I spent a big part of my month of July working on two new projects. One of the biggest rewards for me is to build a relationship with a brand and one of my closest and ongoing relationships is with Koy Lab, my Portfolio Printer. Both brands, Koy Lab and my own Joao Carlos Media, share the same principles and values: we believe in Quality, Creativity and creating beautiful one of a kind pieces of art for our clients. While I was in the process of creating my brand new Portfolios (blog post about that in the works) I had an idea that I wasn't really sure I was going to be able to pull off.

On July 27th I had the opportunity to create an amazing campaign for Koy Lab. It was only a one day shoot but it was very intense.
We created a dress made out of photo albums just for this shoot -- it was going to be the center piece of the shoot and had to look amazing. It was built from scratch by very talented people: Li Francisco and the Koy Lab team and took a lot of time, talent and effort.


The end result was absolutely amazing and as soon as I saw it, I knew it would look beautiful in the final images.
The dress was big, heavy and fragile so we needed to handle it with extreme care and it took us some time to disassemble/assemble and move it from one location to the other. Luckily I was working with an extremely talented model and team and everything turned out fine in the end.

Then, after arriving at the location -- a beautiful theater -- the first step was to assemble the dress again and set everything up in the first room where we were shooting.

We shot that first location (more on that later) and after a quick lunch, we moved to the second location of the day -- the main room of the theater. It was a beautiful room, but a very big one, so lighting would be a challenge. This is my lighting setup with some BTS images:


I used the Westcott 5' Pro Signature Octabank, along with a Profoto Beauty Dish, aka a White Softlight Reflector. For fill, I added a Westcott 7' Silver Parabolic Umbrella and a Profoto silver reflector.
There was a smoke machine behind the book and I also had a strobe with a Rosco E-Colour #021: Gold Amber gel aimed at the smoke to add some sense of fantasy. Finally two more strobes (again, with Rosco E-Colour #021: Gold Amber gels) were positioned strategically in the room to light the ceiling and the countertops.
It was all shot on a PhaseOne 645DF+, with a Schneider Kreuznach 55mm LS f/2.8 lens and an IQ280 digital back. The strobes were triggered by a Profoto Air Remote and my memory cards of choice were some 64GB and 128GB SanDisk Extreme Pro CF cards.
For tripods, I used a Brian and an Eddie from 3 Legged Thing.

These are the final images and the BTS video:

The images are being featured on Photokina right now, so be sure to drop by Koy Lab's booth at Hall 9, C18/D13 and see it for yourself.

Director + DP - João Carlos -- www.joaocarlosphoto.com
Camera - Pedro Davim
Editor - Maria Rita
Designer - Li Francisco
Assistants - Diego Veríssimo, João Ferreira, Joana Lourenço
Model - Joana Colaço
Hair - Elsa Brandão
Make Up - Alex Me
Production assistant - Lucy
Post-production & 3D - My Shot Studio, João Costa
Thanks to - Pedro Reigoto, Marta Braga, Rita Chuva, Nelson Rodrigues and the Koy Lab Production Team, Samsung Portugal, Teatro Circo Braga, SanDisk

Equipment used in the creating of this campaign:
Profoto - http://profoto.com
3 Legged Thing - http://www.3leggedthing.com
Think Tank Photo - http://www.thinktankphoto.com

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

HOLAS Advertising, Catalogue and BTS images

Holas Beachwear is an awesome new men's beachwear clothing line. I was given the opportunity of shooting their first adverts and their next adverts are on my creative desk to shoot in a couple weeks. Holas SS14 was entirely shot in one very long day. Their collection was basically broken down into 4 lines: St. Tropez, Sicily, Rio De Janeiro and Ibiza. The biggest challenge was shooting around 20 images in one day with multiple location changes during the day. So that meant making the most of each location and hope the weather would hold up by the end of the day. 
So for this shoot the location was crucial. I had to find a place that I could easily pull of for different location styles in one. After many phone calls, hours online researching and a day of driving around location scouting, I finally was granted authorizations to a great backdrop for part of the shoot at hand.
It was a great Hotel -- Hotel Arribas -- that not only had an Olympic sized swimming pool, but was also next to a gorgeous beach AKA Praia das Maçãs.

After guaranteeing my first location with authorizations and budgets, and after the client saw my location scouting images, he chose two other fairly close beaches where we could get a different type of rock formations along with a different look and feel for the images taken there. When I location scout I use an application called Sun seeker as it helps me plan the day's shoot. It provides a flat view compass and an augmented reality camera 3-D view showing the solar path, its hour intervals, its winter and summer solstice paths, rise and set times and more and a map view showing solar direction for each daylight hour.

My gear for the day was pretty simple for the most part; I had a Profoto B1 pack with one strobe. Beauty dish was the only light modifier. I also used a 5 in 1 reflector and two scrim jims -- 2x2 and 1.5 x 2 --  with silver, gold and scrim fabrics. I shot on the Hasselblad H3D 39 with a 28mm f/2.8 lens, an 80mm and 120mm Macro. I used a Canon 5D Mark III with a 70-200 f/2.8 and a 50mm f/1.2 for some of the action shots and magic hour images. I like to take advantage of my faster 35mm system, along with higher ISO possibilities.
I was also shooting using a 3 Legged Thing tripod whenever I could because the tripod helps give me extra sharpness. I can also usually create a better connection with my models when I am not hiding behind the camera and a tripod helps a lot with that. I almost always shoot directly to Sandisk Extreme Pro CF and SD cards. 64 and 128 GB.

Lighting setup for the main image (at the beginning of the post):

Some images were shot using just natural light and a Westcott Scrim Jim with a silver fabric as a reflector. Here's an example with both the image and the lighting setup:

My assistant Paulo working on his tan with the silver side of a Westcott scrim jim 2x2 reflector

My team for the day:
Photography & Production: Joao Carlos - www.joaocarlosphoto.com
Model - Rodrigo Soares
Make-up - Alex Me
Assistants - Paulo Reis, Gonçalo Madeira
Retouching - Bruno Jorge

Equipment used in the shoot:
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

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

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/