I did some demonstrating and shooting at the Nikon Booth at the PPOC National Photography Convention a few weeks ago. We were lucky enough to have the beautiful Playboy Playmate Coxy Dominika Jandlova model for us. I was also excited to be shooting with my Nikon D5 and the New SB-5000 flashes with Radio Control. I was controlling 3 flashes with my WR-R10 Wireless Remote on my D5 and it worked flawlessly. I was also shooting with my D5 tethered to a Laptop and TV screen so that other photographers could view what I was shooting. Here are just a few images from the shoot, all shot with Nikon Flashes on location at the booth.
The bigger the WHY, the smaller the HOW. If you want to be a better photographer, build confidence at any level, and capture images of excellence, then take time to shoot the things you love and are passionate about. Shoot what excites you, and use that energy to break through your own limitations, reach new levels of creativity within, and ultimately electrify your images. This secret ingredient, the intent or reason for shooting coupled with your own emotion towards the subject are often overlooked amiss all of the technical considerations. Those technical aspects can always be learned but creation flows from within. What drives your image?
Photographing a sport at the peak of the moment can be exhilarating, especially when you nail it, that’s just one of the many reasons its one of my favourite subjects to shoot. After shooting professional sports for many years I eventually realized that I could up my own photography game and get better images simply by changing my mindset. When I was shooting an event like World Cup Skiing or even the Winter Olympics I noticed that I would get better shots when shooting a Canadian versus an athlete from any other country every time. My technical ability was the same, but the only thing different was that it was more important to me to capture the Canadians. This importance or reason was my WHY. I have since been able to apply this knowledge as wisdom to allow more meaning in every shoot I do.
I find that most photographers also love to travel. When we are travelling, our senses are heightened because everything we experience is new and exciting. This is a great time to practice our skills, learn our camera and lenses inside-out and expand our toolbox by trying settings and photographic techniques we might not usually try. I love shooting faces and portraits of people I meet in different countries. Its amazing the bridges we can build and captivating images we can achieve just by asking a stranger if they would mind being photographed.
Shooting landscapes are also one of my passions. I love being in nature, slowing down life and taking the time to appreciate the beauty around us while from the perspective of my Nikon D800E (favourite landscape camera) and lens. If you have a macro lens, put it on next time your are in nature and see how your world changes instantly. Adjust your picture control settings and increase your in-camera saturation and sharpness to enhance the richness of your environment and adjust your white balance to add warmth or cool down your masterpiece.
Architecture or exquisite objects like high-end homes, sports cars or jets are also one of my favourite things to shoot. They are made with excellence and deserve to be captured in kind. I find that these subjects can be some of the most technical to shoot, but that also can make it the most fun. Challenging situations always push us outside of our comfort zone and succeed or not you will always expand and learn more tools in the process which will always make you a better photographer. I am constantly pushing my Nikon gear and new ideas to the limit and try to never shoot the subject the same way twice. Try experimenting with in-camera HDR, flash, different light shapers, painting with light with Speedlights or even flashlights, high ISO, multiple exposures, long exposures or whatever technique your imagination can dream.
Shooting a portrait can be a transformative experience, both for the photographer and subject. As a photographer we see the subject through our own perspective and filters, and then often create a story in our mind about it. Then we choose an appropriate lens, exposure, etc., and shape light to the subject to best tell that story we hold in our mind. Sometimes we even capture the essence of someone or freeze a moment of them being in such a beautiful way that when we reflect that image back to the subject we give them the gift of reminding them how amazing they are. Photographing someone is a wonderful gift and just having the positive intent that you want to make them feel beautiful can give your images huge meaning and make the HOW seem like a walk in the park.
Find your passion. Capture it with excellence and let that energy flow into all areas of your photography and to every subject you shoot. Make every shot count, with intention and purpose and your images will inspire!
By Kristian Bogner - Nikon Ambassador for Canada
"I had the extreme pleasure of shooting World Champion and now Olympic Gold Medalist Marielle Thompson while backcountry skiing for a Nikon Canada shoot and then later a fashion shoot with her at my studio. Marielle transformed in front of the camera and we ended up getting some amazing shots of her and her crystal globe! A HUGE congratulations on your well deserved Olympic Gold in Sochi Marielle. Looks like we have a new medal to shoot you with!! Way to go!!!!!"
When on a photo/video shoot for Nikon Canada called One Camera Two Perspectives, I had the opportunity to work with Marielle Thompson and her boyfriend and fellow Ski Cross Champion Tristan Tafel out in the backcountry for a ski shoot. It was a crazy snow day, really tough wet conditions to shoot in but amazing deep snow. We had snowmobiles to tow the athletes around, had a blast and got some great shots!!
After the shoot I had Marielle and Tristan come to my studio for a what was to be a quick fashion shoot.... but as we started to get creative it evolved into something much more amazing. I loved shooting Marielle with her Crystal Globe trophy and we co-created some really fun ideas. One of which was to have Marielle's trophy reflect into her sunglasses as if she was peering into her Crystal Globe. We used a purple and blue coloured gels on my lights to enhance the effect. Tristan brought out some antique skiis and poles which made great props as well. I have included a few of my favs of Marielle in this post!!
Check out More images and video from the Nikon Shoot Backcountry Shoot at:
When people ask me what to shoot for in a sports image, I show them a photograph and explain that in most cases, it is all about freezing the peak of the action, the height of the jump, the maximum edge... ultimately recording the energy of the moment at its greatest potential.
One of the keys is to a fantastic shot is to focus on the eyes of the athlete. There is so much emotion, intensity and concentration that can be told through the eyes. If I cannot see the eyes then I pick another key point on the athlete to focus on. I set my Nikon to AF-C (Auto-Focus Continuous Mode) so I don’t miss the shot if the camera isn’t sure if the subject is in focus or not. I then pre-determine what I want my composition to look like. Whether I want empty space to one side of the image to give the sense that the athlete is moving in that direction, or space below the athlete going off a jump to give the sense of height, I picture how I want the final image to look. I pick a focus point where I want the subject to be to match the composition, and then follow the athlete, holding the trigger down lightly to keep autofocusing. When the subject is at his/her peak of action, I fire away and usually hold the button down for a few extra frames while following through smoothly to make sure I don’t get camera shake. I keep a good grip on my camera and lens, and use dynamic pressure by pulling slightly on my lens while pushing the butt of the camera with my other hand. I usually have VR (Vibration Reduction) turned on for sports images to minimize any potential camera vibrations and cre- ate the sharpest image possible. You can also use a tripod or monopod to help keep your camera steady.
Here are a few images I shot while instructing at my 2-day Photographic Rockstar workshop in Toronto last weekend. Thank you to my amazing group of photography students and to Nikon and Nikon Professional Services for all of your support and help with the event. We shot our fabulous model, Judith, outside of the University of Toronto in some great locations. Here I demonstrated lighting using 2 Nikon SB-910 flashes and Firefly Portable Softboxes as well as a portable round reflector. Later we did an indoor product shoot and the students learned how to paint any subject with light.
I did a shoot a little while ago with 2 other photographers Benjamin Von Wong and Renee Robyn at my parent's historic 10,000 sq.ft. studio in Welland Ontario. The 3 of us split up and took turns shooting different models with amazing clothing line by Wendy Ng. I had a few minutes to shoot Adam downstairs in a dark studio. I shot most of the images with the camera picture control set to black and white. I loved the hand painted background. Adam did some fantastic jumps and I was able to freeze the action with my Broncolor studio lights with soft boxes on either side of the subject. The detail on these with my Nikon D800E is outstanding. Roll over each image to see the exposure info.
Photographer: Kristian Bogner
Model: Adam Joshua Norrad
Makeup Artist: Shawna Downing
Hair: Faye Crasto
Designer: DYSTROPOLIS by Wendy Ng
Shooting outdoors can give you studio-like effects with some simple tools and techniques. Similar to landscapes try to shoot in morning or evening light when the light is lower and warmer. Position the sunlight behind your model and bounce light back into the face with a silver or white reflector or even a white piece of cardboard or tin foil. This will soften the sunlight so they aren’t as squinty and will give you nice balanced light on the face while the sun provides a great hair light from behind and helps separate your subject from the background.
You can also use flash to fill in the front of the subject. I use my Nikon SB-910 flash on camera or off camera at about 45 degrees to fill in or give some direction of light to the subject. This works especially well at sunset when there are brilliant colours or just after the sun has gone down when flash becomes more powerful relative to the sunlight. Meter and expose for the background and light your subject with your flash. Try softening your light source with a small softbox or by shooting through some translucent material. If you need more power increase your ISO settings. For instance if you increase the ISO on your camera from 100 ISO to 400 ISO your flash essentially becomes 4 times as powerful.
These are just a few ideas to get you started with your outdoor fashion/portrait shoots! Have any great outdoor lighting tips of your own to share? Please comment below, I would love to hear how you get your great outdoor shots!
[image caption="Shot with only one silver reflector reflecting the sun early morning on a rooftop."]https://kristianbogner.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/BOGNER_9993.jpg[/image]
[image caption="I shot this with one Nikon SB-900 Flash off Camera and exposed for the Sunset."]https://kristianbogner.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/BOGNER_DSC1401x.jpg[/image]
The Ladakh 2012 trip was a 12 day photographic adventure of discovery in an exotic region of Northern India. The golden land of Ladakh (Land of High Passes) is nestled between the giant Himalayas and the Karakorams. The region is interlaced along the ancient Silk Route between Sinkiang and Kashmir, which provides many spectacular views and a rich history for visitors to experience. It is one of the few “Last Frontiers” to be explored since openings its boarders to the public approximately two decades ago. Known for its deep spirituality, unique culture and warm hospitality, Ladakh provides a full experiential trip for the true adventurist.
The team was lead by two extraordinary individuals; Kristian Bogner - Nikon Ambassador and three time award winner of Canadian photographer of the year. Along with a legendary guide & friend - Chandan – he makes the Dos Equis beer guy look like a kitten – for real. With their combined efforts, they were able to expose student photographers to stunning landscapes and culture in a safe yet very informative environment. Kristian provided exceptional instruction and inspiration along the trip to ensure that participants would achieve the photographic results they desired. While Chandan enhanced the adventure with his extensive knowledge of Ladakh history and folklore, as well as ensuring participants were well taken care of and most of all – well fed!
What can one expect upon venturing into India? Plenty of surprises! So its best to go with an open mind, sense of adventure and the ability to submerge yourself in the beauty that is India – and a bottle of Pepto wouldn’t hurt either. As This photographic adventure will bring you back to the playfulness that you only experienced in your youth, captured all through the lens of your camera.
We started off our adventure by landing in New Delhi and were immediately whisked off by car to Agra – home of the magnificent Taj Mahal. Lucky for us, the new Yamuna expressway, has been put in from New Delhi to Agra. That makes this trip much more enjoyable and quicker (approximately 3 hours) than the previous 6(ish) hour trip. Just a straight clip down the new expressway brings you into vibrant Agra – well worth the toll for what you save in time!
Once we reached Agra, we took a quick a stop on the side of the road before hitting the majestic monument. This allowed us to get some pictures of the Taj Mahal from a distance in some beautiful morning light.
The Taj Mahal is stunningly beautiful even amongst the throng of people visiting the exquisite shrine, Emperor Shah Jahan built for his wife, MumTaz Mahal. We had an entertaining guide who was able to help us not only with the wonderful history of the Taj, along with Chandan’s help, but as well with getting some interesting shots of the Taj. As it turns out the guide’s father was a photographer, so he took a great interest in helping us capture some unique angles of the Taj.
After a spectacular day shooting at the Taj Mahal, Chandan showed us another interesting part of the city that few visit on their Agra trip. He took us to a cemetery to see the Red Taj Mahal. This monument is the resting place for Col John Hessing and was constructed after his death in 1803 by his wife Martha. Though it stands no where near the magnificence of the great Taj Mahal, it still is quite striking against the backdrop of the cemetery. Just don’t venture into the Red Taj if you’re scared of anything small and flying…such as bats.
We had one more quick photo stop at the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, where we took advantage of the golden light streaming down on the great monument. As well as some reprieve from the humid heat, as the Tomb is situated close by the Yamuna river and provided some much welcomed breeze. After playing with the light and with a few willing locals who happily modeled in a few shots – we hit the road again!
I don’t think one of us could recount the sleepy car ride home, but we made it safely back to the hotel in New Delhi after a long day of shooting. Even though we were tired that didn’t stop us from enjoying one of many delicious dinners we would have during the course of our trip with thanks to Chandan. After dinner we all promptly headed back to our rooms at the hotel to get a good night’s rest for the start of our Ladakh journey in the morning.
Photography by Kristian Bogner | Written by Sarah Rideout
"Everything happens for a reason – as luck would have it that reason ended up with us being able to attend and photograph some of India’s most lucrative fashion shows."
Delhi Couture Fashion Week is a five day celebration of fashion and intrigue, featuring some of the most well known names in the industry. Masked with brilliant colours, intricate embroidery and luminous fabrics – Delhi Couture Week is a radiant feast for the eyes. In which one could completely gorge on King Henry the Eighth style – with complete excessiveness and true extravagance.
For India couture represents a time when clothing was associated with fantasies, beauty, creativity and detailed artwork for the maharajas (a great king) and the moguls (an imperial power in subcontinent India) The clothing is meant to tell that story of seduction and power by using nature and human emotion as its inspiration. This was apparent during the shows with the designers’ choice of colour and creativity used to develop the clothing. The way the fabrics fell and swayed on the models as they glistened down the runway – you could see that no King would’ve been able to resist the temptation. It was very sensual with out trying to be sexy- just pure and beautiful.
This is how our fashion adventure began... We landed early morning in the hot, very humid and chaotic city of New Delhi. There was a chauffeur waiting for us at the airport to bring our bleary eyed, slightly delirious and maybe a tad hung-over (thank you British Airways) selves to the grandiose Taj Palace Hotel. Neither opulent or luxurious would even come close to describing the service and atmosphere provided by the lovely Taj Palace Hotel – but it would be a start. For instance; we totally got “leid” as soon as we walked in by two beautiful women with warm gracious smiles – oh yeaaah - the day was off to a great beginning! The wonderful staff go over and above to ensure their guests receive the highest level of customer service, one can truly define the word pampered after at stay at the Taj!
Once settled, we headed down to the lounge area for breakfast and to meet our friend, mentor and great ambassador of India - Chandan - and his lovely partner Liza. Chandan would also be guiding us through our next adventure in Ladakh (check back for our blogs on Ladakh soon!) They certainly helped shake off some of the jet leg with big hugs and smiles as they greeted us. Liza also brought with her two beautiful scarfs for us – which would prove to be very useful later that evening.
It was over breakfast that we were informed by a charming lady that some of the biggest shows of Delhi Couture Week were to take place that evening in our hotel. Kristian and I only had to quickly exchange looks to know exactly where we would be heading that evening!
After our breakfast and saying “see you soon” to Chandan and Liza – it was time for a dip in the pool and maybe to sneak a little nap. The pool was shockingly refreshing despite the heavy heat and a quick beauty rest provided us with the stamina for the upcoming evening. We pulled on the best we could find to wear based on packing for a hiking trip; flip flops, casual pants and the “nicest” tops we brought- my saving grace was the scarf (thank you Liza!) It was the only thing that kinda made me look like a fashion conscious person! With a Nikon D800E and Nikon D4 cameras around our necks we headed down to where the action was.
We went down to the main floor of the hotel and noticed an escalator down to a level below – it was there that we found what we were looking for! The escalator ride down brought us into the frenzy of the who’s who of India from the affluent to the Bollywood stars – they were all there and so were we!
We figured out where the first show was being held and spoke to the security team. We informed them of our purpose to shoot the show and bring it to the Canadian audience. They most graciously welcomed us into the media section of the first show by Shantanu & Nikhil, www.shantanunikhil.com, who delighted us with a captivating show.
We were completely stunned with the fashions and atmosphere– it was appealing to all senses and left us wanting more. After the show we ran into our charming lady friend from earlier that day. She invited us up to join her and friends and once again provided us with another useful bit of information – that the next show was the top designer in India and that we had to attend.
After some time mingling with our new acquaintances, it was time to grab a quick dinner before the big show. We went to one of the many hotel restaurants and were provided with a beautiful meal including a local specialty drink. Which at first glance kind of looked like dirty water but ended up tasting very unfamiliar but super delicious. After which we headed back down the escalator to check out the next show.
It was clear that this show was “The Show” based on the line of people trying to get in and chaos happening all around. Kristian was able to effortlessly slide in past security based on his credentials and his big lens but I on the other-hand was made to wait outside, “No room” being the explanation. Just as I heard the runway music start and began losing hope of entering “The Show”, Kris and our charming friend re-surfaced and managed to convince the security to let me in. The room was packed!!! It was Bollywood, tons of media and fashion devotees – meshed together in one room and completely bypassing any fire codes that could possibly be in place. The media section was jammed but a quick jump over a gate (thanks to one of the security guards that boosted us over) we found our spot in the pack and became completely immersed in the enchanting madness all around. The designer was Manish Malhotra, www.manishmalhotra.in, the top designer in the Indian fashion scene and it was obvious why that was the case once we saw a few models go by. The fashion was spectacular, a complete piece of art that cleverly hugged the models in all the right places. You literally couldn’t take your eyes off the runway – else you would’ve missed a masterpiece in human form. The show was topped off with an appearance by one of the top Bollywood starlets, Katrina Kaif.
All and all – the evening was completely mesmerizing – not only by the designers but also by all the lovely people we met who helped create such an enthralling experience. Kristian captured some truly incredible shots of the beautiful fashion, which will certainly help keep this moment alive in our minds for some time to come. I think its safe to say we would happily return to Delhi Couture Week 2013 if the opportunity presented itself.
Kristian Bogner wins the 2011 Alberta Commercial Photographer of the Year Award making him a 3-Time Recipient of this prestigious award.
He also won Best Image of the Competition, Best Illustration, Best Scenic, and Judges Choice Award an award of Excellence and two awards of Merit with the images in this post.