore, follow along in this 3 minute video as I walk you through a recent commercial assignment where I was hired to photograph 3 hot young golf ladies of the LPGA. [And of course I included a lighting diagram and tech specs in the video for you photo geeks out there.] We all like to focus on the creative aspects of our jobs as photographic artists. I know that's my favorite part - it keeps us sane and engaged. However, often overlooked are the nuts and bolts, or the framework for what enables our professional creative vision to become a reality. As you see in the vid, it's my belief that nearly every commercial shoot has 6 core components or phases. Roughly, those are: 1. Contracts, creative concepting, and pre-production. In this phase you're putting the deliverables in writing, your flexing your creative muscles with the client, and you (or your producer) are lining up the logistical details of the shoot. 2. Travel. While it's not a component to every shoot (eg, in your studio?), it is a big part of many shoots. Whether you travel across the country, the world, or just your home town, you're still moving bodies and equipment, and thus this deserves your attention. 3. Scouting. Whether you do it weeks, days, or hours in advance, you should--if at all possible--build time into your schedule to visit the location before you shoot. Take into consideration how the light looks, where the sun moves, logistical challenges, etc. Take sample images and look at various angles. Make a game plan. 4. Shooting. This is the fun part where you get to do all the stuff that made you want to be a photographer in the first place. Focus on creativity and executing your vision. 5. Post production. This is the step where you process your images, retouch them according to the client needs, and most importantly add your personal mojo. This is often overlooked, so be sure to build time into the schedule. (See an earlier post for my opinions on this.) 6 Delivery. Whether you deliver online via FTP or via hard drives, DVDs, or whatever media via Fed Ex, it's important that you have a smooth system that works for both you and the client, with special attention to file format, color space, and timeline, etc. Obviously, these 6 components are just a shell meant to act as a guideline. You could thin-slice this to death and include color palette review, stylist collaboration, prepping the models or talent, etc, but I've chosen to sort these things into these 6 larger buckets. Of course you could also add things before and after this set of six, like wooing the client before and following-up after the job with a thank you, etc. Again, I'm truncating these elements in favor of focusing on the big 6 elements so that you catch my drift. Other specs from this job: -I shot using the Nikon D3, and -I shot primarily with the Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8 lens, and -I shot primarily on a Bogen carbon fiber tripod and a Manfrotto head, and -I shot tethered to an Apple MacBook Pro (see Pimped Laptop Case vid), and -I shot directly into Apple Aperture, and -I used 2 Profoto 7b packs, and -I used Pocket Wizards to fire the strobes, and -I used one medium and one small Chimera softbox. The great LPGA golfers I was fortunate to shoot for this gig were: -Erica Blasberg -Charlotte Mayorkas -Irene Cho
I hired Digital Capture Systems to wrangle all my images for a 4-day commercial shoot in San Diego and they did a great job. Their concept of a high-powered, mobile photo workstation is a great one and I thought I'd pass it along.
After years of searching, planning, designing, and building, I'm happy and proud to announce the launch of our new studio in Seattle. An enormous thank you to those who helped pull this vision together. I am forever indebted. As with all FRAMES, the following 4000 still images were taken to document the built-out process. Enjoy.
We all have that 6th sense that tells us when somethin' is up. Well, let me tell you, the aspiring/hobbyist photographer community in Seattle is completely on fire. Given a few more pocket wizards, some strobes and a D40 or two and they might take over the world. THE BACKSTORY: Not long ago my 6th sense started pinging me about the amateur/hobbyist photography scene in Seattle: it was everywhere I turned. These days, camera shops are jammed with people geeking out on pro-sumer dSLRs, photo classes are bursting at the seams, and there are flashes popping everywhere... Strangely, photography seems to be on everyone's mind, not unlike grunge rock was in the early 90's. Certainly, being a professional photographer, my perspective on this is tainted, however one thing is for sure: those aspiring photogs whose paths I do cross now and then are VERY focused (pun intended ;), driven, and genuinely passionate about the craft. It's an amazing energy that I have been excited to watch from a distance - up till recently. ENTER STAGE LEFT: my good friend, uber blogger and lighting wizard, Strobist. In December, all the way from the other coast, David put me in touch with the leaders of Seattle's Flickr Meetup Community which numbers close to a thousand members. It's a cool, quirky group of DIY'ers whose aim in life seems to take pictures. Engineers, designers, teachers, students, executives, coders, waiters, flight attendants, chefs, and construction workers by their 9-5 day, these people seem to eat and breathe photography at night and on the weekends. I think that only a few aspire to the pro levels, but that's really part of the fun. There is a collaborative, group-learning mentality that I've rarely seen. That environment certainly doesn't seem to exist at many (if any) photo schools where I've visited. The transparent, open source, 2.0 ethic is rampant here. RECENTLY: After a brief meeting with a few of the head Flickrite/Strobist wranglers here in Seattle, and then inviting 50 group members (by first come, first serve basis) to my studio in December for a brainstorming session, things became clearer for me: what a great group to collaborate with, on a long term, ongoing basis, to help to grow, strengthen, elevate, and expand the local photography community. So we immediately hatched a plan based on the group's needs. The group was already quite well organized thanks to the ol' innernets and Seattle's Flickr shepherds, among them: Jeremy Center, Ted Leung, Kristel W., Paula Thomas, David Lindes, Kathleen Bennet, Henrik Brameus, group founder Eric Weaver, and head organizer Brenda Pederson. That said, however, generally the group lacked resource$. So, we prioritized their needs, and it went something like this: 1. Shooting space. 2. Inexpensive, good, collaborative photographic instruction. 3. Good, cheap gear. 4. Connections to help further the groups goal of becoming better shooters. Between me, my amazing, hardworking CJinc staff (you guys rock!), and some well-connected friends, we put rubber to the road this month and created, to my knowledge, the first ever event of its kind on this scale. And Sunday's event was just the first step; more are on the way this spring, summer, and fall if we can help it. Feedback is being collected and will be implemented. On reflection, we certainly took a big swipe at numbers one and two, above, but please know that I'll do what I can for helping numbers three and four come to fruition as well. They're already in the works. THE WRAP-UP: I'm really excited about what this cool little community of local photographers is doing and I think you guys deserve a huge shout out. If you're a pro, don't fear for your job or knock what they're doing. Don't hate; congratulate. And become inspired. If you're a hobbyist shooter and have an interest in this sort of thing - join the group! And if you're not in Seattle, consider starting a group in your home town. This may be wishful thinking, but it also might not: I'd love nothing more than to see this grow and see events of this quality and scale pop up all over the world.
Chase Jarvis TECH Packing Photography Gear (Advanced)
Chase Jarvis TECH: Packing Photography Gear (Basic) runs at 10 minutes and is a trimmed version of Advanced. It highlights packing and traveling with a dSLR kit, light-duty flash photography accessories, and essential computer equipment. It also touches on air travel rules and regs, keeping a low profile, and working in extreme weather or location conditions.
A photography student named Bill asked to interview Chase as a part of an assignment about the who, what, where, when, how, and why of his career in photography. Busy schedules made it difficult for them to connect so Bill sent Chase 32 questions via email and Chase answered ‘em all via a quick iSight video interview. This 17 minute clip was posted to Bill a while back, however since these questions often get asked of Chase, it made sense to make it available to everyone here.
In this video podcast check out Chase’s 55-minute keynote address kicking off the nationwide Photoshelter Tour in NYC on September 14, 2007. Topics range from creativity, to motivation, to business and the future of photography. Included is a 15-minute Q&A where Chase fields questions from packed audience of nearly 600 guests at the historic Filmore East.
There's almost always an option to photograph something from a cool angle or a unique perspective. One of my favorite techniques to take advantage of this involves creating killer point-of-view (POV) images. While the thought of strapping a large, expensive camera to a model, your buddy, a bike, car, etc, may seem like nothing more than a good way to break some gear, this 1 min 49 sec video called Chase Jarvis TECH: POV Photography outlines how it's really quite simple. For some detailed photos check out the my blog at www.chasejarvis.com/blog Shopping List And finally, in case you missed it on screen, here's a list of items from the video and their approximate costs when purchased online: Bogen 2915 Super Clamp - $25 Bogen 2929 Magic Arm w/ 2933 Camera Platform - $107 Pocket Wizard reciever - $188 Pocket Wizard transmitter - $188 Pocket Wizard PreTrigger N90M3-P for Nikon - $139 Motorola radio set - $200 Gaffer tape - $12 Op/tech neoprene camera sleeve - $133 Lowepro harness - $10 Nikkor 12-24mm f4 lens - $895 Nikon D2Xs camera body - $4356 (keep in mind that if you don't want to throw down to purchase these things, that your local pro camera store likely rents all of these items!) BTW this post was inspired by a comment from reader "DJ" on the Chase Jarvis RAW: New Zealand Spring video post: "Chase, I'd love to see the bike tripod/camera attachment thingy closer. That looked very cool." In addition to it calling us to action to produce a little video on this topic, it spawned a larger initiative to create yet another concept that is the kissing cousin to Chase Jarvis RAW, and Chase Jarvis FRAMES... From here on out, these photo nerdy, techie ones will be called Chase Jarvis TECH. Point: Keep sending in your comments and further ideas of what you want to see. I don't do all that many photo tips, but overall your feedback and direction helps shape this blog and make it a worthwhile community.
Crazy camera angles, helicopter logistics, truckloads of gear, 15,000 miles and a crew of more than 30 people... As the saying goes, it takes a village. Hopefully you’re familiar with my ongoing video series entitled Chase Jarvis RAW, where I attempt to highlight the underbelly of commercial photography and how much effort goes into creating the images you see in advertisements, magazines, brochures and online. In this latest video, Chase Jarvis RAW: New Zealand Spring, I’ve aimed to reveal the logistics of a decent size commercial shoot, and specifically how many great people and how much hard work goes into making just a handful of great pictures. If you’re a curious or aspiring photographer, an established pro who wants to see how another photographer operates, or just intrigued by what goes on behind the scenes, then this “raw” video might be for you. If, on the other hand, you’re a prima-donna photographer whose not giving plenty of credit to the hard-working crew that helps make your photos happen, then don’t watch this, because I’m calling you out.
This behind-the-scenes video details of one of my recent photo shoots involving crazy stunt men, hot and scantily-clad stunt women, smoke machines, weapons, trampolines, and a dilapidated warehouse. Hopefully, you’re familiar with ChaseJarvis FRAMES, our concept of showing not just the hero shots, but EVERY image from a shoot sewn together into a short movie. If you found any merit in that, then you can think of this new concept as its kissing cousin. We’re planning to do this behind-the-scenes video with as many shoots as we can...and we’re calling it ChaseJarvis RAW. Sure I’m posting this as part of my continuing mission to show what goes on inside "The Black Box" of commercial photography, uncovering what’s behind images you see for everything from Apple to Zillow, Microsoft, Nike, and everything in between. No doubt that’s a lofty motive -- but to confess, this is pure fun for us too. We’ve been shooting b-roll footage for a long while now, but this is our first attempt at packaging it in some reasonable, albeit unpolished, “raw” form for your digestion. This particular piece — ChaseJarvis RAW: Ninjas — is from a shoot borne not out of a fancy client, but concocted simply from the creative juices flowing from our studio. I’m the furthest thing from a fantasy or D & D geek, but I have yet to be hired for a project that would let us pull a crew together, dress a few jocks up like crazy Ninjas, and have ‘em jump/dive/roll/fly around an old warehouse for a day. So what you’re seeing is simply the result of a few creative brainstorms, some research, casting, and scouting with the conceptual goal of creating a couple portfolio pieces. Please pass this along to anyone you know who might find this entertaining. Follow up, make comments, ask questions, and let me know if this is fun or interesting at all. I read every comment and question posted here. Often the best stuff on this blog comes out of the conversations you start, so please do chime in.
Here’s an interesting peek at the underbelly of professional photography--the gems and the warts, the outtakes, the volume, the repetition, light tests, blown angles, and the hero shots all wound together in one tight little ball. This is an uncut series of 2000 still photographs, stitched together and put to music, featuring every image I shot during a 5-day period for personal work, my portfolio, AND to promote the 2007 Hasselblad Masters (a gold star I received in late 2006). Ultimately, of the 2000 images, it’s likely that only 6 to 10 of them will ever have a commercial or fine-art life. The purpose of this concept--what we’re calling Chase Jarvis FRAMES--is to show a behind-the-scenes look into ALL the pictures from a given shoot, especially the ones that wouldn’t normally see the light of day. My hope is that this helps better illustrate what really goes into shooting and selecting the final images we see in advertisements, magazines, and on gallery walls. What do you think? Thanks to Ghostland Observatory for the music.
PROBLEM: As a pro photographer specializing in ‘location-based’ advertising images (which is photo-speak for shooting in-the-field instead of in-studio), I often face the challenge of shooting under conditions that do not allow for the comforts of Mac Pros and Cinema Displays to review images, download cards, or shoot direct to the hard drive. (We often have to helicopter into locations, are out in the remote without option at generator, or find ourselves in places where speed and efficiency are key.) SOLUTION: As a solution to this problem--and in the theme of 'do-it-yourself’--my team and I recently developed a cool, custom laptop case for addressing these needs using simple, durable, and readily-available materials. Today, we end up using this setup a fair bit and I thought that many in our community might benefit from a quick instructional video (above) highlighting how to put their own one case together for cheap. Hopefully, pro shooters find this a nice compromise for those times when you can’t get your big-boy computers on location, and amateurs find this a great solution for taking their laptop along for the ride. Anyway, this thing is pretty slick and really easy to make. If you have questions, post a comment or drop a note and I'll holler back when I have a minute. Thanks!