Lifelong Love Affair – Maxy Band Photography

It’s funny how attached memories and emotions can bring an object to life. 

Over 25 years ago I bought my Maton acoustic and we’ve played a lot of gigs since then – my fingers drop comfortably into the chords shapes indented into her fret board.

Through those years we’ve had a few little bumps and scratches but that creates character and her tone only gets better as the beautiful timber she’s made of matures.

It’s not about only about fast guitar licks, the Grammy aspiring voices and the adrenalin of performing – it’s a personal thing – how making music makes you feel and if you’re fortunate, how it connects with others.

I suppose that’s a bit like old homes, photos and seeing old friends.

I also find a lot of photographers are also musicians which makes a challenge trying to get some band shots for our own band “The Maxys”.

The solution – I asked my partner Kim if she could help out.

The camera was set up so that everything was as automatic as possible.  ISO at 1600 and set to Aperature Priority mode at f/1.4 on the EX Sigma 30mm so she didn’t have to worry about flash.  Autofocus set to middle of the frame. If she didn’t move around too much we would get good shoots at 1/60th and faster to avoid too much blurring.  Too much grain and noise I could try and pull out in post production as well as add some effect processing and sharpening.  The results pretty good.

 

Sydney Band - The Maxys Party BandPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Lead Guitarist Bruno and singer Brett - Sydney Band - The Maxys Party BandPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Rachael Woodlands - Sydney Band - The Maxys Party BandPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Brett Maxworthy - Sydney Band - The Maxys Party BandPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Rachael and Scott - Sydney Band - The Maxys Party BandPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Bruno Gerace and his Fender Stratocaster - Sydney Band - The Maxys Party BandPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Fender Strat - Sydney Band - The Maxys Party BandPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Sydney Band - The Maxys Party BandPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Brett and Rachael - Sydney Band - The Maxys Party BandPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

 

Bruno on Lead Guitar from Sydney Band - The Maxys Party BandPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Brett Maxworthy - Sydney Band - The Maxys Party BandPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

 

South Pacific Retro Fashion Swimwear

Today I’m experimenting with some fashion photography – I’m trying to create a South Pacific retro swimwear fashion feel – to create an image that engages you and tells a story.

There are many elements that go into a photo – model, location, time, wardrobe, makeup, hair style, pose, lighting, camera (all the technical bits).

You’ve then got post production – selecting, retouching, sharpening, effects (I wanted this have that blue-yellow filter to tie in with the 1970’s ish retro feel)

Finally, bringing the best photos together into a package – could this series sit happily in a fashion magazine page or website?

 

Model: Lanny

Brand New Day – Sydney Harbour Sunrise

After ANZAC Day yesterday I wanted to find and create an image to convey the message of a brand new day, the time of opportunity, of looking at everything in a brand new light.  I think this Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House photo – with the Australian flag flying high and the city radiating in the background captured what I was thinking.

For the last few weeks I’ve been experimenting with adding artistic layers to my photos – this blurring of painting and photography through digital technology.  

 

 

ANZAC Tribute

It was ANZAC Day in Australian and New Zealand yesterday – it is a special day where we pay respect for those who have fought and continue to fight for the Australian way of life – it’s roots in WWI Gallipoli and Fromelles.  It’s both a sad day but also a celebration for the unique spirit and way in which we approach the challenges of life – of the larrikan, anti authority, mateship, fair play, sacrifice for the greater good.

It’s a day I used to attend the dawn service with my Dad followed by a tour of two-up games around the local RSL clubs – Mum driving us around as Dad, my little brother Dean and I getting progressively got pissed and hopefully a few wins.  The day often ending up at the local Chinese restuarant for a feast.  

They were great days, I miss them.

#lestweforget - ANZAC 2012Photo by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Baby Photography Tips

Conventional commercial photography and video production wisdom suggests that we should avoid working with kids and animals but to challenge the status quo last weeks photography challenge was to try some pet photography and this week, my inaugural baby photography challenge.  

Enter Deacon, 10 week year old son of Geoff and Tennielle (insert maternity shots).

A couple of pet photography tips are readily applicable to baby photos.

    1. Shoot fast and lots – while baby is active, keep your eye in the viewfinder – the magic shot you’re after can be just a millisecond away.
    2. Prepare and research as much as possible before hand.  From Googling and Youtubing I learnt a highly effective rolled towel techniques and the importance of very soft flashes on newborn baby photography.  http://www.learnmyshot.com/Baby+Photography+Tips+and+Lighting+Setup was a great resource and I employed the double umbrella lighting setup used in this video.

  • Finally, give yourself plenty of time.  Baby is best after a nap, new clothes and something to eat (sounds like most blokes) – in a two hour shoot we got about three x  ten minutes of good baby time in front of the camera – the rest was crying, pooing, sleeping and burping.  Saying that, I’ve never smiled so much editing photos. 
As you will see I mixed up post production techniques a bit – some black and whites and light colour shots for studio setup.

Please find the pics below – I think some of the best shots were the non studio personal shots.  

What's Happening?Photo by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Who's Ya DaddyPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Simply BlissPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

I'm watching youPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Fractal Filter Photography

You know the feeling when you see something and you go “WOW – I love it!” – well that happened to me yesterday.  I was thanking some people who had commented on my photos and in return I usually click and look at their photos and return the favour.  

I came across a guy (sorry can’t remember who it was now) who was using a Redfield Fractalius fractal photoshop filter technique to create some amazing photos – they sort of looked like light painting combined with sketching.  

Following are the photo works done today – I think some of these would look fantastic as large canvas prints.

Orchid LightPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Trend SpottingPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

 

Light and ShadowsPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Model Reading MagazinePhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

MermaidPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Behind Her EyesPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Two Dogs WatchingPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Portrait sketchPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Silent PrayerPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Angel In The GardenPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Light ObscuraPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Pug Pampered Pooch Pet Photography

How Cute Am IPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Pugs are funny little dogs – they look like a mini-me Bull Mastiff.

As a photographer I’m therefore a perpetual collector of photographic gadgets and accessories. Consequently I’m always look for ways to help feed my expensive habit. When I was shown a pet photography flier the other day with a $200 per pooch photo shoot, I pondered if pet photography could be a quick and easy on-the-side money earner?  

“Quick and easy” hmmmm.

Fast forward a couple of days and enter my test K9 supermodels – pampered, playful, pugnacious pugs Sookie & Tallulah-belle, a mother and daughter duo, owned by Lana, a local cafe friend.

It’s about 3PM and a lovely, sunny, Sydney autumn day.  We shoot at a nearby park.

Dog Photography

The first pug photo lesson I learnt today is unless the pup(s) were duxs at doggy school then the chances of staying still in the right spot for a posed portrait shot are zippo, zilch, zero. Therefore, I’m limited to natural light and maybe the use of a catch light flash.

The second lesson – it helps to know your camera’s functions so you can quickly re-adjust settings.  That means reading your manual and experimenting with all your camera’s features.

The third and most important tip – bring plenty of puppy treats.

The dogs are running around and very funny to watch (ie good potential photos) so I quickly switch my camera (Canon 7D) settings across to

  • auto focus, 
  • image stabilizer on, 
  • multiple high speed shots – it’s digital and only card space.
  • AI Servo mode (the AI Servo mode basically tells the camera what area will be in focus)
  • ISO 200
  • AE mode (Aperature Priority) I’m shooting at around f/9.0 which gives good depth of field on my 70mm lens (the 7D has a x1.6 sensor so this equals equivalent 112mm on a full sensor)
  • I’m also getting some great sharp freeze frame running type shots at 1/2000th @ f/4.0 
  • I shoot a bit wide so I can crop later.

PugnaciousPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
Mother & DaughterPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia


Beyond the Standard Shots  

For the pet photos we’re looking for something a bit different – we’ve got rabbit ears and a basket of chocolate eggs – after about half an hour we realise it’s going to be practically impossible to get both dogs together in the right spot and both looking to camera for the shot we want.  The answer, shoot separately and composite the images.

I’m still in the very early stages of working with composites but a few things come to mind – 

Creating composite image

Tips for shooting composites (I learnt afterwards)

  • Use consistent camera settings so that DOF (Depth of field is consistent) and shutter (light/ exposure) are the same through the photos.
  • Shoot at f/9.0 or higher so that you get everything sharp – you can experiment with DOF in post production
  • Consistent angle of each shot and lighting is critical to creating a realistic composite image
  • Put down a reference marker – you can then use this as a reference to link overlayed images 
  • Try and shoot each photo element on a clean background as this will make future masking a lot easier.
 

After an hour I’m exhausted, I’ve just shot 526 x 18mb RAW images (11.3GB) – with my usual portrait photography I’d be stretching if I shot 100 images in three hours.


Editing

Back in the office I import into Lightroom to begin culling. After another hour I’m down to 30 or so good shots and ½ dozen better images.

Masking
Each of the pug shots and the basket needs to have some of the background removed.  At first I try using my OnOne Software’s Perfect Mask 5 software but it runs like a snail on my computer (Lenova D10 Xeon Quad Core 2.66Ghz with 16Gb x DDR2 667 Mhz Memory and a NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 1Gb video card; Windows 7 64bit).  Maybe it’s the size of files that is killing it?

  • Masked images of pugsI go back to using Select-Colour Range and then Select-Refine Mask in Photoshop to create a new layer with a mask.  
  • I then select the mask (ALT + Left Click) and use the Burn and Dodge tools and Paint tool to clean up the mask.
  • I grab a waterfall shot as a backdrop then each photo element is added to create the composite image.
  • I failed in my color correction attempt between the background waterfall and the foreground image

Creating Shadows

  • I create a duplicate of each of the dog images 
  • Adjust the exposure to get a perfect black silhouette.  
  • Run a gaussian blur filter to soften and try and match any existing image shadows; 
  • I set the layer to overlay mode and opacity to 50%.  
  • Using transform to create the right fall across the grass.
With everything sharp I can then look at creating some Depth of Field across the whole image.

The final shot all added together and a frame added.  I hope you like.

 

Happy EasterPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

 

 


Scott Maxworthy is a Sydney Portrait Photographer and in this post is talking about his Pet Photography experience to get some pug photos.