Posts Tagged ‘Esther Hanuka’

Lighting Setup 2.0 – Chris Andersen, Queen Esther & DJ Megan Daniels


With the release of Mastering Lighting, I’ve been getting lots of messages asking for similar lighting breakdowns of specific images we’ve featured at One of the most requested is this shoot above, which has generated a ton of traffic over the years—it’s currently in the Top 5 most viewed posts of all-time on my blog.

NBA star Chris Andersen and blonde beauties Queen Esther Hanuka and DJ Megan Daniels certainly make this shoot an eye-catcher, but the majority of questions and comments revolve around lighting set-up and how to achieve this look. So, I’ve diagramed it out in detail for you below in what I call… Lighting Setup 2.0. (I mean, seriously, look at all that color.)


I was commissioned by Rebel Ink to photograph this cover concept and 10-page editorial for the magazine. If you haven’t guessed it already, the inspiration was Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit video. Without all the usual bells and whistles, SlickforceStudio’s industrial layout worked great as a raw space, so we showcased the exposed concrete floors and threw up a textured muslin and a backboard behind our models.

Knowing I had three blondes dressed in black guaranteed a stark color palette for the shoot, and I knew backlights would work brilliantly on their hair, so I pegged them from both sides, hiding the light stands behind the barrels. I keyed from camera right with a medium chimera and wrapped around the fill with a 74″ Octabank. I shot this on a Hasselblad 503CW at F4 on a 180mm lens to compress the space and make all elements powerful in the tight frame. And finally, we wet down the concrete for reflections, and I added a third backlight on the floor shooting straight at camera—but hidden behind the models—to add super-highlights and create maximum contrast.

Now, let me ask you: if a 7-foot tall athlete and a pair of gorgeous inked blonde superstarlets walked into your garage, how would you shoot it?

If you liked this and want to see more detailed lighting breakdowns, check out Mastering Lighting: Volume One here.

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The Slickforce Crew does Las Vegas at PhotoshopWorld West!


We just got back from PhotoshopWorld in Las Vegas last week and had a blast! We threw stunning models Esther Hanuka and Ayanna Jordan (discs 1 & 7 for Mastering Retouching fans) in the trunk of the car and drove to Sin City on a mission!


The big news at this show was that Mastering Retouching ships iPad-ready, which had many curious customers circling the booth. I also took advantage of our PSW presence by announcing the first PhotoKamp, a 2.5-day workshop for photographers and artists, on November 12-14 in Los Angeles. The pre-launch of PhotoKamp was met with overwhelming response…so much so that we are almost completely sold out less than 2 weeks from the initial announcement!


We also doubled our booth size this year from the Orlando show, which allowed us many more opportunities to meet our friends and fans, as well as many talented photographers and Photoshop artists. German wunderkind Calvin Hollywood dropped by to say hello and meet the models, and we were also blessed with the presence of PhotoshopWorld royalty Matt Kloskowski (PS genius), Dave Cuerdon (retouching legend) and Wacom guru Wes Maggio.


But, with all due respect to the talented artists we met, no one impressed me more than my beloved Slickforce team. Director of Ops Kevin Savarese, lead retoucher Joyce Park, and assistant Derek Eskridge assisted models Esther and Ayanna in educating the public on the Slickforce brand, and photographers Clint Davis and Matt Timmons graciously joined us to show their support as well. I am moved and humbled by the dedication of my team, and it motivates me even more to keep our brand growing.


TOP: Mastering Retouching on the iPad!
1-9: The Slickforce Team showing PSW how it’s done.
10: The team throwing up Slickforce gang signs.
11: The team (L-R): Kevin Savarese, Joyce Park, Clint Davis, Ayanna Jordan, me, Esther Hanuka, Derek Eskridge, Matt Timmons
12: Partying at Blush @ Wynn
13: Models Ayanna Jordan and Esther Hanuka
14: Ayanna Jordan, Nazanin Mandi join R&B artist Miguel for his performance at Eve nightclub

Mastering Retouching™ debuts at PhotoshopWorld!


Last week we had the pleasure of being an exhibitor at PhotoshopWorld in Orlando, Florida. It was not the first time SlickforceStudio had a convention booth (our longtime Southern California fans may remember way back to ActorFest, Glamourcon, and the Sci-Fi Conventions at the Shrine), but it was certainly our largest public display to date, and our first convention foray on a national level. It was also an important convention because it marked the debut of the DVD box set of Mastering Retouching™.


It was a pleasure and an honor to meet so many masters of their craft, as well as the countless friends, customers, fans, and curious public that approached our booth. I, personally, got a chance to meet many people who I have known on-line for years but never met face-to-face.


I pulled together a power-team for this conference, including magazine covergirls Esther Hanuka and Erica Jackson, Mastering Retouching™ beta-tester Matt Timmons, and SlickforceStudio man-behind-the-curtain powerhouse Kevin Savarese.


I’m proud to say that Mastering Retouching was extremely well-received, so much so that we actually sold out our entire convention supply. Brand new Level 7 volume “Exotic Features” was also included in the series for the first time, and has now been added to all new orders.


We made many new friends, both professional an personal, including NAPP-founder Scott Kelby (photo 1), retouching-guru Dave Cuerdon, and best-selling author Matt Kloskowski (photo 2). We had a blast at PhotoshopWorld, and hope to see those of you we didn’t meet at PhotoshopWorld West in Vegas later this year!

Chris “The Birdman” Andersen enjoys his own half-time show in Rebel Ink


If cheerleaders looked like this, I never would have left high school.

Production Shots:

I’m terrible at shooting guys. Okay, well, maybe not terrible, but I find it much easier to direct women. Women have a range of acceptable looks to experiment with: sexy, innocent, smart, flirty, badass, adorable, etc.  Men just like to look cool.  And Chris “The Birdman” Andersen was definitely that.

For my shoot with Chris (and models Destiny Daniels (left) and Esther Hanuka (right)) for Rebel Ink magazine, the editor and I discussed recreating the set from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video.  We got some old oil drums, a beat-to-shit muslin backdrop, my awesome intern lent me his cousin’s basketball hoop, and we soaked the concrete floor. Anyone who has a studio knows that it doesn’t take long for you to shoot out every possible angle and background, and wish you had a different studio. But this might be the best Slickforce has ever looked.

Chris was cool as hell, and his demeanor put the models at ease as well.  As with nearly all mag editorials, you need a centerfold/spread. And you’d be AMAZED at how hard it is to find a centerfold pose for a guy (try it right now…see? WTF is he gonna do, lie down and arch his back?)  So I was thrilled with how well this 3-shot spread came out (above). It’s one of my favorite shots of 2009, and I’m gonna get a poster up in the studio.

This shoot appears in the January 2010 issue of Rebel Ink, on stands now.

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