Ivan Weiss portrait photography discussion


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Ivan Weiss portrait photography discussion

24 Apr 2020 10:56AM   Views : 1033 Unique : 583

Hi there,

On ePhotozine the other day there was a free QA session offered by the popular portrait photographer Ivan Weiss.
His work has a very rich polished feel and I really wanted to understand how he did this, luckily he was a brilliant presenter and left me feeling really empowered to try out the techniques i felt i got from his session.
You can see my first selfie attempt below, now on my portfolio. My main takeaway from his session was the positioning of the key light.

Also what i got from his presentation was how he concentrates, and i mean really concentrates on the details of his style, its derived from the Rembrandt style of lighting,
This is typically done by Ivan with constant (not flash) lights so that he can see the effects as he composes the shots. He shoots tethered to a 27" screen so both he and the client can see the effects directly.
I tried this on my Canon 6D with the new Canon EOS utility i just downloaded and it was actually quite good once i got used to driving it and understanding that it shoots images straight to the PC and not the memory card - there was a moment of panic when i though i'd lost the images. You can also set the EOS etility to shoot to card and PC.

Ivan described how he add the main light to shape the subject, then subsequent ones to highlight areas that may be lost in shadows. This allows him to create the majority of the shot in camera. he admits he it not a photoshop wizard, apart from toning and textures.
He also describes how even cheap backdrops can be effectively used to create a great shot. Another revelation to me what what he could do in 'small' studio space - his is approx 4M x 5M and a lovely 4M high. My shot was in a small back room area 2Mx2Mx2M including the desk with the PC and tethered Camera on a small £5 desk tripod.

He also discussed the business side of his operation and how his instagram account plays a key role in bringing his offerings to his potential market. This market is geographically close to him in London and has a group of related people all following similar instagram areas. Most sales are digital downloads and he also charges a fixed fee for the session to take the photos. - This presently leaves him very affected by the current lockdown.

I think you might agree that if you focus well on specific styles you can achieve more that trying to just do a little bit of everything quickly.

If you can, do follow the link to the QA session and on to his presentation - its really helpful i believe. And of course if you do try his techniques than upload them to ePhotozine as i'm sure many would be interested.

Thanks for reading, pls share any thought you have.

Tags: Portrait Portrait photographer Instagram Selfie ivan weiss

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ivanweiss Avatar
ivanweiss 4 8
24 Apr 2020 11:11AM
What a lovely write-up. thanks! I'm glad you found it useful and it inspired you to try out a few new things. That really is the key - trying out ideas until you find a way that works for you and gets you the results that you want.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
24 Apr 2020 5:01PM
I'm glad that you found the session so useful, Stuart.

For me, it was a mix of the technical, the business-orientated (after all, it was on a freelance site), the artistic (for want of a better word), and the subject-focussed.

Technicalities always fascinate me (and I can see them taking up a good bit of conversation time if I manage to book myself a portrait session with Ivan after lockdown), and my own particular interest was how Ivan handles his subjects - I think that a lot of useful tips (go and watch the recording, everyone!) fleshed out a central message of build confidence. As an amateur, the business side and publicity/networking aren't big issues for me.

The tethered thing is, to my mind, rather a business matter - a way of displaying images to customers during a shoot, without the back-and-forward and small screen on the camera that I use with models. And, of course, it is really, really useful for selfies: so maybe I need to explore that myself.

I also loved the way that a small space (and Ivan's studio is small, by most standards) is sufficient, and Ivan's emphasis on maximising the quality in-camera, rather htna relying on editing the socks off later.

A really good blog about a really good webinar!
JackAllTog Avatar
JackAllTog Plus
14 6.4k 58 United Kingdom
24 Apr 2020 5:11PM
Thanks for you comments John, Wow - now that would be interesting a session with you as the subject asking questions throughout. That might be an amazing melding of minds.

Tethering was very useful in the SP scenario, though as you say less useful as a model photographer combo where you keep moving around - i'm sure there must be Wifi Wireless tethers, in such situations a larger screen is always helpful - some models pause the shoot to put on glasses to see the tiny rear camera screen.

I'm glad you mentioned the available space as well, that was a revelation wasn't it.

Thanks for sharing.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
25 Apr 2020 2:51PM
I've met the studio space thing before - there's a lovely time-lapse video on YouTube that Leigh Perkins posted a while back. He shoots (and teaches) model photography. While he's moved/moving house, it just shows what can be done with pretty limited space.

JackAllTog Avatar
JackAllTog Plus
14 6.4k 58 United Kingdom
25 Apr 2020 3:18PM
Thanks John, Wow - a couple of things struck me here - apart from NSFW.
Clever things like fold up tables as beds, the use of drapes and roll out flooring - also that it mostly seemed like only 2 lights most of the time.
I like how the video was presented to with titled genre sections and inserts of the images taken - super photos if you can imagine and create the scenario to get there.

There was though also a significant storage space off camera for the mattresses, floor rolls and TWELVE car tyres - keeps you fit shifting that much scenery around.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
25 Apr 2020 5:00PM
Adn the way the storage space doubles as the 'window'...

I've noticed, in a few studios, that there's a deal of hard work lugging stuff around. My ideal is being able to leave all the lights in position, all the time.

Must admit, I'd forgotten there was actual nudity in it. Apologies. I tend to think in terms of the same sort of guidance as EPZ applies, rather than the more censorious 'NSFW'. But then, when I was a lad, all of that was different: even remember, on a tight budget, blagging a freebie calendar from the Architects Department for the Internal Audit office.

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