That 101 memory card crash emergency event

So yesterday I had an amazing set with my lovely team Eline and Luce Del Sole for a collaboration I was doing with Antidote London Latex. The set was pretty cool, we ended up getting a wide range of shoots on various backdrops and it turned out pretty damn awesome. Right after the shoot I already edited one of the images and released it, hyped as I was.

Usually right after the set I load my images over to one of my extern disks and yesterday was no exception, but I kept running into troubles that my Bridge kept crashing. Since I’m used to some hiccups I did the usual: I restarted my computer real quick, cleaned the cache of Bridge and make sure only one of the scripts was running (one of the biggest issues I used to have). Things where fine so I kept trying a few times. And then, well. It just crashed. I clicked on the memory card and it gave a card reading error, I plugged it in my camera and the info said it wasn’t accessible. Formatting seemed to be the only option and there was no way I was ever going to do that with a whole shoot on it.

Some 101 I do know from an event a few years back was that the less happened to a memory card, the bigger your chances are of ever retrieving some of almost all of the information. I went to google and tried to find some affordable and free solutions - but ended up just settling for being mad at myself for losing my codes included in my Sandisk Memory cards I got after I became a GenNEXT broncolor ambassador and I just sucked up the costs of paying for it. And there they where: my beloved files. Having the program now is a reassurance though I hope I never have to go through that again. Tried my luck one so I will avoid a second time for sure … but you never know when your gear decides to crash on you.

Before I actually paid for it, I was able to run a test-run of the program and saw almost all of my files where retrievable. So I paid the 36 euros, run the program and bam: there they where. Almost everything in their original raw format and ready to be edited. I moved them to my extern disk in a separate map and copied them from their again to the location they should be, ready to be processed.

For now I’m going to keep them there and just wait out until everything is really processed and sorted, out of fear. I have marked the memory card as a faulty one and I’m going to keep it for an absolute emergency one when everything else fails (basically my 3 other memory cards before I need to use it).

I do have to say I’ve always been very happy with CF SanDisks memory cards. A fault can always happen in any program or hardware, especially these things including “memory” , so I don’t blame them. I did finally use my second slot for the SD memory card and I’m using my other one now.

Program I used: SanDisk RescuePRO (Standard)
Costed me about 36 euros. Retrieving about 750 images took about 45 minutes to scan and almost another hour to completely extract them to my extern disk.

The one image I was able to edit before my CF card crashed: beautiful Luce Del Sole with hair & makeup by Eline Deblauwe. With a hint of Antidote London Latex and a faux septum by Staskauskas.

The one image I was able to edit before my CF card crashed: beautiful Luce Del Sole with hair & makeup by Eline Deblauwe. With a hint of Antidote London Latex and a faux septum by Staskauskas.

Canvas hand painted backdrops: are they worth it?

Getting new stuff for your photography adventures is something I’m sure we can all indulge in, be it gear or a new gadget or even the necessary subscription to Adobe Cloud or Capture One. But with the rise of amazing photographers like Sue Bryce using these hand painted backdrops and the amazing work of Oliphant with their hand painted backdrops being used by the likes of Anne Leibovitz, there is this always ongoing question: are they really worth getting, because they can range from a few hundred to a few thousands and … well … it’s just a backdrop right?

First of all I want to address the elephant in the room: I am a brand ambassador for the following backdrop company - Fine Art Backdrops - I’m going to talk about and share my experiences over; but in the same sentence I want to address the fact I would néver become a brand ambassador if I’m not convinced by the products. I am aware my words may be an influence and I want nothing more to share my honest experiences and feedback even if I have ties with a company. This is one of those: I do réally love their work and I honestly stand behind them (and currently am saving up to buy with my own cash too eventually).

- Are those “hand painted canvas backdrops worth it?”

Y-E-S . I cannot stress enough what an eye-opening experience this has been to have been able to work with these backdrops on set, creating everything in camera rather than post-processing it all in Photoshop in the processing phase. While I adore both techniques and I will continue mixing it, they offer a new visual experience and look that is impossible to recreate in camera. Very similar to how analogue vs digital film feels, both are amazing yet it’s both it’s complete own aesthetic.

As mentioned, my backdrops are from Fine Art Backdrops - an US based company. While we have been talking about new backdrops over time, for now I “just” had the pleasure to work with two of them she had in stock: one is a gorgeous sepia called “Tobacco” and the other is a green/brown called “Olive” . They’re both from the smaller catalogue as I have a small studio and I wanted something easy to transport if necessary for clients.

The reason I picked those two was because I love to use a brown for my painterly work (hence my choice for “Tobacco”) and I knew I could easily play around with the green one “Olive” for anything more colorfull or the opposite: I could easily remove the color to become more grey.

There is just something absolutely gorgeous of having hand painted backdrops as well: they give a depth and dimension to my images I didn’t had before and was looking for. Becoming more real and at the same time, more mysterious and elegant. When we compare this to digitally adding it, which has a more illustrative look and feels more artificial and modern - they both have a very distinctive feel to it.

I highly recommend any photographer to get one, maybe two. It’s amazing for pretty much anything with a subject, even some jewelry photography for example! Think portraits, maternity, fashion, product, pets, ….

If you’re looking for a backdrop, I can highly recommend Fine Art Backdrops. But if you’re looking for more EU based I also had the pleasure of working with Gravity Backdrops once. For the rest I don’t have first hand experiences, but there are plenty of options out there and many of sources on how to paint these yourself too actually (and I might actually do that one day).

Model Illyria Okami wearing Agnieszka Osipa Costumes against a Fine Art Backdrop

Model Illyria Okami wearing Agnieszka Osipa Costumes against a Fine Art Backdrop

Recent examples featuring two backdrops from Fine Art Backdrops (Tobacco & Olive Green) - most of this has been shot in the studio for my series “The Lost Royals” with one example (far right) being a mix of natural and artificial light. Some of these had more or less processing done color wise, so it’s good to keep in mind that option of versatility

Some work where I digitally added textures to complete the overall look.
Some of these textures are from PRO EDU - others have come from various free sources onlin.

Coruscate

“Coruscate”

Flowers, beauty and colours

Published for broncolor GenNEXT blog in october, “Coruscate” is a beauty inspired editorial where I wanted to create something bold and colorful. Over at the GenNEXT broncolor blog you can find my entire workflow to recreate this look by yourself in the studio! I shot this look with my lady My Fragility featuring a septum by Staskauskas - an amazing designer of wearable art I had the pleasure of discovering (and realising it was the same amazing designer she talked about earlier that had some epic jewelry wanted to shoot, win-win!). This was part of an afternoon of experimenting, with this one being one of my favorite set-ups! There is something incredibly fun and refreshing about discovering a new light set-up that is so unpredictable as this one. It does gives it challenges but at the same time I can see a lot of future opportunities.

Gear

Shot with a Canon 5D Mark III with a 100mm 2.4

Lights used are by broncolor: siros 800 with an octabox, Move 1200 with a MobiLED and a beautydish and a picolight with fresnel attachment.

Retouching

All work has been processed in Capture One Pro for the base colour toning, light and shadow adjustments - as well as cropping.- After this I exported it to Photoshop for further adjustements like colours, skin cleanup, dodge & burn and minor further adjustements in brightness and contrast.

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An Artist Diary: from fairylands to a vogueish renaissance

There is this thing called “niche photography” and a million articles on why having a niche is so incredibly important if you’re looking into becoming a professional. And it makes sense: why would you hire someone with half a trade out of a pool when someone sticks out by head and shoulders because (s)he’s an expert in what they do? You’re paying for a service right, so you want to be sure you get what you want.

I can safely say I’m a niche photographer. Always have been, as much as I tried to diverge in my early years, I’ve been sucked into this world of "fantasy” since my earliest childhoods actually and it was only a matter of a few months of experimenting to know this is what I wanted to do somewhere back in 2007 I think. And I kind of did that, mostly by failure and eventually some success.

But it’s October 2019 now - creeping up until the end of this year and 2020 ahead. I’ve been in full-time business for three years now (and add a half year of part-time juggling) and honestly: I want nothing else now except getting out of this niche I’ve successfully carved out for myself and I’ve build a business on and about - going into new territories. I want to feel the rush again of being inspired, staying up too late and working out how to achieve that next big dream.

My niche has become too small for me. People mostly know me as “the fantasy photographer” but from both a personal, artistic and professional point of view - it’s kind of been suffocating me and putting me in a state of anxiety and fear because I realised I don’t want to be any of that anymore. For some, it’s absolutely nothing new as I’ve been putting this into words and action already. With the drops in engagement and bookings in return. If I’m being honest. Which is what I expected too but still, it fills me with a lot of insecurity. Even though I know it’s what I want to do.

Why, you may ask, am I stepping away from a lucrative business model and going into a bigger, more competitive market? There is just so much the fantasy genre has to offer. And that’s okay as well - some people are happy and don’t feel the limitations but I felt I’ve hit a roof and stick my head through it in hopes of putting together yet another concept that I didn’t do before so it’s kind of refreshing and new. I’ve done hundreds of sets, maybe over thousands. Paid. Unpaid. Tests. Collabs. You name it. Seriously, I’ve done it all by now. And it gets old you know. And I’ve been kind of scared to move away from it and showcase I can do a lot more than people in armor and big white dresses. But I’m ambitious and addicted to being inspired. There is so much more I want to do.

I don’t want to be afraid anymore of losing out on sales and business if I’m re-inventing myself and my art - I cannot stay inside this uninspiring comfort zone that just pays bills. It’s normal to fear what is outside our comfort zone. My fear is based upon the opinion of others and how they perceive my work and how much they will like it. And maybe book me for it. Maybe. The same kind of job I’ve been doing for years now, all over again. While in reality, all I do is open up my business for so much more out there for my old, new and future clients.

This is what I do best: creating worlds. It’s my identity, Who am I, as artist. And if I keep wondering and worrying if I should do shoot this, do share that, do create something that will “pleases the social media” - I’m not much of a professional artist anymore. I’ve become a commodity for a small group while I could be of service to a much bigger audience who needs my skills.

Success is not a formula and neither is art. It’s both business and marketing with a side dish of constantly improving and challenging one’s own artistic identity.

I am a photographer and business woman. And I want to keep creating worlds and dreams. If I have a niche, let it be one I’m a “creator of realities”. Give me your modern fashion stories and storytelling editorials, give me your childhood dreams of being a warrior in armor, give me your concepts for bookcovers you want to get realised, send me your performance ideas so I can capture them for you for your social media. I can create anything you have your mind set too and that’s what I want to be known for.

Like a Vogueish Renaissance - I will rise above reality.
I like that sound.

JasmijnSmoke1.jpg

For me it’s important to be a human, beside a business woman and creator. My “Artist Diary” is a reflection of this as a way to showcase and hopefully inspire others to not fear their choices or give them an idea we all go through this kind of times, each now and then (more or less). This specific blog is written on and around a specific turning point in my personal life which greatly affects my goals, career and business and might change again in the future. Yet is an important turning point I wanted to document. This is entirely my own point of view, written in my 2nd language and is solemly about my own process.

Cimmerian

“Cimmerian”

A little touch of darkness for the Halloween month


It’s one of my favorite months now with Halloween and so, there is no better time to try my hands on something more editorial, inspired with a little touch of darkness. My beautiful friend Spooky was able to come to me and brough a range of gorgeous styling, that we finished off with a few extra pieces from my wardrobe. This was such a fun project to work on and I’m really stoked to share the results with all of you!

Similar to my last blog, I am always looking to find new ways to use my light within a small space and most of all: how can I use light in a different way and create something that feels like my aesthetic and visual trademark. For this I thought a long time and I realised that often my main focus is to lighten the face from the front – a habit I have developed and most often got booked for. But it made me wonder what would happen if we would work with the absence of light – without turning the image too contemporary painterly and dark.

While researching I realised I didn’t want any harsh shadows and keep a smooth transition between the darker and lighter parts, so I opted to work with two softboxes: one being the 30x120cm and the other the 60x100cm – both mounted on MobiLEDS and a Move 1200. This would also allow me greater control over the strength of each individual light and alter as I went to fit my vision, which was crucially important.

I positioned both lights directly on her sides, with the smallest being on the left as I like to position my models facing from left to right (similar as to we read). The other I positioned on the right, as to have a slight stronger fill in light both on the backdrop and on her, to counteract the darker part as I wanted to keep an editorial feel.

When I had my lights places on her sides, I took my Siros 800 with the octabox and positioned it on the left aiming directly at the opposite wall with my reflector, bouncing in just enough light to fill in her face for a more flattering effect without being overpowering.

With the dark grey backdrop, processed in Capture One Pro to be more of a green as a complimentary color for Spooky’s beautiful red hair. I gave some texture to the backdrop by using Pro Edu their texture packs as usual, to just give that plain paper a little finishing touch.

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Light Diagram

Modifiers: 60x100cm softbox
30x120cm softbox
100cm octabox

Lamps: broncolor Siros 800
broncolor move 1200 + 2 MobiLEDS

Extra: 2m reflector
Colorama “Dark Grey” backdrop

Gear & Programs

Shot on a Canon 5D Mark III with a 50mm 1.4
Edited in Capture One Pro & Adobe Photoshop

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