Photo shoots

3 Photography Tips for Better Backgrounds

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Raw image of model in front of white wall

Raw image of model in front of white wall

Raw image of model in front of white wall

Raw image of model in front of white wall

In Los Angeles, locations and studios can get expensive. If you’re a new photographer or a seasoned one it can get discouraging trying to find places to shoot. Especially when the clients don’t understand the value. I know that you get tired of going outside, but when it’s all you have, it’s better to shoot than not at all. We did a shoot with the Sony A7III with the Sony FE 24mm 1.4 G Master lens and used all free outside locations to capture images. All the photos in this post are raw images.

Here are the top tips in getting better backgrounds for your photos:

Textures 

When looking for a place to shoot your model pay attention to colors and textures. See how it flows with the model’s wardrobe. Often you can find cool textures on walls and garage doors. What you’ll find is, you get a background that looks more stylized and less like you took a photo in front of a blank wall. For our shoot, we decided to add a bit of texture by placing a sheet on a couple of light stands. This brought a whimsical aesthetic to the images. When we moved it around it created a texture. You can do this with any fabric. 

When walking around outside, don’t be afraid of ugly corners or the appearance of rust, wood, or concrete. If you play around with these areas you can often get cool photos. I always say, take the shot and if it doesn’t work move on. But sometimes these places will surprise you.

Raw image of model in front of sheet

Raw image of model in front of sheet

Raw image of model in front of sheet

Raw image of model in front of sheet

Lighting 

When working with your model think about lighting. As we’ve mentioned before you don’t always get the luxury of a golden hour or studio. When working outside watch how the light hits trees, walls, lamp posts. You can use shade to create cool angles in your shot. Slivers of light through trees can create cool shadows around your model. All photographers will shoot in harsh light sometimes. You can find soft light by placing models under a tree or in the shaded spot of a building. Pay attention to shadows to create composition and artistic choices for backgrounds. 

Raw Image of model in a field next to bush.

Raw Image of model in a field next to bush.

Raw Image of model in nature sitting on tree stoop.

Raw Image of model in nature sitting on tree stoop.

Interactive Backgrounds

Give your models something to do. This will allow them to move with purpose and tell a story. For our shoot, we had the model play around with the sheet we placed on light stands. This added a flirty vibe to the photos, like a perfume ad. Likewise, when shooting outside we had the model interact with the plant and flowers around her as a prop. We found a stump that was perfect for the model to sit on and pose. I’ve seen photographers take awesome photos using shopping carts, food, sunglasses, etc.

If you’re working with an amateur model using props will make them get comfortable. Look for stairwells, plants, rails and places the model can lean against or touch work great.

Watch the Video Photography Tips for Better Backgrounds:

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LIVE ART LOVE TEAM

P.S. If you’re interested to see what equipment we shoot with head to our Gear page.

Wide Angle Portraits? [Sony 24mm G Master Review]

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Photo: Model in White - Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model in White - Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model in White - Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model in White - Wide Angle lens Portrait

Recently shot with the Sony FE 24mm 1.4 G Master lens for an agency model shoot. First impressions of this lens are that I’m impressed by its quality. I wanted to test the question -  Can you shoot portrait photography with a wide angle lens? I decided to have some fun and use this Sony FE with on A7III to shoot some portrait photos of the model. The general rule, when shooting portraits, is to use a telephoto or medium telephoto lens. The most popular focal length for portraits being the 85mm lens. 

Why are telephoto lenses the best for shooting portraits? Telephoto lenses compress features on people. Creating a slimmer and flattering appearance. This is the main reason It’s not recommended to shoot portraits with wide angle lenses. In fact, it’s a major no-no among professional photographers. Yet, being creative means being adventurous in your decisions. Learn the best techniques and then do whatever feels right. Some of the best art  has disregard or no knowledge of “the rules.”

I’m going to give you my review on the main features of the Sony FE 24mm 1.4 G Master lens when shooting wide angle portraits:

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Distortion

The main issue you will find when shooting wide angle is distortion. There are two types to look out for barrel distortion and perspective distortion. Perspective distortion for me is the one you have to be careful to avoid. It can make people look bigger than they are. Which is fine if that’s the style you’re looking for. The best way to avoid this is by having the model further away from the lens. For our shoot, I didn’t want to worry about limitations and I shot what I felt was right. What was great was with the Sony 24mm GM Master I felt it handles distortion very well. Making it easier to pull off wide angle portraits.

Image Quality

The image quality of the Sony 24mm is amazing. G Master has a reputation for high-quality lenses so this doesn’t disappoint. I like to have cinematic images. So I enjoyed how this lens handles sharpness without being "too sharp." Since too much sharpness look can throw off an image. Comparing this lens to the Sigma Art Series of lenses are too sharp. I found the Sony 24mm GM was at a perfect medium.

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Photo: Model Wide Angle lens Portrait

Autofocus

One of my main issues with the Sony G Master lenses is price. The Sony 24mm is $1,400. Most G Master lenses are pricey. One of the main benefits that make this price tag worth it is autofocus. The handle autofocus better than third party lenses. The autofocus on the Sony 24mm was fast and responsive. Making it hard for me, as a hybrid shooter, to justify buying a cheaper lens with slower autofocus. If autofocus isn’t a deal breaker for you then there’s a lot of cheaper options out there.

The Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master is an impressive lens. The build quality is nice, the image is beautiful and it handles autofocus well. It can be a great addition to your kit if you’re looking for a good wide angle prime. I plan on testing out the Zeiss 25mm f/2 next to see if it's any better than the G Master. Keep you posted when I finally compare the two.

Watch the Video: Wide Angle Portraits? [Sony 24mm GM Review]

Thanks for reading!

LIVE ART LOVE TEAM

 

iPhone vs DSLR

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iPhone Image - Model Posing

iPhone Image - Model Posing

DSLR Image - Model Posing

DSLR Image - Model Posing

As a beginner photographer, you feel required to invest in DSLR cameras and equipment. Before you make a big investment start with your smartphone. If you have an iPhone you can begin taking photos and practicing the basics of photography. We did a fashion shoot using our Sony A7III DSLR and iPhone X to compare them. Continue reading to get tips on shooting professional fashion photos with your iPhone.

iPhone Image - Model posing near car

iPhone Image - Model posing near car

DSLR Image - Model posing near car

DSLR Image - Model posing near car

1. Optimal Settings

Every smartphone has settings within the camera function. You don’t know they’re there unless you play around with it. When checking your phone’s camera make sure settings are set for the best quality. With the iPhone X go into the camera settings and make sure you have these boxes checked:

  • Smart HDR on the main settings menu.

  • Most compatible in the Formats section.

The reason for this is the iPhone tends to try to compress images to save space on your phone. So when you check these boxes the files will be bigger but higher quality. If you begin using your iPhone to capture high-quality photography. Make it a habit to clear storage up by deleting photos often.

iPhone Image - Model posing

iPhone Image - Model posing

DSLR Image - Model posing

DSLR Image - Model posing

2. Feed it Light

Lighting is a recurring theme for photography. It will separate your photos from being amateur to being high caliber. You’re using the iPhone so you will need to feed it light. The camera on this phone has a small sensor so you have to shoot at the right time of day. This will help avoid low light shots. I find that when shooting in low light the iPhone image breaks apart in detail. We used natural light for our shoot. When showing it to friends they couldn't tell which images were iPhone and DSLR.

iPhone Image - Model posing

iPhone Image - Model posing

DSLR Image - Model posing

DSLR Image - Model posing

3. Learn Composition

As a beginner shooting with an iPhone can be a great way to learn about composition. The iPhone has its shining components. It has Smart HDR to read a scene and adjust exposure. A feature that's not available to DSLR’s without post-production. This gives the iPhone the impression of more dynamic range than a DSLR. Even as a professional photographer, limitations can be a great way to spice up your photography. Next time you’re shooting. Capture a few photos on your iPhone or smartphone and see the results you get. Challenge yourself to get stellar photos regardless of equipment.

Watch The Full Video on the iPhone vs DSLR:

Thanks for reading!

LIVE ART LOVE TEAM

How To Shoot Male Models

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How to shoot male models 3.jpg
How to shoot male models 5.jpg

How to shoot male models. We’ve gone over how to shoot a lot of amazing female models from glamour to lingerie. In this tutorial, we’ll tackle how to capture male models. You’ll find that it’s as fun and that you can play around with different aspects of photography. We shot our male model with the Sony A7III. Our favorite camera in the game right now. Here are some tips when shooting male models.

DON’T BE AFRAID OF HARSH LIGHT

When it comes to shooting we usually tell you to stick to natural light to have a soft look on your models. That’s perfect when working with female models. When working with males you can also use natural light. But, if the sun is glaring don’t be afraid to use harsh light. This can add a sharpness to your model. Highlighting his jawline and giving a more rugged aesthetic. This look might not always be great for a glamour shoot. But it will be cool to help your male models look badass.

POSING

When it comes to male models it’s good to have a few go-to poses that they can do. To loosen them up in front of the camera. It’s a good idea to have movement added to the shoot. You can do this by having the model move around, pretend box, take the jacket on and off. In this shoot, we even used an empty box of cigarettes to add movement. The great thing about male models is the ability to have them put a hand in a pocket if needed. Find ways to add movement and it will bring your photos more life.

How to shoot male models 1.jpg
How to shoot male models 4.jpg

EXPERIMENT WITH LOCATION

When shooting with male models don’t be afraid to experiment with location. Since you don’t have to rely on natural light as much. You can find places that are darker that can add cool shadows to your shot. This will give your photos a dark and moody flare. Also, bonus tip is to have a good battery operated light you can travel with. This can allow you to play with locations that might seem too dark to use. We find alleys, wire fences, parking garages, and alleys are great backdrops. They're places to use harsh light and experiment with location.

Watch our Full Video on the Shooting Male Models:

What are some tips you have for shooting male models? Let us know!

Thanks for reading!

LIVE ART LOVE TEAM

Sony 24-70mm F/4 vs Sony 55mm F/1.8

Tiffany Toto Model
Sony Lens review

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. Helping us to keep making cool tutorials and videos.

Recently got the new Sony A7 III and have been looking at possible lens choices for my camera. We have been looking for a good hybrid camera. Since we do both video and photography for most of our clients. For video, we wanted a lens to capture commercial and documentary work. For photography, we needed a lens that can capture fashion and product. Having a camera and the right lens - that shoots it all and portraits was a must.

With the new Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 being back ordered for a few months. I needed a lens to work with for the time being.

Decided to schedule a last minute shoot to test out two lenses. Sony 24-70 F/4 vs Sony 55mm F/1.8 and see what we can capture.

Sony 24-70mm Vs Sony 55mm.jpg

Size and Weight

I like how the Sony 24-70mm looks on my camera. Seems professional and feels more sturdy. With a good weight to it. But, it is heavier than the Sony 55mm. If you’re shooting for a while you’ll want a wrist or neck strap. To help with the weight. The Sony 55mm is lightweight and more easy on the hands. I’ve shot with the Sony G Masters in past and these lenses are way lighter in comparison which is great.

Autofocus and Speed

Both lenses have quick autofocus in both video and photography modes. The Sony 55mm at 1.8 is fast and the Sony A7 III autofocus kills it. The Sony 24-70mm is an F/4 lens so the camera has a better time locking focus. Both lenses rock at autofocus and are fast and snappy to use.

Image Quality

The Sony 24-70mm at 50mm has amazing quality. The image is super sharp and great contrast. It would be hard to tell which lens is which at the same focal length. Both have great color rendition. I recommend either if you want high-quality images.

Tiffany Toto bikini
Tiffany Toto photography tutorial

Watch our Full Video on the SONY 24-70MM F/4 VS SONY 55MM F/1.8 including test footage:

Listen to the Podcast "Last Minute Photoshoots"

What are some tips or questions you have regarding the Sony A7 III and lenses? Let us know below!

Thanks for reading!

LIVE ART LOVE TEAM