I'm an advertising photographer/videographer based in Los Angeles, California. My mission is to create striking advertising photography, corporate photography and editorial photography of people for major advertising agencies, fortune 500 corporations and major magazines. I shoot photography and video assignments throughout California including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego as well as the rest of the world. As a photo educator I am happy to share my unique vision and methods. I'm currently also teaching classes at Santa Monica College in video production for professional photographers and photography students.
As a commercial photographer in Los Angeles, CA, most of my photographic subjects are already predetermined as part of the assignment. So it is a joy to photograph on my own. I try and keep a camera with me as much a reasonable. I get to practice developing my photographic eye. Watching the play of light. Finding compositions in the jumble of shapes around me.
This time my found photographic subjects were rocks along the seawall. The light seemed to caress the smooth round surfaces late in the day. I found one design after another. I struggled to take what was chaos and find order. I realized I must first take in the whole and then find the areas that most interested me to photograph. I wondered if while placing the rocks if the workers just considered strength or somehow drawn to the designs they were creating. While photographed in color the rocks were monotone and I felt they were best represented in B&W.
Ventura CA Seawall Rocks by Lee White
Ventura CA Seawall Rocks 2 by Lee White
Ventura CA Seawall Rocks 3 by Lee White
Ventura CA Seawall Rocks 5
Ventura CA Seawall Rocks 6 by Lee White Photography
As an advertising and editorial photographer and videographer, much of my work consist of assignments where the subject is defined for me. I have the challenge of discovering the best way of illustrating the purpose of the photograph depending on the requirements of the client. It can be rewarding when that moment happens and you know you are on the right track.
It is totally different when there is no assignment or even a specific purpose for my photography. Each day I get up looking forward to the chance make an image. Note, I said “make an image” not just take a photograph. Anyone with a camera can take a photograph by just pushing the shutter, to me that is not making an image but just recording a scene.
I was recently listening to how Sam Abell talked about making his layered images and the discovery process he went through. It reminded me that it sometimes takes trial and error before setting on an image that you like. I think most photographers go through a similar process of sorting out how and what to use in making images.
This evening, just after sunset, as I strolled among a nearby beach, I found the tide was unusually low. I noticed it exposed the ocean floor that normally would be under several feet of water. There as a different texture to the sand and some interesting patterns. But, in the quickly fading light there was not quite enough drawing of the contours. Then, I saw the piece of seaweed in the first image which looked promising but again the light had faded a little to much. There was still enough side light to create interest but the values were now too close to really make a statement.
As I walked along, I noted shore birds wading near the shore with beautiful golden light reflecting off their white chest feathers. But, I was not prepared with a long enough lens to make anything worth while.
As I walked past the birds, I started to notice some chest feathers had come loose from those birds and were now sitting on some of those ocean bottom contours. I selected the ones I felt would make the most interesting images and quickly composed them in the fading light. See my final picks below.
Feather Sand #1
Feather on Sand #2
Feather on Sand #3
Feather on Sand #4
Feather on Sand #5
As you can see by the time I found the last feather, the light had almost faded to nothing.
Make it big. As an advertising photographer in Los Angeles, I learn long ago clients love to see their product large in the photograph. Although creatively, in the past, this might not have served the purpose well, now it could be the best advice for much of how photography and video is seen. As more and more photography and video is seen on smaller and smaller screens the only way to really see it is to make the subject big.
My Secrets of Video for Photographers seminars and workshops take me across the nation. As I flew to Unique Photo in New Jersey to do my events, I had a chance to watch the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Just a month before this I was in Kauai where they filmed much of the movie. While watching the movie on the tiny screen in the aircraft I could barely recognize the locations I was just at. If I had seen the movie on a 40 foot theater screen the impact of the locations might have been greater. As it was, I had to wait for the medium close-ups to close-ups to visually follow the story. I attribute my less than enthusiastic reaction to the movie to this size issue.
The reverse of this is true when I am watch the Wild China series by the BBC on my iphone. Most of the action is set in the close-ups with wide vistas used for presenting the overall environment. Admittedly, Wild China was produced to be seen on TV where Pirates was for the “big” screen which brings me back to thinking about where your images, be them photographs or video, are going to end up. When you are deciding how to shoot each shot consider how your shots are going to be seen, on a forty foot screen or a four inch screen.
I recently had the pleasure of giving my Secrets of Video for Photographers Friday night seminar in Portland’s Newspace Center for Photography’s newest gallery. The new gallery had just been finished that afternoon and added more room to the already spacious center. Besides the gallery, the center has a digital lab, B&W darkrooms and a lighting studio all of which can be rented. Executive Director, Chris Bennett and the whole staff are very friendly and helpful which creates a comfortable atmosphere.
I had a chance to peek into the digital lab and was impressed by the amount and quality of the equipment installed. The lighting studio I prepped in for my seminar is nicely appointed and has a combination of Profoto and Speedotron strobes along with modifiers.
I grabbed one of their summer brochures that show the wide variety of classes they offer. Each class is well defined with a description of what is covered, who should attend and a background of the instructor. Something I think is very cool is the Summer Photo Camps for ages 10-16, one is a darkroom camp and the other is a digital camp.
You can get more information about Newspace Center for Photography at www.newspacephoto.org or calling 503-963-1935
Secrets of video for photographers is coming to Portland for two events that takes away the mystery of video production and replaces it with solid information. More than just tech talk, Lee White also goes over ideas on how to increase revenue streams and creative strategies.
The evening seminar is two hours jammed packed with need to know info!
All attendees will receive free SmartSound music and SonicFire music editing software .
Taking the step from stills to video can be a challenging one. You will have to learn how to deal with motion and sound, tell the visual story in a different way. There is new equipment to master. Post-production can be much more involved and time consuming. The explosion of interest in video both by clients and photographers in the last couple of years has opened new creative avenues for photographers. More photographers are being asked to create video content so are facing new challenges in estimating, production and post-production. Come and learn about the latest tools and techniques needed to create video. Learn how to better estimate the time and costs involved and how you need to approach video differently than stills while using your photographic talents to your advantage.
Lee White’s evening lecture presentation and videos will go over the steps photographers need to know in creating video without tearing their hair out.
During the evening Lee will discuss:
• How photographers can get new clients
• The latest in tools that make video production easier
• The all-important planning stage and what new concepts and costs photographers need to think about
• The importance of post-production
• HDSLR vs Camcorder in video production
• How photographers can apply their present skills to video
The latest equipment and software by sponsors Apple, Manfrotto, Panasonic, Zeiss, Sennheiser, Beachtek. Red Giant Software, SmartSound, G-Technology, Indisystems, Chimera and Casio will be at the event for photographers to see.
This fast paced all-day workshop is not to be missed.
When: Saturday, April 9, 2011 Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm Where: Andy Batt’s Studio
2021 SE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97214 Cost: General $150; ASMP members & Students $100 – Lunch included Register Now!
All attendees will receive free SmartSound music and SonicFire music editing software .
Photography and video are coming together. In the last couple of years, the idea of photographers producing video has exploded and photographers now must gear up and learn the language of video. As advertisers and magazines turn to video on the web, cable and mobile devices to get out their message, there are more opportunities than ever for you to do video in tandem with your photography to capture new clients and sell video services to existing clients.
Producing video creates fundamental changes to your workflow. It requires new tools and techniques to take the step from photography to video. You need to learn what the new technologies mean to you from a photographer’s point of view. This is why Lee White, a professional photographer and educator, has created an intensive all day workshop to help guide you into video. This hands-on workshop will go in depth about each step of video production so you can start producing your own video and avoid some of the most dangerous pitfalls.
In the morning, Lee White will go over the fundamentals of video production and direct a plan for a shoot for the afternoon. In the afternoon, we will shoot, and edit and color grade the video.
The Saturday subjects will include:
• The importance of workflow including recording formats and how to use them to your advantage
• Estimating and planning combined photography and video shoots with forms for estimating video production
• Understanding the lighting, filming and sound techniques needed for video
• Hands on experience with camera, lighting and sound equipment
• Editing and color grading demonstrations
• Common issues in directing talent and a chance to direct yourself
• The importance of post-production
The latest equipment and software by sponsors Apple, Manfrotto, Panasonic, Zeiss, Sennheiser, Beachtek. Red Giant Software, SmartSound, G-Technology, Indisystems and Casio will be at the event for photographers to see in action.
As an advertising photographer, very often much of the format of an image I’m assigned to shoot is already decided before it gets to me. Of course, I get to add my creative input, which in part is why I’m being hired as long as it conforms to the message and shape of the assignment. When I go out and practice, I get to explore more freely.
I just got back from a location scout, where I found six wonderful spots to shoot at one location. So the scout was successful, and along the way I got to practice. I took my time exploring the location and watched the light. I also took pictures both of the spots I might later use plus interesting subjects for myself. Since, I did not have the pressure of a client looking over my shoulder or an expensive model standing in front of the camera, I could experiment. If one of my experiments didn’t turn out exactly as I expected, no harm was done. I also shot subjects that I like that would not normally be subject matter for my advertising photography assignments.
I used Imagenomic’s realgrain to help give the image a more natural gritty look.
I took along a budding photographer as an extra set of eyes. I had the time to explain some of the processes I was going through which both helped the photographer and reminded me of alternative ways of handling subjects. I also had a person as a scale to put in the location shots so I had a better idea how a person could interact with the location. It is hard to see the image playback on the screen in bright sun, so I introduced the photographer to the Hoodman Loupe. Plus we discussed the value of using the histogram rather than the screen to check exposure.
As Kim Weston, once said to me “all we do is a craft; it’s a craft and if you don’t know your craft…there are no shortcuts.”
Where do I think photography is going in the next five years? I just got back from being on an advisory panel at Brooks, Institute of Photography that addressed just this issue. I was asked to prepare a 5 minute presentation about my current role in the industry and where I think the industry is moving. Below is pretty much the text from my presentation.
Before I forget, I want to say what a pleasure it was to be on a panel with so many thoughtful and articulate professionals that were so willing to give their considered opinions. A special shout out to Jeff Sedlik of the Plus Coalition, who’s incredible efforts are going to protect our rights as creators. You should all go to the plus site, http://www.useplus.com, to see find out how best to deal with the coming copyright reform.
Now to my presentation:
I am a professional photographer and I create advertising and editorial content in the form of still images and video. I have also been giving a series of seminars and workshops around the country called “The Secrets of Video Production for Photographers.” Plus, I instruct six and sixteen-week college classes in video production for photographers.
And now for my vision of photography in the future. I think that photography is going to thrive and become a hybrid. It is going to thrive because we have become an image thirsty world. We take large gulps of visual content and have an appetite for an ever-increasing amount of new material. Photography, or I should say photographers, will become more of a hybrid than we already are. We already digitally process, manipulate and output our own content to a greater degree than ever before and we are now starting to include motion and sound.
If you notice, both articles and printed ads, not only use photography, but now often have a “go to the web for more information” component. Here are just a few examples I was able to quickly find after being asked to be on the panel.
Point of Purchase Business Size Card Found Next to Product in Store
Article in Videography Magazine
(Note: each uses a photograph to draw the reader in and then suggests the web for more information)
Since bandwidth is now fast and cheap, it is almost as easy to provide video on the web as still images.
Personal electronic devices such as the personal computers, smart phones and smart pads are the entertainment norm for Generation Y. And along with that, comes a thirst for ways of communicating that grabs the attention of eyes that are now bombarded by content. Just think about the office worker of the past who besides a visit to the water cooler or occasionally flipping through a magazine, had no access to outside influences while working. Now it is the norm for that same worker to spend some part of his day surfing the web. TV commercials have gone from 60 seconds to fifteen seconds partly due to cost and partly from the short attention span of viewers. Content users realize this and are looking for the best ways of grabbing that viewer’s attention and what better way than movement and sound?
While traveling the country speaking to photographers, in every city I experienced photographers telling me that clients are asking for video along with still images. Whether or not clients have a use for it right now, they feel the need to get it. I attribute this to things like the easy access to moving entertainment via the web and camera advertisements that show “professional like video” can easily be shot with just about any digital camera. The result of this thirst for video content in tandem with stills is lost jobs for photographers who cannot provide video or worse yet, lost clients, when skilled photographers who are not trained in video production make bad videos. That quick video favor can turn into a quick disaster.
The video component to still photography assignments has happened much quicker than what we experienced with the conversion from analog to digital. As a photographer, if you are not prepared to do video, be prepared to lose more and more jobs to photographers who are prepared.
The good news is everyone is right. It is easier now than ever before to create good video, technically. The bad news is it takes some new skills and changing how photographers tell the story from stills to video. Remember, video is a bunch of still images strung together, so photographers already have many of the skills needed for the basic visuals. How to manage that bunch of stills so they tell an interesting story is new to photographers.
Photographers also face the issue of sound which they have not had to deal with in the past. The videos they are faced with are usually short form advertising or editorial videos which have different requirements than feature film production or news reporting taught in cinema classes. The crew make up is different and the focus on still and video creation together add certain unique challenges. But with the right training, all of these challenges can be met and can enhance the abilities and profits of the new hybrid photographer.
Photography is going to evolve. Just as it added color to B&W, then digital to analog, it is adding motion and sound to still photography assignments.
As a busy advertising photographer that also shoots video, I am always looking for tools that make my job easier. The right tool can make for a faster and more professional outcome. One function that video cameras like the Panasonic HMC 40 have that is still lacking in the HDSLRs is the waveform. Photographers might think of the video waveform as the histogram turned on it’s side. The bottom of the waveform (0) is like the left side of the histogram as it shows the shadow / dark values. The top of the waveform (100) is like the right side of the histogram showing the highlights / bright values. And just like the histogram, if the waveform bottoms out at or below 0 there will be no information in the shadow /darkest values. The same holds true with the highlights / bright values, if the waveform peaks at or above 100, there will be no information in the highlights / brightest values.
In the picture below you can see the waveform in the LCD screen of the Panasonic HMC 40 where I have put a red box around it. You can also see that the waveform does not touch either the top or bottom of the scale so there are no burned out highlights or dropped out shadow areas. The waveform can help with both exposure and contrast ratio information as you shoot video.
Waveform in LCD of Panasonic HMC-40
The biggest difference is that you can see the video waveform as you view and shoot with the video camera rather than needing to shoot a still with the HDSLR and pull up the image file to view the histogram. This makes adjusting exposure and judging contrast a realtime event, not an after the fact method. Realtime saves time and I need all the time I can get while shooting.
I have mentioned how handy the Chimera Window Patterns kit was after using it during my Secrets of Video Production for Photographers in Charlotte N.C., New Jersey and again at my Brooks Institute of Photography presentation.
Chimera Window Pattern projected on wall
In Charlotte N.C.
In talking with Terry Monahan of Chimera, he was kind enough to share a system he has developed to make the Window Pattern kit even easier to use. This system holds everything, light source and window pattern, on one stand to make it easy to move as a single unit. The Chimera softbox also controls the light spill.
As you might remember, one of the great things about the Window Patterns is that changing the pattern is a snap, as each of the many different patterns is attached by Velcro to the matte. Since there is Velcro on both sides of the matte, you can also combine two patterns to make a third.
To see Terry’s system visit http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=200389&id=110580113666
There are times when it is better to double up a Final Cut Pro filter rather than trying to push just one too far. Next time you are faced with a green screen project and are using one of the Final Cut Pro chroma key filters try doubling the filter once you get close to the final result you want.
It is easy to do because you don’t have to start fresh with the filter rather duplicate the original filter setting to refine the effect even more. In Final Cut Pro it is easy do duplicate a filter by simply dragging and dropping the adjusted filter onto the same clip in the timeline.
☞☛Mt. SAC, Walnut, CA Two-day workshop April 19-20, 2013
First day lecture and demo second day shooting and editing
New Jersey, Unique Photo, Video seminar and workshop
Sept 16 and 18 see blog and http://university.uniquephoto.com/e/
Continuing - Photo29 "Video Production for Still Photographers" at Santa Monica College. A class in video production for professional photographers and photography students. http://www.smc.edu/schedules/2011/fall/default.htm
Just past - Atlanta, Showcase Photo & Video, Video seminar and Workshop
August 26 and 27 see blog and
Portland, Pro Photo Supply, Video seminar and workshop
June 10 and 11 see blog and
Just past - Sennheiser sound capture event at Santa Monica College May 3 see blog http://www.leewhitephotography.com/blog/?p=825
Past - Panel discussion for Brooks, Institute of Photography.