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Photographer Kale Friesen explains how to be a pro fashion photographer without an expensive equipment

6/25/2013 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

In this exclusive post, Professional Photographer Kale Friesen explains to ISO1200 readers how to get professional results in fashion photography only with a Fuji X-E1, a  flash and imagination:

As one of the X- Photographers I was asked by Fujfilm to put together a promotional video that would show my real world experience with the brand new Fujinon 55mm-200mm f3.5-4.8 R LM OIS lens.

Immediately I was pumped about the proposal from Fujifilm because they basically said, do whatever you want, the magic words ! As I was brainstorming about what I was going to do in 1 weeks time... (deadlines),almost immediately the word 'apparition' came to mind, so I built the story and ideas for the shoot around this word and assembled a small team of creative people that could help me bring the idea to life.

A very important part of the idea from the beginning was 'golden hour' light but Spring time in Vancouver is pretty much 95% grey, overcast skies so the chance of me getting that great golden hour light was extremely slim. Just as I suspected the forecast called for overcast, light rain so I decided on a simple fix, a small flash that would mimic the hard,small light source of the sun and a 3/4 CTO gel, voila !

  That was easy. Perhaps I spoke to soon, the bad weather and model canceling the night before tested my deodorant, in the end a great replacement was found and a tiny gel would stand in for the none existent 'golden hour' sunlight.

I love natural light, I love strobe lighting and what I love even more is mixing them together but aesthetically speaking I have some simple ideals I like to stick to, the most important being that the light (IMO) should add to the picture and not be the focal point. I'm just not the guy that will stick a soft box on all my subjects and try and light them like one might in studio, if you are outside enjoy the challenge of mixing the ambient light and your strobe light, mess around with the light ratios, shutter speed and aperture and just see what happens !

As I spend a lot of time working in studio any time I get to shoot on location where I'm mixing natural light and strobes I get really stoked, there always seems to be an element of mystery, an unknown in shooting on location considering a big part of the lighting in your photograph can change quickly with the weather.

Challenges like these for me as a photographer are what keep me inspired to keep taking photographs and this shoot was no different. Having a loose idea of locations and what I wanted to photograph we just set out on our journey to see what would happen.

The first location was only a couple minutes walk in to beautiful, Stanley Park, I saw a huge stump in a solid grove of trees, it was perfect. I had the model jump up on the stump, cover himself in baby powder and wait for me to set up, haha.

 As I mentioned my lighting style is adventurous but simple, so I put the gelled flash behind the model and low, which not being a conventional place for light to come from, I knew would produce something unique, as well, the backlighting would illuminate all the powder particles that were in the air.

 With first location in the bag and I felt a lot better about what moving on to the next ! As the day progressed I purposely tried to keep shooting with the flash setup from as many different angles as I could, I knew the results would give me something unconventional and cool as well I kept the flash low and from below the model to add an oddity to the photographs.

Something I've learned over time is to not be so concerned with a tack sharp, perfectly lit photograph every single time, some of my absolute favourite photographs have been a product of an imperfection, a slow shutter speed, oddly placed strobe, don't be afraid to not only break the rules but forget about them completely.

Behind the scenes

My real hope with this video is that I can inspire other photographers to experiment, get outside their comfort zone and as well, remind them that you don't need fog machines, 7 strobes and a huge team to create something cool, it just takes an idea and some creative solutions. - saids Kale

"Golden hour" with a flash and a 3/4 CTO gel
Sure you got it Kale. Thanks for sharing this amazing post.

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