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Tips & Tricks

Shoot Like The Pros With Basic Gear | Terry Richardson

By Kishore Sawh on August 16th 2015


I like Terry Richardson’s work. I do, and I’m not alone. He has to be one of the most prolific editorial and cover shooters today, and to date. His work graces the cover of Australian Marie Claire Magazine for September, and this year he’s already nabbed covers for Rolling Stone, W Korea, Harper’s Bazaar, and more editorials than I care to list here.

His work is often criticized for its ‘simple’ nature, yet imitated even more, and to much less success. Many seem to have the idea that ‘Uncle Terry’ just shoots bare, and there’s nothing much to his shots, but I rather think otherwise. There’s some hidden genius in there, regardless on your personal view of his person. So how does he do it?


Well, once gain StyleMyPic is at it and aiming to show you how to shoot and edit in the style of the pros, and this time it’s Richardson. You don’t need to be using film in a Yashica T4 like he used to, nor do you need to have a specialized Speedlight bracket or cyclorama or Hasselblad.



Here’s what’s being used:
*Some have noted that the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 isn’t a ‘basic’ piece of kit. While isn’t not a kit lens, it’s still not a highly specialized or extremely pricey piece of glass. That said, I’m sure a similar result could be had with even a less specialized lens if it’s what you’ve got, especially at the aperture needed for this set-up.*

Nikon D5100
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8
Settings: 1/160, f/5.6, ISO 100

Lighting Setup:
Off Camera Flash – Set to 24mm, kept as close to the lens as possible; in this case, triggered remotely – but not necessary.

Sid was also typically nice enough to include links to a free PSD source file you can practice on, which lets you get a good feel of the retouching without even shooting. Also, while these videos are clearly using the StyleMyPic Photoshop Panel (which you can learn about on the site), he goes through how you can get the looks without it. 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.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rafael Nascimento

    Despite the sex thing, I really like his style. He resumed what modern photography is about – a camera, a flash and a single lens – and became rich and famous with this.
    “Modern” compact film cameras were lens – most of them, rubbish – a temperamental flash, and the camera itself. I have photos of my friends in highschool – a long time ago – which I shot with a Mitsuca or something like that , and those are photos of happy people, having fun. And his photos, are photos of people having fun. Of course, his behaviour is questionable, and unacceptable to some, but this does’t mean he is not a great artist. Look at those Miley Cyruses, or Nikki Minajes or the “mtv shores’s” – I don’t know what is that about and I dont really know about the name of the show either – is the same “low level” people atribute him, and is on TV. I really like his work, I mean, how 90s’ is this the cool girl, smoking behind school, in front of a white wall. Who never saw this scene?
    It’s very difficult to re-create this, and he understand his subjects very well. He sees the cool girl, the nerd dude, the jock, the cheerleader and put them in a situation where they can be themselves, which is not easy.

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  2. Dustin Baugh

    “Many seem to have the idea that ‘Uncle Terry’ just shoots bare…”

    Was this a reference to the story of having a model jerk him off while his assistants cheered him on?
    And I wish I was making that up because the fact that any photographer should abuse his models and still be revered in the industry is horrible.

    And personally I don’t like his work, his shock reputation is what is carrying him this far. If any first year art student took the same photos they’d be laughed out of the industry.

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  3. Anders Madsen

    You simply CAN NOT BE SERIOUS!

    “There’s some hidden genius in there, regardless on your personal view of his person.”

    Model after model after model has come forward and spoken of his sexual abuse (and many of them paid with their career for doing so before the allegations reached a level where they could no longer be ignored), yet you choose to ignore this and sing high praises of him.

    Kishore, you really, truly make me sick to my stomach.

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  4. joel Keister

    there are plenty of fashion photographers out there who can give us gear tips who don’t sexually assault models.

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  5. Jeff Ladrillono

    You forgot the copious amounts of weed, booze, and coke.

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  6. Justin Haugen

    Skipped the part where you unzip your pants and tell your model it’s all part of the fun.

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  7. John Cavan

    Not a fan of his look, to be honest, but to each their own. He’s clearly got a fan base and all the more power to him in that event.

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