Fashion photography and retouching with Moshe Zusman & Kristina Sherk

October 16, 2015


Canon Digital Learning Center (CDLC): Moshe, now that you’ve had some time with the EOS 5DS, let’s compare it to what you’re used to shooting with, which are the EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III.

Moshe Zusman (MZ): The difference is amazing! The higher resolution of this camera gives me so much more flexibility with canvas size and with the way they come out of the camera so clear, so sharp. The color representation is amazing. Even in-camera and just looking at the LCD screen, I’m getting an amazing representation of what looks great in front of me.

CDLC: What will the final print size on the image you photographed today be?

MZ: I’m envisioning a full size print of about 8 feet wide and 5 feet tall, which will take over the entire wall and replace old imagery into one huge print.

CDLC: So up until now, what’s the largest sized print you’ve produced?

MZ: The largest print we’ve made is 40x60 inches on canvas or regular paper. It looked great, but when moving to such a high megapixel camera, we can print huge files and not worry about the detail level – even in the kind of imagery we’re creating now which are portraiture, head shots, beauty and fashion. With those kind of prints we’re making, we need a higher level of detail and not lose that fine detail that you get when you expand the size of canvases in post-production.

CDLC: With the type of work you do, how do you see the EOS 5DS fitting in? Do you see it as your “go to” camera or just for specialized projects like this where you need large prints?

MZ: This camera could definitely replace my current EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III as the “go to” camera because it’s got the higher resolution that I want to have for my portraiture, beauty and fashion photos, but I can also scale down the camera to a lower megapixel size for when I do events, birthdays, kids running around or anything else that doesn’t require a huge file size.

CDLC: So it’s pretty versatile the way you see it right now?

MZ: Absolutely! It’s kind of like an all-in-one. It has the benefits of a medium format level camera and a camera that can shoot smaller files and operate in everyday shooting. Sometimes I’m shooting something that I know for a fact will not be printed larger than 8x10 or 11x14, so I don’t necessarily have to have the high megapixel in every shot I take. It’s good to have it all in one piece.

CDLC: With our model, Allyn, what lens were you using?

MZ: One of my “go to” lenses for the studio is the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, but if I need to move closer to the subject, I would switch to the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS lens.

CDLC: What other lenses do you use regularly for your work?

MZ: The EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II and the EF 14mm f/2.8L primes are my favorite when I need wide angles for events.

CDLC: When you compare a prime lens, like the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, why might you use one over the other?

MZ: Today I was working on a tripod and the model was sitting at a very specific distance from the camera. The EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II helped me get that versatility of zooming in and out a little bit, just changing composition slightly. If I want to get a little bit more of the shoulders or just tighten the shot for the eyes, but didn’t feel like I needed the macro to be so close to her, I went with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II.

CDLC: What kind of ISOs and lens apertures were you using for the shoot?

MZ: We shot this at ISO 100 and an aperture of f/16 just to get a very sharp image all around, from the tip of the nose to the ears, to get a very sharp output.

CDLC: As far as processing goes, we’re talking about very large files here. What are you going to use to process your RAW files and how do you handle them?

MZ: Typically what I do is a basic conversion to JPEG after correcting white balance and color corrections in Adobe Lightroom. What we’re going to do is hand the RAW file that we picked as the final image to my retoucher, Kristina Sherk of Shark Pixel. She’s going to take care of that file straight from the RAW file into Adobe Photoshop and do all the necessary adjustments on a PSD file. Eventually, we’re going to send it to the printer.

CDLC: So let’s talk about the lighting you used and why you made that choice.

MZ: We lit our model’s face with clamshell style lighting. We used a 3 foot Octobox above camera and slightly to the right as our key light. As a fill light, we used a 2 foot Octobox below her, closer to the chin, just to soften the shadows a bit and get a catch light in the eye. We shot this at a very small aperture. To create a very fine level of detail, we needed a very high output for it, so we blasted a lot of light into that shot.

CDLC: On the subject of detail, because the EOS 5DS is capable of showing so much of it, how does that affect your decision process to add more or less contrast to the lighting set up?

MZ: First, we determine what we want the image to look like. The high detail of the camera is a benefit, but if we feel like that might show skin defects or anything we don’t want to see, that’s what makeup is for. I believe in getting it right in-camera and, of course, there’s post-production to fix things. But I definitely wouldn’t let the high resolution of this camera dictate that from now on, I have to soft-light something because I don’t want to see detail. So this is definitely an advantage, not a disadvantage.

CDLC: You use Speedlites in your location work, right? Tell us about how you use them.

MZ: If I have to be compact when I travel and don’t want to be carrying around studio strobes with me, Speedlites are the way to go, especially the Speedlite 600EX-RTs. They’re my favorite portable light to go with. We can use them with almost any modifier that’s out there, my favorite modifier being a softbox. If I have the time and space to set it up, the softbox is the way to go.

CDLC: How do you see the EOS 5DS and Speedlites integrating into your shooting workflow with weddings and events?

MZ: It’s a seamless integration because, up until now, we’ve been using the EOS 5D Mark III and the EOS-1D X. We used the Speedlite 600EX-RT to control remote flashes. It has built-in radio transmission, which is a seamless part of my workflow when I’m going to a wedding or occasionally photographing portraits. When I don’t have time to set up studio strobes, Speedlites are already there so we just modify them and boom! We’ve got all the light we need on the spot. When we do the venue lighting, the modifier is basic -- it’s just a gel, if needed, but nothing more than that.

CDLC: What are your overall impressions of the EOS 5DS? Who’s this camera truly suited for, in your estimation?

MZ: First of all, I love the camera because of all the things it has in it. If you’re a portrait, landscape or any other photographer, this camera has the resolution you need. If you need a camera that’s not as expensive as other medium format cameras, you have it in the EOS 5DS, so it’s almost as if I got medium format quality in a consumer camera price. It also has the versatility of using all the EF series lenses on it. It’s a huge advantage to every user and definitely is going to be my “go to” camera.

CDLC: You chose the EOS 5DS today over the EOS 5DS R because of the possibility of moiré patterns being introduced due to fine patterns in fabrics and such. How do you feel the EOS 5DS images stack up in regards to sharpness?

MZ: I do a lot of headshots. People wear suits, ties and dresses with textures and I don’t want to deal with moiré. This is the perfect camera for that!

CDLC: So to wrap it up . . . You like the camera?

MZ: I love the camera! May I have it?

CDLC: Very soon! We want to thank you and your entire staff for opening up your studio to us and making this whole thing happen. We hope that this sheds some light on this camera and what it’s capable of doing. It may not be the camera for everyone’s needs nor is it designed to be that. It’s about choosing the right tool for the right job and we think the EOS 5DS satisfies a lot of needs for many photographers.

MZ: Well, it definitely works for everything I do. It was an honor to have you in our studio!


(6 Videos)


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