All The Himba Ladies

After a few days in the dunes, we travelled to Sesfontein for a couple of days visiting and photographing in two Himba villages in the area.

Himba are pastoralists with the men primarily taking care of the livestock while the women remain behind and undertake the bulk of the work in their small villages, including cooking, collecting water and firewood, looking after the children and maintaining the village.

The women wear traditional dress, and cover themselves in ochre. Different hairstyles represent varying stages of life or marital status.

Most of these portraits were made inside the small mud huts which the women are kind enough to let us into. Inside the huts is quite dark, with the only light source coming from the natural light through the small door.

Shaun & Susan

A few months ago, Shaun and Susan got in touch looking for someone to shoot their wedding. Except it wasn’t really going to be a wedding. More a party at the Regatta Hotel, during which they would get married. 

They didn’t want the whole wedding package – formal bridal photos and all the trimmings. Their friends and family are most important, so they were after coverage that focussed on the people at the “non-wedding wedding” having fun, having conversations and celebrating the day.

Craft Beer Industry Conference & Awards

A little over a week ago, my phone rang. There was a lot of noise in the background, and the caller explained that she was in a beer warehouse. “There are worse places to be”, I thought.

“What are you up to next week?”, she asked.

Luckily, I was free all week, so was brought on to cover the Australian Craft Beer Industry Association’s annual conference and awards, which were in Brisbane for the first time. It was a really busy week, with long days and late nights, with quick turnaround of photographs for social media use by the event’s PR team from Red Stockholm.

The week started out with the judging sessions for the awards, which were ultimately taken out by Little Creatures Pilsner. You can check out the full list of winners at the CBIA site.

Next up was the Australian Craft Beer Conference and Trade Show, held at the new Royal International Conference Centre at the RNA Showgrounds, commencing with a keynote speech from tech entrepreneur and Shark Tank ‘shark’ Steve Baxter, and followed by a welcome BBQ at the Stockmen’s Bar & Grill.

And finally, the week concluded at Lightspace, with the awards ceremony, featuring a very cool Airstream Trailer bar, provided by Kegstar.

CEDA Lunchtime Events

As well as travelling around the place and getting up early in the morning to cover events for Supersport Images, I’ve also recently photographed a couple of events in Brisbane for CEDA – the Committee For Economic Development of Australia. First was an event on investment and competitiveness in the agribusiness sector, and the second was all about Queensland’s future energy policy.

As is my preference for these type of events, my focus is always on capturing candid moments and connections between attendees, rather interrupting conversations for awkward, posed ‘social’ shots. 

Boyhood

I’ve just spent a great couple of days on the NSW North Coast with my brother and his two boys. 

Quiksilver & Roxy Pro

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve made a few trips down the coast to Coolangatta’s Snapper Rocks, culminating in today’s finals day of the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro World Surf League contests.

I was there for the men’s quarter finals, featuring defending champion Filipe Toledo, world champion Adriano de Souza, Kolohe Andino, Adrian Buchan, giant-killer Stu Kennedy, John John Florence and eventual contest winner Matt Wilkinson. Unfortunately the rain set in during the women’s semi finals, so I only managed a few photos of world champ Carissa Moore before packing it in and heading home to watch the finals on TV.

Next on the WSL calendar is the Rip Curl Pro at Victoria’s Bells Beach. I have eight days to work out how to get someone to pay my way there.

TEDx SouthBank

I recently volunteered to photograph the TEDx SouthBank event, which was held yesterday at the State Library of Queensland. I spent the day out on the ‘Activation Space’ balcony, so unfortunately didn’t get the chance to experience the presentations. But I did get to experience the many great conversations those presentations inspired.

Also, donuts.

Big Day at Snapper Rocks

Recent storms in the Pacific have seen big waves turning up on the shores of Australia and Hawaii this week.

Today at Waimea Bay on Oahu, the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational – which only goes ahead when waves are above around 30 feet – was run for the first time since 2009. And on the Gold Coast, breaks like Snapper Rocks and Burleigh Heads were having an epic day of their own with set waves around 8-10 feet.

In the two hours I spent at Snapper Rocks, I saw three broken boards and three snapped leg ropes, and one of the scaffold towers being constructed for the upcoming Quiksilver and Roxy Pro events was breaking apart. 

There’s talk of ex-TC Winston reforming in the Pacific over the next few days, which should make the waves stick around for another week or so in time for the contests. You’d better believe I’ll be headed back down for a day or two once they’re underway.

Anatomy of a Headshot Session

As people increasingly promote themselves through social and professional networks, headshots and portraits are no longer just for models and actors. They’re becoming an important way for many people – business owners, job seekers, executives, consultants – to market themselves. In this post, I’ll outline what to expect from a headshot or portrait shoot, and how to prepare.

The Photographer

Most people don’t like having their photo taken. Add to this that, by their nature, headshot sessions are very “in your face”, and you can see the importance of choosing a photographer who you will be comfortable with. First, take a look through their website to get an idea of their style. Any photographer worth their salt will be comfortable shooting a range of styles, but their website will give you a good first impression.

Next, talk to the photographer. How does the conversation go? Did you like them? Did they ask about what you’re hoping to get from the shoot? Did they talk you through how their sessions work? Did they make you feel comfortable? If not, they’re probably not right for you.

Headshot Styles

The most common, traditional style is the vertical portrait. Generally close-cropped head and shoulders, in front of a plain background, like the examples below.

Another option for ‘studio-style’ headshots is to have them composed in a horizontal/landscape orientation like those below. Personally, I find this style a little more engaging and relaxed. In a corporate setting, this style also allows for the inclusion of company signage or branding in the background. Typically, during a session I will shoot a combination of vertical and horizontal compositions and provide clients with both options.

‘Environmental’ portraits or headshots are typically taken outside or in some other non-studio location such as your workplace. This style can be a little more relaxed, and is much better for telling the story of who you are and what you do.

Before the Shoot

Once you’ve chosen a photographer and made a booking for a session, it’s time to start getting prepared. Things to do before the shoot include:

Clothes

  • Select an outfit or a few combinations of clothes that represent you, and make you comfortable
  • For men especially, quite a few combinations are possible with only limited changes – tie, no tie, jacket, no jacket, jacket and tie, jacket and no tie. It all depends on the image you’re wanting to present, and during the shoot, we will cover most, if not all of these combinations.
  • Solid colours are best to reduce distraction, but if wearing bright patterns is part of who you are, then that’s what’s important. We’ll make it work. Just try and avoid intricate, busy patterns which may not photograph well.
  • For the bottom half, you might be tempted just to wear a pair of boardshorts – you know, like the newsreaders do behind the desk. Most times, this will be OK, but sometimes your shirt won’t sit properly with this combination. Try it out before the shoot. Shoes though? Wear whatever’s comfortable.

Hair

It’s Brisbane. It’s humid, particularly in summer. Your hair’s going to get a little frizzy. Bring along a brush or comb, and maybe some product, to take care of those fuzzy flyaways.

Face

Makeup can help to hide any blemishes or cut down on shiny skin, but there’s no need to go overboard. If you usually wear makeup, just put on what you normally would for a day at work. Bring some makeup with you to make any touchups during the shoot, along with some lip gloss or balm to keep your lips looking soft.

Try and avoid any significant beauty procedures such as facial peels or exfoliating in the leadup to your shoot. A bad reaction could leave your skin looking irritated.

For men, there’s no need to shave before the shoot if you’re someone who usually has a day or two’s growth. Remember – you’re looking for shots that represent you. If you bring your shaving gear, we can get some clean shaven shots in the second half of the session. That’s much easier than trying to grow some stubble in an hour.

The Shoot

  • Remember what I said way up there about needing to feel comfortable? Ask the photographer to put some music on, if it helps you relax.
  • The photographer will probably ask you to strike some weird feeling poses. They might feel strange, but they’ll make for better photos, and will usually look more natural than they feel.
  • Your photographer should be able to give you some tips on how, and even if, to smile. Try not to force it, keep a gap between your top and bottom teeth, and your smile will look much more natural.
  • Likewise, it’s good to squint your eyes ever so slightly. The deer-in-the-headlights look is no good for anyone.
  • Take a breather every now and then. During a one-hour shoot, I’ll probably have my camera up to my face for less then half that time. We’ll take a break to review what we’ve got so far and make any changes, we’ll stop for a chat, we’ll stop for a drink.

After The Shoot

Once we’re done, I’ll start to select and edit the best images from the shoot. Editing will generally include:

  • Selecting the best composed, posed and exposed images from the shoot.
  • Removing any blemishes or imperfections. This is mostly just to get rid of shiny spots from the lights, redness in the skin or temporary blemishes such as the odd pimple. I’m not going to go crazy and give you that unrealistic plastic skin look. Likewise, if you have any distinguishing marks, I won’t remove these unless you specifically ask.
  • If necessary, slightly enhancing your eyes by adding a little brightness and sharpness. It’ll be subtle enough that you probably won’t even notice, but it helps to make the photo more engaging.
  • I’ll then deliver the images to you, in the agreed format, in colour and/or black and white. Usually this will be via a link to a gallery on dropbox or elsewhere, but of course, prints and USB sticks are also an option.

And, we’re done! If it’s time you updated your corporate portraits, social media profile photos or performer’s headshot, get in touch, and we’ll talk about how I can help.

Social Media Portrait Project – Part 2

The second phase of the Social Media Portrait Project has seen a wide range of people turning up at my house and leaving 20 or 30 minutes later. I’m sure my neighbours must be thinking I’ve started to deal drugs.

Like the first two weeks, the last couple of weeks have included people I’ve known online for many years (including one since before Twitter and Facebook existed), some I’ve known for a while but never met, a neighbour, and friends of friends who followed me as a result of hearing about the project. And I didn’t take his photo this time, but Spencer Howson from ABC Local Radio Brisbane dropped by to do a story, which will run when he’s back on air in a couple of weeks’ time.

I’ve had a few responses, but nothing locked in for the final week and a half of the project, so, if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, get in while you can. And if you missed the chance but still need some new portraits or headshots, I can help you out.