Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New Magazine Feature Spotlight - KEV!NOU

It was a natural progression. Kevin Ou’s destiny started a decade ago with a
click far east of his adopted home in Los Angeles. Following his instincts
early on, Kevin managed multiple International photographic awards as well
as defined expanded boundaries for commercial photography.

In 2004, Kevin found time to set up the representative agency Four9Seven
Creatives representing young and worthy talent. In 2008, that enterprising
spirit led to a second joint project, the Forum Agency, which is quickly
becoming the definitive strategic marketing agency for celebrity branding.
Always in high demand by his illustrious clientele, Kevin ceaselessly creates
enhanced impressions of this minute’s popular culture with his bold and
impactful style.

Today, his uber-contemporary and unashamed images leap out at our new
generation of the visually literate. There is more to come. In 2009, Kevin will
soon be embarking on co-founding MH+L Magazine and aims to set visual
trends and push the envelope for the industry. Over the years, Kevin has
been awarded many prestigious International Photography awards, such as

-APA National Award 2005
- Microsoft ProPhotographer Award 2006
- Communications Arts Annual Award 2006
- APA CameraWorks Award 2007
- ASMP Image07 2007
- ASMP “Top Images of the Year” Award 2007
- International Photo Award 2007
- American Photo “Images of the Year” Award 2007

Most recently Kevin was named one of the top 10 influential photographers
in the United States and will be featured prominently in the distinguished
industry bible coffee table book “CreativeUSA”. It will be distributed in over
70 countries and in 6 languages.

Kevin’s new venture with MH+L magazine is no doubt the next logical step
in his ascending career. His iconic imagery and proven track record will no
doubt help augment the creative needs of the new magazine.
Watch this space for more updates.

(Note: I can't help but feel embarrassed about write ups like that, but I always appreciate the recognition.)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dario Benitez, Downtown, Los Angeles

Had a chance to shoot Dario Benitez, latin singer extrodinaire for his Album cover. It's going to look totally amazing. Look out for the name and listen for the voice, it's gonna blow you away! The unique locations we scouted had a cool vibe to it, and it worked well under that wardrobe choices of, the one and only, Mr. James Abbott. It was a hot day under the sun, but everyone braved the heat and pulled off an amazing shoot. Thanks to MUA Rolana Brumley, who flew all the way back in time to back it for the shoot. Here's some pics behind the scenes.

Mr. Abbott styling Dario
I love ringflashes!
Dario and my puppy Bella, looking intimidating

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Photographer Assistant Guide : An advice, A Rant

It has come to my attention that a good photoblog doesn't just show off my talents and skills, but also helps give back to the community. I'll be starting rants and thoughts, and just feedback from my own experiences, so that it may serve to help aspiring photographers. Thru the course of my assignments, I've also found many cool products that certainly make a photographer's job alot easier. Watch for them in the near future. All said and done, I hope you guys had a happy 4th! I appreciate all the fan emails and the encouragement.

On the average, I get about 3-4 emails daily from aspiring photographers, offering to Intern or to be a photography assistant. On the top of their list, most of them would put their technical skills up in the forefront. There's usually waaaay too much emphasis about showing off what lighting systems they know, what camera systems they know, what digital backs they've used, etc. To me, that should be a given. Technical skills can easily be learnt by researching, Googling or even just popping into your local photo store and playing with the equipment until you're savvy with it. If you're determined, you'll make it happen. And even then, I can sit down with someone and show them how my system works. Most lighting systems are the same, the button layouts are just a little different. So all things being equal, your technical savvyness should be the minimum baseline, that's never what I look for when I hire.

To me, technical skills are common, what strikes me in a good assistant / intern is a GOOD POSITIVE ATTITUDE, RESPONSIBILITY, COMMITMENT and INITIATIVE. Yes, there are days, when it gets long on set. All photographers want someone that can keep their spirits up and not start to bitch and whine. I haven't kicked any people off my set yet, but I've come pretty close to. And this brings us to responsibility, this is one of the biggest traits I look for. All photographers need someone they can trust. Basically, the photographer's job is to make the clients look good, and the assistants job is to make the photographer look good. We all want someone we can trust to handle the deeds that were set forth. Always keep good communication/contact with the photographer/producer. If something can't be done, speak up. If you're running late, call. If your plans change, tell the photographer, don't just not show up. Honestly, a good shoot relies on the people at ground level setting it up. Believe me, I know how important you are. Eventually, I find out during the day whether or not you had my back. And Karma always comes back, I always take care of the people that have struggled with me. Be it a bonus, annual gift, tickets, etc., I'll always take care of the people that took care of me.

And the last is commitment, and I guess Determination comes in at some point. If you're committed, you're in 150%. Everyone gives their 100%, that's the minimum standard in the game. I'm looking for someone that has the initiative and will go above and beyond the call of duty. Someone that takes the time to learn my habits and executes a task without even me or the producer having to say something. Know that at any moment, there are 20 other people waiting in line to take your place, as harsh as it is, you're Replaceable. Ask yourself what is it about you that makes me want to keep you around. Trust me your technical skills isn't going to be one of them.