Portals is one of a few personal projects I had planed for this year. Below is the first photograph of this series. I wanted to create something mysterious, something dark. My client work usually goes very much the opposite way. So this should be a nice change.
I am handling the term ‘portal’ very loosely. To me it doesn’t mean there is a gate that I can use. Portals can have any kind of shape and size. Something might slip through them unnoticed. I want to play with the unknown.
As for the setting: It’s the early 20th century. Entities appeared after a glitch in Dr. Curiovsky’s last experiment. His is eager to study this discovery, not knowing what he is dealing with. This is his first encounter.
If you think you know where the story goes, leave me a comment with your opinion.
CG stands for “computer generated” and means that I created certain or all elements of the picture in 3D. The use of CG gets more and more common for advertising and commercial projects. Especially for complex objects such as cars. The initial effort isn’t smaller than for photography for most cases but the client has far more control and options to change things down the road. Using 3D, I can roll back to an earlier project state without having to rebuild a set or having to travel back on location. Weather and time of the day are also not a major factor.
There are basically three ways a project can be set up and it all depends on how easy it is to realise the idea with traditional photography. #1 The subject is photographed and the background is done in CG. This approach is ideal for locations that need to be customized to the subject. We talk about set building here.. like in movies. We can travel in time or place or adjust the complexity and abstraction.
#2 The background is photographed and the subject is done in CG. Ideal if the location has been covered by a small crew travelling with light gear, because the subject, a car, will be sorted out later. Very good for remote locations. The next step is CG. In 3D I then suggest different perspectives and focal lenses so that the client can pick their favourite. Same goes for colour and materials. It is all adjustable. That’s creative freedom!
#3 Everything is done in CG. We have a digital set and subject. Maximum creative freedom but not always the most cost-effective choice. If one tries to recreate something that can be photographed with less afford, than that should be the way to go. If it can’t be photographed, CG is your best friend. Of course there is still option #4 where everything is done with photography, but as mentioned, CG is trending more and more for creative freedom and keeping the costs low.
If you’ve an idea that stretches the envelope of everything you’ve done before, contact me. The possibilities are endless.
8 April 2015by Manuel Czepokin PhotographyComments Off on Wedding Photography
This is actually a guest post I’m writing for myself. I’ve a split portfolio. MCP is for commercial work and Suit your Home (SYH) for wedding, family and new born portraits. I had a blast with Paula and Dan. There wedding was super laid back. I could feel the excitement raised sky high moments before the ceremony but that is what happens if you are about to make the biggest decision on the best day of your live. They booked a sweet spot by the lake, drove off in a classic 56 Chevy, they even brought horses!
There was the plan to fly on top of Te Anau’s mountains in a chopper. I would have loved to get creative and shoot some aerial shots of bride and groom. Sadly it got cancelled due to heavy wind. Never mind, that day will come I’m sure. A new location was quickly found as I always keep an eye open for nice spots to shoot at. Having locals around helped of course.
For this last image I was very happy that my gear has proper weather sealing. It started to rain. Neither me nor the bride and groom were afraid of water. They couldn’t have gone anywhere anyway as the mist in the background came from their car leaving some rubber on the road. A few concerns about the lifetime of those rear tires, sure. What counts in the end is that I got it in the box, that I captured those very moments for life. A great day with a great couple. I wish you all the best for the future.
If you are looking for new wonderfully captured moments to hang up your wall, give me a shout and I arrange a custom tailored portrait session for you. Have a look at www.suityourhome.com for more personal side of my photography business.
25 March 2015by Manuel Czepokin PhotographyComments Off on Product Photography For World Record
A professional looking image is always necessary to get the attention of your target audience. Even more so, if it contains a message that really engages with the people who see your advertising. The slogan for the image below will be; “If you go with us, your season will bring you more than you could wish for.” Of course the guys from marketing will come up with a more elegant line, but the image tells you everything you need to know. Here is the breakdown. The counter weight is maxed out to the left and yet the little brass can sits firmly on the ground, for it is filled up over the top with seeds. That alone represents a very successful season. But for an outstanding season, one that breaks world records, it needs more. Lots more. Countless seeds pill up on the ground around the over flowing brass pot and more keep falling down in a never ending stream. A harvest one dreams of. That is excellent storytelling and an outstanding idea.
The image above is part of a campaign around the barley harvesting world records, that New Zealand farmer Warren Darling achieved earlier this year. A big day for his family and everyone involved. MCP photographed and captured the efforts that everyone delivered that day. Later on I also shot corresponding interviews as part of a promotional documentary. I’ll post about the video at a later time.
If you’re keen to read more, my blog post about Aerial Photography goes into the details of shooting the world records attempt. More information about the new world record can be found in this article of the World Record Academy. The Darlings are a great family, hard working and down to earth. It’s worth a read.
Contact me if you too are looking for an idea that stands out and tells the success story of your company.
Who doesn’t want to come home after a long day at work and relax on the couch while the living room smells just beautiful? Aroma candles, room diffusers or perfumed oils. The choice is yours. Manuel Czepok Photography (MCP) took on a product photo shoot that looks rather simple, doesn’t it? But in its simplicity lies the trick. I’ve been approached by this client to spice up their web-experience. They wanted action shots. They wanted it to be elegant and it had to be on a white background in order to match their cooperative style. As the image gives it away already, this is all about luxury and aesthetic. I couldn’t just throw in bursting flames and exploding wax to cover the action. So, communication is key in order to get on the same page with everyone involved. That pretty much goes for all projects but for this one especially, because the client wouldn’t be able to see the final image until everything comes together in post-production.
The first part of the trick was to understand what “action” means to the client. What do they like? After some talk and research I provided several mood mock-ups to explain the idea using pictures instead of words. A crucial step as the client had to understand where we are heading creatively and again, they wouldn’t be able to see the result of this product photoshoot till the very end. Which brings me to the second part of the trick. How to visualise aroma? One can smell it, taste it, but it’s generally invisible. This is where MCP’s experience with post production comes into play, to achieve truly original advertising photography. All elements in this photograph had to be shot separately for maximum control and quality. Those elements where then married together in post-production, giving me maximum flexibility to tweak all aspects to the clients expectation.
Knowing what is possible beyond traditional photography allowed me to tackle this project on a completely new creative level. This project is truly one that separates me from many other creatives.
We all have days when we could use a second me, don’t we? STRIP was a personal project to see what is possible, when I’m in front of and behind the camera at the same time, multiple times. I’m not a quadruplet just to clarify. Everything can be done, if you can imagine it, but good planing wins half the battle. This trick is used to multiply the size of armies in big budget movies, but it can also be used to show a company in a more impressive manner. Show massive storages, office spaces or multiple very expensive items next to each other. Who doesn’t want to have a garage full of Lamborghinis?
Hands down. Often it is the way an advert is presented that gets it stuck in the peoples’ heads. They find the idea interesting enough to look at it a second time and read which company or product is connected to this advert. Now, find the five name giving letters in the picture!
23 February 2015by Manuel Czepokin PhotographyComments Off on Aerial Photography
Flying itself is already awesome, but if one is able to tell the pilot what to do and where to go, things get real fun. Fear of heights or of loosing equipment are no-goes. Sometime exciting manoeuvres are necessary to get parts of the heli out of the way or to shoot straight down on the subject. My focus had to be spot on when we dove left only 15m above the ground. Picture yourself sitting on that side of the chopper with no door. Now you give order to dive and your left side becomes the view straight down on the ground. Your tummy feels crazy and you’ve about ONE second to get the shot, before the pilot has to counter balance the heli again. With great fun comes great responsibility.
18 February 2015by Manuel Czepokin PhotographyComments Off on Lifestyle Photography
When we talk about a Marie Poppins moment, a little bit of magic is needed. Mystical light, sparkle and floating mid-air – why not! The image had to have something supernatural too it. This photo is all about precise timing. The right moment is everything. Once that is done, full on re-touching starts. Cleaning thing up, adding a subtle skyline and of course sparkle. Sparkle is good. This one works quite nice on canvas.
Shoes n’ Tie – I shot this project a few years ago. The breakdown shows the process from photography to retouching.
Why shoot on green-screen? Sometimes it’s easiest to give the client more freedom in post production. Sometimes the final decision on the background hasn’t been made while I have to start to shoot. Sometimes the requested material isn’t available and has to be added in post production. Shooting on green-screen can be a very effective way to keep the budget low and to assure the project doesn’t come to a hold. Of course one has to be very experienced to anticipate how the different elements will look together in the final image.
10 February 2015by Manuel Czepokin PhotographyComments Off on Industrial Photography for Wool
A story of wool (processing). This one started quite mysterious. I’ve been asked to show the factory but not make it look like a factory. It was also important that the photos look sharp. Sounds intriguing doesn’t it. Now here is what I got from this.
A) We’ve to tackle low light conditions. The client himself took photos beforehand and came across long exposure times and motion blur.
B) They want to focus on the process, rather than showing the whole facility. This assignment is about storytelling and actively hiding distracting elements.
It goes without saying that when a client brings her own camera, your photos must stand out in comparison. The machinery was impressive. There was plenty of interesting detail but only limited access to it. The last thing you want is that your lighting gear tangles up in the countless moving parts all around. Not to mention the damage and potential consequences when everything has to be shut down. As a professional I know the limitations under the given circumstances. I gave the client a rundown of the process before I started. It was important that they understand what I had to do to capture what was asked of me. That built up trust and a platform to communicate the process. In the end, I was allowed to move more freely than initially planed.