Behind the Scenes

Organized chaos was the theme of December. The business is going gangbusters (both on the personal and commercial side of photography), Alice and I just tied the knot in Hawaii and are quickly approaching our January local reception. Oh, you didn't think I was done, did you?...

[embed width="720"][/embed] MOBILE VIEWERS CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO Wow. What a fun shoot. In anticipation of the awesomeness, we went ahead and shot a ton of behind the scenes footage of this particular shoot and took the opportunity to use it to showcase what we do...

A perfect time to finally write a post about the good ol' grocery sack softbox, seeing as I used it once again for, get this, the Mercedes-Benz photo shoot (which I just wrote about, see that here). As you'll read, the main theme of that...

Ok, here's a post for the photogs out there. This is the rig I decided to go with for my hiking trip to photograph the landslide project. Click here if you don't know what I'm talking about. It's super important that when you know a day of shooting will be a little out of the ordinary that you ask as many questions as possible so that you can as prepared as possible. For this specific photo task, I knew the following:
  • I will be shooting both ground level and aerial shots, aerials from a helicopter.
  • The location is only reachable by foot, requiring a 15-minute hike.
  • The location will be focused around a giant landslide.
  • My focus for ground level shots will be the people working in the environment.
  • My focus while shooting from the air will be a mile-long landslide.

The 2012 Smokin' Hot Espresso calendar is complete. You'd think my job is done when I put the camera away from the final photo shoot. Not even close. A huge portion of work follows. Rewind a couple years ago, when I created the first calendar with the business, I also created a behind the scenes video. The video played at the calendar release party, online, etc. Everyone really loved the video addition to the project, so this time around, it was specifically asked for (to be included). Every photo shoot we had video cameras rolling too. What that equated to was over 20 hours of footage for me to rummage through after we were done shooting the calendar. It was a rush to finish the production of the calendar, then the design of the calendar, and then... with a week before the release party, a BTS video. To the editing room I go... a pile of footage awaiting. Can you get a tan from a computer screen? If so, I should have a really nice "glow" right about now.

matty_5.21.11_-328 Keeping the ball rolling, the camera clicking, and the flashes poppin' this week up in Bellingham with quite the variety of shoots. Completed a photo/video shoot with a tango couple, and you'll see that content soon. Until then, here are some BTS photos from the shoot! The colorful/ugly drapes in the background windows are not really drapes, just fabric we've clamped in front of the windows to block the daylight so that we could blackout the room, improvising in a not-so-ideal location. What's up with the funky couch? Well... I just found in hanging out in the hallway, I liked it, I worked it in the shoot.

matty_5.20.11_ 007 It's been kind of a crazy week and a half, with all kinds of subject matter in front of my lens. Seven shoots in the last nine days, ranging from fashion to product to aerial photography. It's been a couple days since my last post and just wanted to check-in with you guys. Lots coming your way via the blog here in the days to come. I don't want to try and guess the sheer number of photos that have been imported onto my laptop during this last nine days, I just try to keep pushing on and pumping out photo album for my amazing clients. I think I should have something presentable by this evening or tomorrow, so stay tuned!

matty_4.18.11_ 129 Video cameras are rolling at almost every shoot now. If I see a free hand while we are on set working, I toss that hand a camera. I can never really have enough BTS material. The only downside is the more BTS I have the more time I gotta spend sifting through all of it, compounded with all the time I invested into the actual photographic process and the photos for the client. Love all the material, hate the fact that I can't clone myself at put him strictly on BTS shooting and editing, that would be amazing. So, unfortunately a lot of the BTS material never sees the light of day, which gets tossed into the Matty archives. Every few months I'll go the extra mile and compile a video from a favorite shoot and toss it on the site. Well, today is one of those days. I stayed up late last night cutting together this short, two-minute video. I was lucky enough to have fellow creatives Andy and Jolaina at the recent commercial shoot I did with one of my regular clients, Whatcom Sound. The pair, both armed with cameras, got some fun footage that I couldn't toss into the archives without getting a little attention first. This video will give you a good idea of everything we had going on. A lot of the set and lighting was up and ready to go before the cameras were out to capture anything, but you still get to see the bulk of activities during the shoot.

Just as the first beginner workshop was wrapping up, I already had people asking when the next one will be. The short answer to that is in about two months. I'll be presenting the first advanced workshop in roughly a month from now, so keep...

The second and final day of the very first beginner workshop has come and gone. The weekend went by SO fast, just whizzed right on by! Lots of information, lots of shooting, and a lot of laughs and smiles through it all. Today was a lot more applying all of the photography knowledge and techniques the students learned from the day before. Example above, Bailey, the brave soul answering my volunteer call for a subject to use for lighting examples. With getting exposure knowledge and techniques all squared away yesterday, the students got a taste of light and how important it is to our composition, and were able to apply everything learned yesterday to refine their photography with light techniques today. If you are interested in learning about photography from the beginning, or would like to up your game with an advanced class, please take a minute to look over the Matty Photography Workshops site!

What a great day of photography. The workshop went from 9am to 5pm, only breaking for lunch, so we got a lot of information covered. Everyone in the class is doing great. We have a wide variety of photography experience in the class - from people who have never really touched a DSLR to people who have used DLRs for a while now, but either shoot in automatic modes or do not fully understand how to manipulate the camera to create a wide variety of photography. It was so much fun today to see the students learning the fundamentals and then watching them successfully execute those skills just minutes later during the shooting sessions. I'd have to say the most fun parts of the day were the shooting adventures outside of class. After each major topic section we break for a shoot to adapt the newly learned material. The students quickly fell into a groove and were roaming around the Bellingham streets taking photos, working on the new objectives. A few funny moments as the group of photographers all stood in a line and took photos of passing cars, working on shutter speed techniques. The reactions of the drivers were hilarious, them not quite knowing how to react to their own personal paparazzi snapping photos of them. I love the sound too, 8 DSLRs just capturing away all at once. Below, the group getting some last quick pointers before going out to do their thing.

matty_2.12.11_ 355 Just wanted to post an update... Had my first official newborn baby shoot last Saturday. For just being a couple weeks old, Makenna was a very alert baby! I'm sure all of the flashes popping off didn't help. Up above a BTS shot, Cherial comforting her new daughter. This was not a setup at all. We were shooting and Makenna started to get a little uneasy, so mom stepped in for a couple minutes. Lights happened to be in the right spot and I took a couple shots. That baby is a limp sack of potatoes in her are, completely relaxed. I'm in the middle of going through these and wanted quickly share two that I really like. These are the shots I took on a whim as Cherail was holding Makenna between setups.

IMG_0578 Life is all about time, or rather the lack of, right? Time is always the most scarce resource, even if you have all the time in the world, others around you, or even mother nature does not. As a photographer, "good light" naturally only happens in small fragments of time, and we counter this by using off-camera light, even when we don't need to in order to get even "better" light. I think we need to put all our cancer curing resources and task them into figuring out how to extend really nice sunsets to say... twice as long (I kid.... but seriously). Here is a behind the scenes video I cut together today, it showcases a little bit of the stuff we did while we were running around the island.


Thought I'd throw a little behind the scenes video together for you guys. This kinda shows what all goes on in a "Matty Photography" shoot. Good friend and video director, Andy Lahmann, will often come to assist on my Bellingham shoots. I'll toss him my Canon 7D and ask him to shoot some BTS pics and video. He always captures some good stuff. We had a lot of laughs, got some great shots, and ended with a happy client. Booyah.

matty_7.1.10_ 165 So, what do you need to use when you are looking for softbox-like light quality without having light spill all over the place? The answer is simple, the gridded softbox. It gives you the same control over light as normal grid spots that you'd throw in front of a normal barebulb light, but now with soft, beautiful light. I've always loved using grid spots on my barebulbs, but the light can just be so harsh on a subject's face, especially when it is one of the key lights. The gridded softbox works on that same principle, controlling the light and only letting it hit a small portion of a subject, but now you can get those pleasing contrasts and skin tones you can't get very well with barebulb lighting. That's typically my problem too, wanting that gorgeous, soft light on my subjects (usually female), but having trouble trying to keep the light off of other elements of the photo. It's not an easy task, that is, until now. Notice the photo below, my subject is literally 2-3 feet away from a black sheet used for a background, yet no light is spilling onto it. Even though it is a black sheet, if you were using a normal softbox for a light modifier, you'd have light spill onto the sheet and you'd get a little grey tint to the background. The grid added to the softbox directs the light on just my subject... a very good thing in this case.