Indie Spotlight: Shawn Fields

Each Monday, we’ll highlight one indie photographer whose body of work deserves special recognition. Please enjoy their photography here, and make it a point to enjoy the rest of their work on their website.

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This week the Indie Spotlight shines on Shawn Fields from the parish of Saint James on the beautiful island of Barbados.

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Shawn is primarily a portrait and fashion photographer. That being said, he is also inspired by other genres of photography. Fellow photographer Lou Manna recently got Shawn hooked on food photography and now whenever he has the opportunity to shoot food he does so. Additionally, as Shawn travels quite a bit for work and as a result adopted a love for travel photography as well.

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Kit:

In Shawn’s camera bag you’ll find his camera of choice a Nikon D7000 which is often equipped with his favorite lens, the Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 VRII lens,  Shawn finds that it gives him the ability  to compress those full body shots or head shots. Shawn loves to shoot wide open whenever possible, utilizing the exceptional DOF and Bokeh of this lens, to make backgrounds disappear.

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Workflow:

Shawn’s workflow starts long before the creation of the actual photograph when ever possible. He often has a story book of a shoot floating around in his head about images he’d like to create.  However, when shooting for a client he relinquishes the opportunity to completely carry out his vision in it’s entirety because the client already has a vision of their own.  In those situations he lets his experience guide the clients vision to produce professional images while still personalized by the clients particular taste.

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Shawn often shoots with studio strobes , however,  he challenges himself by sometimes using solely ambient light. While his captured images use a variety of light sources he  always captures his digital images in RAW+JPG and then uses Lightroom for the majority of his editing.  However, if he needs to do some creative edits he will jump into  Photoshop CS6.  Shawn has made a conscious stylistic choice to not depend heavily on filters and plug-ins but when he does use them his choice is limited to those from Nik software and Topaz Labs.

Tips, Tricks and Techniques:

Shawn’s most valuable tip for aspiring portrait and fashion photographers is to ALWAYS make sure your model is comfortable before you start your shoot. Break the ice during the makeup session or have a brief chat prior to pointing that camera. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but try your very best. He advises that “a very relaxed and comfortable model will always deliver very realistic and pleasing images.” Communication is key! Always remember the camera looks both ways.

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By making excellent use of interpersonal skills Shawn often receives congratulatory emails from his clients.  Here’s an email from a client he shot recently – “Thank you very much, I believe that was one of the most fulfilling emotional boosters EVER! Love what you did and how you did it! I will definitely work with you again!”

Lessons Learned:

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Shawn shoots food almost as often as he consumes it and once when  dining at a restaurant he found himself presented with an exquisite place but lacking the required tools to produce his desired image.  In a flash of brilliance Shawn got creative and used his napkin to bound light just as he would have done with his regular tools. Now he uses napkins whenever he dines out as diffusers or to bounce light to suit his taste.

Inspiration:

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Shawn get inspiration from many sources but the fellow photographers who inspire him most are:

Frank Doorhof – Shawn loves Frank’s fashion work and his use of light to create those dramatic portraits. He’s also an advocate of finding the most cost effective outfits to style his models and Shawn is all for that.

Lou Manna, Shawn’s dear friend, is a well know food photographer based in New.York. After having the opportunity to see Lou in action Shawn was amazed.  Lou took time to explain to Shawn in great  detail how to photograph food and always pay attention to detail. Of this experience Shawn says “I learned more from Lou in a few hours than I could in an entire one (1) week class. Lou has taught me to treat food as I would a model and with that in mind it has taken my food photography to another level”.”

What’s Next:

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On Shawn’s bucket list you’ll find his desire to go to India and Africa to document the culture and wildlife.  He would also love to try ‘Aerial Photography’.  His fear regarding aerial photography is not that of flying but rather the belief that he’d be totally hooked once he tries it.

Links:

You can find more of Shawn’s work at the links below:

www.shawnfields.info

www.facebook.com/sfields208

www.flickr.com/photos/sfields/

http://gplus.to/sfields

http://500px.com/sfields

https://twitter.com/fieldss208

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Jeremy is a consultant, educator and photographer based in the Caribbean. He shoots an eclectic range of material but his favorite subjects are urban and seacapes, people and aircraft. He mixes his love of technology, and travel with his photography. After a brief post college hiatus he picked up his camera again in 2003 and has been shooting non-stop. You may view his work at http://www.island-foto.com or you may follow him on Google+ http://gplus.to/JADG

 

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