DTLV

Behind The Scenes of a Police K-9 Unit Photoshoot

It's finally live!  A few weeks back, we were asked to help with a Charitable project in conjunction with the Friends of Henderson Police Department.  They needed photographs of their Entire K-9 team for an article in Las Vegas Pet Scene Magazine, so we assembled our team and rolled out to the Henderson Police Department to setup.  

Pooling the gear and talent from our core team in Las Vegas, (Enrique Malfavon, Yevgeniy Zakharkin, Miguel Cortes, and myself), we got to the station early to scan the location for several options to shoot with.  What they wanted for the print & online versions would dictate where we setup shop. Since they only needed portraits and some shots of the state of the art K9 Vehicles, we setup the main portrait stage in their training room, and used the south parking lot to stage the vehicles. Using my Silverlake Ash-Gold 10x20 Muslin as the main portrait station, we setup the Profoto Lights and Modifiers and waited for our subjects to arrive.

Now....to say these dogs were bursting with energy, would have been an INSANE understatement! Check out the BTS video below to see some of the wrangling done by us and the awesome Handlers to see just how much effort it took to get them to stay still for their close up. We effectively had a handler and one of our team holding their "reward" toys directly under the lens and REPEATEDLY whistled/called/clicked to get them to focus. Given how excited how these pups were to all be in the same room, we knew it was going to be impossible to get the whole lot together for one big shot, so, compositing was going to have to happen. 

Knowing that, and since the handlers sometimes had 2 dogs, we posed them each in identical positions with the dogs places in front of them, center mass, and then to their left and started working down the list, finishing with Daisy, (The cover shot).

While Enrique and I worked on this, (and the subsequent station tear down), Yev and Miguel went out to help the officers who finished first position the cars to get the best of the gorgeous natural light for the SUV unit photos. Divide and conquer; We had limited time, and too many images to finish before the officers had to get back to active duty. When you know the strengths of your team, you can trust in them completely to get the images you need for the finished project! 

From start to finish, it only took a few hours to complete and be on our way home, and that was entirely due to having an awesome and cohesive team, with a game plan setup days in advance! The only thing left to do was retouch the photos, and create the composite for the magazine spread! Using a combination of Capture One Pro 10 and Adobe Photoshop CC, Enrique was able to splice the images together in no time at all. Especially since we had Decided on and nailed our lighting before the officers even arrived so every shot was precise and consistent. Once the retouch/edit was done on the first image, it was simply a matter of pasting to the rest of the shots and then cloning them into the pano!

Check out the rest of the BTS images and video below and let me know what you think! Do you guys want to see a follow up video/tutorial on the retouching and composite? 

Friends of the Henderson Police Department Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is committed to supporting the mission of the Henderson Police Department through organized volunteering and fundraising efforts in the areas of: Training, Equipment Acquisition, Fallen or injured officers and their families, and Community Relations Programs.

For more information about the Friends of Henderson Police Department, please check out the website here; http://friendsofhpdfoundation.org/

Their store has detailed information on our programs and current fundraising campaigns: http://friendsofhpdfoundation.org/shop-and-donate/store

This page on their website details the article and the fundraising campaigns they've setup in relation to it: http://friendsofhpdfoundation.org/information/k9-program

Bright Lights, Big City - A Collaboration

Last week a good friend and fellow photographer, Miguel Cortes messaged me asking if I was available to help out on a photoshoot concept he'd been working on, so naturally, when I heard the words "Neon" "Eighties" and "Custom Bikes", well, I was in hook line and sinker! 

Calling in Liz Gopwani and Tiffannie Michelle to Style our models (Samantha Vitone and Angelica Acevedo, we set off to the Downtown Container Park in Las Vegas to be the background of our shot.

Once the awesome tricked out bikes arrived on set we started the setup. Consisting of my Profoto B2 Light kit on some Savage Universal Drop Stands with 46" Photek Softlighters, we set the camera to Rear Curtain Sync (for shutter drag), and started spraying some Atmosphere Aerosol to add a little ambience to the shot. 

I started spreading the atmosphere aerosol for Miguel to get his shots while we drew a fairly large crowd around the entrance to the park. After he got the images he wanted, we switched off so that I could fire a few frames before moving to our second location for the alternate look, (And subsequently, more complicated shot).

By the time we got ready to roll for this setup, Miguel had to leave. Meaning, I had to take the lead to finish the image.  The plan was to setup the bikes in an alley using rear curtain sync with my Sigma 35mm A series locked on a tripod with focus dialed into a "zone" for the girls to roll up on and hold a pose before the lights fired off. It took several test shots and countdown tries between the fog and approximate "marks" to hit before we finally nailed our "fire" shot, but with an awesome team, we managed to get the images we wanted all in under an hour's time!

Take a look at the images below and let us know what you think. All edits done in Photoshop with finishing tone touches done with Alien Skin Exposure X