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A couple weeks ago, I found myself in Cape Town for some photography work and boring old business stuff. You know, the obligatory paperwork, meetings, no sleep, "please run me over with a dump-truck" kind of work that comes with running a business. Oh you don't know about that kind of work? Just me then. Okay.
Well besides that, I always try make room for some fun and luckily there are awesome people at Sunshine Co. and Hasselblad who make fun things happen. Think of them like real life Stark Industries from Marvel who have access to the latest and greatest technology money can buy, except they don't deal in weapons.
So they called me up on a Friday to let me know that The Monster, aka the Hasselblad H6D would be in studio on Monday and it was my duty to tame it. I had two days to get my arsenal into gear and put together a shoot. One thing I absolutely love about my life is the spontaneity of it. I hardly ever plan anything very far in advance (which is horrible, never take my advice, you should plan) but so far it's worked out alright and has presented some incredible opportunities. (Still though, plan).
Over the weekend, I got in touch with two models Dani and Tyla who just stole the show, as you'll see, and were patient with me while I spent some time trying to figure out how the hell to use this camera and lights.
Monday morning came, I was thrown into the ring with the Hasselblad and these are the results. Hassy got in a few punches in round one but I think I conquered the beast at the end of the day.
Firstly, let's just take a moment to appreciate the detail this camera captures. Click on the image to enlarge it and feast your eyes my fellow pixel peeping friends. Feast your eyes!
Some cultures believe that a camera can capture your soul. I'm pretty certain this camera does just that as well as being able to see your past and future! It's just so damn crispy! Great huh?
Colour. OH MY GOODNESS. The colour! I love playing with colour so this is where I was absolutely blown away by the tones and range of colour this machine produces. Skin tones are magically rendered, highlights are smooth and clean and there's detail in even the deepest darkest shadows of the image.
Even when colour is taken out of the equation, clarity and sharpness take the stage.
Thanks again to everyone who helped put this together! As always, you're awesome!
Models: Tyla Johannessen & Daniella Cooper
Gear and Studio: Sunshine Company
Photography & Retouching: Sheldon Evans
If you've made it to the end of yet another one of my tediously long posts then feel free to check out some BTS shots thanks to the legend Willem Foster
Don't forget to let me know what you think!
I recently had the opportunity of combining two of my favourite forms of photography, commercial and bridal, in a shoot for Vonvé Bridal Couture.
You've probably noticed the title of the post is "Teamwork makes the dream work" and this couldn't be more true after this shoot. Without the incredible group of people who helped put this shoot together, these photos would suck! Allow me to explain.
Rochelle, owner at Vonvé Bridal Couture, and I had met to discuss the shoot which took all of ten minutes. No time for playing games here. She's on top of everything, knows exactly what has to be done and has the eye for style!
I just knew she'd be a pleasure to work with. We set the shoot date and the rest was up to me.
One of the things I'm terrible at is planning, if I need to plan something I'm as much use as a trap door on a lifeboat. So I've made it my duty to take on the role of the planner more often to get better at it. Hence this shoot.
Anyway, it was time to find models which was a breeze at first thanks to my call for creatives post. It allows any creative to easily fill in a form on my site and automatically be added to my database for future gigs and collabs. Cool huh?
Make-up artist? No problem! René from Ultimate Glamour has us covered. I'd met him at a wedding a while ago and he did makeup for me on a shoot recently. I was so happy with his work that he was the first person that jumped to the front of my brain and I contacted him immediately.
Location scouting is a nightmare here in SA. Either the location is too dangerous or looks like a pile of junk. Prior to meeting Rochelle I did have a location in mind and for the shoot, although when I walked into the Vonvé studio, my jaw hit the ground (my "amazed face" can be seen in the bts shots at the end of this post). This place was stunning. We're shooting right here!
Shoot date is tomorrow and we run into a hiccup. The model cancels due to a family emergency. Now this would usually be a huge issue during the 11th hour, but "Do not fear, Dani is here!". With superheroine friends like Danielle (pictured in this post) there's never a reason to stress, she's got the solution. I contacted her and let her know that I need a model ASAP! Boombadabing! Within minutes she organised a model and Danielle too would be modelling.
Shoot day arrives and everything goes according to plan. We select the dresses, Rochelle takes on the role of the stylist and makes sure they fit like a glove. I mean, just look at those images, how freaking incredible?!
René does the makeup like an artist creates a painting. Magnifico! I have no idea what he does but the make-up is always so crisp that hardly any editing does into the final images besides some colouring. Honestly, almost zero skin retouching! Having a good make-up artist saves hours of post-processing time.
Danielle and Kelly model as if Michelangelo himself was directing them.
Saf, my trusty assistant helps me carry gear, set up lights and just be an all round badass.
And I, well I sit back and admire the work of an incredible team...Oh and I take photos of course, but that's not really important *wink*.
Be sure to check out the work of our team below:
For those of who made it all the way to the end of this post, here are some awkward behind-the-scenes pictures. Don't forget to follow along on snapchat @bluink
Brides and grooms to be, this one's for you.
It's that time of year when a ton of couples get engaged and in turn I receive a ton of emails from couples asking me generic questions they've found on a wedding blog somewhere like "What is your photography style?" or "Do you shoot in manual?". There's nothing wrong with asking questions like this, although there are more important questions to ask.
I've put together a little list of questions that actually matter for you to ask when chatting to your photographer.
"Brides are smoking hot and I get paid to take their pictures" isn't the answer you want to hear. The truth is that there are photographers out there who are in it purely for the dolla-dolla bills and that's okay...to an extent. It is a business just like any other after all, except there is a certain passion for the craft that needs to be there as well. If your photographer doesn't love what he/she does, it's going to reflect in your wedding photos, one of the few tangible things you'll have to remember the most important day of your life.
If it's just a slight drizzle, we'll shoot through that fo-shizzle. (I deserve a slap for talking like this if we ever meet in person). Although, if it does pour cats and dogs there should always be a backup plan. This is a question you should ask your venue about as well. If there's a chance of rain, which it seems that lately here in South Africa we have no idea when it will rain, and your wedding is going to be outside, there should always be an alternate space set up indoors where the wedding can take place.
I can't stress enough how important this one is. Sometimes stuff just goes wrong, gear breaks, photographers fall into ponds, aunt Gertrude brings her newly adopted stray dog to the wedding and Mr.Ruffles attacks the photographer and breaks his camera. In the occasion of any of these unfortunate events, your photographer should always have a backup kit (and a tetanus shot) in their bag to continue shooting for the rest of the day.
If your photographer has the personality of a brick, you may encounter a few problems. Your photographer (besides your partner) will be the person you spend most of your wedding day with so it's essential that you get along with him/her. They'll be there to capture every moment of your special day. I personally like to get to know the couples I'll be working with before I shoot their wedding. Being friends with your photographer makes everything flow just that much smoother on the day.
This may seem like a silly question although some photography studios have a few photographers working for them. What this means is that you may have someone other than your photographer taking photos at your wedding. In the case of "Sheldon Evans Photography", it will be me, Sheldon, who will be your photographer. I never work with second shooter as I'm the one who's style you enjoy, so I'll be the one producing the images. I will however, always work with an assistant who'll be there to help me carry gear, direct people and strategically hydrate me with water so that I don't pass out after being on my feet for 12 hours straight.
Wait what? Yes, this question is too of importance. keeping your photographer alive is essential to having your photos delivered. Photographers and their assistants often work VERY long hours and require sustenance. The great food at weddings is another reason I'm in this business.
It's been a while and I miss you guys so I thought I'd write something for you.
I want to talk about the importance of word-of-mouth marketing for us as photographers (and pretty much anyone else who needs a better marketing strategy). Now, you're probably thinking, "Not another one of these word-of-mouth articles." Or maybe you're not and I'm the one putting words-in-your-mouth.
If you ever ask a fellow photographer how their clients find them, they'll most likely spew out the phrase, "It's all word-of-mouth, man". Well thanks for nothing Mr. Photographer guy, that clearly explains everything.
So I'll start off with what it is.
Word-of-mouth marketing is essentially getting your clients to talk about you behind your back (in a good way).
It's entirely free, it's easy to put to use when you understand how to use it and it's infinitely more effective than any other form of marketing out there.
To understand it we need to realise that photography is an extremely personal experience. Especially portraiture. When you're up in someone's grill with your big fat lens, you're in their personal space. You're providing an experience and not just a set of images. Don't get me wrong, you still have to produce amazing work but more than that you have to be someone your client feels comfortable with and can trust.
When you're looking for advice about something, whether it be buying a new toaster or choosing a wedding venue to get married at. Where's the first place you'll look? You'll ask someone who's already been through that experience before you, right? Reading reviews on this toaster or chatting to people who have had their wedding at the venue you're interested in. Unless of course, you're one of those people who buys the first toaster they see when they walk into an appliance store without doing a thorough background check on that sucker first. I for one, am not one of those people and will read EVERY review on that toaster before I allow it anywhere near my gluten-free, fat-free, nutrient-free, R3.00-a-slice loaf of bread.
We do this because we trust the experiences of our peers. We trust that they won't allow us to repeat the same mistakes or encounter the same problems that they may have faced when they went through a similar experience. The same goes for photography, when one of your clients' friends is looking for a photographer, (particularly if they have no idea where to start looking for one), the first place they'll go will be to their friends and YOU need to be the one they talk about.
How do you make sure that you're the one they recommend?
Simple. Give them the best damn customer experience possible! Offer something they can't get anywhere else and even if they can they wouldn't want to get it from there because it's you that they love and not just the work you produce. The best part is, that if you do this well enough, your clients will recommend you without even being prompted. Going back to my previous statement, getting your clients to talk behind your back. You, as well as your clients have to be proud to show off what you've created together. Photography is a collaboration of all those involved, both behind and in front of the lens. If your clients are proud enough and have a reason to show your work off, they become living, breathing, walking and talking advertisements! (We can only dream of a future where scientists create humanoid advertising robots that we as business owners can release into society as regular human beings just to sell our products. But for now, luckily this is as close as we'll get).
While typing this post out, I stumbled across the perfect quote to accompany it from internet entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, "The best marketing strategy ever: CARE". This couldn't be more accurate, if you don't genuinely care about the people you work with, like REALLY care about them, then you'll come across as a phony who's just in it for the money.
The truth is, that without my incredible clients recommending me, I'd be living on the street, sharing a tin of tuna cat food with my cat "Bubbles". I don't even like tuna.
If you guys have any questions or thoughts, either drop me a mail or leave a comment below. Always happy to chat to you about stuff and things.
Right, so the title may be a little misleading, I'm actually having the best time of my life!
Recently I had the opportunity of going on a country wide adventure with Elvis Blue to document the creative process of his new album and to shoot the music video for his single "Shine".
I flew down to Cape Town with my assistant, met up with Elvis and his logistics manager, hopped in an RV and over the next 8 days we road-tripped back to Johannesburg. Every day we stopped at dozens of stunning locations all along our route, which was about 2000kms by the way, to shoot some incredible scenes and South African moments! Okay, so I know we were in an RV but we didn't actually sleep in this thing. Four big dudes in a medium to large sized vehicle...things can get smelly.
We drove along the coast and slightly inland. I knew that I lived in a good looking country but holy cow this place is nuts! I met so many awesome people and saw some of the most incredible places.
We'd then spent the day driving to get those kilometres in and arrive at our hotel/bungalow/cabin or house, depending on where we were staying each night. We then woke up every morning between 3AM and 4AM so that we could pack up, hit the road and shoot at sunrise. My assistant and I would unpack all our stuff, set up and get ready to shoot at sunset, which was around 8PM every night. After the sunset shoot we'd grab some dinner and get back to our rooms at about 11:30. Time to dump the files from the shoot, charge batteries, and shower. Never forget to shower!
I did fall asleep multiple times in the shower. Exhaustion. It's a thing.
12:30 - Bed time!
03:00 - Oh is that my alarm I hear? Sheesh, I just got to bed. Time to hit the road again!
Yes, we did this for 8 straight days. Am I complaining? Not even slightly, it was one of the best experiences I've ever had and I'm revving to get on to another big project like this!
Check out some of the photos of our Journey below.
If you want to follow more of my journeys and travels, check out my Instagram account for exclusive pictures. @sheldonevansphoto
I recently had an incredible shoot with Sarah and I've got something new to share with you. She's super talented and was kind enough to let me make a short video for you guys.
It's a new direction I'd like to take my photography in. Having a short video accompanying my photos for a little extra special touch is something that I really think could work. Life's about experimenting after all isn't it?
I'd like to hear what you guys think and if you enjoyed it.
Here's a couple shots I got from this shoot.
I've recently had the opportunity to work on some exciting projects with the talented Ziyon from Liquideep and this post is about one of those projects.
Ziyon is currently working on the release of his solo album entitled "Audio Alchemy" and he came to me to create the images for the campaign. When he first told me that the concept I had to play with was alchemy, I already knew I had something awesome to work around!
The first idea that popped into my head was the process of alchemy, converting base metals into gold. If I could portray something turning to gold and make it look bad-ass too, that would be perfect. A few concepts were thrown around and they all involved getting messy. For conceptual shoots I usually draw up some sketches to pass my vision on to the client. Another thing I do is shoot multiple variations of the same concept and see what works best at the end.
I thought of throwing flour at Ziyon to create an intense atmosphere and with the help of a little post-processing, he would actually be the one turning to gold. I didn't even have to convince the dude, he was an awesome sport from the inception of the idea.
We organised some things, bought a couple boxes of corn starch, some plastic sheeting and then spent the afternoon making a big old mess. It was totally worth it, I got some fantastic images from the shoot.
Some technical stuff for the final image...
EF 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm
I've made a short little behind the scenes video for you to take a look at and see how we did it.
Check it out and let me know what you think!
2014 has been a big year for me so far and I'm excited for whatever else it has in store for me.
Many of you may know me or may have seen my work either on Facebook or the plethora of other social media sites I post my photos to. However, the time has come for me to get a website.
I've decided to go the Squarespace route purely because it's beautiful, easy to use and my favourite part, a huge time saver! Plus, it looks great on your phone and tablet too, check it out.
I'll be keeping this blog updated with the stuff I get up to on my shoots as well as some cool photography tips and tutorials. So be sure to check back regularly and subscribe to my newsletter.
Thank you to everyone who has already been a part of this incredible journey, this next step will surely add even more magic to it.