Thursday, September 4, 2014

Photographing models at the Greg Gorman workshop (includes clothed and nude photos)

For those of you who follow the blog regularly, you know that most of my portraits are of high school seniors, kids and families, and I do not usually photograph models. A good friend of mine, Greg Gorman, invited me to join him for one of his workshops. For those of you who don't know, Greg is a world renowned portrait photographer who has photographed just about every Hollywood star you can imagine. He teaches an amazing workshop at his home in Mendocino, CA. In this workshop, he teaches how to photograph models, mostly in the nude.

Some people think nude photos are all pornographic, and others see the beauty in the human form. I debated for quite a while, whether or not I should post a blog with these photos, with the hope of not offending anyone. But I am really proud of the photos and wanted to show them to you all.

I decided to write this blog, starting with photos of the models (female and male) clothed, and then move to suggestive nudes. This blog then ends with a handful of the nude photos. If you are not interested in seeing the nude photos, I encourage you to stop at the warning message.

I assume that, if you scroll down and look at all the photos, you are comfortable with the material. The decision is yours. I truly hope that all the blog readers see the beauty in the photos and see these as art.

Again...the choice is yours...

This photo of Tiffany was taken outside, in Greg's backyard, which is on the beautiful coastline of California. All the white that you see behind her, is the fog that had rolled in during the morning. I cropped in on this image, keeping a lot of negative space on the right, since it seemed to work Tiffany's portrait. I took all the photos with the Canon 1DX and 70-200mm 2.8 IS lens.

Another shot of Tiffany, but instead of shooting her unclothed, I asked if she had any sheer material. I really like the suggestive nude photos better than the fully unclothed shots. Partly because I find it more intriguing, but I also think that I am more comfortable shooting portraits with clothed models. Trust me, this workshop put me well outside my comfort zone, which I think is a good thing.

I was photographing Tiffany in this doorway, when she looked down. I love the look and asked her to pose that way for me.

And here is a photo of her looking right at me. This really highlights her pretty eyes. Which one do you like better?

I really liked this pose, with Tiffany looking pensive and relaxed.

As I mentioned, we photographed both male and female models during the workshop. These photos were taken at a local winery. We asked Dan to dress up in a Western outfit to fit the scene. I asked him to lean against the fence, and then I hopped onto the other side of the fence to shoot this photo. I really like the way that the lines of the fence lead your eyes to and from Dan.

We found this old truck and had Dan pose for us there. To get the light on the left side of his face, we used a silver reflector to bounce the sunlight on him. I moved to an angle where Dan would be in front of the tree so that he would stand out from the dark background.

This tree was on the edge of the vineyard, and seemed like a perfect place for Dan to rest.

With Dan's chiseled good looks, I had to take a close-up portrait of him. It was an interesting lesson about the human face, as Greg taught us to find the best angles and poses for each model.  

Later, we had Dan change from the Western clothes to sporting attire, to get a different look. We shot these photos to simulate a sporting catalog session. I tracked Dan with the camera's servo focus as he ran from the shade into the sun. And I had someone holding a reflector to my right (on Dan's left side) to throw extra light on him. As Dan ran up the road, there was only one or two seconds when he was in the light of the reflector. All the others were rejects.

The third model was Stephanie, and I shot this photo of her in Greg's studio. Not being a studio photographer, I worked on proper placement of the softboxes to get the right light on her face. After shooting this, I turned it to B&W using Google's NIK SilverEfex Pro 2


This is one of my favorite photos from the two days of shooting. We were outside, on Greg's property, and Tiffany was modeling for our group. As I mentioned before, I prefer suggestive photos to the fully nude, and I think that this photo shows just enough of her form to show her beauty without showing everything. 

I really liked the lines of the vineyards, and asked Tiffany if she would walk through the vineyards sans clothing.

After she walked half way down the row of vines, I asked her to stop and stand. I saw her looking up for a brief second and loved the lines of her body. In the photographic world, we call this the "S Curve" and it really does accentuate the beauty of the female body. I shot this at f/2.8 to have perfect focus on her, but make sure that the grape leaves in the foreground and background were out of focus.

This photo of Tiffany was taken from inside Greg's house. I asked her to go outside and stand close to the window pane, and shot this photo through the window blinds. Could I have shot the photo with the blinds pulled up? Sure. But I really like the effect created by the blinds. I focused on the blinds and shot this at f/5.6 to maintain reasonably good focus on both Tiffany and the window treatment. I also tried this with Tiffany closer and farther from the window, to get different effects.

This is a photo of Dan that I took in the studio. Again, this was part of my learning how to properly light the human form. Let me tell you, it is much easier to photograph a clothed model, where imperfections can be covered with the clothing.

At one point, one of the groups was photographing Dan, and we had finished our time with Tiffany. Since Tiffany was just hanging out, the other group asked her to go inside the pool house and look through the window. She gave this look at Dan showering. and we all cracked up.

I hope that you all enjoyed these photos and see them, like I do, as art. I learned a lot during the 2 1/2 days and feel that I have a better understanding of photographing people.


If you are interested in purchasing any camera equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. I would really appreciate that.


Anonymous said...

Nice work. When we stop stretching our selves we stagnate.

Anonymous said...

Your creativity with light & position is fantastic! I just learned a lot from this blog. Thank you for posting.

danielkehoe said...

Hello Jeff, No criticism today. Not a big fan of studio type portraits but I agree the one of Tiffany looking down is good. I really much prefer your usual shots of "real" people in more candid shots but you done good with these.
Daniel Kehoe

Anonymous said...

Very nice, ARTISTIC work, Jeff.

Craig Colvin said...

What timing. I am at a Kim Weston nude workshop this weekend and over dinner tonight we were talking about Greg Gorman's workshop. Everyone knew of it but no one at taken his course.

The photos look great, so what was you overall impression? Recommended?