Capturing Cape Town in Style: A Fashion Photographer’s Guide to South African Adventures

Prepare to be mesmerised by the captivating play of light across Cape Town’s diverse landscapes. As a seasoned fashion photographer, I’ve unlocked the secrets of this extraordinary destination in 2020, and now, I’m here to share them with you. In this guide, you’ll find expert tips and invaluable insights to help you prepare and execute photo shoots that capture your model in front of South Africa’s alluring backdrops. From iconic locations to essential equipment, let’s embark on a creative journey that will elevate your photography to new heights in the heart of this picturesque city.
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A Decade with Canon and the Journey to Becoming a Canon Ambassador

Join me on a photographic journey spanning a decade with Canon, from my humble beginnings with the EOS 5D Mark II to the innovative R6 Mark II mirrorless camera. Discover what drew me to Canon, its extraordinary ability to capture vibrant colours, and the user-friendly technology that has been instrumental in my photography. Learn about my exciting journey to becoming a Canon Ambassador and my eagerness to connect with fellow photography enthusiasts and creatives. This is just the beginning of a new chapter filled with photography adventures, insights, and inspiration.
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Tip 40 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

Hit the Bullseye in terms of Colour Representation

We have managed to go through 39 tips and are finally reaching tip no. 40. In this last of articles belonging to this series, we continue talking about colours on screens and printed mediums, albeit a little more detailed. We will meet the challenges of different displays in order to make elaborate decisions in the post-production of campaigns and marketing content with no nasty surprises. However, we should always keep in mind one thing: Colour can be very subjective.
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Tip 39 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

Understand image resolution and dimensions like a pro

If you’ve been with us from the beginning of this series of articles you might remember tip no. 3 advising you to think about the formats of your future images first. It can be essential for the photographer to know about your printing and web publishing plans – not only for granting adequate usage rights as described in tip no. 34 but also to get the dimensions and resolutions right, as well as the colour spaces. If you’ve never heard about RBG and CMYK before, forgot what the letters refer to exactly, or never understood the difference between 8-bit and 16-bit pictures, keep on reading – you will also be shown the differences in sample images. For those with more advanced knowledge, the following paragraphs might hold new and surprising facts about image resolution that disprove the ’300 dpi for print’ and ’72 dpi for web’ rules.
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Tip 38 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

Manage the Data Logistics with No Trouble

Other than in analogue times when contact sheets and larger prints were produced in the laboratory and mailed to the client, nowadays, there are many different ways of sending digital images. This also results in other selective approaches as opposed to grabbing a red felt tip and scribbling on the prints. Two main methods are to be mentioned here: 1. the option to list the file names in your communication channels with the photographer (or retoucher) and 2. the creation of folders containing the selected previews. In both cases, leaving the file names unchanged is essential because it will help the photographer to find the associated raw files.
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Tip 37 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

Keep Track of the Digital Data

When it comes to the creation, transfer, and storage of data, one sort of photo file is not like another. Images can come in many different shapes and qualities which you’ve probably once learned painfully when using a too-small image for a platform that required higher resolution. But don’t you worry because “mishaps” happen to the best of us and they make us learn from them. However, there are more harmful ways of mistreating images that you might want to know how to avoid. Hence, with the last four articles of the “Post-Production 101”, including the present one, we’re devoting our attention and final sprint through “Tips for Better Shoots” to data handling. From the explanation of raws and previews via the final files to the resolutions and colour spaces of web and print – part C is all about data, preventing you (or your staff and interns) to publish a wrong version of a picture and get in trouble for it.
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Tip 36 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

Pay Attention to the Model’s Rights

Images always belong to the copyright holder and like described in Tip No. 33 the ownership cannot be transferred to anyone else. When it comes to images of people, though, these persons have rights to their own pictures too. In commercial photography, this means that a license and buyout fee isn’t only due for the creator but also the model who is generally represented and managed by an agency. You won’t, therefore, only pay for their performance on set but additionally for them supplying your campaign with their visual identity.
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Tip 35 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

Dismantle the Sharing Dilemma

Social Media platforms are secret weapons for advertising your products effectively. The apps are opened by billions of people every day and you can place your ads with them in a way that will touch the perfect audience if you manage to target it correctly. Furthermore, ads on social media can be designed in a variety of ways from classic banners to branded content, dropped in feeds, stories, or popping up on the edges of the users’ browsers. And don’t forget the fact that their performance is constantly tracked and it can, therefore, be analysed more precisely than e.g. a printed campaign. This is giving you the chance to optimise your strategies from time to time and reach more people. All the latter being said, you can probably imagine that obtaining a photo license for social media use is crucial for it represents an important sector in the marketing of your products.
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Tip 34 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

Buy it out, Baby!

A regular license for commercial photography is usually two years tops. With the launches of more and more off-season capsule- and pre-collections plus the concluding requirement for more marketing material it has even become a standard to buy out images for a couple of months or weeks only. This brings along a constant change on the platforms of the respective brands. Yet, more traditional brands and those who are smaller equally undergo a cycle of permanently replacing their photos along with their product range, although following a slower rhythm. Therefore, a usage right of two years or fewer should be, mostly, sufficient. 
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Tip 32 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

Don’t rush the deadline

As Tim Urban explains in his TEDx Talk “Inside the mind of a master procrastinator” a healthy and more successful way of going about a project is to give all phases enough time to be worked out. And although for you, the work reached the climax on the very day of the shoot, if you’re a good planner – or want to become one – you need the providence to set a deadline that leaves a margin time for the post-processing of your images.
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Tip 29 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

Retouching is a Real Job

It’s a wrap and we’ve finally reached the last chapter of this column – the post-production. But don’t crow too soon! There’s very much to learn about the different aspects of post-production… We’re in fact going to deal with three different sections composed of several articles on A. the photo editing, B. the buyout, and C. the data-handling. So relax your shoulders, take a deep breath in and press your worry stone, because there’s work ahead of us. As the client, your part in the editing process will mainly be to judge the results, select which pictures need to be retouched, and instruct the editor about the formats and style you wish to have as well as pointing out the flaws that need to be corrected. Doesn’t sound too hard of a task, right?
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corona regulations, hygiene concept for photo and video productions

How to photo/video shoot during the COVID-19 pandemic

The end of 2020 is near and, due to the Coronavirus, we’ve all had to live up to unusual rules, especially in terms of our social lives but also of how we work in photo and video productions safely. Despite all efforts and the upcoming vaccines, uncertainties and limitations are likely to be part of our professional activities for some time to come, at least to be expected for the first half of 2021. This is demanding a fair bit of flexibility, responsibility, and therefore, focussing on new topics, especially hygiene, to ensure that producing photography and videos isn’t turning into super-spreader events.
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Tip 28 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

Don’t forget to have fun at the photo shoot

I know how serious you are about the outcome of your campaign but the news is: laughing is always allowed – even at fashion shoots. I dare say it’s even essential for the atmosphere on set. Laughter lowers people’s stress levels, releases happiness hormones, and helps defeat infections (which isn’t only relevant during global pandemics but also when shooting fashion in winter). Ergo, your friendliness and sense of humour can be the keys to a great collaboration for they’re helping to overcome shyness and resolve any tensions. If you’re hoping for people’s best performance which I don’t doubt you should aim for a fun day with them. Along these lines, this article is about how to lighten up the mood and enjoy a sociable photo shoot with a happy team.
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Tip 27 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

Thy (the client’s) will be done

Based on your own experience or after reading my last article “Simulation of a typical photo production day” you may already have a sure feeling for how a commercial photo shoot works. With this in mind hiring and briefing a team of professionals to operate it according to a smart schedule is half the battle when creating a new campaign. Yet, there’s more that you or your deputies can do in their role as the client. In this article, we’re looking at the very things that YOU ideally contribute to a frictionless production with great results – which no one else is entitled to do. 
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Tip 26 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

Simulation of a typical photo production day

So the shooting day has arrived and you’re as good as certain excited to go about the production. If you feel any nervousness, don’t worry as you’ve probably done a good job with preparing and hiring a professional team who has your back. Even if unexpected obstacles occur they can probably be solved if everyone keeps calm and uses their expert brains. And hey, even in the worst-case life goes on. A photo shoot won’t cause your whole business to go belly-up, however, you can learn from all mistakes that might happen (now or in the past) to do it better next time. Therefore, transform any feelings of tension into motivation and cheerfulness. Your positive vibes will certainly rub off on the team and remove some of the pressure.
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Tip 25 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

Let’s say it loud and clear

As I’m praising in tips No. 21 and 22 where it’s about creating and verifying a mood board that illustrates your concept communicating with the team is the way to get the results that you want for your campaign. From the visuals to the negotiations and booking based on contracts to the clocking of the day’s routine, everything is a way of providing information but can sometimes be subject to misunderstandings when lacking personal communication – be it verbal or written. This article is, therefore, devoted to the importance of transparency and dedicated talking. Eventually, the photo shoot can only go according to the proposed plan if those who are commissioned to fulfil it know every aspect of what you had in mind. Integrating this inherent part in the process of preparing the production will prevent time-consuming and stressful discussions on set as well as keep up a good atmosphere of friendly co-working on top of a flawless photographic result.
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