4 Models. 3 Huskies. 7 Assistants. Clothing, Make-up, Hair, Prop Stylist and a New Camera System. This shoot was just screaming to be filmed for a BTS on our DVD! That’s when we contacted Jay Espinal who came out to shoot for us on my Fall Fashion Shoot for Kurv Magazine. Check out the teaser video above to get an inside look at a segment from the DVD and read the full story below to see what my thoughts are about shooting with the new PhaseOne IQ!!
When I’m given an assignment for a magazine and there is a lot of freedom to shoot “what I want”, I always want to shoot something epic. It’s my chance to show what I can create. Of course, epic can translate into lots of prep, a fair share of headache, and with headaches come a bit of drama. So I sort of expect that the bigger the production, the more complicated. However, the more prepared I am, the less headaches and drama develop. And that’s what I have come to learn over the years: Preparation is KEY to pulling off any size shoot, but especially the bigger ones.
This shoot for Kurv was no exception. In the months leading up to the shoot, I had been pulling Asian models as references for inspiration. At the same time, I was looking at a lot more documentary photography rather than fashion. Thus was born the idea of merging the two themes together: an Asian model story shot more documentary style. Casting took less than a week. Hair, make up and stylist were booked in a day. I found a studio large enough for our big set (I also hired a prop stylist) and a bank of windows to one side (I wanted available light to one side). Root Studios in Brooklyn, NY was our studio for the day of this shoot. We love them AND their cappuccino machine!
Timing is everything and right before we shot, PhaseOne reached out to me. They asked me if I would be interested in shooting with some of their cameras on my next shoot. Are you kidding? I use PhaseOne when I shoot for Ralph Lauren ( the p45+) and I love the camera! So I was more than agreeable to have them come out for the day with their cameras. They brought the 645 DF, the p45+, the p30+ and the IQ180. I settled on the IQ180 and shot it at 20 megapixels because I felt that I didn’t “need” that many pixels and I wanted a faster recycling time. What are the Pros of this camera: Well, for one, I loved the user friendliness of it. The touch screen sensor was a lot like an iPhone! Easy to navigate (because we’re so used to it). Read: Totally cool! The camera had that “old school” feel to it: big, hefty and simple, with only a handful of buttons so you won’t get confused or accidentally push one, having to refer to some on-line manual or the actual manual to trouble shoot your way back to square one. You know I like my “work horse” cameras. One of the biggest reasons I love NIKON so much. More pluses to the PhaseOne: because of the bigger sensor it has a larger dynamic range, which is just a plus that medium format cameras have over 35mm. And the depth of field shrinks which is something else I value. I like blurred backgrounds but being able to control the focus on my subjects (models). So with the PhaseOne, I can shoot at 5.6, ensuring my model stays sharp but the background will blur. NICE. The Cons: Yep. You know what the ONLY con is. The price. It’s a big investment in your gear. And not only is the initial outlay for the camera expensive but you’re probably going to have to update your current computer that you’re using to upload your images to, because the file sizes are so big. Which means you also are probably going to have to buy a couple of additional hard drives to store your raws on. And don’t forget a better fire wire. So as you can see, the add ons are going to become endless. And that just jacks up the cost even more.
However, if you are looking for a medium format camera, in my opinion PhaseOne is the way to go. You can go a less expensive and pick up a digital back to use on your existing Mamiya camera. Which is the route I’ll probably go. When I was in LA shooting for Nike, I bought myself a Mamiya RZ Pro II. Throw on a PhaseOne back, and you have yourself a great medium format digital camera. And of course, when you’re not shooting digital, you’re shooting film on that beautiful camera.
Check out the teaser from this shoot. The full extended version is on the Fashion Photography EXPOSED DVD. It was an incredible day, a stress-free shoot and the results were fab!