Behind the Scenes of Commercial Shoots

Photographers Dallas J Logan and Dae Howerton | The PRO EDU Photography Podcast

Dallas J Logan and Dae Howerton PRO EDU Podcast

The PRO EDU Podcast: S10 E8 with Guests Dallas J Logan and Dae Howerton

Embarking on a journey through the competitive world of commercial photography and retouching, two LA-based creatives share their origin story and the synergy that defines their success. Join us in this episode with Dallas J Logan and Dae Howerton. Starting out with separate ambitions, their paths converge to form a duo that challenges the boundaries of fashion and beauty imagery. With a penchant for storytelling and intricate production skills, they navigate the industry as photographers, retouchers, and educators, bringing a wealth of insight into each role they assume. Watch this episode on the PRO EDU Learn App here.

Their partnership is a testament to the power of collaboration, blending individual strengths to elevate each project's vision. From ideation to execution, they captivate audiences with their distinct yet harmonious approaches, ensuring that the client's voice resonates through their artistry. The blend of logistical prowess and youthful creativity within their work showcases the balance between dreams and practicality that they bring to each shoot.

Key Takeaways

  • Collaboration brings together individual strengths, resulting in a richer, more nuanced creative output.
  • Their comprehensive approach covers photography, retouching, and client interaction, showcasing a full-spectrum skill set.
  • The duo's future-facing mindset and openness to share knowledge highlight a progressive view in both technique and industry evolution.

    Professional Insights

    Career Trajectory of Day and Dallas

    Day embarked on his journey in the fashion photography realm through an opportune inquiry about pricing for a project at V magazine in New York. This query led him to a collaboration with Dallas, a photographer renowned for transforming unrefined rapper album covers into polished final products. Their camaraderie evolved rapidly, with Day stepping in to assist Dallas, thereby gaining exposure to the fashion sector. Drawing from each other's strengths, they formed a cohesive unit, presenting their own unique flair to their shared portfolio.

    Their partnership is characterized by a dynamic where they alternate leading projects. This approach stems from who the client reaches out to first; if Day is contacted, he spearheads, while Dallas takes charge if approached directly. Casting egos aside, they focus on delivering the client's vision, passing leadership roles seamlessly based on client rapport.

    In addition to photography, Day and Dallas bring their creative control into post-production, handling the majority of their image retouching. Exceptionally, in high-volume situations or when clients possess in-house retouching capabilities, the duo is open to relinquishing raw files. Day also educates upcoming talent on retouching techniques, extolling the importance of capturing high-quality images that require minimal post-production enhancements.

    Genesis of a Creative Union

    The Formation of Their Partnership

    In the bustling city of New York, a commercial fashion and beauty retoucher known as Day was collaborating with a publication called V Magazine. During a particular project, Day was uncertain about the fee to charge for a service and sought advice from a colleague, who directed him to Dallas, another experienced individual within the same field.

    Upon this initial contact, Day and Dallas began to track each other's work and engaged in regular communication. This eventually led to Dallas extending an offer for Day to become an assistant, which was promptly accepted. Dallas, who had a history of making album covers for rappers, required assistance in transforming inadequate photographs into works of art. Recognizing Dallas's skill and talent in the photographic realm, Day saw an opportunity for growth and learning.

    As their collaboration grew stronger, it became evident that they complemented each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Despite having different creative approaches, their simultaneous shooting during projects allowed them to produce a cohesive body of work. This synergy extended to their philosophy on client relationships as they prioritize client needs over personal accolades, often trading the lead role seamlessly.

    Their partnership also entails full involvement in the production process, including photography and post-production retouching, endorsing the notion of seeing a project through from start to finish. When faced with time constraints or the presence of an in-house retouching team from the client's side, they are amenable to releasing raw photographs, underscoring their confidence in their initial captures as photographers.

    Moreover, both Day and Dallas contribute to the industry by teaching and mentoring emerging talent, often hiring those who excel in Day’s courses and replicate their unique retouching style. Their educational endeavors align with their belief in transparency within their craft and in empowering others to grow within the field of photography and retouching.

    Methodology in Photography

    Joint Endeavors

    In his professional routine, he emphasizes the benefit of a dynamic partnership where tasks and responsibilities are fluidly divided. Rather than adhering to a strict division of labor, he finds value in collaborating with his peer Dallas, particularly noting how their team dynamic enhances productivity. Through sharing duties, including the handling of the camera during a shoot, they achieve a comprehensive collection of images that reflect a harmonic conjunction of their individual styles.

    Artistic Forte and Innovation

    The photographic process he employs leverages distinct strengths from each team member to foster a creative environment where innovative ideas thrive. The youthfulness and imaginative vision of his counterpart inject an energy into the workflow, leading to concepts that may initially seem outlandish, like enacting a photoshoot in the streets. He then applies his seasoned expertise to translate these bold concepts into feasible projects, meticulously planning and adjusting logistical aspects. Their approach to retouching is equally integrated and versatile, handling most projects personally except when external demands necessitate delegation, reflecting their adaptability and commitment to delivering exceptional work while embracing their individual competencies and creative flair.

    Working with Clients

    Guiding the Venture

    In the sphere of professional photography, particularly when managing collaborations, it is crucial to assume responsibility and exhibit decisive oversight. Such leadership is embodied by engaging counterparts constructively and establishing clear, shared goals. Aligning mutual interests paves the way for cohesive team efforts, where each member understands and fulfills the organizational vision effectively. When conversing with clients, conveying these principles transparently ensures a harmonious and professionally rewarding relationship.

    Balancing Professional Pride

    A key aspect of collaborating with clients lies in the adept handling of creative self-regard among team members. Upholding a balanced approach when addressing artistic direction ensures that projects are not undermined by strictly personal biases or inclinations. Acknowledging and respecting the discrete strengths and experiences each individual brings to the table fosters a cooperative environment. This synergistic dynamic is especially advantageous; it allows for enhanced innovation and adaptability within the creative process, ensuring that the outcome not only meets but exceeds client expectations.

    • Roles and Responsibilities:

      Team Member Primary Role Secondary Role
      Day Photography Retouching
      Dallas Conceptualization Logistics
    • Collaboration Dynamic:

      • Simultaneous Photography: Transfer camera and shoot in turns for a holistic imagery outcome.
      • Ideation to Execution: Integrate vivid creative visions with practical implementation strategies.
    • Strengths in Collaboration:

      Day:

      • Brings contemporary creativity and fresh perspectives.
      • Handles intricate retouching, ensuring the visual narrative is conveyed seamlessly.

      Dallas:

      • Offers extensive industry expertise and logistical finesse.
      • Converts ambitious concepts into tangible and executable plans.

    By promoting a workspace where recognition of individual contributions is balanced with the common goal of delivering top quality to clients, the essence of professional camaraderie shines through the lens of the final product.

    Glimpse into Production Processes

    Idea Realization

    The journey from an initial concept to its full realization in production is both intricate and exhilarating. The team forms from diverse professional paths, leading to a collaboration that encapsulates a multitude of skills ranging from photography to expert retouching. Concepts that begin as dreams are transformed into tangible visual narratives through the merge of each individual's expertise, turning the teamwork into a seamless mechanic of creation. At every stage, they treasure the essence of the original idea while also remaining open to the evolution it must undergo during the production process.

    • Team Formation

      • Connected through industry networks.
      • Mutual recognition of skills and artistic potential.
    • Project Development

    Flexibility During Photography Sessions

    Adaptability becomes paramount during shoots, with the exchange of roles fluidly determined by the nature of the project and the team's dynamic. They often shoot simultaneously, passing the camera back and forth, which allows for a comprehensive and cohesive gallery of images by the end of the session. Their shared knowledge and complementary skill sets lead to a synergy that enhances their work significantly - each perspective bringing a new dimension to the shoot.

    • Collaboration Dynamics

      • Shoot simultaneously for a unified look.
      • Lead alternates based on client connection and project demands.
    • Problem-Solving and Innovation

      • Execute elaborate scenarios with practical logistics.
      • Utilize personal spaces creatively, like transforming a parking lot for a shot.

    Mastery of Post-Production

    Retouching is an integral part of their craft, with the team handling the majority of post-production work which allows for full creative follow-through from start to finish. However, they maintain flexibility and professionalism, releasing raw files when necessary to meet client needs or tight deadlines.

    • Retouching Philosophies

      • Strive for clear before-and-after distinctions in their work.
      • Openness to sharing raw files for educational purposes.
    • Quality Assurance

      • Training new talent that aligns with their retouching style.
      • Ensure the photography stands on its own, with minimal discrepancy between the before and after shots.

    Discussion After Production

    Image Enhancement Techniques

    In photography, the finessing of the final image is crucial. It involves finetuning the visual aspects to ensure every element aligns with the envisioned aesthetic. This includes adjusting lighting effects, refining color tones, and improving textures to elevate the photo's overall quality. This step is a blend of artistry and technical precision, aiming to achieve a flawless yet compelling visual narrative through the imagery.

    • Skill Development: Focusing on personal growth, mastery in image enhancement not only improves the outcome but also builds a stronger portfolio and personal style.

    Collaborative Retouching Options

    When discussing the expansion of retouching work, partnering with external retouching professionals becomes a strategic move. By outsourcing, photographers can handle higher volumes of work or focus on specific creative tasks with more freedom.

    • Client Satisfaction: The end goal remains to exceed client expectations. Whether the retouching is handled internally or outsourced, adapting to client preferences and ensuring a consistent style is non-negotiable.
    • Flexibility: Outsourcing allows adaptability in managing workloads, especially with tight deadlines.
    • Talent Sourcing: Recognizing and employing emerging talent from retouching courses helps in maintaining a fresh and innovative approach to image enhancement.
    • Trust in Retouching Partners: Confidence in the capability of external editors to handle raw images and deliver quality work strengthens professional relationships.
    In-house Retouching Outsourced Retouching
    Full creative control Higher volume handling
    Consistent style External expertise
    Personal touch Time-efficient

    Choosing between enhancing images personally or through a retouching partner depends on the project dynamics and specific client needs, ensuring the work aligns with the desired artistic vision.

    Philosophy on Image Enhancement

    Possession of Unedited Images

    • Initial Files Control: The ownership of unedited images is crucial. Some image creators are flexible in releasing initial, raw photographs, while others maintain strict control.
    • Policy Variance: Practices can differ—certain professionals might give unedited files to a trusted retouching agency, while others prefer personal oversight from start to finish.

    Integrity of Initial Images

    • Starting Image Quality: The strength of the initial photos is a testament to one's skill. There's a belief that the primary art lies within the photograph itself, not just the end product after enhancement.
    • Comparison of Before and After: Professionals often aim for minimal disparity between the untouched and the final retouched images, showcasing their adeptness in capturing the essence of the subject right from the camera.

    Educating on Image Enhancement Techniques

    Recruiting Top Learners

    Employing exceptionally skilled individuals is crucial for maintaining the high standard of work in the image editing domain. It is common practice to eagerly seek out and recruit those who display significant promise and comprehension of the unique retouching style embraced by an establishment. Engaging emerging talents who have excelled in formal training modules on photo editing is a strategic approach to uphold excellence and innovation within the team.

    Conveying Image Editing Expertise

    Transferring knowledge of advanced image editing skills is pivotal for ensuring consistent quality across projects. When conducting photoshoots, it is beneficial for photographers to alternate roles to incorporate diverse creative perspectives. Certain shoots may necessitate a leader to guide the execution, depending on the client's rapport with the photographers. Versatility is further evidenced in situations where image retouchers handle their own editing to maintain a cohesive vision from start to finish. However, flexibility is exercised if an external retouching department needs to handle raw images urgently. Additionally, instilling pride in 'before' images is a fundamental teaching point, encouraging photographers to focus on capturing quality shots that require minimal post-processing alterations.

    Prospects for Advanced Image Editing Software

    As professionals in the photography industry, they've observed and adapted to the technological shifts within their domain. They acknowledge the importance of quality in both the initiation and finalization of photographic content. In light of this, it is expected that photo editing tools will continue to evolve, becoming more intuitive and integrated into the creative process. The advancements will likely streamline workflows, offering photographers and retouchers the flexibility to produce high-end visuals more efficiently.

    • Expanded Automation: Future software is likely to introduce enhanced automation features that will assist in expediting common tasks, however maintaining a balanced control over the creative process will remain crucial.
    • Collaboration Enhancements: Collaboration in real-time will become more seamless, allowing multiple users to contribute simultaneously to projects, regardless of their location.
    • Educational Tools: Anticipated developments include integrated learning functions that will guide users through advanced editing techniques, thus broadening the scope of capabilities for both novices and experts.
    • Artificial Intelligence: AI is expected to play a more significant role, potentially offering suggestions for improvements based on a vast array of photographic data.
    • Mobile Integration: With the increasing power of mobile devices, powerful editing tools are predicted to become more readily available on these platforms, enabling editing on-the-go.
    • Customization and Personalization: The ability to personalize the editing environment and tools to suit individual workflows will likely become a standard feature.

    Retouching Practices: It is anticipated that professionals will continue to hold autonomy over their retouching process. While some may prefer to handle every aspect of image modification to maintain consistency with their vision, others may choose to collaborate with specialized retouching departments or up-and-coming talents trained in their unique style.

    Client Engagements: The client's connection and interaction with the photographer will influence project lead dynamics. An adaptable approach, shedding any semblance of ego, is crucial to focus on delivering exemplary results that align with client preferences.

    Education and Skill Transfer: Looking forward, the emphasis on teaching and sharing knowledge will remain an integral factor with seasoned professionals contributing to the education of emerging talents. By sharing raw files and demonstrating workflows, experts in the field can facilitate practical learning experiences.

    Raw File Handling: The stance on raw file sharing is expected to relax as the industry recognizes the educational value. This paradigm shift illustrates a confidence in one's abilities and the understanding that the photographer's worth is not diminished by sharing pre-retouched work.

    In summary, the sophistication and utility of photo editing software are set to undergo meaningful improvements that will elevate the standards and practices of professional photography and retouching. As these tools become more advanced, they will offer greater freedom, control, and creative possibilities, fundamentally enriching the creators' experience.

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