Sometimes, as a photographer, I like to battle bouts of late-night insomnia by digging through my archives from past shoots to analyze my shooting/lighting techniques, play around with processing and retouching, or just find overall ways I can improve my work in the future.
Last night, while thumbing through the RAW images from a shoot I did last year with tattoo model Cervena Fox, I stumbled on an image that I had flagged, did some retouching to, and then kinda put it back on the shelf — or stuffed it back into the folder, as the case may be. Applying some new retouching techniques that I’ve built since then — using my awesome Wacom Tablet that I got for my last birthday — I ended up with an unexpectedly great image that I’m glad to add to my portfolio.
I thought I’d post it here in a blog article not only to demonstrate how easy it is to make great images with Cervena, but also to demonstrate how I(we) must always strive to grow and improve as an artist.
So JGP.com has been on a hiatus of sorts, as I’ve been busy relocating my photography services to Los Angeles!!
I’m currently getting settled in to my new surroundings, but I try to take my camera with me when I can, to help me location scout and document the overall scenery. I’ll maybe post updates in the near future, but here’s a collection of photos loosely narrating my flight from O’Hare, layover in Phoenix, landing in Long Beach, and making my way through Los Angeles and Santa Monica!!
I’ve surprisingly been getting a few emails asking for specific prints from people wanting to hang some of my work up on their walls! So, I thought maybe it would be best to compile several of them together in a gallery with a checkout method for ordering your own.
So now you can support JustinGillPhoto.com by ordering your own fine art nude and tattoo glamour prints that I’ve shot within the past two years or so!! I’ll be running limited edition (10 each) prints of popular tattoo and glamour models like Alysha Nett, Miss Crash, Lynn Pops, Sophie King, and more. Sizes range from 8×10 to 20×30, and I’ll even sign and number them on the back!
Today is my birthday, but I can’t help but feel a certain lingering sense of unease for the world at large. There are revolutions happening on the other side of the globe — not only in Egypt and neighboring Lybia, but nearly the entirety of the Middle East and North Africa. Hundreds of people are being injured or even killed in the streets, and missile skirmishes are taking place every day.
But imagine if you were assigned to provide photographic coverage of all the uprising and turmoil, from within. Pulitzer Prize-winner John Moore did just that. Some of the photos he shows in this video are gripping, and really make you feel part of the chaos, whether organized or not.
I wanted to share this incredibly inspiring story of a Chicago nanny named Vivian Maier (1926-2009), who spent the majority of her life in solitude, but traveled the streets of Chicago and the entire world, taking candid photos using her Rolleiflex medium-format TLR camera.
She was a very private woman who kept to herself, and indeed very little is actually known about her at all, even by the families she cared for. But this solitary mystique seemed to translate very well into a hobby of spending entire days off with a camera strapped around her neck, documenting her daily life as it unfolded around her:
The quality of her work easily stacks up to some of the greatest names in street and candid photography, but her work — never published, never exhibited — was in danger of being lost forever. Until one day, a bin full of tens of thousands of Vivian’s negatives was purchased by chance at an open auction, by a Chicago man named John Maloof. As John scanned negative after negative on his computer, he slowly started to realize he could have perhaps stumbled upon an artistic and historic goldmine.
I encourage you to take a look at the website dedicated to her work. You will see some incredible black and white imagery, spanning decades of the 20th century that sheds a little insight into how she saw the world. Below is a television editorial from WTTW Chicago that tells the full story of how her work came to be discovered:
There are even plans of filming a documentary of her life and the discovery of it. An exhibition of her work will be unveiled at the Chicago Cultural Center tomorrow (Jan 7th). Admission is free.
Get backstage with action photographer extraordinaire David Bergman as he shoots an arena concert with one of the largest rock bands in the world: Bon Jovi.
Presented by FStoppers, a photography community-based website that showcases BTS videos from some of the today’s most forward-thinking photographers, this video was very inspiring to me from a concert/editorial photographer’s standpoint.
I especially like that he says he enjoys the challenge of taking unique shots every individual night of a tour. Sometimes, bands make that difficult to achieve even when you catch them on different tours.
It must be comforting to be called “most amazing concert photographer ever” by Bon Jovi guitarist Richard Sambora.
This has happened to me on more than one occasion:
During that calm before the storm of waiting for a headlining act to take the stage, a fan pressed up against the barrier beckons me over to ask me the big question –
“How can I land a photo pass to shoot concerts like you’re doing?”
My answer is the same every time:
“You know how to get to Carnegie Hall, dontchya? Practice!”
Now, while that’s not exactly the answer they’re looking for, it’s about as helpful of an answer I can give. The fact is, I started out several years ago taking a million photos, promoting myself as best I could, scouring the web for contact emails, trying to convince people that my photography made for great press exposure. Now, fast-forward several years to the present, and I’m still doing just that. The only thing that’s changed since then, is the quality of my portfolio of bands and concerts and festivals I’ve shot, and my Rolodex of editors, publicists, managers, and other helpful contacts.
So, the best I can do is put together a few practical steps to help aspiring photographers on the path of practice for getting right up front and center with their cameras:
Dave Jackson is a great music and editorial photographer that I was chums with on photographer forum boards long ago — before the days of YouTube even — and every once in a while, it’s nice to see his work still pops up during my daily interwebbery.
Along your journey as a photographer, you’ll hopefully find there’s a day when you wake up and realize you kind of know your way around an aperture, you know the pros and cons of the age-old Canon/Nikon debate, you know what different lenses to use for different scenarios, and you can even imagine how lights were set up and modified just by reverse-engineering how it looks in a photo…
But Dave sits down and explains a little behind his thinking, what rolls around in his brain — often the best piece of equipment a photographer can own.
I think the fact that it’s a circus shoot is MORE than allegorical.
Be sure to read through his exhaustively thorough Behind-The-Scenes blog post as well!
I’ve decided to addendum my earlier post on Getting Great Headshots to best address further details pertaining to the types of headshots you should be going for.
Here I’m going to discuss differences between commercial and theatrical headshots, and the types of roles they’re geared toward.
First, you should have a clear idea about the markets in which you want to work, and strive for headshots that cater to those markets. Are you looking for TV commercial spots or print ads? Then you need commercial headshots. Are you the successful office worker? The all-American suburban mom? Bobby Blue-collar? One or more of these types should be suggestible in a commercial headshot. Take a look at the lead-in photo above. The model is flashing a gorgeous smile, sparkle in her eyes, and a pink sweater for that extra “pop.” She could probably sell most anything from toothpaste to car insurance.
Bear in mind commercial headshots should have a generally broad, national appeal. They shouldn’t be too edgy, sexy, or in-your-face. It has to appeal to a wide spectrum of roles and markets, to ensure your accessibility to all of them.
But how about film, TV shows, and theater roles? Those call for a theatrical headshot. A theatrical headshot — also sometimes referred to as a “legit” shot — defines the character and qualities that a person projects. Are you portraying a flirty seductress love-interest? Or the trustworthy best friend? Do you work best as a specific type, like the edgy bad boy, or something more general, like the next-door romantic lead? Are you a complex jazz musician? A quirky comedic type?? Unlike the commercial shot, the theatrical headshot is mainly to convey nuances that show you’re the best fit for a more specific role. You’re more likely to land gigs when casting directors or potential clients don’t have to stretch their imaginations that you’ll fit the part.
Theatrical (Legit) Headshot
Take a look at the above theatrical headshot. The expression, location, lighting, angle, colors, and wardrobe all combine cohesively to suggest a cool, edgy, urban role. Something you might expect from the CSI franchise, college drama series, or similar.
As a general rule, it is best to showcase both with every look, but of course certain looks can lend themselves to being one or the other. But most importantly, make sure you find a photographer that is able to successfully get you the shots that cater to the specific markets you are after.
Feel free to take a look at my headshot gallery to see the range of commercial and theatrical headshots I can provide!