Savage Photographer: Elias Butler
Elias Butler is a professional photographer and writer based in Arizona. He's written a book titled "Grand Obsession" and has been published in Sierra, USA Today, and Arizona Highways among many others. See Butler's website here.
Photographers are in a unique position to help others in an immediate, powerful way. Think of any organization or individual and the chances are, that entity or person could use professional-quality photos whether it’s to help promote an idea, sell a product, or simply to have meaningful images for personal enjoyment.
While it’s true that we live in a digital universe these days when it comes to viewing and publishing photos, there remains a certain allure to having an image published in a print magazine. Not only can it bring your work a large audience and put some change in your pocket, but getting published can lead to greater opportunities for more work with other magazines and beyond in the commercial world.
The new Savage Economy Background Kit fit all my requirements for a studio background setup. Designed for photographers who want a professional look that won’t break the bank, the Economy Background Kit is a great choice for students, part-time photographers, and anyone starting out in portraiture. I was excited to see what this new offering could do for my photography.
Choosing the appropriate size of seamless paper will take some assessment on your part. Do you tend to make head shots, or do you often photograph families - or both? Do you make a habit of shooting small products or large products? How big is your studio? Can it handle a 9-foot-wide backdrop roll? Or do you shoot in a spare bedroom where space is limited?
Backdrops come in so many styles and types that it can be downright confusing when trying to find that perfect match for your next shoot. No one has time to try every backdrop during a shoot, so developing a good instinct for the right style and material, whether in the studio or on location, is a skill every photographer should learn.
Admit it photo geeks! When you look at a photograph of a model you don’t always zero in on how the shot was composed, nor the model’s eyes. You inspect the backdrop. You check its texture, color, how it was lit, and how well it complements the model. At least I do, because that’s what I look for during the creative process while shooting.
The reasons for investing in a quality backdrop stand can become painfully obvious when working without one. Why buy a set of muslin backdrops or seamless paper or any other type of photo background if you can’t arrange them easily behind your subject? A good background stand makes it possible to realize the creative potential in your photography backdrops.
Leaving the studio to shoot on location can be exciting, fun, and is always a challenge. Yet there's a danger associated with travel. Have you ever arrived to a location shoot and realized with horror that you've forgotten some essential piece of gear? I have and let me tell you that it’s not a fun place to be.
Portrait photographers are specialists in human behavior, and have to be capable of summoning certain expressions and emotions from their subjects - just like the director of a movie. If there’s one skill that can help, it’s the ability to make people laugh and smile. Here is a list of ideas that will help you to have your subjects laughing and grinning during your next portrait session!
As someone who has spent time in front of the camera, and even more time more behind it, I can attest to the powerful reluctance that many men feel when being photographed. There is an intimacy that takes place when posing for a camera, and most men are naturally uncomfortable with such closeness with a stranger.
With the explosion of wireless technology, online selling and shopping has become a multi-billion dollar industry whose currency is photography. Product photos advertise everything imaginable, from guitars to electronics to clothing. As new standards of visual advertising become mainstream the demand for ever-more-impressive images continues to grow.
No matter what type of photography you specialize in, sooner or later you’ll be asked to photograph a large group of people. Before you snap away however, it’s best to remember some guidelines that apply to this particular style of photography.
Many photographers who shoot portraits use a small number of favorite locations out of habit, returning again and again because they know they’ll get good results. Yet no matter how much we might enjoy our go-to locations, sooner or later we all crave a fresh look. Why not inject energy and life into your portraits by seeking new locations?
Right now thousands if not millions of people are busy taking photos. Among these legions, the professional photographers stick out not just because of the large amount of gear weighing their necks down. A distinct and unusual body language also helps to identify them in a crowd.
When you think of background stands, if you think about them at all, what likely comes to mind is how useful they are for doing one thing very well: supporting a roll of seamless paper or a muslin backdrop for your shoot. However, there are many other valuable uses these simple tools have to offer.
With millions of people shooting every day, it can be tempting to suggest that now everyone’s a photographer. Which means that professionals have to endure a peculiar set of beliefs and comments coming at them when they’re hired to do a shoot.
Some outdoors locations make excellent subjects for photography by themselves. Yet they also make beautiful backdrops for portraiture. As long as the weather permits an outdoors shoot, natural backdrops are available almost anytime and anywhere.
Savage Universal offers a unique backdrop called Translum that gives photographers perhaps the most useful material available for making white backdrops. That’s because Translum not only works great in this regard but also happens to be a photographer’s best friend when it comes to transforming light.
Photography backdrops are one of the best ways to spark creativity and help produce eye-popping work. Without a backdrop, a photographer is at the mercy of available backgrounds such as a boring white wall or perhaps a distracting street scene, neither of which help to complement a subject like a well-chosen photo backdrop.
Many viewers may not notice it right away but as photographers we see it instantly. A prop used well in a portrait, whether a small object such as a basketball, or a larger environment such as a basketball court, can tell a person’s story or help define a characteristic much more graphically than a nuts-and-bolts portrait.
When we step outdoors, the variables of light, weather, and season dictate subject matter, whereas in the studio we get to control everything. This lack of control can be frustrating at times but the unpredictability of nature is why shooting scenics can bring such great rewards. You never know what you’re going to get, the mundane or the sublime.
At its best photography is inspired by light. Whether it’s a rich shade of purple on a canyon for two minutes following sunset, or the warm cast of tungsten lamps on a model’s bare skin, it’s the light that guides our work. It doesn't matter if I’m shooting indoors or out, my focus on finding great light is the same.
Photographers are slaves to the elements. Yet there's no predicting when you'll need that perfect setting that you've scouted in nicer weather, such as a ramshackle building with a worn concrete floor and old wood walls. Or a grassy football field for making portraits of athletes. The solution is to re-create a location in the studio using realistic floor drops.
Are you having trouble setting up your first backdrop stand? Follow this step-by-step tutorial to unpack and set up your Savage Port-A-Stand Kit with a 53” roll of Seamless Paper!
Regardless of what type of photography we ply as professionals, we can all relate to the agonies and ecstasies of the family portrait session. Given the chaos that naturally comes with a family with kids you’ll need to have a game plan before the shooting starts. As with anything we shoot, preparation is the key to pulling off a successful family portrait.
Before the advent of Chroma key technology - also known as green screen technology - photographers had to travel to the location they wished to capture. If you needed photos of a model on the beach in Maui, that’s where you went. However with green screen technology almost any location or background can be keyed into an image without ever leaving the studio.
Imagine this scenario: You've been hired to make lifestyle photographs in a studio with a well-known model for use in a large-scale ad campaign. The model, her agent, and the art director are accustomed to working with top professional photographers in the editorial and fashion worlds.
So you’re ready to take the plunge into the world of tethered photography. You've seen the benefits of tethering such as improved workflow, displaying your images on a large monitor in real time, and using the immediate results to encourage collaboration with your clients or to make detailed corrections on the fly. The only question now is which tethering kits and accessories will work best for you.
If like most professional photographers you use a DSLR as your tool of choice, then you know that seeing the results of your work on a three-inch LCD screen on the back of the camera does little good for discerning the details and nuances that can make or break a photo shoot. Fortunately there is a solution for modern photographers called tethered photography.