Times move on and so do our editing skills. I recently had a need to re-visit an image I shot back in March 2006 as I’d just sold a print of it from my website. Looking through my archive I quickly located the RAW file along with the edited TIF file. When I viewed the TIF file full-screen on my computer I felt the editing of the image was a little dire, it lacked any real punch or contrast and was a little muddy, if I printed it like this it would not produce a good crisp print and it certainly would not be representative of my current work. So I opened the RAW file did what is my ‘normal’ editing process in Photoshop and hey presto the difference was astounding. I’ve included the original 2006 edit and the ‘new’ 2010 edit so you can compare them side by side.
This little activity went to remind me that our skills and techniques are constantly moving forward day-by-day often without us really noticing, it’s only when you stop, take stock and look back by comparing ‘then’ for ‘now’ that you can really see the difference. I made sure my customer was happy with the new edit, before sending it off to the printers, just to be on the safe side.
Since then re-visited my other ‘older’ images on my website and update the thumbnails as I’ve subsequently re-edited those too. Perhaps in another 5 years I may be doing the same again!
2010 re-edited version
Original 2006 edited image
It seems that many many people want to book an erotic photo session as a Christmas present for their loved one. Over the past 4-6 weeks I’ve had daily calls asking about my boudoir, erotic, fetish and art-nude private commissions. I’m now taking bookings into Jan 2011 as I don’t have any free slots this side of Christmas. This is great news for me, but I know I’ll still get many calls between now and Dec 24th from potential customers who want a shoot before Christmas. If you’re like me and don’t like saying no, a way round this is with any pre-Christmas bookings provide a product they can give to their partner on Christmas Day. The product/package should build anticipation and desire as well as explain what the session consists of. The packaging and presentation are essential, as well as the images, words and general quality and feel of the product. As we know first impressions count, and this will be an important sales tool to help you with that initial impression, I’m going to be providing this product for any of my new bookings where the session is purchased for someone else.
I’d been having problems with the Manfrotto backdrop support system, in as much as it had broken and was a pain to use. The background system supports 2 paper rolls and 1 roll of vinyl and there’s the problem – the Manfrotto system is not designed to hold the heavy vinyl and after about 12 months of use it decided enough was enough and snapped at the chain guide.
Close up of damage to chain guide
This breakage results in the metal chain jumping off the sprocket whenever I’m trying to bring down or roll up the backdrop. This was becoming a challenge and an exercise in much swearing and skinned hands – it got to the extent that I didn’t want to use the vinyl backdrop! When it got to this stage I decided I had to to something as it was daft not wanting to use the backdrop because it was too much hassle. In fairness to Manfrotto the system is not designed to take the weight of a vinyl backdrop, but as it was now of limited use I decided I needed to find a stronger backdrop system that was designed to hold vinyl. I searched the web and came across Colorama’s backdrop system, Rolleasy. I’ve a freestanding Colorama backdrop support system which is very well built and looking at this product it looked to be engineered to the same high quality. A phone call to Morco and the order was placed, details of this product are on their website.
The shots below show the installation of the new system, they do a ceiling and wall mounted option. I went for the wall mounted option, both systems give the advantage that your bottom roll of paper sits higher than it does with the Manfrotto system, plus as it can take 5 rolls as apposed to 3 of the Manfrotto system. Price wise it is more expensive than the Manfrotto system, however it’s not really comparing apples with apples so it’s a little immaterial to compare it against the Manfrotto price point if you are using vinyl.
The system took about 3 hours to install and was fairly straightforward. The kit comes with straight edges for the paper rolls and an aluminum tube for the vinyl roll. So that was a case of unrolling from the old tube and re-rolling onto the aluminum tube. The cardboard cores are fixed with jubilee clips, which is a little Heath Robinson, but works and prevents the rolls from rotating freely whilst on the support pins. All in all I’d say 10 for quality, 9 for ease of installation and I’ll let you know how I get on with in from a usage point of view.
Wall bracket for Colorama Rolleasy
Hanging bracket with lock mechanism
Unrolling is done with a pole to no chains
I have a busy weekend lined up and I’m shooting on both days.
I’m shooting in an old shoe factory in Northampton on Saturday with Joceline Brook Hamilton which I’m looking forward to very much. I have a new pair of ballet boots to fit Joceline, specially bought as she takes a size 8, but then she is 6′ tall. We plan to do bondage shots, dance bondage and other such fun stuff. I never take too much of a structured idea with me, just some props and vague concepts and I usually find that ideas and looks evolve during the session. That’s when both model and photographer work together to add their own creativity, inspiration and flare to the shot. My best shots have come from collaboration, rather than a one person directing micro-posing the model.
The caretaker of the warehouse was telling me that the pigeons and their poo have taken over a bit more since I last shot in there which is a shame. I want to make the most of the location before it becomes too dangerous or smelly to shoot in!
Most of the shots done at this location are using the Broncolor battery flash pack, Mobil 2, this is a superb piece of gear, tough, well thought out and delivers a very large power burst if you need it.
Joceline on the factory floor
Joceline in one of the offices
I have a customer coming along for a 1-2-1 tutorial day and Abigail Toyne is modelling for us for the day. The customer wants to cover various areas and I like the flexibility and bespoke nature of these days, where we cover what the customer wants as well as areas I know they will need.
I’ll post some shots from both session during the week
This is how the 'new' tube arrived from Colorama
I’ve been using a white Colorama white vinyl backdrop for about 3 years now and it was getting a little tired. The trouble with vinyl is getting rid of the shoe scuffs that it inevitably picks up when models are posing and moving around. I’ve tried most things to shift them, from white spirits to most household cleaners, but they are stubborn stains to remove completely. So 3 years on I decided it needed replacing.
Well the the new roll arrived during the week and on Saturday morning I decided to replace the old with the new. The new background looked well packaged in its stiff cardboard tube with matching plastic end caps which were taped on and the whole tube cling filmed from end-to-end. It was adorned with a large red label stating Fragile do not drop. Well upon opening it I was a little disappointed to find that both ends of the aluminium tube were crushed and the tube itself had a shape that resembled a banana! The tube could not be used as the end of my Manfrotto hanging rail system would not fit into the ends of the tube.
It's even worse at this end
As the backdrop was being used for a shoot on the Saturday the only thing for it was to remove the vinyl from its banana tube, unroll the old vinyl from its tube and put the new background on my old tube – which was a little tiresome. One hour later and normal service was resumed and I now have a lovely new white vinyl backdrop just waiting for the first heel to make its mark!
An email with pictures has been sent off to the supplier so we will see what they have to say.