Behind the Lens: JP Van Swae

Studio photographer goes to creative (and cold) lengths to get these sports gear photos

Grind Media Studio Photographer goes to creative (and cold) lengths to get the sports gear photos that would showcase this year’s new line of drysuits for a C&K gear review, for the December 2013 issue on stands now.

sports gear photos

The Shot

C&K Managing Editor Dave Shively as “The Iceman”
Canon 1D MK IV with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 at 24mm
1/160 sec at f/20 – ISO 100

Pro Photo power pack w/ one blue gelled strobe for backlight, one umbrella bounce as fill off camera upper right and one snooted strobe as key off camera left.

CanoeKayak.com: What was the creative development behind this image?
JP Van Swae: We wanted to showcase the product in a different light, create something that stops the reader on the page. We also wanted it to be fun! Dave Shively and I went back and forth on a creative design. I had used the icehouse before so I knew we could get ice blocks; the original concept was to build a huge wall of ice and shoot it here in the studio. But the ice was too slippery and dangerous, so we decided to go on location. The whole project came off as a group effort with C&K Creative Director Robert Zaleski and Photo Editor Aaron Schmidt helping with the lighting and Shively standing in as a model. All these creative minds really brought this image together and made it pop. I believe you’re only as good as the help you bring.

What were some of the challenges?
Contained space is often hard to shoot in, especially when you don’t really know it. Those hurry-up-and-be-creative scenarios can be challenging, but that’s where the rad stuff comes from. For example, we were totally surprised they even allowed us to shoot inside the icebox at the end. When shooting on location you get that variety, the unknowns, and that things probably will go wrong. I aspire to achieve scenarios I’m not ready for. This in the end gets me better images and stretches my ability to be a better photographer. It goes beyond just being a ‘job.’ When you go through something that is more challenging there is a bigger reward on the back end of it.

What words of advice do you have for upcoming photographers?
Big tip—go shoot. Bottom line. It is great to write down all your ideas and brainstorm … but you have to go try them out. Borrow your neighbor’s dog, or a friend, to use as models. Beg and borrow equipment—just get out there and do it. I’m not going to hire you to paint a fence if I know you have never painted a fence. You need to develop your skills first.

What’s next?
The winter season is upon us and I’m excited to get out and work on some new project ideas. I love being creative, messing around and working on a least a couple of projects, and I have a ton of them on the brain—that’s what really gets me excited.

More of JP’s work can be found at www.jpvsphoto.com.

Click here to read the full drysuit review with video online.
sports gear review

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