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Pro Perspectives: Howard Schatz


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BY PhotoVideoEDU staff November 01, 2009 · Published by PhotoVideoEDU

Howard Schatz talks to PhotoVideoEDU about the uses of delay flash and multi-pop, what his interns learn, and the difference between a doctor and a photographer.



  •  Commercial, editorial, and fine art photographer


PhotoVideoEDU: How would you describe your photography?

Howard Schatz: I think I’m mostly interested in people. I enjoy portraiture and I’m working on lots of different portrait projects. I’m interested in the body. I’m interested in movement—dance, action. I’m interested in crunch and grace. I’m interested in explosion and elegance.

PhotoVideoEDU: Do you offer a special learning experience in your studio?

Howard Schatz: We take one intern per year and the intern works very hard and gets tremendous experience. Any smart person will learn everything—I mean everything. From all the technical stuff behind making an image and the digital stuff behind making an image to the business of photography. Also taught is the management of the photographs, all the things that one would need to know to be a professional photographer. And the last six months I consider tuition.

PhotoVideoEDU: What advice or suggestions would you have for young aspiring photographers?

Howard Schatz: You’ve got to be able to sit there in one place, metaphorically, and work and work. Focus and work and not get up and not relieve yourself of the difficulty of hard work.

PhotoVideoEDU: What was your profession before photography?

Howard Schatz: I was a physician, a retina specialist.

PhotoVideoEDU: Now that you’re a professional photographer, how would you compare that to being a physician?

Howard Schatz: They are very different, but share some similarities. Every photographer who does any kind of work that would be considered valuable work has to be an exquisite craftsman, very disciplined, and has to function in the world of great detail. And then, there’s the other side of it: once you have that down and you let it sort of inform everything that you do, you then can be crazy. In medicine you can’t just go try things. In photography, you can try anything. All you do is lose a little time or film. You experiment and you work to . . . make mistakes. I want to discover things and a lot of times those discoveries occur in the world of the unexpected, the uncontrolled, the unforeseen. The world of mistakes. It’s often some weird, strange thing that happens that helps make a unique picture and you have to leave room for that. Whereas in medicine, it’s very important to do everything perfectly.

PhotoVideoEDU: Why do you use the PocketWizard MultiMAX?

Howard Schatz: Because we can program things and we use these programs all the time. We use front sync/rear sync. We use delay flash and multi-pop. We use it in just about every kind of sophisticated way you can think of.

PhotoVideoEDU: How do you use PocketWizard radio triggers?

Howard Schatz: In a number of ways.  One example is to be able to shoot fast and set off a lot of flash power without having to worry about recycles. One example of how I use these multiple-imagery setups is I have maybe five heads from five different power packs in one umbrella or one softbox bank so the light is all coming from the same place and I go, “pop, pop, pop, pop, pop” at 3200 watt seconds with each power pack by timing each PocketWizard. I leave the camera’s shutter open and I can get all these pops, and each image is lit well and looks like it’s the same lighting.

Another example is that in our studio we may have ten packs set up. I may have rim light, back light, hair light, different kinds of light on the front, different kinds of lighting on other things—and all you need to do is put a PocketWizard on each pack and you can measure your lights individually rather than running all over turning lights on and off, a really efficient way to work.

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Featured photographer: Howard Schatz

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