Category Archives: Lightroom Presets

How to Shoot Swimwear Like Victoria’s Secret’s Russell James – (Part 3: The Results)

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we explored how Victoria Secret and Russell James pretty much defined modern day bikini/swimwear photography. After six beach shoots spanning from Malibu, California all the way up to Vancouver, Canada, we got a nice tan, almost dropped a flash into the Pacific ocean, and left with a greater appreciation for Russell’s art and craft.

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To reiterate, the core of Russell’s genius is his artistic vision and playful vibe when working with the models. His style is sexy, healthy, and wholesome. His style is an inspiration to us at iLHP and though no one can replicate Russell besides Russell himself, we do hope to share our own interpretation.

A Shallow Depth of Field

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Yaroslava Kharchenko basking in the sun on a Malibu beach. Processed in Lightroom with the “VS Style Strong Matte +1EV” preset, available below.

Russell’s style is defined by a shallow depth-of-field so shoot wide-open with you 50mm or 85mm portrait lens. A 135mm will work great also but we found that we were a bit too far from the model and a lot more shouting was involved.

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Yaroslava Kharchenko and Candice Swanepoel. The stunning Yaroslava wearing TeenyB Bikinis at Malibu, California. Processed in Lightroom with the “California Sky +1EV” preset, available below.

Bring along a set of ND filters so you can keep your shutter speeds at reasonable speeds. I used very dark ND8 filters in front of my lenses so if I needed to use flash, my shutter would not exceed my non-TTL flash’s maximum sync speed of 1/160. If you use high-speed sync, you can make due with lighter ND filters.

Continue reading How to Shoot Swimwear Like Victoria’s Secret’s Russell James – (Part 3: The Results)

5 Reasons You Should Try Digital Holga Portraits

Remember when life wasn’t so complicated, when there wasn’t a million things to remember, and when photography wasn’t a serious hobby but just . . . for fun? Holga remembers.

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A featherweight at 38g. A bargain at $15.

There is freedom in simplicity. You can pour over MTF graphs online and ridiculous DxO Mark scores, or you can do-it-yourself and experiment with something deliciously old school.

As I’ve mentioned recently, I’m in love with this $15-25 plastic Holga lens. We took it out to the LA Arts District, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica Pier for several model test shoots.

The Holga lens is available for a variety of focal lengths and mounts. We used a 25mm f/8 for our Sony A7, but other versions are available as follows:

5. The Lovely 35mm Film Look

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Peyton Lake rocking her AC DCs in the back of a 325i. Makeup by Jordan Takeda. Image processed with the Terry Style Clean preset for Adobe Lightroom.

Digital is clean, precise, and sterile. Film has a texture to it, or as Patrick Bateman might say, “the tasteful thickness of it.” But the problem with 35mm film is the time, expense, and effort of dealing with a physical media, not to mention, the way we consume photography has long changed from printed photo to digital websites.

Continue reading 5 Reasons You Should Try Digital Holga Portraits

The $15 Holga 25mm f/8 Plastic Fantastic Lens

Its images feel like old movies, childhood toys, or fond ex girlfriends. It is riddled with optical flaws and its image circle can’t even cover a cropped sensor, but it takes us back to the roots of photography and camera obscura. It is $15, utterly uncomplicated, and, without a doubt, the funnest lens I’ve used in a very very long time.

Processed in Lightroom with the “Holga Cool Sides Warm Center” preset, available below.
Processed in Lightroom with the “Holga Cool Sides Warm Center” preset, available below.

The lens is the Holga 25mm f/8. The Holga brand name is synonymous with the plastic fantastic 120 medium format film camera you can purchase in every Urban Outfitters across America. At the core of Lomography’s lo-fidelity philosophy is the idea that photography is meant to be impulsive, spontaneous, and fun. And now, for the first time, it is digital.

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Processed in Lightroom with the “Holga Cool Sides Warm Center” preset, available below.

We explore the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in downtown LA and then take a short road trip to Pasadena, California. We mount the Holga on our Sony A7 and Sony A5000. No more expensive 120 film and waiting for the it to develop. No more fiddling with plastic cameras without any preview.

Continue reading The $15 Holga 25mm f/8 Plastic Fantastic Lens

How to Shoot like Annie Leibovitz – (Part 3: The Results)

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we explored how Annie Leibovitz created one of the most iconic fashion photography looks of the recent decades and the few pieces of lighting equipment we needed to emulate her style. It has been an enlightening learning process and we would like to share our final results with you.

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Annie Leibovitz shooting Michael Kors for Vanity Fair. Click for behind the scenes video.

Apologies are in order for the belatedness of this Part 3. As multiple readers have questioned and asked, I kept putting off this article because it was hard to sum up what was a difficult project. It was much more involving than my Terry Richardson series. It was also a lot more expensive. My admiration for Ms. Leibovitz has only increased since we took this journey.

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Annie Leibovitz shooting Kate Upton for Vanity Fair’s 100th anniversary cover. Click for video.

To reiterate, the core of Annie’s genius is her vision and her ability to connect with her models. Her style is painterly, timeless, and haute couture. Her style is an inspiration to us at iLHP and though no one can replicate Annie besides Annie herself, we do hope to share our own interpretation.

Continue reading How to Shoot like Annie Leibovitz – (Part 3: The Results)

How to Shoot like Terry Richardson – (Part 3: The Results)

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we explored the look and setup used by Terry Richardson to achieve his iconic and rule breaking style of fashion photography. After eight photo shoots spanning from Boston all the way to California, we are finally wrapping up this photo study. I’ll break down what I’ve learned over these eight shoots, give some insight into the shooting process, and also provide some helpful post-processing tips on achieving the Terry-inspired look yourself.

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Candice Swanepoel with Terry Richardson, image from terrysdiary.com

To reiterate, the core of Terry’s genius is his ability to connect with the models. His style is raw, uncensored, and full of energy. His style is an inspiration to us at iLHP and though no one can replicate Terry besides Terry himself, we do hope to share our own interpretation.

Continue reading How to Shoot like Terry Richardson – (Part 3: The Results)