Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Dean Bradshaw: The Digital Ninja
Dean Bradshaw’s irreverent commercial photography stylistically blends a disarming sense of humor with a technical mastery of retouching and compositing
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
Because lighting is so technical, I like to have the opportunity to establish it before engaging with the subject so my subject gets my full attention.After that, he says it's simply a matter of reduction—removing any obstacles to his imagined final image while allowing a certain degree of spontaneity to work its way into the shooting process. "The three most important things to keep in mind when shooting for composites are to maintain correct perspective, consistent lighting and realistic shadows," Bradshaw explains, "so that the elements that you combine fit together cohesively. Consistent color and contrast between elements is important, but that's addressed more in postproduction as long as the lighting is consistent. I feel like a composite is effective when most viewers don't realize that it's a composite. I can't afford to be fixing things in post. It takes up too much time, especially in a commercial workflow, so I start with a great file and then enhance the contrast in Photoshop.
Adds Bradshaw, "It all depends on the project and what we're trying to achieve. For example, I just finished shooting a campaign for an athletic brand where we were shooting high-performance athletes. They wanted a very hyperrealistic look so I used about eight lights per scene, each light sculpting the scene in a different way. We used the Einsteins at low power for their superfast flash durations. When I'm shooting a portrait, however—where the image is more about the subject than the lighting—then I may use only one or two lights. I'm really passionate about story-driven lighting—lighting for the particular mood that you're trying to create, as well as using lights to sculpt the scene to make it as three-dimensional as possible. I like to use a lot of rim and backlights to shape and build depth. As far as light modifiers go, I'm relatively partial to parabolic light modifiers and beauty dishes due to their sculptural quality and versatility. That said, it all depends on the goal."
You can see more of Dean Bradshaw's high-impact, narrative imagery at www.deanbradshaw.com.au.
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