Book of Dreams

Blue Mountain Photographic Arts featuring Kate Ri

Book of Dreams
Book of dreams

A dark, cold evening mid-January. I’m trying to maneuver the car through the heavy evening traffic in the hearth of Brussels. May if I can take a speed lane I still can make it on time for my shoot with Kate Ri at 6:30 pm.

6:20 pm. Still ten minutes to find a parking spot and hurry up to the shooting location.

I will meet Kate in a Brussels guesthouse called “Louise sur Cour”. The Neo-classical style house dates from the 19th century but is renovated with great attention paid to conserving heritage.

Just in time (as usual), I’m at the guest house’s front door, texting Kate that I’ll wait outside. Once entered, I discover what a wonderful place the building is: a successful combination of 19th century architecture with a respectful and daring renovation, decorated with art works and exceptional furniture.

Situated at the second floor, Kate’s bedroom seems to be pretty common in regard to the rest of the building. But then she shows me the hidden bathroom. A paradise to use as a shooting location.

Enjoy the pictures as much as I did when creating them.

Kate In The Mirror
Kate in the mirror
So Sweet
So sweet

 

About Kate Ri:

Kate is a travelling model, originally from Belarus but actual residing in Warsaw. Being a fulltime model, she crosses Europe to cooperate with hundreds of photographers.

She is a very experienced model. a real nice person, very easygoing and laid-back. To me it was a pleasure to work with her.

In case you like to find out more about her, please visit her blog: Kate Ri – travelling model

 

A Girl I Think I Used To Know
A girl I think I used to know
Everything Is Quiet Now
Everything Is quiet now
Memories of a traveling girl
Memories of a traveling girl
Foam Bath Tenderness
Foam bath tenderness

 

 

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From Lena with Love

Blue Mountain Photographic Arts featuring Lena Filanea

That Look You Give That Guy.jpg

All By Myself

The White Wall

Blue Mountain Photographic Arts featuring Alena

Last week I had a studio shoot in Holland with Alena, a Ukraine born and 21 years young. A stunning, funny, little lady.

As a studio setup, we choose for a plain white background. No accessories. Only the model in front of the camera, without any stuff that could disturb her presence.

You can view and enjoy some the shoot results below.

 

See you later,

Ben.

 

 

Alena in violet

Blue Diamond

Dance Of The Black Swan

New Sensation

Wild hearts, blue jeans & white shirts

It could've been her golden hair

Three times a lady

Three black and white portraits all shot at more or less the same angle.

Three different models, each one with her own typical facial expression.

Thanks for the times that you’ve given me
The memories are all in mind
And now that we’ve come
To the end of our rainbow
There’s something I must say out loud!

Your once, twice
Three times a lady
And I love you
Yes, your once, twice
Three times a lady
And I love you!

Lionel Ritchie

 

Sensualité
SensualitéPhotography by Ben De Winter – In frame: Lena Filanea (Ukraine)

 

The Cats In The Cradle
The Cats In The Cradle – Photography by Ben De Winter – In frame: Ija Del Mar (Belgium)

 

Black On White
Black On White – Photography by Ben De Winter – Model: Anna (Ukraine)

 

Do me a favor and leave me a reply to let me know which you like the most!

 

See you again soon!

Ben.

5 things I freaking hate as a photographer

Photographers are a friendly enough bunch, but there are some things that really get on our nerves. They’re those little things that happen again and again, each time to break down our willpower to not freak out just a little bit more. So in honor of frustrated photographers everywhere, I present you the things happening that I really hate.

Discovering your own terrible reprocessed images on social media

          What you created            What they put on Instagram

First off, stop doing this. It might be a violation of the contract you signed when you hired your photographer. Secondly, if you do it, and someone asks who took the picture, do me a favor and lie. I don’t want the credit. I don’t want to see my name or my business linked to a terrible reprocessed image.

“Can I get all the original RAW photos from the shoot?”

I completely understand why someone might think this is a reasonable question, but from a photographers point of view it shoot never happen. I never provide models or clients with every single image taking during the shoot. I never provide them unedited photos.

Going through the unedited images would be like watching a science fiction movie without the special effects or the mood creating music added. Or to say it with Daniela Bowker’s words:

thingsphotographershate-8

Terrible photography clichés

Some photography trends absolutely need to die. Let them go, even on your social media pages. I know it will be hard, but it will be worth!.

It’s my personal opinion that the worst of all trends are those  one full colored items in a monochrome picture.

thingsphotographershate-10

Every new photographer, everyone who starts post processing images (including me when I first started) tries this. It might even be fun now and then. But when you are looking through your portfolio and find tens of those images, I’m convinced you have a problem and need to seek professional help.

 

Competition with cell phone images

It will sound familiar to a lot of photographers. When previewing the first raw results of a shoot together with the client, you receive the comment that your client takes better pictures with his smart phone.

Of course, they look better on the small cell phone screen. That’s why we call it a ‘smart’ phone: a phone that postprocesses the image at the moment it is captured.

While it’s true that high-end smartphones now boast incredible specs, they still lack the versatility and functionality of DSLRs. In addition, smartphones are more portable, less bulky and allow you to share your pictures easily with contacts.

Despite these advantages, DSLRs win hands down when capturing a variety of photographic scenarios: a digital camera takes sharper portraits, works better at capturing subjects with an external flash, and performs exceptionally when shooting in low-light situations.

Every client or model should be aware one can’t compare an unedited photo taken with a DSLR with an image snapped on a cell phone. Only when comparing the final results, after postprocessing, a fair comparison can be made.

 

“Gorgeous photo! You must have a great camera”

No matter how good you are, some people will always say it was the camera.

The truth is: I shoot with very basic and cheap equipment. Most of my pictures are taken with a Nikon D3300: a low budget but great performance entry-level camera, allowing high resolution shots at low price. But it is an entry-level camera that can’t be compared to high budget professional equipment.

To get that ‘gorgeous’ photo, other aspects are more important than the value of your camera: inspiration, motivation, photography skills and the art to direct a model to name a few. I’ve spent a lot of time to improve my skills. Before every shoot, I consider for hours and hours about the theme and how to visualize it.

The statement above has the amazing ability to wipe it all away and make me look like nothing but a monkey with a magic camera.

 

 

Anytime you also want to let off steam…… you can come into my room.

 

See you,

Ben.

 

 

 

 

 

A Dark Concept

Blue Mountain Photographic Arts featuring Stephanie Ballet

 

A few weeks ago I had the honor of creating a stylized studio shoot with Belgian model Stephanie.

Sometimes you like to create a portrait that just screams drama and emotion. Sometimes that emotion might be joy, but this time the idea was to portray a sort of dark, brooding atmosphere.

To achieve this, a dark, dramatic scene was set up, using a single light source to produce some facial shadows. I dare to say, nothing is quite like the effect of low-key lighting to show drama in an image.

A Dark Concept

 

Stephanie is a model I love to work with. She is an absolutely beautiful young woman both inside and out. You can find more of her works on her model profile page.

Black Tears

Take Me To Some Twilight Land

 

 

I also was very lucky and grateful to collaborate with the amazing Anne-Sophie Conickx of Grimmik who did an absolutely phenomenal make up job. Her work is just beautiful and I want to give my dearest thanks to her!

Special thanks also to Yvonne van Ingen – Verheijen from Fantasy Design for letting us use the wonderful dress.

 

TheLongWalkHome

I hope you enjoyed looking through these photos as much as I enjoyed creating them!

5 struggles for a starting model photographer

My personal top 5 struggles and how to deal with them

 

Landscapes, wildlife, architecture or abandoned places are all fun to shoot. But sooner or later most photographers want to take the plunge to photograph people. Whether you are an experienced photographer or just a newbie who loves taking pictures, during your first steps as a model photographer you will certainly face some of the following struggles.

 

  1. Mastering the light

WhatIfLoveReallyExistedStudio shot – Model: Chiara Bianchino (Italy)

I happened to me many many times and I still need to pay lots of attention to it with every shot I take. You take a picture, check its result on the camera display and wow… it’s beautiful! The colours seem to be bright, the lighting is well balanced and your model is illuminated in the right way. But once you’ve uploaded the picture to your laptop and view it on the big screen it’s… awful. There is a terrible shadow under the models’ chin, one side of the face is overexposed, the shadow on the wall is really disturbing…

Good lighting is a critical component of portraiture, so one really needs to master it. One of your best friend in mastering the light in an easy way can be YouTube, where you can find lots of tutorials discussing the topic.

And of course, you can improve your lighting techniques a lot by self-study. Do not only spend time on viewing your successful images, also take a close look to the awful ones. Ask yourself the question what went wrong and how you would be able to do better next time.

 

  1. Finding models

An experienced photographer in possession of a nice portfolio won’t have a lot of trouble in finding new faces. A professional photographer can hire models as part of his shoot. But for an amateur of newbie without a decent portfolio, finding a model can be a real torture, especially when you’re looking for a model to perform a nude shoot. It’s something that I struggled with when I was first starting out. I wanted to try shooting nudes, but didn’t know where to find a model.

However don’t give up: potential models are all around. My models come from many different sources:

Workshops

Workshops are a great option when you are just starting out – they let someone else find the models for you. Attending workshops is also a great way to start building your portfolio so that you have some work to show to prospective models.

Group photo shoots

Organized shoot events are a great alternative to workshops in case you want to find nude models – especially when you don’t have any nude images in your portfolio to show to potential models.

Online models

Looking for models online can be an adventure. If you search for modeling web sites, you will discover that there are many to choose from.  Sometimes you need to become a member of the site to really see anything, but many sites are free or offer a free level of membership with some limited capabilities. I regularly book models through PurplePort of Model Mayhem.

Facebook and Facebook Groups

The people you’ll find in Facebook groups for models are generally freelance and non-agency models – but that doesn’t mean they can’t do the job, and do it well.

 

  1. Finding shooting locations

A photo studio is, of course, a great shooting location – if you have access to one. But most any place can be used as a setting for nude photographs as long as you can get some privacy. Some of my favorite images have been created in unlikely locations.

Your home or the model’s home

A potential shooting location can be your home or the model’s home. If a model is a little apprehensive about posing nude, she may feel more comfortable in familiar surroundings. There is a risk, of course: unless you’ve seen your model’s home, you have no idea what you are walking into. Sometimes it’s a great place to shoot, and other times there isn’t much to work with.

A Touch of Blue

Model: Nika (Czech Republic) – Shot at the model’s place

Old, abandoned buildings

Old, abandoned buildings make a great setting for nudes, though you should be sure that it is truly abandoned; otherwise you may be trespassing. It would also be best if the building is in an out-of-the-way location, to reduce the likelihood of unexpected visitors. If possible, it is always a good idea to have an assistant to act as a lookout, whenever shooting in a location where someone could happen by.

Natural Settings

Natural settings, such as woods, mountains, lakes, seashores, and rivers, are wonderful places to shoot nudes. A nude body just fits in as a part of nature. The problem is ensuring an appropriate degree of privacy. You will definitely need to get off of the beaten path to find a good place to photograph nudes. Again, an assistant/lookout is very helpful. The ideal situation is to find private property where you can shoot – with the owner’s permission, of course.

Autumn Chill

Outdoor shoot – Model: Lena Filanea (Ukraine)

The Studio

Since you have total control of the light and the surroundings, a studio is a great place to shoot nudes. You will also have all of the privacy you need. Often, conveniences such as a bathroom and a dressing room with a mirror will also be available for your use. In many cases, you can set up a temporary studio in your home. All you really need is enough open space.

Then you started to tell a story

Shot at the home studio – Model: Ija Del Mar (Belgium)

  1. Self-doubt

Sometimes when I finish an image, I first send it to a friend to get her opinion. Sometimes she says yes, while on other moments she asks me what I was trying to achieve. And occasionally she just gives me a critical negative feedback. It’s all perfectly acceptable, but don’t ask to advise for every image you produce. Being too critical can be detrimental to our own progress and it also hinders our growth especially comparing ourselves to others.

 

  1. Things getting in the shot

I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me. The model takes a perfect pose, she has this sensual look in her eyes, light is in balance and the composition is close to perfection… but something really disturbing shows up in the background. It might be a light stand, an object against the wall or an ugly tree branch right next to the model.

Of course editing and post processing the pictures always is an option, but to me this is not the most interesting part of the creative process. To avoid frustration, look in advance and frame in a correct way.

 

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time!