Kill Chicago

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It’s so awesome seeing these images still floating around out there for all of Kill Chicago’s marketing material etc. Was such a solid day working with these guys. Total pros for sure. And seeing how they’re about to release their newest album “The Fix”, I figured it would be a decent time to put up a bunch of my faves from this shoot.  Epic times, epic dudes. 

Left to right: Greg Webber, Dillon Anthony, Matt Bowie, and Zach Atkinson.

The funny thing about band photos however, is that I rarely ever get to do them. I know. You’d think that working with musicians on the regular would be a given for me. Especially seeing how I play in bands myself, and my work space here at the studio literally doubles as our jam space/recording studio/rock venue when we finish up our days here. But I think a lot of the time I get pretty tangled up in ad campaigns and corporate work and forget to reel things back in once in a while and focus on anything else. I mean part of it too is that bands don’t often have the budget for professional photos, or at least they don’t think they do. And part of it is because at the end of the day most bands (mine included) really just wanna play rock and roll, so the focus on promo stuff ends up going even further down the to-do list.

Left to right: Matt Bowie, Dillon Anthony, Zach Atkinson, and Greg Webber.

Left to right: Matt Bowie, Dillon Anthony, Zach Atkinson, and Greg Webber.

All that being said however, band photos are definitely one of my favourite things to shoot when they do come up. Getting to experiment more off the page and just straight up try things out is what I actually love doing, so it usually lines up pretty good that way when I’m working with musicians. And I mean frig, hanging out and having sips with some of my favourite people, talking about riffage, and being able to create some killer images at the same time is a pretty sweet gig at the end of the day.  Man, I love my job!

Check out the gallery below for a bunch of images from the shoot, and check out Kill Chicago at killchicago.com

- Chris

Hollywords: Dynamic Perspective in Product Photography

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Welcome all, to the second edition of “Hollywords”. Ironically, I woke up this morning having lost my voice, so these are probably going to be some of the only "Hollywords” to come out of me today. If you’re still unfamiliar with me, my name is Holly Brown Bear and I work as full time photo editor and sometimes videographer here at Bang-On Photography. For todays update I want to talk about my experience behind-the-scenes, filming Chris as he put together a product shoot for the New Brunswick Collage of Craft and Design. It wasn’t long before I started to notice some really interesting points about the way he made everything come together on this shoot. Product photography is a huge topic to cover, but in this post I’ll be touching on some points about a studio product shoot, which is what we were doing here. So let’s go:

Movements Make The Shot

Small adjustments don’t seem like much when you watch someone making them, but slight changes made by skilled hands can make all the difference. Because I know the ropes it was interesting to notice how hyper-focused Chris gets when he’s in the zone at work, the micro-adjustments in between shots don’t change much at first glance, but from a post-processing angle it can save literal hours by the end of it all. It’s always good to know that he’s is thinking ahead, it makes the work naturally flawless, and makes my job faster on the editing side of things. For example, most people might not notice an improperly puffed shoulder piece, or think to turn loose strings into leading lines, but these are the details that need to be seen to make an image really effective for NBCCD’s marketing material.

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Make It Work When You Aren’t Working With Much

Fact of the matter is, not every product shoot is going to be a lifestyle series. A lot of the time in product photography you’ll be expected to shoot from a neutral backdrop, with studio lighting and no model in the shot. Let me clarify, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this simplicity, because in the end the product is the point of it all anyway. For a lot of the NBCCD product shoots we need to photograph this way because the images are used in their design material where there needs to be a certain amount of negative space in the image for ad copy etc. For them, the art piece itself isn’t really the product here, rather the education received in order to create the piece is what they’re marketing towards. Chris is really skilled at taking a something that would normally be shown on a model in a lifestyle image, like one of the dresses from the fashion department, and still making it as dynamic and imaginative as he could if we had done an entire set design.

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Dialling In On Detail

When you’re working with a bold art piece that happens to have a lot of different parts that make a whole, it’s important to get those detail shots that give a fuller perspective of the piece over all. If you’ve read our earlier blog on interior design I also mentioned the importance of detail shots, and lets be honest here if you keep reading our blogs you’ll see this point made continually. Detail shots are everything! When an artist takes pride in their work there is so much more than will meet the eye at first glance, and seeing how the camera captures even less then the human eye, it’s important to get close and personal with the products you’re photographing to really capture the hard work that’s gone into it. Although for this product shoot specifically, rather than showing the detail for detail’s sake we are focusing more on capturing the emotion in the piece that the artists are trying to convey.

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There’s a unique and unaware confidence that comes with years of experience, this is true in any profession, but watching Chris put this product shoot together was a great first hand experience of that. For an inside peek at what I’ve been talking about here check out the video below that I put together from my little behind-the-scenes experience, as well as examples of the final results from this product shoot. Enjoy and check out some of the talented graduates from NBCCD, credited and linked below!

- Holly Brown Bear

(All images copyright Bang-On Photography)

ONB Files: Rogers Electric

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Definitely some of my favourite jobs over the last couple years have been on the road with Opportunities NB. Working on ad campaigns and doing factory visits all around the province is the kind of work I love doing. Especially the industrial stuff. Definitely my all time fave. Maybe it’s because I grew up a hillbilly (well I still kinda am) and I’ve always been around machines of some sort, and usually working on/breaking some of my own. Any chance I get to check things out behind the scenes and work with skilled trades people I’m usually pretty stoked.

A while back we travelled to Bathurst to work with Todd Morrison at Rogers Electric and Machine, check out the new shop, and get some shots for what would later be a series of ads going out in the Maritime Edit and YFC International Airport. Check out a few of the images below for a quick glimpse from our visit, and stay tuned for a new series of updates from the ONB files.

-Chris

All images copyright Bang-On Photography

Hollywords: Behind The Screen With Interior Design

Bang-On Photography - Lori Clarke Interiors

Bang-On Photography - Lori Clarke Interiors

Hey everyone! Some of you haven’t met me yet but you might have heard about me, so let me introduce myself: My name is Holly Brown Bear (yes, I know, but that is my real name) and I’ve been hired on as a photo editor here at Bang-On Photography; before my time here I went to Vancouver Film School as well as the New Brunswick Collage of Craft and Design and have been in the industry for about 3 years now.  I’ve learned an insane amount in the 6 months I've worked with Chris so far and the first images he put me on were interior design edits. I was mainly a portrait photographer up to that point and he said it would be a good place for me to start learning different editing styles; this made me think it would be easy. HA! Little did I know that for the next week I would be leaving the studio dizzy from leveling out horizon lines and warped angles. My brain was literally trying to correct the sides of buildings and sidewalks as I walked by! Talk about taking your work home with you... jeez. Now that being said, I love a good challenge and Bang-On does a ton of interior design work so it was the perfect spot to dive right in. I want to share what I've learned to focus on while editing interior design photos and how to turn a strong image into what Chris would call a “Banger”! So let's go:     

Bringing attention to the right places: 

Most home and interior styled shots are very bright and beautiful, which is great because that’s what you want to see; but it can make you get a little overwhelmed all-in-all. With all of the natural light and white covered walls and counters it can be easy for an image to become washed out and over-exposed, causing the details of what really makes the place so special to get lost in the process. Our eyes are drawn to light, and it makes a home look welcoming, large, and clean; so it’s my job to balance the light in the image to make sure that you can see all of the fine details in that white light. Are the counters tiled with any special markings? Are the light fixtures finely designed pieces of art? Are the ceilings textured? These are all things you want to be able to see without losing the brightness, all of which you would be able to see with the naked eye. People don’t always realize that our eyes are finely tuned instruments, cameras can’t do what our eyes can, they’re only instruments of art imitating nature and will never be as good as the real thing. It’s my job as an editor to take the images that Chris takes and make them feel as though you were really in the room when you look at them.  

Bang-On Photography - New View Designs

Bang-On Photography - New View Designs

Mixed Lighting:  

This part is always a pain, but it happens in pretty much any images taken inside any building with windows ever! Natural light of course is the preferred course of action for any image, but again, our eyes see more then the camera so we have to make due. Sometimes you need to turn on the lights to get the shot you’re going for, and in these situations you need to know how to correct your images to balance out any mixed lighting. There’s nothing worse than using an image where you can see through the main room into another behind it, but the main room is nicely lit with natural window light, while the back room is basically an orange glow (while in reality the walls are white). I’ve learned a few techniques to keep the image looking clean and balanced. If you’re unfamiliar with editing techniques this might go over your head but I think I've found the most success with split-toning, image blending, and spot de-saturation.  

Bang-On Photography - Lori Clarke Interiors

Bang-On Photography - Lori Clarke Interiors

Detail shots: 

One of my favourite things to edit are detail shots, whatever type they might be. It gives attention to a specific part of the whole that might get overlooked in a fuller image, but here the object is the point! It helps you see the hard work put into every aspect of the design and lets you look at things with a different perspective. Personally, I think this is where Chris’ work really shines! Here I’m going to focus on wood-grain detail shots. In a lot of the homes we shoot there are some incredible wooden details, whether it be in the chosen home décor, or beautifully crafted handrailing's of a spiral staircase, it’s important above almost anything to make sure the detail of the grain and colouring of the wood rings true in the image as it would in real life. This one takes a fine eye for sure, but once you get a handle on it (and benefit from your boss’ experience in the field) you can use the colour correcting tools, HSL sliders, clarity and sharpness tools to make the boldness that the wood has naturally to really stand out.  

Bang-On Photography - New View Designs

Bang-On Photography - New View Designs

Transforming and Horizon lines: 

This is where I get dizzy even thinking about it: correcting lens warp. It took a while to get my head wrapped around this but it’s one of the most important parts of proper interior editing. You need to use a wider lens when shooting inside in order to get the entire room, but the catch is the wider the lens the more the image can become distorted and warped. A good editor would never let an image out of their grasp without making sure the image has been straightened out and corrected to what the eye should see. The transform tool can be a bit much at times but it’s a key tool for any photographers and editors that shoot indoors.  

Bang-On Photography - New View Designs

Bang-On Photography - New View Designs

And there you have it! Of course, there is so much more that goes into our interior design editing then I could ever fully explain in a single blog post (and this only from the post-processing side of things!) but hopefully you’ve found this insightful! Maybe if we’re lucky Chris will write a blog post about the on location set up and execution of an interior design photo shoot, but that remains to be seen. Finally; we would never go without crediting the hard work of the designers and homebuilders featured in the images of this post, so if you’re interested in seeing more of their work or hiring them for one of your projects you can find them all listed below! Until next time everyone, Bang-On! 

-Holly Brown Bear 

(All images copyright Bang-On Photography)