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Alex Shoot Day

Lesson 25 from: The Ultimate Photo Storytelling Workshop

Finn Beales

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Lesson Info

25. Alex Shoot Day

Watch Alex Strohl shoot for the same client but produce different results.

Lesson Info

Alex Shoot Day

Welcome to my field day. We're still in Portugal. We're up north this time. And you've seen Finn shoot his whole series. And now it's time for me to show you how you can tackle the same brief, the same client, Cool & Vintage and get the completely different set of image. If you know me, you know that this is a pretty dream assignment because I'm working with a Defender. I've own a Defender for two years now and every time I can, it's a blast working with them. So let me explain the why and the how behind the shoot. So actually we're going to have a long wheelbase Land Rover. And then yesterday we heard that it was gonna be not available. So we had to switch to a short wheelbase. Couple important things. This is a newer car than what Finn shot. This is a 2014 and it's been completely outfitted and restored by Cool & Vintage. So I wanna show that in my photos. It's got like a really nice leather trim interior and a bunch of fancy bits. And I wanna show these in the shooting and t...

o match the fact that it's a new car. I've, I'm working with a local surfer and actually surf athlete called Phillip. And he is just down there. I'll introduce you to him in a little bit. I always start before I do a shoot with who I know. Like, I'm going to Portugal okay. I know a couple of people. I know this photographer, this surfer, so I'll just go and DM them like, "Hey, I wanna shoot tomorrow. Can we just go do this?" I like working with people who I know, either from the internet or from in person, cause it's always easier in terms of setup times and we're also more comfortable. So my planning was done over the past week and the idea is fairly simple is that I didn't cover the driving here. I just wanna start my set the way I usually do. It's just straight into the action. We're gonna be in the water, that's gonna be the beginning of my set. Then I'll get some aerials with the drone of the car over this huge cliffs. And as we get towards blue hour, you know it's my favorite time of day to shoot. We'll make a little campfire here because I just wanna hang out and I know Phillip always makes fires here. So we've picked up wood from the forest. Now let me talk to you about this location. We've picked this because it's wild and remote. There's no one around like, there's only two cars parked, our car and the surfer car. That's it. How we found this location is simply just talking with Philip. It's that simple where like, you know a place where you can surf and then have a little fire just above. So note that we're trying to be efficient. We're trying to shoot in the waves and then not have to drive half an hour to have some cliffs and have a campfire. We might as well have it all in the same place. That's super important to me. It's convenience. There's no stress. I just like to be relaxed and when I'm relaxed, the photos are good. Now, Julian, who's, right's behind and I are gonna put our wetsuits on and get in the water. And then I guess I'll guide you through what I'm doing as we shoot. But this is kind of the end of the theory and now we're gonna get more into the action. So let's just do this. (intense uplifting music) Okay. So we're just out of the water now. And I sent Phillip with the car over the cliffs trying to get some aerials cause a really nice drop. And we're about five minutes to real, to Portuguese sunset, so in five minutes, the sun will go behind this bend of clouds. Like, every day. It's been pretty challenging, but we can always work around it. Work for that blue hour. Yes, this is it. Yeah I like this lines of the cliff. Philip is chilling there. It's getting a little dark for the drone now. Pretty good. Still 100 ISO. (camera shutter) Okay. Here's what's happened. We've landed the drone and now Philip just chilling on the hood. There's a really nice view actually from here. If you lift your camera a little higher, you can see the car and layers of cliffs, first layer, second layer and then the whole cove with waves. And the car is really coming out pretty well, cause the ocean's a little brighter. It's a really nice scene. The surfboard in the back; I just walked the surfboard up cause we had forgotten down there. So the sun has set behind these gray clouds. I think it's time to make a fire. Go into blue hour pretty quick I think. (intense uplifting music) So this is my favorite part and it's almost an art form in itself, is where do you park your car? There's the cliff where we were down there and there's this higher cliff here with a bit more bushes to play around, but I don't know yet. Both have, the other one's cleaner has bit more of a drop but this one has bushes to play around. It doesn't look too travel, so it looks very virgin. And I'm just gonna look at my reference photos from down there, helps make me make decisions. I think I'm gonna pick this spot because there's just more options to play around. The other one's more boxed in. So whenever I'm in doubt, I always pick the cleaner location that gives me more angles. Like here I can, all these hills behind, Julian will show you to just get on and shoot. More options, always better. Yeah. We're gonna be sideways. Yeah. Have to back up. Cause I'm gonna be shooting from up there. We wanted the car more like this than like this. Yeah. That's pretty good. Yeah. That's good, yeah. Phil is building his fire near the car. He's built a little rock thing. That's what he would do, I just like, what would you set your fire and build it. I like to leave the subject to be pretty natural in their environment, so. Just doing where he wants and the way he wants. Let the subject interact with the environment naturally, I just think it's gives better photos. In terms of gear, I'm gonna use 5D Mark IV, probably the 24 1. cause it's gonna get dark really quick now. We got like 20, 30 minutes, so. As soon as the fire's going, I'm gonna start shooting. It look really good. I think we found a good way to put the car up the hill. It looks like it's dominating the landscape. The car is here because I want to see the cliff behind. You see the cliff back there, all the layers I told you about before. I think it's even better here now that we're higher up. And I parked the car on the side, so it matches the leading lines. Like everything meets in the same place. If you're to draw lines, the cliff, to the car, it all meets in the same place, which is almost where the fire is. So I don't wanna be too predictable, too perfect in the framing, but this is pretty balanced and I'm always looking for balance in my photos. It's really important to mention that Philip is only using natural methods to start the fire. Some pine cones, a lighter, some pine needles. Organic fire starting. Yes By Philip. No chemicals. This is good, I love it. The lights starting to hit Phillip's face. The light's changing pretty fast. I'm shooting at 800 ISO now. but it's only getting better. It's changing fast. I'm waiting for the light to hit the Land Rover to keep shooting. So I'm just playing around on this little dirt pile, trying to find a cool vantage point with the sea in the back. It's proving to be challenging, but like to find that. Probably gonna happen from up there. Oh, is this better now? Follow the Ridge. Oh yeah, this looks good. (camera shutter) You hear the shutter, getting pretty slow. One 40th of a second. (camera shutter) I saw 1000. Setting up the drone now. It's fairly dark, but I love flying it in the dark. This one and the Mavic do pretty well, especially with no wind. (device powering on) The issues are gonna be some of the wind that there is, it's picked up a bit and low light, right. They don't go well together in a drone low light and wind means we can have two slow of a shutter but I've gotten photos in windy conditions up to like a third of a second. So we'll give it a spin. You can go up to ISO 800 with it. You always have to try and follow your gut. I'm like, feeling it. Just think that we could get a nice vantage point with the drone, with the cliffs in the back, so. It's one way to find out. (drone buzzing and beeping) It's pretty dark, but I did some droning at 1-1-6-7 of a second. They look pretty sharp in camera. I got a reviewing computer obviously. There's a mode called Tripod mode on the DJI's. So that's what I use always to shoot these. And when you do that, you gotta shoot a lot of them. Not just one. I shoot like five, six, seven of the same scene over and over, cause sometimes there's a wind gust, moves it, so. Shoot a lot of them and use Tripod Mode. (intense uplifting music) (camera shutter) This is it. It's getting pretty dark now. We can't really shoot unless you have a tripod but you know I don't love tripods. A couple takeaways I think is, I started with a newer car from my client to show what they can do as well with the restoration side of things. Like, this one is all leather up as you've seen in the photos. And then I match this newer car to a newer person, younger person like Philip. It just matches, 2014 car, younger surfer, younger model, makes more sense. Second thing is, we picked a location that was really convenient. We surfed right there and then we were having a fire right here and then there's cliffs and no one's been in the way. No one's bothered us, so. Super important to pick a convenient location when you don't have much time and the weather can be uncertain, waves can be uncertain. So whenever there's uncertainty I like to pick an easy, convenient location. Also third is that I started with somebody who I know, Philip. I know I met him through Instagram. It seems like we're on the same page. We're able to work together easier, instead of just going with somebody random. Number four is also, you can direct the model. Like in the water, I told Philip to come closer and we go further out and here we parked the car in a way that the car was really highlighted for the shoot, for the purpose of the shoot. And then I told Philip, "Hey, make a fire where you want and just anywhere you would do your fire, do it." And then he built this little rock, rock ring and the car just here. So, the point is let your subject interact with the environment. And I won't say this enough, like it's easy to get the models a little stuck doing the same thing, let them interact. And then the photos should be better with that. At least for me, I like it like that. This is the end of my field day. I mean, at least no more shooting but we're gonna chill here for a while. Then go for dinner. I'm pretty hungry. It's been a fun day. We started pretty late. A lot of things had to be arranged, like always. So give yourself a lot of time and just plan for success. We had the wood, we just had everything lined up, so we were ready to roll. If that's the takeaways, just plan for success.

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Ratings and Reviews

Brent Morris

Fantastic My thoughts on the storytelling workshop. The short is; it’s fantastic. The long is I loved all the details covered, from shot types and the ideas behind them to the call sheets and shot lists, and the whole process. I felt like I had a better understanding of how to schedule a professional shoot and I really felt like I had a much better grasp on many ideas and concepts, and I believe I’ve been able to improve my photography with them, so thank you and Finn. It really is fantastic.

Oswaldo Martinez

A path to better stories Very happy I got this workshop. Finn and Alex do a great job at teaching highly useful methods and specific advice to help you improve your own work, and more importantly, tell better stories that are meaningful to you.

Tommaso Selleri

Simply the best This is simply the best workshop out there on photography and storytelling. Finn is awe inspiring and so real and authentic. A pleasure to watch, a joy to learn from such master. I really hope a volume 2 is coming soon! Thank you for this one!

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