I’m not really sure what it is about photographers, but those in current photographic circles can be very two sided when it comes to the photographers that will line the annals of photographic history – photographic gentry, if you will. That is, until they’re dead. It may sound morbid, but there’s some truth there. Many of us secretly will admire the work of a Testino or Leibovitz but hardly give them a kind word, while at the same time long to be able to do what they do.
Maybe it’s artistic jealousy or what have you, but I think it can often stem from feeling we can either do what they do just as well as they do it, or, that we can’t afford the gear that allows us to do so. After all, photography IS one of those trades where different gear really CAN make a difference. You won’t be able to replicate the finer characteristics of a shot lit with a massive $12K Broncolor Parabolic Reflective Umbrella with a $200 generic one. Period.
That said, however, you don’t always need to have the most expensive kit to get results similar to the greats. Sid Vasandani of StyleMyPic is aiming to prove it with a series that will try to replicate the looks of famous photographers all done with entry-level gear.
First up? Annie Leibovitz, for reasons that need no explaining. She’s uber famous, a prolific shooter of anyone that matters, and has a particular style we often associate with her. In this video tutorial, Vasandani goes through his equipment and shoot set-up as well as calibration and editing of the image, and his results are rather good. He explains that even though in her BTS videos you generally see only a single light, that she divulges in her bio that there is almost always a second light, usually in the form of a large soft source behind the camera, while the key light is kept close to the subject.
He also goes into her use of muted background colors, which he replicates with large painted brown panels, leaving the rest to color grading in Photoshop, in which he also shows some pretty nice and easy editing tips – some of which are integral to my processing.
Are the images perfect replicas? No, but no one said they would or needed to be, and it’s inspiring for many to know that you can replicate this type of look with the gear he uses, which is:
Sid was also nice enough to include links to a free PSD source file you can practice on, all in all making this the first of a series I’ll bet many will look forward to keeping up with. Check out his site here and show some love.
If you are starting out or have entry level gear and want to really push its limits and see just how much you can actually do with a camera like the D5200, check out Photography 101, which will enable you to do just that, and speedily.