Jake Israel Photography: Blog https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog en-us (C) 2013-2019 Jake Israel Photography. All Rights Reserved. (Jake Israel Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:42:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:42:00 GMT https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u268862544-o976096298-50.jpg Jake Israel Photography: Blog https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog 90 120 On-Location Pragmatism https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2016/6/on-location-pragmatism Mimi Cry | Live @ Rancho Relaxo - Mar 2014Selecting the right gear, when you are on-location is an absolute MUST!

I was confronted with an interesting conundrum when shooting MimiCry live and direct at Rancho Relaxo in Toronto last night.

How could i capture the essence of a high-energy live performance with a tight stage (read: one of the smallest in Toronto) with poor lighting (read: some of the worst stage lighting in Toronto)?

I had to be pragmatic. I had to push the gear to the max. And I wasn't comfortable with it, nor sure of the results. I suppose, that is one of the more difficult challenges a photographer can face. Don't get me wrong - I love Rancho Relaxo - it's intimacy creates one seriously cool vibe - and it is, in fact, one of the more popular venues in Toronto to see a live band.

I was all set to shoot with my big Canon 24-105 F4 L with a Canon 430 EX II Speedlite - when some alarm bells rang in my ear. As a musician myself, I am used to seeing flashbulbs go off when on stage - but they can be distracting. Add into the mix - that I know all of the rockers in MimiCry; I didn't want to divert their attention from the performance (they had some big A&R agents from The Feldman Group come out to scope them out) - so I had to go way outside my comfort zone as a shooter. 

The 24-105 F4 L is indeed one of Canon's best, and sharpest lenses. Problem is, in low light, you have to crank the ISO to accommodate for the slow glass. I just couldn't get it right, and felt like I was in deep trouble. But, in keeping with the notion of not distracting the band - which as a photographer, a big NO-NO - I opted to change tacts and bust out my Canon "Nifty 50", aka the "Plastic Fantastic". I opted to shoot with Canon's cheapest lens, on full manual focus (side note: the autofocus on most 50mm lenses, for some reason is not very good) - wide open, at F1.8, and at 1600 ISO. For those of you who have one of these lenses, you know just how small the focus ring is on it. It is practically the width of two coins. Very small.

This gave me a little bit more flexibility with the available light, and quickly became a task of "how fast can I focus this really tiny lens in an ever-changing" situation. Shooting with a prime is polar-opposite of shooting with a zoom - as YOU are the zoom. Quick thinking on my feet gave me the conditions I needed to conduct a fairly good and productive shoot. 50 selects out of 269 images. Most of them on burst mode, capturing 4-8 shots in a single burst.

The moral of the story is simple: be pragmatic. Sometimes, you have to compromise to achieve a (more) optimal shooting situation. Always bring an alternate kit with you in case you need it. In this case, a $119 dollar lens, beat out a $1799 lens in its practicality. While not the best lens available, by any stretch of the word - it DID do it's job, and changed my opinion of how you need to adapt to the situation regardless of how much you know the location, or how much planning you do.

(Jake Israel Photography) Canon 50mm EF 1.8 II Live Event Photography MimiCry Music Musicians Pragmatism In Event Photography Rancho Relaxo Rockstars Toronto https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2016/6/on-location-pragmatism Fri, 17 Jun 2016 01:13:00 GMT
Hyperrealism In Editorial Photography https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2016/5/hyperrealism-in-editorial-photography Hyperrealism In Editorial / Fashion Photography (Model: Tara)Hyperrealism In Editorial / Fashion Photography (Model: Tara)

Drawing on my previous two sessions with Kara and Karlee - my new found knowledge in fashion-editorial photography was put to the test this week when I had Miss Tara back in the studio.
Our goal was to re-create and expand upon the latest Dior campaigns featuring Jennifer Lawrence - I must admit, these are absolutely fabulous compositions - a truly top-shelf campaign featuring one of the most beautiful women on the planet. No big deal, right?
I have often tried, albeit, unsuccessfully to replicate the hyperrealism of uber-high fashion photography, thinking that it was all facilitated with “nearly impossible to obtain on my budget” Hassleblad and Leica medium-format camera systems. 
Indeed, some of these cameras cost upwards of $40,000 just for the body. Lenses? Well, those will set you back another $15,000 a piece. A piece! However, the results - can be, well - simply astonishing. Especially in print. They scream amazingness, and a certain level of “fashion”. Modernity. Coolness. Wowza.
However, I thought to myself: “Self! There has to be another way - surely, you can “fake” your way through a high-fashion, hyperrealistic photoshoot! You can make $10,000 of gear look like $55,000! Can’t you? No harm in trying!”
Here’s are the details:
First, you MUST have the lighting spot on. It was only by chance that one of my strobes misfired before I realized that a one-light setup, and controlled environment is really all you need.
Second, you need to know in absolute terms - the kind of look you want to achieve, both from your model and in the post-processing of the captures. The trick lies in developing an understanding of what your model is capable of, and how it translates in a picture. Every model is different. Light can hit their cheekbones very hard, or very softly. Even the angle and “side” of the face or body you choose to shoot makes all the difference in the end.
Lastly, one must be careful NOT to overdo it - across the board - while at the same time realizing that there really is no one specific way to achieve your goals. Especially when it comes to photography. However good you may be behind the lens - it’s only 1/2 the battle. Post-processing, and proper post-processing is where the gold lies.
Indeed - as I have said many times - so much of what you see in published works, whether it is in Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, Playboy, a billboard - virtually everything - is done “in-post”, and without exception. It is why Adobe is such a household name, along with Lightroom and Photoshop.
I’ll walk you through the materials and settings I used to capture the photo you see in this blog post. It is, in my opinion, the first true hyperrealistic, magazine quality, uber-high fashion image I have ever taken that I am completely, and truly satisfied with. Try it out for yourself!
Background + Lighting
  • Savage Universal Black #20 Paper Background
  • 1x Elinchrom D-Lite 4it Studio Strobe at 5.0 (about 5/6 power)
  • 1x Elinchrom Portalite 26”x26” Softbox
  • Light was placed 5’ from model at 8’ high, 40 degree down angle
Camera, Lens + Camera Settings
  • Canon EOS 6D
  • Canon 24-105 F/4 L @ 85mm
  • 1/100 Shutter Speed
  • F/11 Aperture
  • ISO 100
  • Spot Focus Metering
  • Custom White Balance
Lightroom + Photoshop Processing
Well, some things are best kept under wraps! Don’t you agree? I certainly can tell you that there was a minimal amount of processing required to generate this image, and the others like it in the set. Basic colour correction in Lightroom: lens corrections along with minor exposure and contrast tweaks. The majority of the high impact contrast in fact comes from intelligent use of the “Clarity” slider in Lightroom, which is a sort of an amalgam of clarity, sharpness, moire, and noise/despeckle adjustments. Be careful not to overdo it with the adjustments. It is the most key factor in achieving this type of look. Clean up the image with the clone, heal, dodge and burn tools in Photoshop, export as ProFoto RGB, and blammo!
Overall, I am exceedingly pleased with the results from my latest shoot. I cannot thank enough, my wonderful partner in crime, Miss Tara for all of her hard work and research into making this shoot a reality. Coupled with my eagerness to experiment with lighting, and the 1 in a 1000 chance that my strobe misfired - I think the results speak for themselves.
Want to get hyperrealistic? Here’s the real deal:
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t be afraid of working in Lightroom. And most importantly, use the knowledge you have gained from your previous efforts to step in to the unknown, and get the look and feel you always wanted.
After all, I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.
I hope you enjoy the photography.
View Tara's Full Set By Clicking Here.
(Jake Israel Photography) Concept Conceptual Photoshoot Dior Editorial Euro Look European Look Fashion Magazine Fashion Photography Gaga Glam Hyperrealism Israel Jake Lightroom Photography Portraits Post-Processing Processed Sultry Toronto Ultra High Definition Photography https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2016/5/hyperrealism-in-editorial-photography Thu, 19 May 2016 01:13:00 GMT
Post-Processing In Conceptual Photoshoots https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2016/4/conceptual-photoshoots The lovely little dynamo, Ashley Devo. Such a wonderful shoot! Thanks doll!The lovely little dynamo, Ashley Devo. Such a wonderful shoot! Thanks doll!

I was very fortunate to have the lovely Karlee in the studio last week for what I hope to be the first many “conceptual” studio photoshoots - with the aim of creating a “Femme Fatale”, “Madame” and “Vampy” look (read: blacks, reds, crimsons, and alternating soft and severe profiles) Never have I worked with someone so prepped and ready to go; a model’s willingness to work within a defined concept is something that every photographer should try to achieve at some point in their career. (Thanks Karlee! You were fabulous, and such a joy to work with!)
I cannot understate the obvious - having a model ready to execute a concept makes the photographers (and editors) job of post-processing the photos that much easier, and the end results can be spectacular. Suspension of disbelief is also a photographic concept, and not just a literary concept - regardless of props, location and subject.
Think for a moment: all of those amazing night photography images of the milky way, all of those images of lakes, streams and waterfalls, all of those black and white photos with a single highlighted colour, all of those HDR pictures you have come to know, and more importantly, all of those high fashion shots you see (come on, they even retouch and process Jennifer Lawrence! Wowza!) require some level of post-processing, and all of them are “conceptual” type shoots. All of them, with no exception. 
I had recently posted one of the comps from this shoot to my 500px account - think of 500px as a “pro” Instagram - and many of the comments were along the lines of “amazing processing”, “perfect processing, Jake” and “love the look you got” - which made me want to write a note on post-processing in conceptual photoshoots here in my blog.
So, what exactly is conceptual photography?
Conceptual photography is an art of getting your “concept” across the mind of the viewer using just the contents of a photograph. It is a genre of photography where a photographer may put various things in the scenery and/or style the model in such a way that their idea or concept becomes clear to perceive. It is known to be one of the most creative genres of photography, partly because it is harder as compared to other genres (especially without the use of props or set design), but mostly because it takes a lot of time and patience as well as post-processing to get that perfect conceptual shot.
More importantly, it requires a certain modicum of ability to be used in the post-processing of these photos - chiefly in programs such as Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. Many photographers fail miserably and predictably “ruin” all of their hard work once the shoot is completed by over applying or under applying these techniques.
As with all else, these techniques require a fair amount of practice and practical use. Personally, I have over 20,000 hours of experience (yes, 20,000 hours) working in Photoshop and Lightroom for commercial production and pre-press purposes. It really does take that long to become knowledgeable and proficient. If you don’t subscribe to this belief, I invite you to read Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Outliers” and learn more about the 10,000 Hour Rule.
At this point, I feel that I must iterate (or re-iterate) - that without exception - every single photo you have ever seen applied in a commercial or illustrative sense - has been processed using Photoshop, Lightroom, or something similar. Phase One makes some great software (Capture One Pro) along with Photomatix (Photomatix Pro) for High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography.
Conversely, while some photographers assert that the best photos are the ones that use composition only - i.e. the work is done only in the camera - many of them will not freely admit their reliance on post-processing to achieve the look they seek to obtain. 
It is a simple, and true reality.
I personally lean towards the notion of using all the tools at your disposal to achieve the look you set out to get; whether that is using only the camera and lighting, application suites such as Lightroom and Photoshop, filter sets such as VSCO (which, BTW, are exceedingly amazing and well worth exploring for any photographer) or better still - developing and saving your own filter or process set - giving you a more consistent look to batching out your photos. 
I try to always shoot for the “end product”, based on a knowledge of how to post-process the image using all of the tools in my arsenal. Some may scoff at this idea, but years of photo and video production only serve to reinforce notions of “how I can make my life (workflow) easier in post-production”.
The concept only goes so far without an understanding of how to manipulate said concept from beginning to end. It only starts with the model and their willingness to execute a concept through hair, makeup and wardrobe. Yes, props may or may not be used; lighting modifiers may or may not be used; you may or may not choose to re-touch the model using the clone tool, or spot healing brush; you may even have a whole crew lending their efforts to achieve the look and feel you want - but in the end - it largely boils down to your ability to manipulate the product in post-production.
As the technology gets better and better - you literally can do anything with a computer and some time, once you have the skill set. This is the true essence of concept “suspension of disbelief”, and holds especially true with modern photography.
I invite you to try it for yourself. Free trials for all of the applications I mention in this post are available to download, for both Mac and PC. 
Just a word to the wise - DON’T OVERDO IT! The line between too much and too little, is very, very thin - and has a direct impact on how your audience will perceive the end product.
If the end product speaks for itself; does it really matter what path you took to get there?
I’ll leave that up for debate. You know where I stand.
View Karlee's Full Set By Clicking Here.
(Jake Israel Photography) Concept Conceptual Photoshoot Fashion Photography Gaga Glam Israel Jake Madame Photography Portraits Post-Processing Processed Sultry Toronto Vamp Wowza https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2016/4/conceptual-photoshoots Mon, 18 Apr 2016 01:13:00 GMT
Big Things Come In Small Packages. https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2014/5/big-shoot The lovely little dynamo, Ashley Devo. Such a wonderful shoot! Thanks doll!The lovely little dynamo, Ashley Devo. Such a wonderful shoot! Thanks doll!

It's True: Big Things Come In Small Packages.
And it also holds true about the gear these days. Earlier this week I was privileged to have the seriously lovely, little dynamo Ashley (aka Devo - love her nickname!) in my new studio. As the amazing images we got show - you can’t tell that she is only 4 foot 8 inches tall! She brought some epic energy to the shoot - along with a gigantic piece of luggage that contained dozens of wardrobe choices.
This shoot was in the works for some time - and we finally got the chance to shoot it at my new studio - which, as the word has it - is also my new home! Many photogs that I know and work with these days choose to forgo the ridiculous overhead that a studio space can incur. It is in fact - one of the biggest barriers to entry in the world of professional photography.
So - yes, I do work out of my home - and often turn it, along with just about any location that I travel to - into a mini studio. The gear these days - allows you to make it happen. As such - I have whittled down my kit to just the bare essentials. The focus of this blog entry is simply to give you a glimpse into the small amount of gear you need to make your shoots look like you were in a 40x40 studio with a massive infinity cyclorama (aka cyc wall - yes, it’s pronounced the same as “psych”).
To be sure - every photog has a favourite kit - and mine is no exception - I do not receive any endorsement for the gear I use. Yet!
So - for this shoot, here is what I used:
  • Canon EOS 6D
  • Canon 24-105 F/4 L (One of the best and most versatile lenses I have ever used)
  • Canon 430EX II Speedlite (Mounted On-Camera)
  • Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4it Strobes with 66cm Portalite Softboxes
  • Elinchrom EL-Skyport SPEED Transmitter
  • Savage Universal Portable Background Stands
  • Savage Universal Arctic White, Primary Red and Black Seamless Paper Background
The photos were shot in RAW, Post-Processed in LR5 and where needed, edited and resized for production in Photoshop.
To those new to photography - this may seem like a fair bit of gear - but let me assure you - that it packs down to 3 bags, along with my camera bag which holds all my lenses, bodies, accessories AND my MacBook Pro.
You can feasibly carry this rig with you on a bus. Well, minus the seamless paper. Otherwise - it really is a small - and super effective kit. 
I hope the results speak for themselves. Big photoshoot look, with minimal amounts of gear. Go out and shoot!
View Devo's full set by clicking here.
(Jake Israel Photography) Babe Blonde Cute Dynamo Fashion High Fashion Portrait Short Tiny Toronto https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2014/5/big-shoot Wed, 14 May 2014 17:32:07 GMT
Published: Sean Graham Featured In HERE NB | Mar 13 https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2014/3/published-sean-graham-featured-in-here-nb-mar-13 Sean Graham, Jake Israel Photography, HERE NBHERE NB: Music | Sean Graham Feature Mar 13 2014Sean Graham is featured in HERE NB's Music Magazine, March 2014

Sean Graham is featured in HERE NB's Music Column on March 13, 2014 in promotion for the East-Coast swing of his Cross-Canada Tour.

Special thanks to HERE's Vanessa Gallant for the great liaison and assistance in having this feature published!

Click here to view the selects from my shoot with Sean: http://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/seangraham


(Jake Israel Photography) HERE HERE NB MimiCry Music Musicians Published Sean Graham Toronto https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2014/3/published-sean-graham-featured-in-here-nb-mar-13 Thu, 13 Mar 2014 19:11:46 GMT
Luxe https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2014/2/luxe My überfabulous lady. She makes looking this good, effortless.My überfabulous lady. She makes looking this good, effortless.

Fur, cigars, hats, makeup, and bourbon? YES! A special thanks to my sister Rachel who went from boho chic in the sheepskin coat (with a side of bourbon, mind you) to ultra luxe in my grandmothers mink coat and matching hat. 

Shooting your family members (just like your amazing girlfriend) is about as hard as it gets. Especially when you have someone as discerning as Rachel. An actress, singer and broadway director - she is very precise and and demands the very best. It was a case where I had a very good idea of what I envisioned as the final product - and she most definitely delivered! 

The edits from the shoot also saw me go outside my usual "Terry Richardson-esque" look and feel of the "blown out strobe" look - with some heavy manipulation of the light, colour and vignetting. I hope that you enjoy this striking set from my very amazing and one-of-a-kind little sister.

Thanks Rach!

(Jake Israel Photography) Brunette Fashion Fashion Photography Luxe Luxury Portrait https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2014/2/luxe Tue, 18 Feb 2014 04:26:04 GMT
Orange Is The New Orange https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2014/2/orange-is-the-new-orange My überfabulous lady. She makes looking this good, effortless.My überfabulous lady. She makes looking this good, effortless.

Put out the fire! I was fortunate to have the lovely Amber in the studio for a high fashion shoot last week. The capture that appears in this blog was EXACTLY what I had intended - it's not often that what is in your head translates into a great shot.

Tone on tone on tone! A little Lightroom mastery allowed me to balance all of the colours with the natural orange-red of her hair and features. It also gave me a chance to shoot with a new coloured seamless that I picked up the other day. I have to love the variety of options from the Savage Universal line of products - they are highly durable, and photograph extremely well.

We had a great time on the shoot!

Have a peek at her gallery here on the site: Model: Amber | Feb 2014

(Jake Israel Photography) Fashion Fashion Photography Ginger Leather Redhead https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2014/2/orange-is-the-new-orange Tue, 18 Feb 2014 04:23:42 GMT
2014 Sony World Photography Awards Shortlist https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2014/2/2014-sony-world-photography-awards-shortlist Wow. Just Wow. Some of the best images I have seen. Ever. I highly recommend you check these out: 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Shortlist.

Photography like this, is well, why I wanted to be a photographer.



(Jake Israel Photography) 2014 Sony World Photography Awards https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2014/2/2014-sony-world-photography-awards-shortlist Mon, 10 Feb 2014 19:30:17 GMT
The Payoff. https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2014/1/the-payoff My überfabulous lady. She makes looking this good, effortless.My überfabulous lady. She makes looking this good, effortless.

I won't lie, sometimes photographing your girlfriend or loved one can be a difficult task - you really need to exercise patience, tact, and perseverance - while at the same time, be engaging, creative, artistic, and understanding about their wants, needs and desired outcome from the shoot. I was lucky enough that Tara let me run with my vision of her in front of the camera, acting as art director, creative director, wardrobe and stylist all-in-one. 

She really is an unbelievable woman, and - as I have told her almost every day - looks amazing even getting out of bed in the morning. Thanks so much my rockstar! You totally nailed it! 

If you are here reading this, why not take a second to have a look at what Tara does for a living: 


(Jake Israel Photography) Fashion Fashion Photography Leather Tara Graham https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2014/1/the-payoff Wed, 29 Jan 2014 21:34:38 GMT
Sean Graham Hits The Studio Before His Canada-Wide Tour! https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2014/1/sean-graham-rockstar IMG_3012IMG_3012

Was super excited to get Sean into the studio for a session. Sean is an up-and-coming singer/songwriter/frontman/guitarist that has been generating quite a buzz here in Toronto. Rumour has it that he is about to embark on a cross-Canada tour in March to support some of his solo work, and has more than a few "Big Label" record companies looking his way.

His 5-Piece band, "Mimicry" has just successful released their debut EP titled "YES!" and is back in the studio at Phase One to finish up the LP.

Have a listen to some of their tracks on Brett Nation: http://www.brettnation.com/mimicry

(Jake Israel Photography) Fashion MimiCry MimiCry Band Rockstar Rockstars Sean Graham https://www.jakeisraelphotography.com/blog/2014/1/sean-graham-rockstar Tue, 21 Jan 2014 05:25:19 GMT