Jason Christopher, LA Commercial & Fashion Photographer Bio

Canon 580EXII Review

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

This weekend I had the pleasure of sharing my knowledge with another attendee of my private workshop. On the second day we went out of the studio to learn how to light at any time of day with minimal gear.
So I attach my favorite speed light, the Canon 580EXII, to the hot shoe of my Canon 5D Mark II.
It was a sunny day under a blue sky scattered with big white puffy clouds and a beautiful model sitting on a white country wood fence.
So I proceed to show Jeff, my workshop attendee, how to set up the 580EXII in order to capture the beauty of our fashion model while still maintaining details in the blue sky, puffy clouds and green grass. The model was facing the harsh sun so I had Jeff scrim her with a 60 inch shoot through umbrella. I then set the flash to ETTL and high speed sync mode, dialed up the flash exposure 3 whole stops and zoomed the flash head to 105mm. I was standing about 8 feet from the model with an 85mm lens on the camera.
Now this is the awesome part! I then set my shutter speed to 1/1250th of a second! My fstop was 4.5 and my ISO was 200. I shot away and this was the beautiful result even under a mid day sun. I LOVE this flash!
The possibilities are endless. The high speed sync mode is my favorite feature. I now am not limited to syncing at only 1/250th of a second! I can capture details in my background and control my contrast by using a very fast shutter speed.
Now, my only warning is have a good amount of double A batteries or use an external battery like a Quantum Turbo 2×2. Also very important is that you can’t shoot fast because you will end up blowing up the flash because of all the power your asking it to pump out by pushing it 3 full stops and zooming the flash head to it’s max at 105mm. Which is another great feature. Being able to zoom the flash head from 24mm all the way to 105mm gives the photographer so much control and room to play with.
The Canon 580EXII is one piece of gear that is always in my bag.

Fashion Shoot Behind the Scenes

Monday, November 16th, 2009

I know you all like behind the scenes photos and videos. I posted the video and now I am posting some photos of me shooting a real fashion shoot !
I had a wonderful crew who worked VERY hard for me and the results are amazing !

You can see how simple the lighting is and yet how effective it is. Those glass panels were lit with two Speedotron units. I decided to do this because I know that frosted glass, which is what those panels are made of, would diffuse the light and wrap around her creating a “heavenly” look and what is the name of the clothing line ?  Gods Daughter.

So as photographers we don’t just click a shutter button. We come up with the concepts that will tell the story behind the clothes.  Notice in the last photo the top of the glass wall comes up to her calves.  One wrong step and she would have fallen 20 stories.  Yes I do whatever it takes to get the shot.  ;-)

fashion lighting, jason christopher Denim fashion - jason christopher photographyfashion advertising by Jason ChristopherJason Christopher shooting in a club for fashion advertising

Photography Discussion: question and answer about anything involving photography

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

There are so many topics I could cover within this blog that I could drive myself crazy.  That is why I started this post.  Any questions you have about fashion photography, portrait photography, wardrobe styling, make up artists, shooting agency models, portfolio discussion, portfolio review etc. ask me here.  It will benefit us all !  :-)    So let’s see how long we can make this post.  Just reply with a question and I will answer it.  And remember to click the RSS feed to keep up to date with everyone’s questions and answers.  Also if you feel that any of  the social networks would benefit as well then please click the icons below.  Thank you everyone !

Photo lighting diagram-night beach shoot

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Hi Gilbert, this is for you :-)   I love it ! Thank you for the GREAT questions and requests.  This is the feedback that is nice to get because I really want to make everyone happy.  This is exactly what I want from everyone. Interaction, communication is a two way street.  Ok so check out the photo lighting diagram below.

Photography lighting diagram

Photography lighting diagram

I tried something different this time by actually putting the shot in the diagram.  Tom, thank you for the compliments. I apologize for not posting in awhile.  I’ve been slammed with shooting which also means I have a ton of content to write about.

The soft box was pointed at the model of course and angled down to produce a nice sculpting effect.  It was placed on a c-stand about six feet sway from the model.  I was sitting on the beach sand right under the soft box.  I could have lit the totally dark background but my client wanted it to go totally black so that’s what I did.  I offered my suggestion but in the end the client has the final say.  I didn’t use another light to hit her hair because in MY opinion it would look too much like glamour lighting.  With fashion lighting you don’t always want your lighting to look “perfect”, like it was a template you used from a “how to” book.  When shooting portraits that’s different.  As you can see the rock right behind the model is lit so that gave me some separation with her hair.

The pack I used is a Profoto 7B and yes I had a second battery that was sitting in the charger and I eventually had to use it.  I didn’t use a generator because the state charges alot extra to use one and the permit was already $1,200, which included a state park ranger with us the whole time and a lifeguard.  If the shoot was during the day the permit would only be $65 because you aren’t required to have a ranger and a lifeguard there the whole time.  BTW the county says that if ANYONE on the crew is going to be in at least ankle deep water a lifeguard must be with you the whole time.  Remember this is only for a night shoot.

Morgan did have a robe and between lighting set ups she had a nice warm 100 foot RV to relax in and fresh coffee which I took advantage of as well while my assistants set up the next shot.  :-)   Now as we were shooting there was no way for her to stay warm.  That comes from her own inner strength and me constantly talking to her to keep her mind off the cold.

The power output varied from each set up.  Sometimes we were at full power and sometimes were were at half power etc.  Just depended on the situation.   My camera settings were : 100th of a second @ f/10.  I didn’t do a custom white balance, instead I set it to 5900 throughout the whole shoot and shot a color checker for reference.   I had another assistant shining a Maglight flashlight on the model so I could lock focus.  LOL I laughed when the client said “Isn’t that light going to affect your lighting?”

Tom you are always welcome to ask as many questions as you wish to. That is the whole reason I started this blog.  You don’t have to apologize :-)   EVERYONE please take note:  ASK AS MANY QUESTIONS ON AS MANY POSTS AS YOU WANT.  Go back in the archives and if there is something you don’t understand or you think of a question based on the shot that I didn’t cover by all means ASK ME.   If no one asks me questions then the blog just sits still.

Also, if anyone has any suggestions of topics they would like me to cover please let me know.  I made a category specifically for this.  Go to Photography Discussion-Ask me anything about photography and ask as much as you want.  Remeber this: there is no such thing as a dumb question.  I LOVE to teach and educate.  As a matter of fact I got my Associates Degree in child psychology because originally I wanted to be a teacher.   And REMEMBER TO CLICK THAT RSS BUTTON !  :-)

Fashion Photography workshops on location

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

The third day of our fashion photography workshop involved learning how to light on location mixing the sun with your off camera flash and really using it off camera instead of mounting it on your camera.  One of the really cool things we did was mounted Dave’s Canon flash on a c-stand bounced into a Photoflex umbrella !   One of the benefits of mounting the flash to a c stand with the arm is that you can boom it out at any angle you want and of course you don’t end up with a photo that looks like you used harsh on camera flash.

We spent the whole day experimenting and just shooting, shooting and shooting.  I would observe Dave as he photographed the model and suggest different things to say to the model as he was shooting.  We had a nice lunch and ended up with great photos.  Dave is a great guy and learned so much.  Dave gave his testimonial however if there is something specific you would like to ask him about his three day workshop please don’t hesitate to email him.  His email is dave@daveclee.com and as always I encourage you to email or call me if you would like more information.

Vintage fashion photography: red Cadillacs & high fashion models

Friday, May 29th, 2009

So you all know that I have NEVER used Photoshop to TOTALLY change my photos.  The only reason Photoshop is ever used is to smooth skin and dust spots.  But a recent shoot I did was in a classic car museum and there was no way in hell that we were going to be able to take these cars out to a location.  The solution was to change the background in Photoshop.  If we didn’t change it then the whole shoot would be a total loss.  I lit these with a ring light and some edge lights.  My digital compositor did an amazing job at creating a classy yet edgy look !  I would love to hear your opinions and thoughts !

high fashion model with vintage red Cadillac

fashion model with classic cars

You may view more of the series on my site.

Photography Workshop Another Success

Friday, May 29th, 2009

My private photography workshops are going strong !  Two weeks ago a wonderful woman Sofia, came all the way up from Mexico.  She is more of a portrait photographer but also wanted to learn a little bit of fashion so we shot in studio and outdoors.  I took her to the Peter Strauss Ranch in Agoura Hills.  Instead of lugging a bunch of lighting gear out there I wanted to teach her how to use an on camera flash.  When we first start out we don’t always have the resources of getting an assistant.  So for this shot we mounted her flash on a light stand.  I also mounted a 3 foot by 2 foot white board to the stand and bounced the flash into the board. So we ended up with a nice soft light that didn’t look like harsh on camera flash.  The stand was about 4 feet away off camera left and about 4 feet away from the model. This photo has NOT been edited, it is right out of the camera.

fashion model used in photography workshop

This next photo is of Sofia shooting Olga the fashion model.  Sofia was shooting with Nikon gear and her on camera flash with a Stofen cover on the flash head.  We all had a great time and Sofia learned many new techniques that she will implement into her shooting without having to spend a fortune on gear and also Sofia learned that shooting alone without an assistant is VERY possible.

photographer shooting model in private workshop

Private photography workshops

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Just a quick note to let you all know that the workshops have been going great ! Everyone is really gaining some great knowledge and having a great time. Remember the workshop is private one on one. I have a professional model and make up artist at every workshop. The photographers who have taken my workshop all agree that learning one on one is so much better than attending a group workshop. You can ask any amount of questions and you get them all answered without anyone else interrupting.

So whether you are just starting out in photography or have been shooting for awhile and want to brush up on your skills, my private workshop is a great way to learn and focus on EXACTLY what you want to learn and not what 12 other people want to learn all at the same time.

Please don’t hesitate to call or email me with any questions !

Thank you !
– Jason 818-889-9559 jason@jasonchristopher.com

Holly back lit outdoors

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Hi everyone !  December was crazy busy for me.  I was out of town shooting, getting ready for the holidays etc.  Now let’s get  back to work and keep learning !

So this beautiful model is Holly.  We shot out in the hills of Simi Valley.  As you can see we timed it perfectly right at the golden hour.  For this shot I asked her to just walk back and forth and occasionally look at the camera.  Seems pretty easy right ?  Well, as she walked back and forth my exposure kept changing as she went in and out of the sun.  I love the look on her face.  The sheer fabric of her top and her long legs all add to make this shot just beautiful and timeless.

natural lighting on location, fashion photography

natural lighting on location, fashion photography

Lighting like this is one of the techniques I teach in my workshop.  There are many questions that arise.  For example, do I use a lens hood ?  How do I keep my focus dead on ?  And also how to gain the trust of your model to get basically half naked out on location ?

Comments and questions are welcome.

Fashion Photography Workshops Los Angeles

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

PRIVATE FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS

  • Two day  private workshop one on one with Jason Christopher.
  • Learn at your own pace.  I will tailor your workshop to your needs.
  • Each day will include a model and make up artist.
  • You will learn MY lighting techniques and styles that apply to fashion advertising photography and  editorial photography.
  • You will learn how to direct a model and take control of  YOUR shoot.
  • One day in studio lighting and one day outdoor location lighting.
  • Hands on experience by actually shooting the model and you take home hi res images on a DVD !
  • Learn how to get models from agencies, marketing yourself and business tips such as usage for your images, how to use contracts and negotiate.

Book your two day workshop now for $2,000.00 For your convenience you can use Pay Pal to reserve your workshop for $250.00

PH: 818-889-9559 EMAIL: jason@jasonchristopher.com  Please call with any questions or email me direct.
Ken Davie drove all the way up from San Diego and learned how to direct his own photo shoot and direct models as well as some of the business aspects of fashion photography.
beauty photo lighting set up

beauty photo lighting set up

Beauty photo from photography workshop

Beauty photo from photography workshop

UPDATE: My private photography workshops are going strong !   A wonderful woman Sofia, came all the way up from Mexico.  She is more of a portrait photographer but also wanted to learn a little bit of fashion so we shot in studio and outdoors.  I took her to the Peter Strauss Ranch in Agoura Hills.  Instead of lugging a bunch of lighting gear out there she wanted to learn how to use an on camera flash.  When we first start out we don’t always have the resources of getting an assistant.  So for this shot we mounted her flash on a light stand.  I also mounted a 3 foot by 2 foot white board to the stand and bounced the flash into the board. So we ended up with a nice soft light that didn’t look like harsh on camera flash.  The stand was about 4 feet away off camera left and about 4 feet away from the model. This photo has NOT been edited, it is right out of the camera.

los angeles fashon model

fashion model for photography workshops

This next photo is of Sofia shooting Olga the fashion model.  Sofia was shooting with Nikon gear and her on camera flash with a Stofen cover on the flash head.  We all had a great time and Sofia learned many new techniques that she will implement into her shooting without having to spend a fortune on gear and also Sofia learned that shooting alone without an assistant is VERY possible.

photography workshop student

UPDATE : !   Had another great private photography workshop last weekend with a super nice guy who came allllllll the way out from Ottawa Canada !  He also signed up for three days not just the two days !

The first day of the workshop I went over portfolio set up, size of prints, how they should be organized etc.  I say “they” because you should have a portfolio for each one of your specialties.  Dave has only been shooting for 4 months and he is very good.  Aside from being creatively talented you must also know the business and how it works.  I explained contracts and what should be included.  We talked about how to get real models to shoot for your portfolio, how to direct them etc.  I also covered tax write offs and most important I taught him about usage !  USAGE USAGE USAGE !    Dave had no idea he should be charging usage fees.  So I really covered many areas on the business side that will increase his business sales.  I then prepped him for the shoot with the model on the second day.

Most photographers these days when they are just starting out will build an in home photography studio which is a great idea.  But many really don’t know how to go about it to make it practical and useful for everyone on the team, make up artist etc.  So instead of renting a studio we shot in my home studio.  We started the day with showing Dave how to direct a make up artist, what looks good with certain outfits.  My make up artist explained about the different foundations etc.  Dave gained a wealth of information seeing how I have set up my studio and how I have made it work for me.  So I shot the model first.  It was a great way for Dave to observe how I direct the model, what I say to the model, and basically how I conduct a fashion shoot.

So now you can see my in home studio.  Obviously for large commercial shoots I rent a very large photography studio in LA, but for workshops, head shots etc. you’re in home studio will work perfectly !

You can see that we used a two light set up.  That light that is facing Dave is for the flare.

photography workshops los angelesphotography student photographing fashion model

And here is the final shot not retouched btw.  Dave did a great job and absorbed everything I taught him.  Stay tuned for the third day !

fashion model for photography workshops

The third day of our fashion photography workshop involved learning how to light on location mixing the sun with your off camera flash and really using it off camera instead of mounting it on your camera.  One of the really cool things we did was mounted Dave’s Canon flash on a c-stand bounced into a Photoflex umbrella !   One of the benefits of mounting the flash to a c stand with the arm is that you can boom it out at any angle you want and of course you don’t end up with a photo that looks like you used harsh on camera flash.

We spent the whole day experimenting and just shooting, shooting and shooting.  I would observe Dave as he photographed the model and suggest different things to say to the model as he was shooting.  We had a nice lunch and ended up with great photos.  Dave is a great guy and learned so much.  Dave gave his testimonial however if there is something specific you would like to ask him about his three day workshop please don’t hesitate to email him.  His email is dave@daveclee.com and as always I encourage you to email or call me if you would like more information.

photography-workshop-locationphotography-workshops-davefashion-workshop-modelworkshop-photographyphoto-workshop-model