JRP: Fashion photographer Pino Gomes graciously shares some of his perspectives and insights on professional photography in this installment of JRP Blog. Thank you Pino for sharing time with our readers. Where do you call home Pino?
Pino Gomes: I live currently in Zürich, Switzerland but I am from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Actually I would say that both places are home for me.
JRP: How did you get your start in photography? Was there any formal training in your background?
Pino Gomes: I was a teenager around 16 years old when it came up to my eyes a work of a photographer called Luis Tripoli, a Brazilian photographer in Rio de Janeiro. I was starting a technical school of marketing (college level) and the work of this photographer inspired me to learn photography in a formal way.
I took a professional course of photography in a public school supported by the Association of the Commerce of Rio. After-wards, I took several different courses and workshops for photographers but I truly believe that the start was when I began to work as a photographer’s assistant. I then began to understand what the profession is about.
JRP: How big is your support staff and what areas do they handle?
Pino Gomes: In general, I have an on set make-up artist, a fashion stylist and a photo-assistant in an average photo-shooting. All my staff are freelancers which I use constantly. My wife handles the administration part of my assignments.
The retouching goes to a digital artist when it needs to or I do it by myself depending on the demand.
Although I enjoy to work in partnership with good people, it is not surprising to find me alone in the studio with a model, handling hair, make-up, and styling for some tests.
JRP: What equipment would I find in your camera bag or studio for a typical shoot? What lighting equipment do you favor and why?
Pino Gomes: You will find on my camera bag a Nikon D3x, a Nikon D300, Nikkor lens 28mm-85mm, 70mm-210mm among others. Memory cards. Macbook Pro and accessories silver tapes rolls, clips, black cloth.
Lighting equipment is Hensel Pro-mini 1200w with three heads. tripods, umbrellas and soft-box.
For a typical shoot you would find this equipment but some special cases require another kind of generator, and extra heads. In case of a location shoot, you will see a Hensel Porty and light discs. I like the performance of the Hensel system and it fulfills my expectations. It is also easy to handle and fast to charge.
JRP: Could you please describe your digital work-flow and the software you use?
Pino Gomes: I use Lightroom to organize my files and edit. Then Photoshop to retouch the best images. In Photoshop I would open my NEF files with the camera raw, adjust the contrast, color, and what else it would need.
Then original layer (don’t touch), first layer (cleaning dust), third layer (soft skin) with filters or stamp tool according to the mood of the work, fourth layer color, saturation, contrast, fifth layer smart sharp. I save a PSD, a TIFF, a JPEG high version and JPEG low version for web, each of them in a different archive, organized with backup in 2 external hard disks.
Of course, each assignment might require a different process and the one I described would be typical for a normal model image.
JRP: Do you personally print your images?
Pino Gomes: No. I send my prints to a company that specializes in professional prints. I find this way easier, so far as I have a good relation with them. Plus they treat my work with care and respect. They print professional books in Switzerland: www.expertfoto.ch
JRP: With today’s economy please share with us how you keep your productive and creative edge.
Pino Gomes: I don’t think much about competition, market, economy or mathematics. I just really wake-up every day with a big wish to enjoy what I am doing. It doesn’t matter if it is an editorial in New York or a test for a new model on my atelier, I do it all with the greatest heart and passion. That way I never have a problem with economy.
My studio works full-time and it is difficult for me to take free time. Thank God, I love my work and I really appreciate the chance of having my own studio without any partner.
It is near to the center of Zürich. When I need a bigger place I rent it from other photographers. It is better to compromise yourself with things you can afford. It is nice to dream, but very important to pay your accounts and save money.
The creativity is stimulated with fashion information. Reading magazines, books, internet, exhibitions, watching movies, observing and reflecting about life, and of course being among the right staff. (I mean make-up artists, stylists, assistants, art-directors and models.) Being friendly with your equipment and understanding that their ideas can add a lot to your final results.
JRP: Do you have any memorable images or shoots, and could you share with us what made that image or shoot special?
Pino Gomes: Last year I had a shoot in Paris. It was a male fashion editorial for Vogue Homem Brasil. For me it was memorable because of the opportunity to shoot for Vogue. We enjoyed each drop of what we did and had a lot of fun during the entire process.
We chose La Defense in Paris, as the background and cast Matt Gordon (from Success Paris) to perform our Constantine (Editorial inspiration theme). He was the perfect professional to complete our fashion vision.
I have other memorable moments and images, but I selected this one because it is not only a story of success in Paris, the classic fashion heart of the world but because on those days we were there we had a lot of fun and laughter.
There was also a shoot for Kinki Magazine (Switzerland) where I worked with models for a street wear editorial, and I’d needed an idea for the cover, the magazine was in the first year and they were quite visionary about design and imagery in general. In the middle of the shooting I convinced a couple of models to french kiss each other for the camera and when I got the image. I knew that it would be a cover. After a while, the editor of the magazine told me the issue with the french kiss on the cover had the best sales performance that year. It is a simple image that grabs the attention because of the rawness and the realism. It is delightful to have a vision and realize it exactly the way you wished. To see the cover on stores everywhere on my city was thrilling.
JRP: Share with us some of the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Pino Gomes: I would say three, the first one from Clicio Barroso, a photographer that I assisted in Sao Paulo. He said always “keep it simple in terms of lights”.
Advice would come from Vicente De Paulo another great photographer I have worked with in Rio de Janeiro. “You need to review lots of images. Magazines, exhibitions, paintings, art books. You need to fill the brain with images. These will pop up when you will need them. Without observing and questioning you cannot create.”
Finally, technical advice from my ex-teacher, friend, and awesome professional Rodrigo Lopes a photographer from Rio de Janeiro. “Make a check list of your equipment and test things before you leave for location shoots”.
JRP: What special advice would you like to share with other photographers?
Pino Gomes: Never think you know everything. That way you don’t stop growing.
JRP: Thank you Pino for taking the time to share your thoughts and images with us. It has been a pleasure.
Pino Gomes: Thank you for highlighting my work and good luck with yours.
JRP: To view more of Pino Gomes’s photography please follow this link: www.pinogomes.com