Friday, October 11, 2013

Goddess of the Aegean - Anatomy of a Playboy pictorial



As a Playboy photographer I travel a lot. Sometimes it is impractical or even impossible for me to use heavy-duty studio lighting gear on location. Luckily, no matter where I am, inside the studio or outside in the field, light follows the same laws of physics.



Learning about lighting is a process that lasts a lifetime. Very few people can confidently say that they know all about it. The key to great lighting is not to accurately simulate reality, but to create the right environment for visual storytelling. Using daylight and continuous lighting in photography is a consistent and predictable affair. But no job can be done without a proper understanding of your equipment and knowing how the light performs.


For this pictorial of Katarina Benček, just published in Playboy Slovenia, we used nature's greatest gift, the sunlight. Large white surfaces that make those Greek houses look so sexy were used to reflect the light in a very natural way. Good lighting should be like good plastic surgery -you never can tell it is there. All the light that was not provided from the environment was brought in with the reflectors. Sometimes four feet of reflective surface was enough, other times we used 8x6' for the desired effect. 

Shooting a pictorial like this would be impossible without a great team of people that helped on the way. They were all skilled photographers yet always ready to give a hand, eagerly grabbing the reflector or carrying heavy equipment across steep staircases of tiny boutique hotels. It was a true team effort and many thanks go out to STC for making it an amazing experience. It is a perfect case of turning ideas into actions and bringing home results that can speak for themselves. Regardless of what happens, you have to deliver. The editors cannot publish your excuses.

Photographers of today are challenged as they never have been before. The imaging industry increasingly requires them to have a wide-ranging skill set, combining technical proficiency and creativity. The value of an aesthetically pleasing product is bigger than it ever was because there is a virtual flood of average images out there filling our everyday lives. There always has been and always will be high demand for great photographs. Great, not “less average”. So remember to always add sparkle to your pictures. And a touch of your soul.

Check out the "Making Of" video here!