Tag Archives: portrait

Wowy’s World

Wowy tells me what he thinks of my photo ideas.

Wowy tells me what he thinks of my photo ideas.

Sometimes the stars align and things just come together perfectly. This usually doesn’t happen with shoots that involve multiple decision makers, security guards about and time constraints.

When we first approached the idea of a portrait shoot of Wowy for Asia Life Magazine HCMC, we were trying to find a new angle to shoot him. We decided on a rooftop shot with a fisheye lens that gave the appearance that the city was his to take. He looked a bit apprehensive at first as the sample images we showed him were of the crazy Russian kids who sneak into tall buildings to take crazy photos. But after speaking to his PR people, he thought it was a great idea.

After a week or so of emails, we nailed down the day and met at Red Bar which we made our base of sorts to store gear. We were going to have two locations but typically, things didn’t get moving on time and we had to settle for one. Walking to Bitexco, we saw a bunch of security that we hoped wouldn’t interfere. Luckily, with security in Vietnam, as long as you aren’t carrying a huge softbox or brolly, they generally leave you alone to your own devices. However, we thought it would be best to make it fast.

Once we picked our spot, I laid down flat on the sidewalk and instructed my VAL’s (Voice Instructed Lightstands) on where to stand. I used a couple of Godox V850’s for the shoot. Held by one of Wowy’s entourage, one V850 was attached with a bendy light mod that I picked up in Kuala Lumpur. Not as smooth as a softbox, it allowed me to get a nice spread of light to fill up Wowy. Since I was using the excellent Canon 8-15 f/4 Fisheye lens, I had to get him to crouch directly behind me. Wowy’s head of PR was holding the second V850 about 10 feet to my left. Zoomed to 105mm’s, she always had the flash pointed on Wowy’s head for a nice rim light. Both flashes were on HSS and a Cells II trigger was attached to my 5D Mark III.  After doing a couple of power adjustments with the FT-16 trigger, we were ready to go.

He is really good at doing his thing.

Wowy doing his thing.

As you can see, Wowy is a great subject.

We managed to fire around 20 frames before someone inside the tower told the security to shut us down. However, I think we managed to get the shots we needed. At least at this location.

Our next location would have been a rooftop at an apartment in District 5 but we were pressed for time. I wanted another location so we headed to the newly opened Nguyen Hue street. While we were walking there, I snapped off a few frames which came out pretty good considering I was constantly looking behind me to make sure I wasn’t running into anyone!

Waving to his adoring fans.

Waving to his adoring fans.

Originally a big four lane road, the municipality closed it for a few months and turned it into a pedestrian only area. I parked myself dead center in the street and again told Wowy to do his thing.

Jumping for joy.

Jumping for joy.

We spent about 10 minutes here and fired about 15 frames. After a review with Kendra, our awesome art director, we decided it was a wrap.

But not before Wowy grabbed my camera for a group shot.

It's a wrap!

It’s a wrap!

A few more photos from the session:

Wowy portrait for Asia Life

Wowy portrait for Asia Life

Wowy portrait for Asia Life

Wowy portrait for Asia Life

Wowy portrait for Asia Life

Wowy portrait for Asia Life

 

Posted in Photography, Strobism, Vietnam Also tagged , , , , , , , |

Photos from past issues

Just wanted to put up some photos from past issues of Asia Life that didn’t manage to make the cut due to space constraints. I have also given some lighting setups to go with the images.
Fencing in Saigon

A side photo of the always fun Noelle Carr-Ellison who I met whilst at my former job at City Pass Guide. She was gracious enough to be my model for the occasion.

Fencing with Noelle

Fencing with Noelle

Lighting: Godox AC360 just behind me in a Paul Buff PLM with diffuser. Godox Ving 850 to the subject right in softbox, Godox Ving 850 to subject left in a softbox but raised higher up to her mask.

The AC360 was just pushed high enough to get Noelle barely lit. The light on her right is pushed a stop higher to give that nice rim light. The light on her left gives a bit of definition to her mask and also manages to touch the saber just a hair. Her face was brought up in post and everything was desaturated a bit to make the image pop.

Platinum Beer in Ho Chi Minh City

The second is of Michael, the man behind Platinum beer. I love shoots like this. Michael was a pleasure to work with and was very comfortable in front of the camera. That and the few beers we ::ahem:: tasted before the shoot made it even more fun!

Two shots, same lighting, different focal lengths.

Beer mustache

Beer mustache

A bit wide

A bit wide

Lighting: Godox AC360 just behind me in a Paul Buff PLM. Godox Ving 850 to the subject left bounced off a white wall, Godox Ving 850  behind subject on the keg in a grid.

I love how the PLM shapes the light and creates just a bit of a hot spot which I found I can kinda control by moving the flash in and out on the PLM. The light on his left just gives him a bit of definition which makes the subject pop.

Well, that’s about it for now. Hope you enjoyed the images and the small lighting notes as well!

Vinh

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The few and far between

Times are few and far between when I get to shoot portraits of a person I really admire. Even rarer when I have full rein on creativity and lighting the scene. A couple months ago, I had one of those rare chances with Kosal Khiev. I first met him on the shoot of My Asian Americana and was moved by his energy and drive. A few weeks later, I had a chance to interview him with Princess Soma Norodom on her nightly radio show at PUC and was once again moved by him and his constant drive to better himself and his art.

We got to talking after and conspired to have a photo session in the near future. These photos are the result of the photo session.

One main element I wanted was an urban feel with the background. So we ended up shooting in an alleyway where I used to live. Another element I wanted in the shot was his ever present notebook which he is constantly writing in. The only problem is that it is quite narrow (about 10 feet wide) and was very busy with foot and motorbike traffic.

Portrait of Kosal Khiev

Portrait of Kosal Khiev

Lighting is a brollied 580ex as the fill light just a bit high and to my right. Two Viv 283’s with stofens are placed about 10 feet to the left and right of Kosal just slightly touching the wall at 45 degree angles. Not the most efficient use of light but it gave a slight rim light to him and it kept them out of the way of passing motorbikes! I wanted to accentuate his tattoos and the wall in the background so there was some manipulation there. I also brightened his brow a bit and turned the tonal contrast just a bit up for the great textures on his face and shirt. In all honesty, I would have liked to have had a reflector to push the light up on his face but sometimes, you make do with what you can.

Kosal Khiev against the wall

Kosal Khiev against the wall

Can I tell you that he is a pretty amazing subject to work with? I moved the Viv 283 on his left side a bit tighter and lower to him, but kept the rest of the  lighting the same but didn’t notice that  I stupidly blew out the words in the notebook. Luckily, I always shoot in RAW so I was able to save the detail in the notebook and it makes for a great dimension to the image.

Portrait of Kosal Khiev

Portrait of Kosal Khiev

A bit of a variation to the image above, the pose makes for a striking image. I wanted to cool down the background on this file and the notebook, so some layer masks later, we got this image!

Kosal and his notebook

Kosal and his notebook

In this image you can see how tight the alleyway is. Not too much room to work with. Once again, there is a brollied 580ex to my right and two Viv 283’s directly onto the walls to his left and right. Usually you use strip lights or a grid to create these lovely rim lights but bouncing off the walls made for a great substitute!

Hope you enjoyed the photos as much as I had taking them!

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Smelling the roses

In the rush of being a freelance photographer, it’s hard to stop and smell the roses. Deadlines, meetings, research, pitches, more meetings keep me away from shooting for myself. Kinda like recharging the creative batteries so its nice to actually get a chance to go out and shoot just for myself.

I had a chance to do this on Sunday where I took a photography class out to Olympic stadium for a practical workshop. It was a great experience as the students were great and really took to finding their own style of photography.

I have been going to the Olympic Stadium over the years and I find it to be my favorite spot to shoot in the city. It’s a lively place no matter what time of the day.

A couple of images from the day:

Inside the Olympic Stadium

Inside the Olympic Stadium

Painting the steps at Olympic Stadium

Painting the steps at Olympic Stadium

Last one is a portrait of a football spectator that I previously snapped 5 years ago.

Portrait taken 5 years ago

Portrait taken 5 years ago

Portrait of a football fan at Olympic Stadium in 2011

Portrait of a football fan at Olympic Stadium in 2011

He was very surprised that I remembered him from 5 years ago. I told him that it was very easy to remember someone as handsome as him. He just smiled and then slapped me on the shoulder.

Nice one.

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Shooting the Chairman

I had the opportunity to take a portrait of the new Post Media Ltd chairman David Armstrong in their offices a couple of days ago. It all came about with a phone call the previous afternoon I took from Rick, Photo Editor of the Post who called to inquire on lighting the office.

The shot he wanted was a bit tough in terms of lighting. A long office with lots of fluoro lighting along with lots of chairs and desks to throw wierd shadows all over the place. So we met up an hour before the chairman arrived to work out the placement of the lights.

After much trial and error we ended up with this setup.

Phnom Penh Post setup

Lighting setup at the Phnom Penh Post

PPP shooter Heng Chivoan gets the credit for shooting the setup and thanks go out to Rick for limping around (broken foot) to be my lighting model. Lighting Rick was pretty easy. A 250W mono in a softbox set up at his 2:00, a goboed Viv 283 at his 7:00 for a rim light and another goboed Viv 283 fired onto the whiteboard at his 11:00 just to fill in the shadows on the left side of his face.

Lighting the office was a different story. Its just too damn long. Luckily, there are windows that cover the east side of the office so it gave me enough ambient for the long office but in the office area that covers the Khmer edition of the paper, there is an indentation that gets no light. Hence the brollyed mono sitting on the left side of the pic above.

Once it was set up, all we had to do was wait for the chairman to show up. A quick coffee, cigarette (for Rick) to wait for David to show. We wanted to do two separate shots. The first would be during the daily story meeting which usually happens around 10:30 or so.

Portrait of David Armstrong at the Phnom Penh Post

Portrait of David Armstrong at the Phnom Penh Post

The second and also the one Rick ended up using was of the newsroom with people working at their desks.

Portrait of David Armstrong at the Phnom Penh Post

Portrait of David Armstrong at the Phnom Penh Post

You can see the finished result here.

Since journalists want to be in the limelight and won’t ever admit to it, having a camera and lighting setup was putting a flame up in a room full of moths. So some goofy shots from the office.

Phnom Penh Post intern/multimedia specialist David Boyle

Phnom Penh Post intern/multimedia specialist David Boyle

Phnom Penh Post Khmer Edition Editor Kay Kimsong

Phnom Penh Post Khmer Edition Editor Kay Kimsong

Phnom Penh Post journalist Irwin Loy

Phnom Penh Post journalist Irwin Loy

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Shots at the Independence Monument

These were taken awhile ago but thought they were worthy of putting online. These were tester shots for an upcoming that were taken at the Independence Monument at sunset.
Rick Valenzuela and Maria Jarina were kind enough to come along and be my models.

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Who you takin a picture of Willis?

A baby who did not like her picture taken.

Taken in an alleyway near Sorya Mall

Baby in an alley near Sorya Mall

Baby in an alley near Sorya Mall

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Three portraits

Three very different portraits taken during the magic hour at Psar Thmei. Enjoy!

First off is the security guard that let Georgia, Rick and I take some shots inside the construction area.

Guard at Psar Thmei

Guard at Psar Thmei

Second is a gentleman sharpening some knives outside Psar Thmei. I like the booties.

A knife sharpened outside Psar Thmei

A knife sharpened outside Psar Thmei

Lastly is of Georgia from the Phnom Penh Post walking through the new stalls to Psar Thmei.

Georgia from the Phnom Penh Post inside Psar Thmei

Georgia from the Phnom Penh Post inside Psar Thmei

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