• Melody Pool

    I've been shooting a few makeup tutorials for my good friend Dana Leviston for Frankie's "Get Fancy" blog. At the best of times with these I feel completely out of place and like I've got no idea what I'm doing (let's face it, I don't spend a lot of time with make up), but Dana is my favourite make up artist I've ever worked with by far, and I love working with her. 

    I often feel painfully aware of the absence of a decent amount of portraits of women in my folio. It's certainally not intentional. I oft just feel like a lurker asking someone if they'd be interested working together, and to be truthful, I don't often come across the situation where it would be appropriate to ask. I take plenty or portraits for commercial jobs, but times where we can just hang out and create some pretty pictures don't seem to come up that often. (Hey.. wanna take some pictures together? Drop me a line). 

    Anyhow, here's a little shot I'd forgotten about of the gorgeous local musicain Melody Pool we did a few months ago in a little 50's style thing. I think she looks beautiful. Go check out her records, they're great.

    Till next time!


  • I don't usually do property jobs..

    But my mate Joel Priestland from Studio Worldwide asked me if I'd be interested in shooting one for him, my gut said yes (that's generally how I decide if I'm going to take a job or not.. It's frighteningly on point.. Except for the whole poking over my belt bit..).

    The job was creating some images to go with the promotional book they were creating for the new development in Windsor "The Coachhouse", and the brief looked pretty good. 

    A bit of background, I usually don't do property jobs, I'll be honest:- they can be a giant pain in the ass for a huge number of reasons. Property developers don't nessecarily akways have good taste (which is why they hire designers) and the briefs can be terrible. They often want a million photos of a gazillion cafes and whatever, they usually want it all shot in a single (beautiful sunny) day and try to fit way too much into an already short period of time. The agencies usually don't want to do the production (i.e. calling ahead), so I then have to convince them to pay me production time to organise someone to do all the pre approval stuff. It's amazing how "hi, it's Kris from Fairfax/Broadsheet/Epicure etc" gets such different responses to "Hi, it's Kristoffer Paulsen.. I'm a photographer shooting some images for some promotional material for a new development in Windsor". "Oh.. I'll have to ask my manager.. we'll call you back" etc etc. SO much mucking around, which I simply don't have time for. I find that I'm very often fighting for my fee as well, which I hate doing. I know for a fact that I'm very fairly priced, (I've barely changed my pricing since I started shooting), and much of whom I consider to be my competition are a lot more expensive than I am. It's funny, numerous times when I've gotten a list of places to shoot, it's been some 30-35 names.. In one day! When you divide a 7-8 hour day by that, and allow travel time.. Well, you do the maths!

    This isn't to shit all over design agencies, I get it.. It's tough managing clients, as well as coming up with a cool product without blowing budget. And the rest of it. 

    Anyway, I said yes to Joel because I think he and Tijs have a great aesthetic, and well, Joel being a mate and all. What was nice was that the guys more or less let me just do what I wanted (within reason, of course..), and a bunch of shots that I just happened to take whilst wandering around the area ended up being, in a few cases, used really big. Shows what happens when you let good people just be creative. Anyway, I saw the book yesterday and it's beautiful. I didn't think too much of the images at the time, but looking back on them, they're lovely. Some of them are a little more "VSCO-y" than I'd normally go for, but I think it works. Here's some of my favs. 

    They're better than I remember them being! Turned out it wasn't such a bad way to spend a day. 

    Here's a few screengrabs from the book, looks glorious in print. Really lovely. 

    So uh.. Maybe I do property.. Sometimes.. If you've got something you'd like to work with me on, please do get in touch

  • Shoot The Chef:- Joe Grbac

    I don't usually go for competition things. I find that so often the frustration of seeing the quality of winners isn't really worth the effort. I most recently entered some work in the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year, work I'd done for clients and was really proud of. I paid my entry fee and sent off my files, only to be told I didn't even make it to the first round.. But cruising over the finalists/winners made me realise that I'd rather not win, and have my work not look like the winners work!

    Anyway, so my friends at Saint Crispin whom I've had the pleasure of working with previously asked if I was planning on entering this years "Shoot The Chef". Previously I'd half heartedly entered a photo of David Zhou that I'd shot on a story for Broadsheet, which didn't really get a look in (despite it being pretty), and I hadn't really thought about it. However, Joe is such a great guy so i thought alright, if we can come up with a cool concept, then let's do it. I had a few ideas, like referencing science and or chemistry, showing some of the high level detail that goes into Joe's food, but Sarah in the office had the idea of referring to the "Saint" in Saint Crispin, and straight away I knew what I wanted to do. I was a little concerned that i might be disqualified since I do so much for for Good Food, but i figure I'm a freelancer, not an employee, so surely that's alright. Anyway. 

    I had the idea of referencing religious iconography and old master paintings, and having Joe holding up an offering to a higher power, a little like Cain and Able, while holding one hand behind his back/away as if he's hiding something, and in that hand having a flame. There's a number of rough concepts, i.e. chefs being the modern alchemists, turning produce into edible gold, the technique in fine dining being so advanced that while a chef might be holding up an offering and appearing reverent, they might be second guessing God and knowing better, hence the hand and flames. Anyway, something like that. Here's my entry.

    As luck would have it, I also managed to shoot another image that I loved as an afterthought, and of course this threw a spanner in the works with me wondering if I should just go for a simple, straight up portrait. I ended up sticking with my original vision, feeling like it fit the brief a little better, and deciding to enter the second image in a portrait comp or something. Still great though. Check it out. 

    Not sure when they're all going to go live on the website, but I believe there's a voting thing for the peoples choice, would love your votes! I can win a Nikon camera rig! ha!

    Keep an eye on

  • Testing lights and jumping on bonnets

    So I picked up the new Profoto B1 lights I've organised for Decibels Records and of course I was itching to try them out, as I've been reading about them and, to be honest, getting more than a little excited about them since they were released a year or two back. I used to own a Photoflex Triton flash, which was great in that it's battery powered, tiny and provides 300w, generally enough for portraits etc. Unfortunately, the quality just wasn't up to scratch. I was shooting a job last year on location, and all of a sudden it just died. I took it back to the dealer, and they couldn't isolate the problem, even when they started swapping out components with their hire unit (the hire unit started failing as well!). At this point I'd already decided to make the move to Profoto, and this was the final nail in the coffin. I picked up a 2x1000w D1 kit at a good price from my friends at Specular, along with a Jimbei battery unit to sort me out on location, with the idea that at some point I'd add a B1 to the party. The D1's have been fantastic. Super solid, with piles of grunt for when it's needed. Everything about them is just great, a huge upgrade from my tired old Bowens Esprit 1500w (which, mind you are still perfectly servicable). 

    The new Profoto B1's, however, have a few amazing new features which truly seperate them from the D1's. 

    -Powered by an in-built battery, which means no cables to trip over, and they're SO much easier to move around on location etc. Everything's just so tidy

    -TTL exposure, meaning just like a speedlite, it figures out exposure from the camera and automatically sets the power itself. It generally gets it just right. You can also set it to fire at TTL for the first exposure, and then switch to manual.. Or just plain manual. Very cool. 

    -High Speed Sync. I think this is such a cool feature. I loved the idea of HSS on my speedlites, but I found that because it uses more power when it dumps a HSS pop, it was difficult to make it work. However, with 500w of power up the B1's sleeve, it works like a charm. Where HSS can be amazing, is that it allows you to open up your lens and use bigger apertures, even in the direct sun, without the restriction of flash sync speed. In combination with..

    -Tiny flash duration 1/1000 sec. at full power to 1/11,000 sec minimum in normal, and up to 18,000th in freeze mode. Frankly, that's insane. I never really thought about flash duration untill i had a model jump on a shoot recently, and saw the massive blur she left. Crazy. And freezing water drops.. Man. Anyway, so far I've found the B1 duration crisp as hell. Works a treat.

    I'm secretly terrified of using flash, so anything that makes it easier is very welcome, in my book. The other day I told one of my assistants, Emily this, and she was so suprised, saying that she thought I lit really well. How about that huh? I'll start believing in myself one day.. 

    SO ANYWAY HERE'S SOME PHOTOS OF MY MATE. Ashlee is a performer who goes under the Minnie Monroe monkier, and The Distinctive Dame had just did her hair for a promo thinger, so she came over to do some shooting (even though Lucille Ball curls and flowers wouldn't normally be my gut instinct when it comes to hair..). We went out to the back alley behind my house. I'd never looked closely at the shitbox old Corolla which seems to always be parked there. Turns out it must be dumped, it's full of junkie shit and the windows are smashed. Duh. I loved the idea of the contrast between a cute girl all done up all vintage, and an old shitbox in a laneway. Anyway, I had a single head going, swapping between a Zoom Reflector and a Medium Deep Silver Umbrella. I like it. I think I need a B1. 

    I was shooting on my Canon 5D MKIII and going between a 24-70MM 2.8L II (one of the best lenses Canon has ever made) and a 85MM 1.2L I've got on loan from my mate Tim Grey (and now desperately wish I owned).

  • Rosa's Canteen - For Harding Architects

    I've been recently shooting a bit of work for Nick Harding, of Harding Architects. Nick's an incredibly talented architect who is doing some really excellent work around Melbourne, and it's been a pleasure to get to know him. One late summer's afternoon, Nick, Peter Deering and myself went down to the newly opened Rosa's Canteen in the 500 Bourke St complex to create some images. The sun was streaming through the Bourke St trees casting long shadows across the room, and it was all pretty magical. I loved how Nick's design combined materials and used geometry to create areal modern classic vibe. But hey, what do I know about architecture? Here's some photos.