What REALLY matters in a photo shoot…

•April 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I’ve noticed a trend among photographers of late to post an image followed with the camera, lens and metadata of how it was shot like:

Nikon D810

Lens: 70 -200

ISO: 100

Aperture: F 2.8

Shutter speed: 1000

and so on.

…and everyone is eating this stuff up.  Like if I get all this technical stuff the same as the example image I’ll have great photos.  That’s the wrong direction folks.

I’m not one of those who say the camera and technical details don’t matter.  They do.  They matter a lot.  But it isn’t until you have them mastered well enough that you aren’t even thinking about that stuff that you get great photos.  It is then you can focus on what really matters.  What is the photo communicating?  How do I make it pop?  How can I pump up the aesthetics?  The mechanical things become like driving a car.  You don’t think “now I will apply the brake with exactly this much pressure” when a truck pulls out in front of you.  You just do it.

I know this won’t gain me a million followers.  That too doesn’t matter.  But the message is: Focus on the beauty of the shot and what it communicates and you’ll have a winner every time.  You do have to master the technical stuff, but do so with the goal of getting to the point where you just don’t even have to think about it.  It gets in the way.  Focus on the creativity and the subject in front of you.  A shout out here to Stephen James with nxtModels for some great work (and creativity).

(p.s. the metadata above is only an example, not the actual specs of this photo).

fashion photographer, mark stout

Lifestyle photo shoot, copyright Mark Stout, all rights reserved

It’s all wrong… but it’s right…

•April 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Technically speaking, everything about this photo is “wrong”.  The background is blown… as are parts of his shoulders.  It would be nice if he was looking a bit more up into the camera.


there is such powerful emotion in the shot, feeling, a sense of movement and one of reality that is so strong that it works.  It communicates.  In fact the “flaws” only add to the power of the photo.

I know I shouldn’t… lol… but I LOVE this photo.  I’ll post some more from this shoot later.


Lifestyle photoshoot, copyright Mark Stout, all rights reserved

The magic moment

•April 9, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I’ve mentioned this before, but sometimes the most important thing a photographer can do is be in tune with what is going on around him.

This was taken at an industry event of filmmakers.  I headed up to the 2nd floor balcony to get a better vantage point for the group shot we were planning and started to see the most remarkable scenes playing out below me.  I mean it was a gathering off the most creative people in the area all indulging in the joy of creating.

The light couldn’t have been more perfect, even though it was by chance, as filmmaker Tim Cissell enchanted the crowd with stories of one of his projects, with television producer Tricia Mentor-Swanson looking on.  It was taken at The Lot at RiNo

It was a very magical moment at the event… and somehow every bit of that magic came through in this picture.

Denver photographer

Film Industry event, copyright Mark Stout, all rights reserved

“Masquerade” – Fine Art Fashion Photography

•April 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I remember from my twenties a song by George Benson called Masquerade.  I related to it in a very powerful way, feeling that my life was indeed a masquarade with false fronts to prevent the world from ever knowing… and hurting… the real me.

As an artist I had to learn to let myself out, otherwise the work I created fell flat.  It took guts and it hurt… hurt bad… at times.  Then I learned that the things I thought I was weren’t me at all and that the real me was a guy I kind of liked.

I also learned something else.  I wasn’t the only one guilty of carrying on a masquerade.  In fact we would be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t.

And it is in that spirit this image was created.  It is currently in the Saatchi Art collection.

Featuring Chace Johnson.


fine art photographer

Masquerade, a fine art photo, copyright Mark Stout

Fashion Choices

•April 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes a work is a true collaboration through and through.   This is one such example.  The creativity had gone out the roof on this shoot and everyone involved was adding more and more to it.  Oh and for the record, every reason you could imagine presented itself for why it should have been postponed.  We didn’t and I’m glad.

Featuring Chace Johnson.

Advertising photographer

Men’s Fashion Editorial – copyright Mark Stout, all rights reserved.

Crop, Crop, Crop

•April 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I have often used the analogy of going to a concert or live show and while the singer on the stage might have a beautiful voice, you somehow feel she isn’t giving you all she’s got and you feel cheated.  The analogy is usually used in relation to photography, or when talking with models… how we can hold back and not let everything we have into the shoot.

What is interesting is that I have been shooting 30 years, and there have been countless times I’ve felt I’ve punched through that personal barrier in my work.  Only to turn around and find later I have still more to give and do it again.  I guess that only means we can only get larger as individuals, and as we do so our work does as well.  There have been 3 distinct points in the last few months where I have noticed myself doing that… and interestingly enough, so have the people who look at the photos.  In their comments, I can tell they see it too.

I’m doing something different in this post.  Often once I finish the post on a photo, I see a crop that will make it look better (or so I think).  Then many times when I see it in the “save for web” window, I will see yet another crop I like.  So on this one, I’m giving you the original, then the 2 crops.  I like the tightest crop best, BUT this was shot for a fashion editorial, so we are going with the one that shows the jacket!

Again this is from my last shoot with Chace Johnson.

Advertising photographer

Fashion Editorial, copyright Mark Stout, all rights reserved


Commercial photographer

Fashion Editorial, copyright Mark Stout, all rights reserved

Fashion in Black and White

•March 29, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I wasn’t going to post anymore from this shoot until after it was published, but I saw this one and had a “holy shit” moment and had to share it… with the blessings of the client.  I think the black and white took it over the top.  It was great in color, but the black and white is what brought in the “holy shit, I love this” moment.

I hope you enjoy.  Again featuring the hot new model discovery, Chace Johnson.  From the reactions I have been getting from the powers that be, you are going to be seeing a lot of him.

Advertising photographer

Black and white fashion photography, copyright Mark Stout


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