Monday, July 1, 2013

Paused!

Sorry guys but i've taken a little break with everything around photography, so this blog is on hold for a while...

I'll update my latest work through my Flickr account, feel free to drop me a message or visit me on facebook



Afro-Latino Festival 2013
Have a nice day

Mike

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Is the grass really greener on the other side? NSFW

Those who know me a little also know that i teach a lot of workshop about model photography and lighting with my colleague peter but i had to know if the grass could be greener on the other side...

So i did a bit of industrial espionage and followed a group workshop.

The Workshop was with 2 professional photographers who work a lot for the dutch Playboy, as i understood there are 2 teams working for the dutch glamour and nude magazine, one of them is Toonen-wientjes and the other team is the 2 guys that gave the workshop, Patrick and Rene.

We had a really good and very experienced model, be sure to check out her website if you would like to see more of her work www.dreamingofzoi.com

The group of students was a bit too big for a workshop, more than 15 photographers is really a lot for 1 model, but it created time for me to have a chat with Patrick about his work for Playboy and the way they work and create their images.

what struck me is the way these commercial shoots are organized, there's really a lot of last minute improvisation and the lighting setups are often very simple, often ambient light only or with the help of a small reflector. There's always an artistic director working for Playboy on the set, he gives a direction to every shot.

Poses are often repeated and if you check out the magazine you will see how it is in fact really repetitive between different shoots without being an exact copy off course.

The girls they shoot are often really beginners and are scouted especially for Playboy or come knocking at the door and want to get published in Playboy, every shoot is preceded by a small test-shoot with the model where they decide if the model will get cover, centerfold, non centerfold shoot or she might be rejected if the pictures do not appeal to the publisher

The most important things in this kind of shoots are =
1.  A model with the correct "girl next door" look and willing to go for the full Monty off course
2.  Styling of the model, even when wearing almost nothing there's always a bit of styling and it's important
3.  Location must breathe "money" "luxury" "expensive"

the rest is combined talent and hard work!


I also offer you some shots form the workshop, due to the nature of the used light and the way i wanted the results to look there was heavy post-processing, something that is very usual for this commercial glamour style photography. NSFW pictures, click on read more !











Thursday, December 27, 2012

Playing Games

"Standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world. Imagination is the highest kite one can fly" -- Lauren Bacall.

And so, one must move on, that's what i tried to do here, change about every parameter that I used in the past. No more Mr. Softbox and Octabox, but old school stuff, working with small and harsh light sources and using the "on-axis fill" technique to even out distractive shadows that might occur.

The harsher light sources will produce more detailed results where soft light often creates a too low contrast on surfaces making them dull, well it's what your after anyway. Photography is making compromises, always.

The Raw files from the D800 are very high in Dynamic Range so this opens up possibilities in post, it feels a bit like HDR with lots of clarity, a look I tend to use a lot more in the future.

Models: Niels de Jonck & Sara

MUA: MuaDjenien
Styling: http://www.kathyvanlooveren.com/









Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Project Paris 2012

Project Paris,

Mission Objectives: Make at least 6 pictures 'Fashion style" of a couple on weekend in Paris, where Paris has to be recognizable without being the most important thing in every picture.

Mission Time schedule: November. Leave on Saturday morning get back on Sunday evening. Oh yes, do not forget to order some good weather!

Mission restrictions: Use only public transport or a Taxi. Take only what you can carry

So, first things first, what was i going to take with me? I had to pack very light because i already knew we were going to be walking a lot and have to carry all the stuff on our backs...

What was i going to frame in my pictures? 2 people, as a couple, standing close to each other and something in the background that is recognizable as "Oh that's in Paris", the 85mm which I love to use, is not wide enough for this or I have to stand too far away from my subject, the 35mm might be a bit too wide and it throws your background too far away so i guessed the classic 50mm would be ideal and i have to admit now it didn't leave my camera for 1 shot on this mission.

The chosen gear: 1 camera + backup camera, 1x 35mm and 1x50mm, a lightweight lightstand, white shoot through umbrella, SB-900 flash and battery pack, light meter, Hoodman Loupe and the trusted Pocket Wizards = all in 1 bag!

But then i was asking myself : If you can do this with minimum gear why the hell do you need all that other stuff? #imnotaddictedtogear


Mission time : Friday evening

Charge all the batteries, check camera functions and set everything back to personal defaults
Look a last time a at Google maps and all available local information


Mission time : Saturday Morning

Arrived at Brussels Midi station to meet with Tanja Dassy our Make-up expert for this mission and take the Thalys for Paris-Nord, with a small 27 minute delay





Mission time : Saturday Noon

Arrived at the rented apartment after a small trip with the Parisian Subway and all it's peculiar entertainment. (Clowns, accordion specialist, guitar players, singers, magicians, …)
Dropped most of our gear at the reception and then we went on "location scouting" in Paris so we knew where exactly to shoot what the next day.

La Seine, Eiffel Tower, Trocadéro, Musée D'orsay, Jardin des Tuileries, Le Louvre, place de la concorde, Champs-Elysées, Arc-de-triomphe, Galleries Lafayette,… about a 10Km walk in total and we would have to repeat this the day after with all the gear and the team the next day all over again.






Mission time : Saturday 5:00PM

Arrived at the very luxurious apartment, went to the night-shop to get some cookies and drinks for the entire team that should arrive at about 11:00PM.

We had some time to go out for dinner.

As Tanja and i decided that the Lebanese restaurant was not really our thing we went to a classic Parisian Bistro, I decided to go for a nice piece of beef. The waiter recognized my Belgian accent and told me they had the best French Fries, freshly made! Really? Wow that's impressive in a Parisian Bistro.

He told me a bit about his brother living in Brussels and his history with French Fries and so on….

The red wine had been diluted with water i guess, and after some time the beef arrived, i asked "À Point" aka medium rare, but it was less than rare. The beef got served with Mashed potatoes so I asked the waiter about his super-duper-freshly-made-French-Fries?
Ah yes, but your beef is "plat du jour" and that's always served with mashed potatoes…

He made me a little curious with his publicity so i ordered an extra plate with french fries, after a 10 min wait (yeah it takes some time to bake them, so i was hoping for the best) but no, it was another gastronomic blasphemy, these Fries were not freshly cut, these were standard take out of your freezer fries. Tourist rip-off #1

Mission time : Saturday 23:00PM



Rest of the team arrives on schedule and off course they were very hungry so we had to go out again for food, but JP from Equipe Haircare already began working on the hair of both models, Nathalie and Kenneth so we had to look for some take-away food. Do not take further risks, choose right this time : Belgian based Hamburger restaurant quick on the Champs-Elysées was the place to be!




Mission time : Sunday 2:00AM

Everything ready and discussed for the shoots on the next day! Time for some sleep.

Zzzzzz

Mission time : Sunday 6:00AM

Time to get up, final check on the gear, prepare the clothes for the first 3 shots, pack everything

JP, working hard on the models hair until 9:00 AM

Mission time : Sunday 9:30AM

Ready to take the first shot, click, one shot and done!




Okay let's add our Male model for this shot too.




Done, time to move further, Pont D'Iéna, between the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadéro, let's shoot some walking pictures between all the tourists


And a little help from the sun to add some lens flare!




Keep the tempo up, time is precious so let's move to another location, the carousel is not open yet so we go up to the Esplanade Trocadéro and we'll do the Carousel shot on our way back to the apartment.






I had to bribe the operator a bit to get this shot :-p


And then some time to warm up, because it was only about 11°C, Talyssa enjoying her warm Waffle with Nutella!




Time to head back to the apartment, prepare everything for the afternoon shoot, pick the right clothes.

At this time we also had to "leave" the apartment for the next clients but luckily we could leave a lot of our stuff at the desk and we'll get it when we leave later that day...


Mission time : Sunday 1:30PM

After a serious walk we arrived at the beautifull Alexandre III bridge, first shot to check the light




Looks good, let's add Nathalie in the composition





One from the right, one from the left and done. Working with talented and experienced models makes my job a lot easier and allows for faster work rhythm.




A Little bur further, in Front of the Musée D'Orsay, there is the Passerelle de Solférino where a lot of young couples hang there "Cadenas D'amour". I knew this existed in China but this habit seems to have invaded Europe too. I thought it would be nice to include 2 girls and 1 guy on this bridge, the not so classical 'Love story'



After this we had to walk for quite a bit, i had this idea of a couple crossing the Champs-Elysées with the Arc de Triomphe as a backdrop for a picture but important things go first so we halted at a Pizzeria for a little gastronomic intermezzo  







This Arc-de-Triomphe-picture-thing was a serious challenge i didn't count on the thousands spectators en the amount of cars going up and down, pretty busy place it is!






But this was it, we had our shots and it was time to head back home.


We headed back to our apartment to pick up all our stuff we left over there and the guy from the reception called in a little Taxi-bus to bring us to Paris-Nord station where we took the Thalys back home.

When we arrived at the station the driver said the price was 100,00 euro, the day before the payed 16,00 euro or the same trip in the other direction; Mayor Tourist rip-off #2

I admit Paris really appeals to me for Urban shooting because of the space so i will plan some more shoots over there and probably we'll be ripped off again, but I'll be sure to pay some people a visit!

"Paris, I'll be back"



Made in cooperation with :

www.make-updeluxe.com

www.equipehaircare.com

www.facebook.com/ditofashionstyle

www.NathalieFransen.com

Kenneth Thijs & Talyssa Put

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

EyesCold, moving photography

I've been very busy lately but i hope it will be a little calmer in 2013 and so it's been a while since I've updated my blog... but I'm going to be updating with samples from last months shoots in the weeks that come!


the latest months I've also been trying to get away from the technical approach on shooting images and focussing more on the story inside the image, the emotions, the mood, ... Telling a story with one image is a good thing and not really easy but being able to tell it in moving images is something that has opened possibilities.

EyesCold is not really a story in the traditional way and it wasn't meant to be either, it's a celebration of female beauty and elegance, a celebration of light, forms and graphic elements.

I believe every model should have a few of these "moving photography" in her portfolio, it's a modern version of the "polaroids", it makes it a lot easier for a photographer to asses a models natural talent in moving, posing and to see her real beauty.

I also love the fact that i can use "moving lights", something impossible to show in traditional photography...

EyesCold was filmed using the Nikon D800e in HD @ 24 fps and the 85mmG at f:1.4 ~ f:1.8

Model: Nele De Groodt

EyesCold from michelengelen.com on Vimeo.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bedsurfing with Elise

A recipe to bed-surfing:

Ingredients:

1 model (try to find one that moves in a sexy way)
1 bed + some sheets and other "bedstuff"
1 grungy backdrop that looks like a cheap bedroom
1 camera with normal lens
1 on-camera flash
1 ambient light generator (light bulb or TL for even more grunginess)


How-to:

NOTE: My idea was that the model would be nude for this but sadly Elise does not pose nude, so I will have another go at it with a nude model later.

Place the bed against the wall so you have a backdrop. turn on the Light bulb so you create a basic light setup, measure this light in the bed.

Take your camera and put it in Manual Exposure, because one light bulb does not create a lot of light we'll be using the "drag the shutter" technique, this means a longer exposure which will lead to some natural blur in the picture.
Set your ISO / Aperture en speed to the light meter readout, you can underexpose a bit for even more grunginess.

Now place your flashgun on the camera, set the in-camera light meter to Average (not spot or matrix) put the flash in TTL mode (because we are going to be moving a lot) and set the flash gun Zoom function to manual en try something like 100 or 150mm, in combination with a 50mm lens on camera this will look like a small flash was used and it will also create a vignette.

The combination of the long exposure and flash light will give you a very grungy look.

the next step is to take the model and throw her on the bed, next make her move, crawl, rollover and look sexy

Adjust light to taste.


MUA: Sybille De Beuckelaer

Excuusfeesten @ Kortenberg

Runners competition at the Excuusfeesten Kortenberg.

Every year we're invited to make some pictures at this event, always nice to see the difference between the people at the start and at the finish :-)

Al shot with Nikon D700, SB-900 & the AF-d 35mm f2.0 because is didn't want to use the 24-70 as i find the quality crappy, but the Af speed from the 35 Af-d turned out a little slow for sports so a few images are not "spot on" focus