https://soundcloud.com/photofocus/mind-your-own-business-podcast-with-karen-kuehn-photofocus-podcast-january-11-2019 Get the show here or get it on iTunes — Please, post a review on iTunes. Welcome to the Mind Your Own Business Podcast! Today we chat with photographer Karen Kuehn! We discuss: How Karen got her start in photography Challenges of being a female in the industry The role of relationship building, ask for help How much things have changed in the industry (art directors, how companies use your images) … [Read more...] about Mind Your Own Business Podcast with Karen Kuehn | Photofocus Podcast January 11, 2019
Here's a great tip I got from watching some grips quickly change gels on some frames. In the past, when you removed an old gel or diffusion material you always had the mess of the sticky material. Either the 2-sided tape, or the foam stuff from 3M double stick, which ever material was used it was a challenge. I was observing some grips used the following technique and it was fast. This is a standard 18"x24" frame. The first thing you want to do is apply Blue Painters Tape around the entire frame. Here you can see I'm using 1" … [Read more...] about Getting Taped Up
Few television shows ever achieve the 300th episode milestone. On February 9, 2016 NCIS not only accomplished it, they did so while being the most viewed television show in the world 2 years in a row! I am humbly honored to have been the photographer for 301 of those episodes. 301 you ask? I was involved with the spin off from JAG also. I have been involved with many shows that have achieved the 100th episode, and a few that reached the 200th milestone. 300, that’s a first for me. Allow me to share some thoughts and statistics with you. The … [Read more...] about NCIS 300th Episode
So often someone will take the time to light the talent to look great but forget to light the background and give the image some depth: One method is to use a Cucoloris. Some will refer to it a s a cookie cutter:The Cucoloris will create a shadowed texture onto your background depending on the distance the light source is from the Cucoloris. The general rule with light is that the closer the light the softer the light, the larger the light the softer the light. Allow me to show you this theory in practical application:As you can see in the … [Read more...] about Cucoloris for Shadowed Texture
One of the most used tools on a Hollywood set, oh heck on any set, is the C-Stand. C in Roman numerals representing the numeral 100 is how the C-Stand got its name, 100's of uses. When closed it's 53" high, it can be extended to 10'6", it usually is ordered with a 40" arm and Grip Head. The C-Stand is a very versatile tool in the photographer's arsenal. Allow me to show you how to take advantage of the C-Stand. One way is a reflector holder:You simply secure a piece of foamcore or any material that you're using to reflect light onto the talent. … [Read more...] about C-Stands 101
Some of the most used tools on a Hollywood set are C-Stands and Apple Boxes. Then there are these little babies, Baby Plates. What is a Baby Plate you ask? It's a 5/8 stud, about 3" tall, welded onto a 3.5" x 6" metal plate. It has many uses. Allow me to share a few of those that I've used on the set. One of the most common uses for a Baby Plate is a very low light stand:It has a very solid feel and is very stable for most strobe heads. As you can see in the picture, this Baby Plate has 8 holes in its base. Some will have 4. The purpose for … [Read more...] about No Sippy Cups here, just Baby Plates
Its a beautiful sunny day, you're shooting indoors looking out to a sliding glass door or window and its brighter outside than on your set. Your talent is moving so HDR is not an option. You really don't want a silhouette, if you expose for the talent then your sliding glass door or window blows out with light, what do you do? Allow me to share with you about Black Scrim material. You can purchase it as a open ended flag with various sizes as shown here at B&H, or just the fabric, stretching it over a 18x18 frame as seen here from NCIS:For … [Read more...] about Scrim for Lighting Detail
I'm often asked... "How I got the shot?" I answered the phone. Nothing frustrates me more than when I ask someone "Why didn't you call back?", and the response is "My battery was dead" or "I left my phone in the car". My next comment is "If you were the captain of the plane, we'd all be dead!" My point is this, you might be a great photographer, but if you don't have professional phone skills, the odds are not in your favor. Good Etiquette When I get called to shoot on a TV show or movie and I can't answer the phone because I'm shooting, or … [Read more...] about How I Got the Shot
A great way to challenge yourself and enhance your skills is to shoot some personal projects. Here is an opportunity to stretch your imagination. Building sets, buying props, coordinating wardrobe, scouting locations and casting talent are all part of the process of shooting your personal projects. When you apply all these things, your ideas will come to life. I'll get an idea visually, and then I need to make it happen. Like this 30's Hollywood glamour shot:Once I cast the beautiful actress, Sarah Deakins, I needed to get hair and make-up. … [Read more...] about Shooting Personal Projects
Most people refer to it as a clothes pin; in Hollywood it's referred to as a C-47. They were named that way because back in the day there were 47 pins in a pack. The C stands for clamp, hence C-47. We'll take them and reverse the way they clamp so that they have more of a pinch tip to grab stuff better: I like using these economical tools for clamping gels to lights and softboxes. Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft stores sells them in different sizes and colors. I like using the medium clamps to secure gels inside small to medium softboxes: The … [Read more...] about C-47: The most useful tool you have in your laundry room.
Here is a great economical way to soften your light. They're China Balls: These were used on the set of Grey's Anatomy. You can buy these light diffusers from World Market or Pier 1 Imports. Here's a link to Filmtools. Filmtools is a great resource; however, on some items they are a bit pricey. They cater to the movie and television industry. They range in cost from around $3.75 for a 12" China Ball up to about $17.00 for a 30" China Ball. Most are made of paper; however, some are made of silk. You do not need the silk ones unless you're … [Read more...] about Lighting with China Balls
What's in your bag? Do you really think that the cameras and lenses that are in my bag are going to get you my job? Stop! I'm not being arrogant, however, how you shoot and I shoot are so radically different it doesn't matter if you use the same gear as I do. We are creative knuckleheads and do what we do as individuals. Wanna know about some of the "stuff" that's in my bag? Allow me to share with you my camera brethren:Altoids, gum, Mentos, or anything that will freshen your breath. I hate working around bad breath. Whether it is from food, … [Read more...] about “What’s in Your Bag?” Stuff!
As Halloween approaches I know there are those of you who desire to shoot some ghoulish images. I thought I would have some fun and share some tips from the set. You see I shoot crime scenes all year round and have acquired some techniques I'd love to share. Editor's Note: The following photos are a bit gory, but they are fake. Not real. For this particular effect you need: some latex gloves, F/X blood (though water soluble is still very messy), and you'll need a very ripe banana. With all the Halloween stores open now get yourself some … [Read more...] about Halloween Effects from Hollywood *NSFW*
I'm a huge advocate of creating depth in a photograph. One of the ways is to use a back light or at times referred to as a hair light when shooting talent. Some of the challenges I might have are when the talent has blonde or gray / silver colored hair. I'll lose hair detail in the hair light. I found a great method for helping gain back that detail without losing the depth that a hair light can create. First I'll spray paint the inside of one of my reflectors from metal to flat white. This will soften the contrast: The next thing I will add … [Read more...] about Hot Hair Lights
We have all used smoke machines on sets, they're great, they create mood and help enhance lighting. We have all seen those amazing light beams.Smoke machines are handled on set by the Special Effects crew. Over the years I have seen them apply smoke several different ways. Allow me to share a few with you if I may. In the video you will see that Scott from F/X is applying smoke to a scene I had to shoot for NCIS:LA. What you need to notice is he's bouncing the smoke from the back of the car and not directly applying it onto the … [Read more...] about Smoke and Mirrors
Before engaging the enemy it was a low light situation, once the rifles burst it was only then that I knew I had captured the shot. This is my first post on Photofocus. Thank you Richard, Vanelli and Nick for your help and encouragement. Having the correct tools for the job is imperative. Some of those tools are fast lenses. Fast lenses allow you to shoot in low light situations where you can't sacrifice shutter speed because the action in front of the lens would blur. Okay so just increase your ISO, you can, with the new cameras and … [Read more...] about Speed, Speed it’s what you need