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View Full Version : Playboy Photographer Arnie Freytag's Lighting and Workflow


nitekatt2006
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 14:10
:rolleyes: Hello shooters. I was watching that show last night, The Girls Next Door, Hef's reality series from the Playboy Mansion and this episode featured photographer Arnie Freytag shooting the gals in various layouts, lighting, cameras, indoor, outdoor. To me, this is like attending a master class. What I noticed is that Arnie has his monterous ring flash hooked up to what looked like a 35mm. Not sure if it was digital or not, but curious if Playboy shoots mainly digital or still sticking with film. Now guys, I only watch the show strictly for technical purposes and do not pay attention to the beautiful women running around half nude in tight bikinis with Arnie getting them in the frame.

I imagine that Playboy spares no expense on buying or renting the best and most expensive camera gear and lighting rigs out there now.

Also, Arnie was firing off some shots which looked like a Hassy, Pocket Wizard in the hotshoe, maybe with a Leaf back or similar and they were viewing the shots instantly, so that had to be digital. And it appears that to get the "Playboy" look, the ring flash is used exclusively for the centerfold shots and a few others, along with big softboxes

I yahooed Arnie Freytag's name and not much came up about him, so far, no link to a website. Anyone know much about him and his workflow? It was really impressive watching him work

Thanks katt

krazziecliff
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 14:15
I'm watching this space...sounds very interesting. I'd imagine Playboy going all the way, so a Hassy H3D possibly. havent watched the show, but definitely seen alot of Fashion/Glamour/Boudoir/Burlesque type photographers use the Hassy.

MDJAK
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 14:24
Playboy went digital a while back, but not for the centerfold. That is still shot in medium format on film, or at least was when I read an article in a popular photography magazine detailing their work.

mark

terriyaki
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 14:30
http://www.arnyfreytagstudios.com/

seems like you need an account to get past the main page :(

MDJAK
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 14:33
Yeah, I was just about to say that.

nitekatt2006
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 15:58
Yeah, thanks for the Arnie link, but yes, have to have a password/account, yikes, oh well!

I would assume that Arnie would have a lighting guy so he doesn't have to fool around setting it up other than metering and experimenting. Maybe Hef is the lighting guy, who knows

Interesting that somebody responded that Playboy went digital other than the centerfold shots are still done in med format and film. Curious as to why, because certainly high end 39 MP Hassy should capture enough pixels for a magazine for at least a 133 line screen. Perhaps, just a tradition to keep a part of the past in the present

katt

DocFrankenstein
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 17:08
I imagine that Playboy spares no expense on buying or renting the best and most expensive camera gear and lighting rigs out there now.
I highly doubt it. Paul Buceta was shooting most of his stuff with a 10D, 28-135 and 50/1.8... or something like that.


It's all about the light and rimlights. Not the sensor. Plus - for the magazine prints they might as well shoot it with a rebel.

Curtis N
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 19:30
I have seen that show a few times. Purely for photographic research purposes. What follows is pure conjecture on my part, with absolutely no suporting evidence.

My guess is that Freytag and the other shooters do nothing more than show up, meet the model, grab the camera, shoot, and go home. What these guys specialize in is knowing how to direct a model and pose her "the Playboy way", and hit the shutter button.

Other people setup everything else, and it is elaborate. Costumes, hair, makeup, sets, props and lighting are all carefully orchestrated by other equally talented people. The workflow after the shoot is all handled by others on the staff.

As mentioned, the camera and format used are pretty irrelevant, though I would submit that for the centerfold, which is about 27 inches long, medium format of some sort would likely yield at better image than the more common DSLRs. I have seen various cameras used on the "Girl Next Door" program. My guess is, the photographer can pick his tool of choice.

bundybear
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 20:09
yeh right, you were all just lookng for the "learning experience" ay?:lol: :lol:

DocFrankenstein
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 20:54
yeh right, you were all just lookng for the "learning experience" ay?:lol: :lol:
Unlike me they don't know how to multitask.

R_Metzel
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 21:04
Interesting that somebody responded that Playboy went digital other than the centerfold shots are still done in med format and film. Curious as to why, because certainly high end 39 MP Hassy should capture enough pixels for a magazine for at least a 133 line screen. Perhaps, just a tradition to keep a part of the past in the present

katt
I wonder too because the H3D's sensor is twice the size of a FF sensor. So it shoots 70mm, the same sized used in IMAX movies, except the digital version ofcourse. It probably is the whole tradition thing. Nothing compares to the look of quality film IMHO.

Now guys, I only watch the show strictly for technical purposes and do not pay attention to the beautiful women running around half nude in tight bikinis
My dad said the same thing about reading Playboy when I was a kid. When my mom found his stash, he said he only buys them for the articles, not the nude women. So she spent a day drawing clothes on all of the girls in black marker while he was at work! :lol:

JRJay
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 21:19
This is the first I've heard of the show, I'll have to set my DVR...for educational purposes of course.;)

Digger
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 21:26
i saw the episode also. but to me it looked like the were using a mamiya digital medium format. i also noticed that the software on the mac said mamyia digital studio.

we are talking about the episode with the girl for mexico. she was a DJ right? they also said it would be the centerfold, but you all know reality tv is far from reality

nitekatt2006
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 22:28
Digger. the episode I saw last nite was a big shoot at the Mansion with the big 3 blondes in bikinis and one of the models on a motorcycle and one in a Mae West theme. Arnie is one cool dude to be a real pro with all these foxy babes runnin' around a little bit bare, buit then again the dude has been doin' this work for decades. I'm sure he has many stories to tell as well

katt

Digger
27th of April 2007 (Fri), 22:48
ahh i missed that episode. ill have to keep an eye for it

wazmunstr
28th of April 2007 (Sat), 12:11
My dad said the same thing about reading Playboy when I was a kid. When my mom found his stash, he said he only buys them for the articles, not the nude women. So she spent a day drawing clothes on all of the girls in black marker while he was at work! :lol:


haha! thats great! :lol: bet your dad didnt say anything after that

René Damkot
28th of April 2007 (Sat), 12:23
I wonder too because the H3D's sensor is twice the size of a FF sensor. So it shoots 70mm,


Eehm, that would be 48x36mm

R_Metzel
28th of April 2007 (Sat), 23:09
Eehm, that would be 48x36mm
Thanks for the correction!:o;) I just assumed 35mm=Full frame. So them saying it is twice the size as full frame 35mm x 2= 70mm. See where I was confused.

Scoots
30th of April 2007 (Mon), 16:31
I've been following/studying his work for years ;) Since I was old enough to buy the magazine he's known to shoot for.

Anyway. I've heard they use as many as 37 lights in their setups. The Girls Next Door is great, because it does give a behind the scenes view, sometimes. They use a ton of lights, rim lighting, sides, reflectors and softboxes, plus that big ring light Arny had on the 35mm on that episode.

I heard they'll spend up to 4 hours setting up lights for a particular model, then even more time when she arrives tweaking things. Arny is definately involved with the session, not sure how involved he is with the lighting, but I imagine he has pretty high expectations, and the light guys had probably better get it right.

The magazine (typically) has incredible lighting for fashion/glamour type work, and one of my goals is to be able to reproduce it on my own.

RayP7357
24th of July 2008 (Thu), 13:24
I just got to work with Arnie on a pictorial and it is indeed a Master Class. He has guys handling the lighting but he's guiding every element. They do the leg work but he sets each position and f/stop. It does take hours but he loves shooting digital as it speeds up the workflow SO much. He shoots test shots constantly until the talent is on set to get it where he wants it. When we shot we was on a 5D with an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens @110mm, shooting 1/50th - f/5.6 at ISO 100.

Strobes were all utility profoto packs and heads including a profoto zoom spot. Evidently they have one per model for the larger shoots to pop the face or body.

He has an assistant that is saving and calling back everything on a protable computer rig with a HUGE monitor.

You can tell he's done this for years as he knows every angle and position to get the look he wants.

epatt250
24th of July 2008 (Thu), 13:35
I have seen about 20 episodes. I have seen some shoots that are done with a medium/large format camera but a great deal of the shoots I have seen were done with a camera attached to a big white 70-200 f2.8.

The last one I saw was where they got user submitted photos and auditioned four random girls for the centerfold. Hef came down to the studio for like the first time in many many years and they thought it would be cool to let him mash the shutter on a couple of shots. Camera was tripod mounted and attached to a white 70-200.

Gentleman Villain
24th of July 2008 (Thu), 13:52
Google another Canon shooter named Dean Capture and check out his glamour workshop. He's a huge fan of Freytag. Warning: 18+

Here's the basic setup....35mm 70-200 lens...around f5.6....strip boxes and/or grids for edge lights...large softbox strobe or HMI for mainlight...background light is usually gels on a bare reflector and/or grids....get some horny dude to donate his mansion as a location...a little bit of hair and makeup....and a few healthy doses of imagenomics actions...oh yeah and don't forget the 18 -23 year old gal that didn't get enough attention from her father while growing up :)

BTW - I love glamour...it's the only reason 90% of males buy a camera in the first place

Gentleman Villain
24th of July 2008 (Thu), 13:59
One more thought: The real trick to this type of photography is being good at dealing with models and knowing how to find their angles. It's more of a personality thing...the lighting and photography actually becomes kinda easy after awhile. The best photographers for this kind of subject are usually personality driven. IT takes a certain kind of rapport between the model and photographer to make a career in this type of field. Just wanted to add that, because a lot of people see a few lighting diagrams and think they can shoot this stuff...but the photographic aspects are actually the easiest part. Dealing with personalities and having a good rapport with the models is the real key to being good at glamour and it usually takes years of experience and isn't something that can be learned in a book or at a film school or workshop

ueb0258
24th of July 2008 (Thu), 14:07
(I cant believe I am posting on a resurrected thread)
I will have to agree with Gentelman Villain. It does take a certian rapport to be able to shoot glamour. So far I have only done shooting with my wife but I still find it hard even working with someone I know.

Gentleman Villain
24th of July 2008 (Thu), 16:34
oh it's resurrected...that's too funny...I hate when I fall for that

Walkerv
17th of February 2010 (Wed), 11:38
This may seem basic but I'm wondering two things - just how is he connecting his 5d to his computer and what software is he using to view photos on site. Anyone have a clue or recommendation?

rigshots
17th of February 2010 (Wed), 16:16
Dude, this thread started in April 2007, almost 3 years ago!

Anyway, love Arnys work, he is an absolute master.

JJ

Jeeves
17th of February 2010 (Wed), 16:32
While clearly dated, the book Playboy: 50 Years: The Photographs (http://www.amazon.com/Playboy-Photographs-James-R-Petersen/dp/0811839788) published in '03 claims that even to that date Hef required all photographers to shoot in medium format to uphold the Playboy style of photography.

sas8888
17th of February 2010 (Wed), 17:22
This may seem basic but I'm wondering two things - just how is he connecting his 5d to his computer and what software is he using to view photos on site. Anyone have a clue or recommendation?


I connect my 5D with a USB cord and I use lightroom to view the photos about 5 sec after I shoot. Really helps making sure everything is set up. Also check out this thread (http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=695676) to a wireless solution

P1et
17th of February 2010 (Wed), 18:07
Saw the episode, nice to see him using Pocketwizards. Good advertising for them.