INTERVIEW: Axel Dupeux shoots Jeff Bridges for Wall Street Journal

My good buddy and awesome photographer Axel Dupeux recently shot Mr. Jeff Bridges for the Wall Street Journal, so I figured this would be a nice opportunity to do an interview with him, regarding his latest shoot with the Hollywood star.
I asked him for an interview and he kindly agreed. So get ready to meet Mr. Axel Dupeux.

A little bio:

I am 32, I was born and raised in Paris, France, exiled in New York since 2005 and loving it.
I shoot portraits for editorial & corporate clients, sometimes for myself.
I have nicer hair than most american photographers. 

You can check my work at www.axeldupeux.com, my blog at www.axeldupeux.com/blog.
I overshare on instagram too: instagram.com/axeldupeux








And a quick look at some of Axel's work:


Delroy Lyn, Broadway, Bushwick/ Personal project
Benjamin Rodriguez, Harman st. Bushwick/personal project

Robert Neuwirth, journalist for Ozy.com

Gary Gunn, musician for The Wall Street journal

Das Racist for Thrasher

Swizz Beatz, musician for Billboard

Mirrorball agency for Adweek


Axel was kind enough to answer all my 11 questions and provide some of the images from the shoot, which will be added along the interview below.
Without further ado, please read on the full interview complete with images:

© Axel Dupeux


Photo Daily Dose: What was the first thing that came through your mind when you heard the words "Hey, we want you to shoot Jeff Bridges for Wall Street Journal”?
Axel Dupeux: FUCK YEAH!
Then they told me I would only have 20 minutes on the following Monday (it was  Friday afternoon) so I had to breathe in a paper bag for a little bit.


Photo Daily Dose: We've all seen Jeff Bridges in movies and he has a very strong presence. Did you at any point feel intimidated?
Axel Dupeux: He does have an incredible natural charisma. As soon as he got in the room, It was like we were all 20 cm smaller. But he is very warm, greets you with a big smile and a tap on the shoulder… It really didn’t feel like the whole Hollywood thing. 
The weekend pre-shooting was the worst of my life. I put a lot of pressure on myself because It was such a great opportunity. 
I haven’t shot that many personalities of this caliber, it was for The Wall Street Journal where you know your photo is going to be seen, and -- bonus point -- It happened to be Jeff Bridges who I am a huge fan of so I really wanted to do good.
By the time I got to the studio on Monday, after a sleepless night and 4 pots of coffee, I was so hyper I could have asked the Dalai Lama to do a keg stand.

Photo Daily Dose: Do you think the fact that Mr. Bridges is a photographer himself had any influence in the result of the photoshoot? If so, do you feel it made your job easier or harder?
Axel Dupeux: That was actually more intimidating to me. Whenever I shoot a photographer, even a friend, I always feel like the guy is thinking "gosh I would do this so much better". And he is in fact an excellent photographer.
It was all good in the end. He was very interested in the process, he even played an old twin lens camera that was there.

© Axel Dupeux
Photo Daily Dose: When shooting this kind of jobs, do you have some sort of a go-to lighting setup that you use most of the time or do you do it differently in every situation?
Axel Dupeux: It might vary a bit but it’s always as simple as possible. Don’t judge.
I just used the same one light set up for both images, the subject was boxed in between black v-flats with a slightly bigger soft lighter umbrella, relatively high above and a little before him with a bunch of white cards wisely placed.
I wanted a lighting that allowed him to move and I didn’t want too many obstacles between him and I. 


Photo Daily Dose: What about pre-planning? What kind of research -- if any -- do you do for these shoots?
Axel Dupeux: I probably did less research than usual -- like when I photograph an obscure finance guy -- because I was so familiar with who he was. I looked at his photographs a lot, read a few interviews, and I imposed a little Jeff Bridges' marathon to my girlfriend: we watched "Crazy Heart" and "The Big Lebowski" on Sunday night.
I did forbid myself to look at other portraits of him to avoid another panic attack.

Photo Daily Dose: What was the most difficult thing about this particular shoot? And the easiest?
Axel Dupeux: The easiest thing was definitely working with Jeff Bridges. As soon as he got on the set, it was ON! He was very professional, joking/jumping around, proposing poses, screaming, it was hard to keep up.
And he has this photogénie I had never witnessed before. It’s just not possible to take a bad picture of the guy, every angle is good, so it was really thrilling to just keep shooting good photos. 

The most difficult thing was having to stop so soon. 
© Axel Dupeux
 
© Axel Dupeux
Photo Daily Dose: If you had to describe your subject in a word, what would it be?
Axel Dupeux: The Dude!


Photo Daily Dose: OK, let's talk about gear now: what did you use and why?
Axel Dupeux: I tend to use digital medium formats more and more. I still rent though; I used a Hasselblad H3DII.
Otherwise I use a Canon 5D mkIII. But I have nothing intelligent to say about it.

I shoot almost constantly with a 50mm or equivalent, I like to photograph in front of me if that makes sense.

Plus they traumatize you in french photo-schools with the whole Cartier-Bresson dogma, 50 mm/no cropping etc. 


Photo Daily Dose: Any particular funny/awkward moment you want to share with us?
Axel Dupeux: At the very end, he grabbed my arms and just gently headbutted my camera. It was very cool. James Weber, who owns studio225, fortunately got a photo of it.
The Wall Street Journal also posted a funny behind-the-scenes, shot by James and my beautiful photo editor Ronnie Weil, on their photoblog here: http://blogs.wsj.com/photojournal/2014/08/14/behind-the-scenes-at-the-jeff-bridges-photo-shoot/
© James Weber

Photo Daily Dose: I've seen your portfolio and you have some amazing portraiture work. Is there any piece of advice you'd like to give to young photographers who want to do what you do for a living?

Axel Dupeux: Each time I talk to my mum before a job or a meeting, she tells me: "Be polite, tuck your shirt in."
So there you go.
Photo Daily Dose: If you could choose the subject of your next portrait, who would you choose?
Axel Dupeux: Barack Obama.



And that's it. As always, feel free to tell me what you think in the comments.

If you haven't already, go take a look at Axel's work and be amazed.

Axel Dupeux
Website: www.axeldupeux.com
Blog: www.axeldupeux.com/blog
Instagram: instagram.com/axeldupeux
Facebook page

Wall Street Journal
Website: online.wsj.com/home-page
Behind the scenes of the shoot at: http://blogs.wsj.com/photojournal/2014/08/14/behind-the-scenes-at-the-jeff-bridges-photo-shoot/

WORKSHOP: Beauty Is In The Light, Lisboa



Sob o comando do internacionalmente premiado fotógrafo João Carlos, este workshop de um dia explora os fundamentos de Moda & Beleza Editorial. Através de situações reais e apoiado por uma  equipa de maquilhadores e cabeleireiros, terá oportunidade de explorar as ideias básicas, os conceitos e componentes da narrativa criativa em fotografia de moda e beauty, assim como aprender a tirar partido das luzes em estúdio. 


 Patrocinado por:



Media Partner:

http://www.imageinprogress.com/


 

 Programa
27 Setembro de 2014 – Das 9h00 às 18h00

- Concepção e planeamento 

Sessão de análise do portefólio dos participantes - Os alunos são convidados a trazer um portfólio de não mais de 10 imagens em formato impresso ou digital em seus portáteis e / ou iPads, que serão analisadas e criticadas neste primeiro dia.

- Preparação da sessão

- Trabalho com a equipa criativa

- Iluminação interior

- Direcção de Arte

- Direcção dos modelos


NÚMERO MÁXIMO DE PARTICIPANTES:
 - Grupo Mínimo: 6, Grupo Máximo: 25


MATERIAL ESSENCIAL:

- Câmara fotográfica

- Objectivas

- Computador portátil



LOCALIZAÇÃO:

- Lisboa - G9 Studio
Rua Garcia de Orta 17B 1200-677 Lisboa



INCLUI:

- Sessões em estúdio

- Sorteio de brindes dos patrocinadores (Koy Lab e SanDisk) pelos participantes

- 10% de descontos para membros da APPImagem

- Presença de um Juiz Homologador da APPImagem

- Descontos na compra de revistas "Image in Progress" - mais informação em:
http://www.imageinprogress.com/joao


EXCLUI:

- Transporte até aos locais de formação

- Refeições

- Qualquer aspecto não mencionado como incluído.



Formador:

João Carlos




Trabalhando a partir de Lisboa, Londres e Nova York, o fotógrafo Luso Americano João Carlos aborda as suas fotografias na perspetiva de um pintor, transmitindo emoções através de narrativas visionárias, cenários ricos e imagens que se baseiam sobretudo na luz natural.

João é especialmente influenciado pelo séc. XVIII e combina influências desta época com ideias fantasiosas derivadas de romances, letras de canções e poemas que juntos formam uma forte imagem. João encara a sua fotografia como uma oportunidade de criar peças de arte inspiradoras, de ir além do convencionalismo e da impermanência da fotografia de moda e comercial, e de elevar as suas imagens a um duradouro nível de bela arte. O seu gosto pelas artes em geral continua a inspirá-lo e a motivá-lo a capturar estórias com a sua lente.

O trabalho de João Carlos tem sido apresentado em várias publicações como a Forbes Magazine, The Rake, Umbigo Magazine, Publico, Elle France, WallPaper, Vogue Itália e Nstyle, entre outras.

Em 2009 foi galardoado com o Hasselblad Masters Award, sendo o primeiro português a receber este prémio: Em 2012 torna-se membro do Hasselblad Masters Jury e vence o Digital Photographer of the Year Award (UK). Para além disso, faz parte da Sandisk Extreme Team, da Westcott Top Pro Team, da Aviator Camera Gear Pro Team, é embaixador da Koy Lab e está também ligado a marcas como a 3 Legged Thing.

  • // Local: G9 Studio - Rua Garcia de Orta 17B 1200-677 Lisboa
  • // Data: sábado, 27 de Setembro de 2014
  • // Preço: 150.00 €
Reservas e mais informações: joaocarlosphoto@gmail.com

PHOTOSHOP TUTORIAL: The Polaroid Look

This is a very quick post, with a video tutorial made by Gina Hernandez using one of my images.
It is a detailed explanation of all the post-processing work behind this final look that replicates a polaroid image.

I hope you like it and if you have any doubts please drop me a line in the comments.





These images were part of an editorial shoot and you can see what the finished product looks like below. On a side note i'ts important to mention that there was no make-up or hair because of the Mercura sunglasses used and Vintage caps. The model was the pretty Katy from Sandra Reynolds Uk and the Art direction and styling was done by yours truly.
















Have a nice week!





WORKSHOP: Beauty is in the Light, at Uniquephoto


I am very excited to announce my next workshop at Uniquephoto: Beauty is in the Light.
It will take place in New Jersey on August 16 and you can read more about it (and sign up for it!) HERE.

I've worked with Uniquephoto before and had a great time, so I'm really looking forward for this next workshop with them.





In this workshop, we will explore the fundamentals of Fashion, Beauty and Editorial Photography, while working with professional models, make-up artist and hair stylist. It's an amazing opportunity to raise your photography to the next level.

We'll cover a wide range of topics, such as:

- Conceptualizing and Planning
- Working with your Creative Team
- Pre-shoot briefing
- Stylists
- Model Casting
- Make-up and Hair
- Preparations
- Camera and Lens Selection
- Art Direction
- Model Direction
- Post Shoot and Processing




Also, make sure you bring a 20 image portfolio (either in print or in digital format) to be reviewed and critiqued.


Here are some video testimonials along with some BTS images from my latest workshop at Uniquephoto:



video
video







Don't forget to visit the workshop's page at http://www.uniquephoto.com/event/318
And if you still have any doubts or suggestions, please leave a comment and I'll get back to you ASAP.

Have a great day everyone and I hope to see you guys in New Jersey on the 16th!

How I shot the LRRH Advertising Campaign




























This is a very very overdue blog post. The new year has long come and gone and I don't have any good excuses for my absence here on the blog except that I've been uber busy. I won't bore you with the details, though. Let's get to business and start talking about this recent project that is one of my favorites so far.

I was contacted by a producer from a major advertising agency here in Lisbon; my name had been referred to them. I find that's still the best way to get new work and clients -- via referral. After the art director and creative director had seen my work and thought I could be a good fit for the project they had at hand, we set up a meeting to discuss the project and they asked me to bring in my print portfolio so they could look over it again. I find most Art directors and magazine editors are tired of seeing portfolios on iPads or Tablet, they still love my custom hand tailored Koylab print Album, I will post soon about creating the perfect print Portfolio. Ok, back to my scheduled post. The brief was to create a 30 plus image campaign for an international tool company. The concept was to create a DIY Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH). She would do everything from mowing the lawn and cutting firewood to tuning an engine, washing her sports car and changing a flat tire. This was one serious kick ass LRRH.
The first thing they did was showing me the mood board and ilustrations (I have included them in this post because this is where it all began: at the advertising agency at the hand of the creatives) so we would have a starting point and move from there. I really love working with agencies and developing a concept.

In this case the illustrations gave me a great sense of the character, but since my team and I were to create over 30 images that would be used for a 2014 Calendar, for their catalogue, billboards, website and magazines adverts , we needed to develop a lot more scenarios. All of the images were created during a week-long shoot (4 days of pre-production and location scouting and 5 days of actual shooting), where some scenarios were created or adapted on location.

Here are some of the images with the final layout and copy:

 

Below is the full behind the scenes video of Little Red Riding Hood advertising campaign for Central Lobão ("Big Wolf Central"), a portuguese company specialized in hand tools, power tools, electric and lighting material.






HOW I SHOT IT

Like I said before, all of the images were shot in just 5 days, which is not a lot of time if you think about it. Everything had to be rigorously planned beforehand so we could be in the right locations at the right time -- the light changes throughout the day so we planned the shooting in a way that we could move from one location to the next while taking advantage of the light I wanted on each location. This meant we had to move fast if we wanted to be on schedule.

Above: the planning sheet for the whole campaign


Besides natural light, I used a total of five Profoto ProHeads and one ProRing 2 Plus, with three Profoto Pro B3 1200 generators along with a Profoto Beauty dish. I also used some Westcott ReflectorsScrim Jims  and one of my favorites, the 5' Pro Signature Octabank and 18X24 Bruce Dorn Pro Asymmetrical strip bank to have absolute control over my lighting.
I also used a total of 16 different SanDisk CF cards to store my files quickly and safely while shooting  I used 2 G-Technology external hard drives for backups.
To keep everyone happy on set, I used my Anker portable bluetooth speaker connected to either the models  phone or make up artist phone  to play some music for everyone.

My lighting setups for the entire series were a little different from image to image although some of them used the same setup. For example for the LRRH chainsaw and axe shots, we used the same lighting setup: My main light source was a Profoto Pro B3 1200 generator with a Beauty dish (aka soft light reflector) on a ProHead and then five ProHeads with zoom refelectors were placed strategically in the forest to create depth and mystery to the images. We also used a smoke machine to create a layer of fog and moodiness in the chainsaw image.

Here's my lighting setup for these two images:


And here are the final results:




There was just a lot of natural light everywhere on the back of my viewfinder, so to reduce that I shot with a black fabric covering my head and the camera most of the time. I also always shot with my camera on a 3LT Tripod. When shooting a campaign that has multiple layouts for each image, I prefer to play it safe and shoot with a Tripod. It not only gives me better stability, but I always shoot the location without the model in case I need a clean canvas for multiple layouts. Since I spend a lot of hours a day shooting bent over and in awkward positions, the tripod also helps relieve a little of that pain and get over all uncomfortableness. All my photographer friends suffer from some sort of back or neck problems and proper use of a tripod along with the correct camera bag and camera strap can help reduce all of those issues.








The next image I would like to tell you about is this one:


This is one of the images where our LRRH is mowing the lawn and apparently there's not much to it in terms of lighting, but as you can see from the following behind the scenes images, it took quite a setup to achieve this look:
Above: a BTS view of the set. I used 4 different lights and a reflector.
  
I was shooting with a Hasselblad H3D with a 28mm lens and a ProRing 2 Plus attached to it.

For a better understanding of the image, here's the full lighting setup:
We had another shot for the same location with a big lawnmower and, while the overall feeling of the image is very similar, I took a slightly different approach in terms of lighting.

Take a look at the final image:

...A quick look at what happened behind-the-scenes:


...And the full lighting setup I used for this one:



As you can see, there are a few differences in the setups of these two images. I took the ring flash off of my camera and moved it a little to the side (that's something I do quite often, actually) to add more depth. It's all about keeping your vision in mind and using the right tools to achieve it.

Moving on to other images, there's this one I really like:
It was shot inside Little Red Riding Hood's workshop/garage (I told you she was a bad-ass!), in which you can see her cute little red car as well as all the tools she uses for her projects. I wanted LRRH to stand out from the rest, so I used the Profoto ProRing 2 Plus (this time, attached to my 28mm lens) as my main light. Then I had a ProHead with an 5' Pro Signature Octabank to my right working as a fill light. Finally I placed another ProHead, this one with an zoom reflector, next to the fill light and aimed at the background. There was also a window to my right, although the light coming from it didn't contribute that much to the scene.

Here is the full setup:
Again, I had my Hasselblad H3DII on a 3 Legged Thing tripod the whole time.


Here's another image shot in the same place, with a slightly different setup:
The setup:
And some behind the scenes images:


Later that day we even made it snow. In Portugal. In July. Yep!

Here's how we did it:
That's a snow machine on top of the ladder.

How I lit it:

And the final result:

Central Lobão had this amazing sculpture of a wolf at their facilities and they wanted to include it in some of the images. After seeing the sculpture, I realized it was too big and heavy for us to shoot it on location so I knew I had to shoot it there and add it to the location shots in post.
I did the location shots first, leaving enough space to add the sculpture later and keeping my lighting consistent between the different images. That way, I was able to shoot the sculpture later using a similar lighting and allowing for a seamless compositing afterwards.



This is also one of my favorites from the campaign.


And then there's this one:
For this shot, we had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. in order to be at the location and setting things up around 5:30 so we could start shooting at 6:00 a.m..
Because there was a huge difference in lighting between the sky and the castle for instance, I knew I had to light everything separately and then combine the different images in post. I shot the model and the car first, then I had my 3 assistants hold some strobes and direct them at different parts of the castle as I shot several images of the it. And finally I did an exposure for the sky.
Having my camera on a tripod made this job a lot easier.

Here's my lighting setup for the model and car:



Last but not least, we had to create some studio images on a white background. So we looked for a big enough room in the company's facilities and set up a studio there:
 
They were all lit using the ProRing 2 Plus right above my camera, as shown in the image and a Beauty dish above and slightly behind me. Then I had two 18X24 Bruce Dorn Pro Asymmetrical as rim lights and two ProHeads with zoom reflectors as background lights.

Take a look at the full setup:
And some results:
 

All in all, it was a very fun project to work in. It took a lot of hard work and dedication but in the end it all paid off.
I hope you found this post informative and if you have any doubts, please don't hesitate to drop me a line in the comments.

Thank you very much for reading. I'll leave you with some BTS images as well as some more final shots and all the information about the team that made this possible and the gear we used to make it happen.

Have a nice and creative day everyone!

More images from the campaign:





One of the billboards from this campaign. Shot with my iPhone.
BTS:











TEAM:
Agency: Ivity Brand Corp.
Photography & Production: Joao Carlos - www.joaocarlosphoto.com
Model: Inês Jindrich \ Best Models
Make Up & Hair: Alex Me
Post Production: Alexandre Garcia
Photo Assistants: Hugo José, Diego Veríssimo, Filipe Safara
BTS Video: Maria Rita
Snow machine: Artists Group
Grip \ Rental: PG Photografica
Thank you to the town of Santa Maria da Feira

Equipment used in the creating of this campaign:
Hasselblad - http://www.hasselbladusa.com
Canon - http://www.canon.com
SanDisk - http://www.sandisk.com
Profoto - http://profoto.com
3 Legged Thing - http://www.3leggedthing.com
Westcott - http://fjwestcott.com
Think Tank Photo - http://www.thinktankphoto.com
G-Technology -  http://www.g-technology.com
Anker -  http://www.ianker.com

Lighting setups created using Sylights - http://www.sylights.com