About a week ago my good buddy Bryce Buell sent me this photo he just shot and retouched. It was so cool I asked if he wanted to guest blog and share his process with everything. Check out Bryce’s site when you get a chance. Aside from being a talented photographer and retoucher and friend, he also is an accomplished male model and currently the torso for Under Armor. Busy guy!
Hello everyone! Doug was kind enough to allow me to guest lecture on his fabulous blog for which I am deeply grateful and very excited about! I first picked up a camera in the summer of 2008 and with no experience with either Photoshop or photography. Merely inspired by a certain rockstar named Douglas Sonders, I picked up a Canon 5D, Wacom pad, used eBay copy of CS3, and decided to give it a shot. Photography has proven to be an amazing way to fill the artistic void in my life, and created the occasional fun distraction from a very un-artistic career in law enforcement.
Being a self-taught neophyte to photography and post-production, I consider Doug and the artists he works with to be Photoshop geniuses. Therefore, instead of talking about my oft haphazard make-it-up-as-I-go-along work flow, I am taking this opportunity to offer my perspective as a former full-time fashion model, and talk about some small things to be weary of when shooting men’s fashion – in this case, suits.
Trends come and go but there are certain fashion “rules” you should at least be aware of – fashion staples that typically are musts for catalog or fashion editorials. You may not realize that showing a ½” of dress shirt cuff beneath a suit is important, however if I notice it isn’t there trust me, so do many art directors and magazine editors.
This “hitman” image for example was simply an impromptu shot that came about when I saw some great clouds while driving to the gym. Instead of a workout, I called up my dear friend and seasoned model Jonah Taylor and told him to grab his nice suit. We found an open area without a lot of background trees (surprisingly hard to find in Columbia, Maryland) and snapped a few pictures. When I picked the shot I wanted to use as for my starting point (EOS 5D Mark II, EF 24-70mm @ 70mm, f/13.0, 1/200, ISO 100) and examined Jonah’s suit, my fashion police siren immediately activated, indicating several wardrobe malfunctions that needed to be fixed before I continued. No matter how many effects or layers of this or that I later applied, in the end and at its core, I treated this as a men’s fashion suit shot.
When it comes to men’s suits, these are the elements to look for:
Dress shirts – try to minimize wrinkles. If no suit is worn and the shirt is pressed, do not permit the model to button his own shirt or put on his own tie. That will create tons of arm wrinkles inside the elbow.
Be mindful of gaps between the neck and collar. If the collar is too large, you can fold up a tissue or paper towel and place it between the collar and neck out of camera view.
The belt should buckle in the third hole of the belt. If too short, fix in post if needed or if too long, clip or roll in back out of camera view to take up the slack.
As you can see, in my initial shot, there were several of these elements conspicuously absent or requiring repairs, including the shirt cuff and dreaded shirt wrinkles. While the final results may prove subtle, fixing these issues adds to the hitman’s sophistication, creating the perception that he is a confident, high-end professional.