Book Talk: “Studio Anywhere” by Nick Fancher

“Studio Anywhere: A Photographer’s Guide to Shooting in Unconventional Locations” by Nick Fancher is a book that I highly recommend.

If you’re an environmental portraitist shooting on-location in small or perhaps challenging places, then you will find this book interesting to say the least and very helpful at best. If you’re already an advanced strobe light photographer and location portraitist, you might find this book relatively simple.

While the book is geared more towards intermediates, perhaps, if you’re somewhat familiar with strobes then it’s easy-to-follow and there is always something to learn even for the most advanced photographers.

Nick Fancher is anything but simple in his photography, but he is simple and common sense in his work flow and set-up. He very graciously shares a lot from both commercial and private client shoots, and shows screenshots of his Lightroom edits. So there is both good value in on-location and post technique.

He demonstrates more than just technique. Fancher prides himself on being in the moment, connecting with people, and being creative. All with a relatively light gear kit and modest budget (although I do not believe he is cheap, he appears to being doing nicely for his business). All good skills and approach to location portraiture, in my opinion.

There is also professionalism, yet a desire to have fun. Fancher appears to have both going for him. All to the good, because as I often say, “If it’s not fun, why bother doing it?”

I like this book because it makes me feel not alone and in good company. In my general service area, I tell people that I do location portraiture and describe it a bit, and I’m sometimes met with quizzical looks. They get it, but have a hard time imagining non-studio portraits. Fancher shows you can do cool high-quality photography on-location and have a nice business in it, too.

As the photography landscape changes, I really think that location portraiture – such as what Fancher does – is not only modern but a big part of the future, too. Costs, relatively speaking, might be expected to come down in some aspects of commercial photography. Mobility and efficiency will be valued, as well. So will portraiture with contextual and conceptual elements.

While the dynamics of commercial photography could change, and probably will continue to do so, professionalism and healthy business practices will not go out of style among people worth working for. For this, Fancher has a good model to learn from.

 

How would you edit this photo?

a trio of musicians play at the Oregon Renaissance Festival of Hillsboro
The Oregon Renaissance Festival of Hillsboro

My first thought when shooting this photo was for it to be a silhouette. But then I thought color and vibrancy was a good way to go so highlights were dropped and shadows boosted. A lot of photography and post-processing is subjective, so what would you have done with it?

Would you have opted for a silhouette? Would you have cropped out the violinist and focused on the two guitarists? Soft, sharp? Whatever choice you would have made, there is no hard right or wrong answer in my opinion. There are only guidelines and what looks good.

As for the trio you see here, they were a delightful sounding group at The Oregon Renaissance Festival of Hillsboro. Regardless if you’re into renaissance fairs or not (I had never been to one before), I highly recommend taking your camera to such an event. The people there lack photo inhibitions and the costumes are worth the time by itself.