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CMPhotography (Cliff Mautner)

jhilgersjhilgers Member
edited July 2013 in wedding photography
Neil,
Do you know much about this guy at all? Pretty impressive work that has a lot of "mood" distilled in it: http://www.cmphotography.com/

I have watched a few of his videos and training seminars. To sum up a little about his style and views I can say the following:

1. He uses flash mostly for formal wedding portraits only.
2. Believes in taking full advantage of the Nikon D4's low light ISO ability and fast glass for most everything and not using flash at all except in extreme circumstances.
3. Believes in placing his subjects in the best light possible to begin with (like you do).
4. Does not like bounce flash at all because he believes it destroys the ambient light and the overall mood.
- he feels that we destroy our photo environments with too much flash in an attempt to "fix things" when simply moving our subject can fix the problem to begin with.
5. Believes most photographers rely too much on the 24-70mm lens.
- he uses the 85mm 1.4 and 70-200mm for most all of his shooting.
6. Believes in using your subject to enhance the light that is available, not using the light to enhance your subject.

I had to think about #6 for awhile, but it makes complete sense once you see his work.


I look forward to your input

Comments

  • Since I have entirely too much time on my hands and the love for procrastination is consuming me (we are moving and doing this makes me look busy), I would like to chime in here.

    The six points all seem valid-except 4 and 5.

    #4: I would agree that there are plenty of times where any additional lighting destroys the ambient light but the ambient light has to be quality. I am including three photos from a wedding last week. The reason I walked away with photo three is because of Neil, his books and info here on his websites (any mistake is mine). The ambient light was crap and NO settings would have improved it.

    First photo is f/2.8, 1/30 and ISO 3200 (test shot for procession)
    Second photo is f/2.8, 1/40 and ISO 6400 (test shot for 2nd procession)

    Conclusion: ambient light is (insert favorite adjective) and the photos look blah.

    Third photo is f/2.8 1/80 and ISO 3200 with bounce flash in AVERAGE mode. Higher shutter speed reduced the ambient a little (it was a little brighter the day of the wedding) but I also needed enough to freeze the motion.

    The 3rd is one of my favorite photos and would not have been possible (for me at least) if not for bounce flash. Setting up umbrellas/softboxes was not an option.

    #5:That's like saying photographers rely to much on digital. Or maybe he relies too much on the 85 f/1.4 and the 70-200 mm. Sounds like the kind of advice that steers people in the wrong direction.

    In conclusion, if those set of rules work for Cliff (and they seem to work) that is great. I prefer the flexibility that bounce flash and the 24-70 give. His work is phenomenal but that does not mean we have to agree or follow blindly.

    imageimageimage

    Rudy
  • MikeZMikeZ Member
    I've seen a lot of cliff's work and seminars and webinars. He has no problem augmenting the avail light when needed. He is a big pocket wizard user and promoter. I love his work and neil vn's work. Diff styles but beautiful regardless.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    edited July 2013
    Yup, I know Cliff and I'm familiar with his work and style and his approach.

    About the points he mentions:
    4. Does not like bounce flash at all because he believes it destroys the ambient light and the overall mood.
    - he feels that we destroy our photo environments with too much flash in an attempt to "fix things" when simply moving our subject can fix the problem to begin with.
    This might be true for portraits where you have control over your subject, but it isn't true for something like the wedding reception.

    5. Believes most photographers rely too much on the 24-70mm lens. He uses the 85mm 1.4 and 70-200mm for most all of his shooting.
    I do think his intention here is similar to this:
    http://neilvn.com/tangents/composition-for-full-length-portraits/

    Photographers often stand too close to their subjects when shooting portraits.

    6. Believes in using your subject to enhance the light that is available, not using the light to enhance your subject.
    I can't make any sense of this. I would have to see specific examples to help decipher that.
  • jhilgersjhilgers Member
    edited July 2013
    Neil,
    With regards to the wedding reception - if you attempted to use available light only couldn't you simply expose properly for your subject's face (or the bride's dress) and let everything else go?
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    You could ... until you shoot weddings in New Jersey and New York, where the venues have lighting so low, that you're getting slow shutter speeds at f/1.4 @ 3200 ISO.
  • jhilgers, its just quantity, its Quality, u can expose for the face all u want but if the bg uplightightin id brighter than the fg itl blow out to white, and if the lighting is coming from overhead u will have horrible racoon eye shadows under the eyes
  • Ironically, I was just looking at the cover of the current New Yorker magazine before I visited this forum. And I was thinking 'this looks like a Cliff Mautner photo'. It's a painting or drawing but with gorgeous rim lighting. That's CM. I LOVE CM. He's a genius. His thing is you can shoot spectacular portraits in any light. Harsh mid day sun? Bring it on, he says. But I will say that I think he relies too much on the rim lighting look. It gets too much sometimes, as beautiful as it is.

    The mag cover is of Bert and Ernie watching the Supreme Court on TV. It's a reference to the gay marriage vote. Are Bert and Ernie gay?
  • *Chuckles*

    Yep that sounds like him (from the five interviews that I have seen him do at the end of 2012).
  • edited July 2013
    Gotta admit I love his work. Hadn't heard of him till you posted. If I can get away without using any time of flash or strobe I would, but as others have pointed out, there are times when that's impossible. As Neil has mentioned about the wedding scenario. I live in Jersey, know exactly what he's referring to! Not like you can haul a tripod around on a wedding shoot to use only available light. Plus you'd miss sooo many shots waiting on the shutter. Many of those missed pics were ONE SHOT ONLY! Can't be repeated or duplicated. Just my 2 cents worth.
  • jhilgersjhilgers Member
    edited July 2013
    Yeah I can believe places being that dark. I have been in some dark night clubs where all you had was annoying overhead lights (most of which were flashing) and poor lighting everywhere else. I was pushing an ISO of around 8000 on my 1DX, but hey, I loved being able to crank it up that high and still get a clean shot. I wish I had kept one of those photos to show you :(
    Do brides do much of the departures using sparklers up in the North East where you are from?
  • jhilgers,
    jhilgers said: Do brides do much of the departures using sparklers up in the North East where you are from?
    None that I've come across. Not so much a fan of the effect, but it's all in the eye of the beholder, and the client of course.
  • nice to see the link poster deleted....I was going to FLAG the user but was not sure if it was appropriate
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Yup ... I have particularly low regard for spammers. So please flag any comment which looks like spam.
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