model: amerae
photo and retouch: nolan lister

studio set up.
beauty dish above pointing down.
Canon 5D mkII
Canon 100mm f2.8
Exposure: 1/100 sec; f/9; ISO 50
Post processing: CS6 using split frequency

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Comment by Kevin Richards on September 5, 2014 at 9:24
Congrats on SOTM and thanks for the insight Nolan.
Comment by Susan Pretorius on September 4, 2014 at 17:51

Congratulations on winning Shot of the month.VWD.

Comment by nolan lister on September 4, 2014 at 11:02

wow... thank you so much. i'm honoured!

kevin... sorry for the late reply. only saw your questions now.

when i hit the studio, i have a general idea of what i would like to achieve. but as most of us know, that never happens. a lot of the energy comes from the model/tog relationship. i've been blessed to work with amerae a few times and we have a great working relationship. she knows what i want and she delivers.

i'm also a tog who does not like the idea of static posing... i believe a model should move slowly around and when i see something that can work, then i will tell him/her to work around that pose. i think one of the biggest benefits to a shoot with a model, is your constant feedback... speak to him/her, let them know what is going on with the results, show them the results... this helps them get an idea of what i'm seeing. sometimes, which is great, a model sees a shot and like the route but is not happy with her pose. then try it again and you are guaranteed of a better result.

and to be very honest with you... sometimes my best shots, like this one, are the inbetween shots during poses.

if i could offer any advice... try to get your model to move around. no big movements. small and steady. also get them to create a mood within their heads which helps a lot. the right music also plays a big part... ask the model what she would like to listen too... what will help get her into the right mood you're looking to capture.

another big trick i learnt over the years, is when shooting beauty, never shout or speak loudly to the model. beauty is very intimate, so speak softly. you are entering their personal space sometimes, so treat them with respect. keep the heavier voice for large group shoots or a fashion shoot.

i hope this helps you?

please don not worry about defacing my pic... that is the first time someone has ever done that and it is nice to see how other togs see and analyse one's work.

if you have any other questions, please shout and i will try answer them to the best of my capabilities.

Comment by Jes Hunter on August 28, 2014 at 12:28

HOLY Shirt! What an incredible shot. Incredibllee :OOOO

Comment by Kevin Richards on August 27, 2014 at 12:26

I am actually quite taken by this picture and I have spent quite a lot of time staring at it and it is simply beautiful.

I would like to post a few questions regarding the model posing/composition that I am hoping Nolan or some of the other Pro's will answer for me.

When I look at this, besides the awesome tones, colours, lighting, post production and not to mention the beautiful model, others things stand out to me (Nolan, please forgive me for defacing your image.):

Fist is the placement of the model in the frame; Not quite centre, not quite thirds, but seemingly perfectly balanced positive and negative and subject and background space.

Then the beautiful S-Curve formed by the hair framing the face and neck.

Then the very subtle triangle formed by the shoulders.

I also notice that the crop at the top cuts through the forehead. It takes nothing away from the shot at all, but what is the reasoning behind when that works and when it does not?

I guess, as a novice photographer with absolutely no studio portrait experience to speak of, my question is; How much of the composition was preconceived even before going into studio and how much was a result of interaction and inspiration at the spur of the moment during the shoot? To be honest, too many of my shots have a little bit of a luck element to them when it comes to composition and very few of them are a result of a 100% realized preconceived idea. Especially when I have attempted to pose models (aka Family members).

I am sure it has a lot to do with experience, but I would love some insight from the mind(s) that create images like these.

Comment by nolan lister on August 27, 2014 at 11:47

Thank you everyone for the great comments and congratulations. Much appreciated!!

Comment by Jacques Du Preez on August 27, 2014 at 10:45

Stunning Image!!!

Comment by Lilian Ackhurst on August 27, 2014 at 7:21


Comment by Salomie Klingbiel on August 26, 2014 at 19:05
Congratulations!! Great shot!
Comment by Magda Henning on August 26, 2014 at 18:52

congrets stunning shot!

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