One of the perks of my job is that I get to rub elbows with some of the most talented photographers in the world. The best part of it is that they are the most humble people you’ll ever cross paths with. They’re just people, for the most part.
Recently I corresponded with Luc Coiffait, a young London based photographer with a rap sheet as long as my arm. He’s a heck of a nice guy. For 22 years old, he’s been involved with very big names like GQ China Style, GQ Japan, Leo Burnett, Fiasco, 1883, Marie Claire Greece, and Pan Macmillan. If this list isn’t impressive enough, you should see his work.
I asked him to share some of what makes the Luc Coiffait signature look. If you’re as intrigued as I was, take a look at his website for more of his shots. Here’s what he had to say:
“My style is an interpersonal take on fashion photography. I really need to connect with the model before we can do anything. This way, it’s not quite portraiture; it’s more personal.
I experiment mostly with natural-simple lighting to keep focus on the models character and emotion. Basically, I shoot simple fashion-beauty photography.
I shoot quickly. Normally I try to wrap things up in about 30 minutes. Half of the time I spend talking, the other half shooting. This keeps the atmosphere relaxed and the emotions real. I rarely use assistants to keep the number of people on a shoot low. If you pay close attention you can do it yourself. Also, spouting instructions to an assistant can pressure the model and ruin the emotion of the shoot.
For lighting, simple is better. Ironically, I came to this realization after years of using complicated lighting. I would mix different color temperatures like tungsten with flash, etc. but it was too much to remember. Now I shoot with natural light or only 1 light when needed. This way I don’t have to worry about the gear as much, it’s less pressure. Less pressure means I enjoy the shoots more and so do my clients. Now I make friends out of clients instead of clients out of friends.
One thing I learned when working with less lighting, is the necessity to get it right. I recommend that you keep a close eye on the file, set the camera to monochrome display, and shoot RAW files. This let’s you see what the light is doing in camera without the distraction of colour. Record the colour information in the file; you don’t need to see it when you’re on a shoot. That’s what Exposure is for.”