What is Fame Fad all about?

Fame Fad is a celebrity and event photography website and celebrity photo agency focused on Celebrities and Red Carpet events in the London area. The site officially went live on January 15th 2011 as a Celebrity News website focused on The Global Entertainment and Showbiz World. The site is run by the Freelance Photographer and former Celebrity Blogger Frank John of Frank John Photographer who is based in the London Area.

Why the name Fame Fad?

After looking at hundreds of celebrity blogs to see what other people are doing it was decided that a website with celebrity in the name was not the way to go. Something a bit different that sums up the celebrity world and Fame immediately sprang to mind. The Fad part was arrived at as after celebrity blogging for nearly 3 years it was noticed certain stars seem to come into prominence when a film or single/album is released, they become the “in thing” to the exclusion of everybody else and drive the media into a frenzy for weeks or possibly months then mysteriously disappear off the face of the planet to be replaced by the next “in celeb”. Fad is a word that sums this situation up and hence Fame Fad was the idea and checking to see it was available on the .com which it unbelievably was, Fame Fad was registered in our name sharpish and Famefad.com was born!

Can visitors use the photos that appear on this site?

No. All photos after 29 May 2012 are Copyright Frank John Photography and Famefad.com. Check the individual photo credit at foot of article for licencing details. For photo sales head over to our Photo Sales Client Area to buy photos that appear on the Fame Fad website

What is Frank John Photography all about?

Frank John Photography basically provides al the photos that appear on the Fame Fad website with photos taken by myself whilst at the event and the website itself is more business/corporate orientated with photo updates appearing here at Fame Fad

Why is 29 May 2012 an important date quoted often on the Fame Fad website?

29 May 2012 was a very important date at Fame Fad as it marked the start of a changeover period where the focus of the site was to be moved from Celebrity News and Photos to an even more focused Celebrity and Event Photography only website. Since that date all photos that appear at Fame Fad have been shot on location by the owner of this website Frank John nickname FJ with no photo outsourcing from the 29 May date.

Where is the website hosted?

It’s hosted  in Germany with a backup in the UK.

Why do the updates take up to 18 hours to appear at Fame Fad?

The website is run by one photographer myself and after shooting on location articles have to be written and photos post processed so that they are optimised for web use and also photos uploaded to the Sales/Client Area which after most events takes some time. The Sun or the Daily Mail we are not! Later in 2013 the time span between a red carpet event shoot and publishing on this website will be reduced considerably to at most 1-2 hours after the event.

What cameras do you use.

Mainly Canon DSLR with most shots on a rather old Canon 30D with a backup camera being a Canon 20D. The quality is
sufficient for web and editorial use, if a higher resolution is required as in studio work or for larger output sizes then something of the order of a Canon 5D Mark II or Mark III would be rented but high value camera gear tends NOT to be used when shooting from the crowds in public areas at events hence the 20D/30D combo that quite simply get the job done without the bells and whistles. Good enough for press publication is a term that springs to mind.

What is your typical set up for a red carpet event?

Camera rucksack with an unusual set up of 2 Canon Bodies with a 50mm on the 30D and a 135mm lens on the 20D. Not keen on zoom lenses, primes are technically far superior, lighter and cheaper but lack in the convenience of a zoom.  I carry a spare 50mm prime lens just in case as well. Two flash guns (Canon dedicated) one off camera and gripped with bracket the other a more simpler flash on camera set up for longer range work. Total of 3 batteries (1 spare) , two CF flash cards plus spare, spare flash batteries, 2 x lens hoods and uv filters, raincoat, umbrella, haribos, pens, usb flash card reader, flash diffuser for extreme close ups, pad, small bottle water, business cards and ID, 2 x smart phones (Nokias) plus charger, and not forgetting the all important footstool. No laptop or similar device……….internet cafe is much more back friendly!

The footstool strangely enough is the most important piece of kit and can make the difference between coming away with nothing or some incredible shots, the height of the stool is a mere 6-7 inches and cost 3.99 in Aldi! Comfortable shoes complete the line

Why are the photos a maximum size of 600 x 800px and why watermarked?

Three reasons.

1. Photos at that size and smaller are of a sufficient size to be viewed but not large enough to be of any commercial value something common to many websites.
2. Photos any bigger than 800 x 1200px start to adversley affect website load times when they are around in sufficient
3. Watermarking is to avoid the inevitable leakeage of photos out of the website to people who think that all photos are free on the web and copyright is just a quaint term that doesn’t apply to them. It’also good free advertising if they do go walkies and a watermark is difficult to remove without completely ruining the photo!

Full size photos and originals are available at our Sales/Client Area which is off site at Photo shelter.

What file format do you shoot in and what quality setting?

Depends on the event. Small to medium sized events will be RAW plus Large Fine JPEG (Highest JPEG Setting) and for large events with an extensive guest list then normally JPEG only at the highest quality setting. WHY? Keeps the camera buffers clear and keeps post processing down to a minimum.

Do you use Picture Styles?

When shooting JPEG yes and it tends to be a modified Standard Picture Style (See EXIF) or a modified Portrait Style . This means if your exposures are on the money the photo is ready to go straight out of camera which is essential when you have hundreds of pictures. Normally on a shoot this tends to be the case. The only drawback is if the photo is off in any way you have very limited headroom to change any settings in post processing. The new Snapshot and Studio Portrait Picture styles by Canon I have to say are very good for out of camera skin tones and saves all the  faffing around with RAW images especially when clients are waiting around for shots to materialise. Studio Portrait is a bit more washed out than the Snapshot version. Snapshot Portrait  adds a slight light tan which is preferable for outdoor and flash work. Autumn Hues which is essentially a beefed up landscape picture style when turned down a bit can also be good with none Caucasian Skin Tones. Not keen on the original Portrait Picture Style as Skin Tones come out a bit too pink and rosy and just don’t look that convincing and a bit cooked. When shooting RAW obviously Picture Styles are less important as that can be sorted out in Post Processing with the RAW file and applying Colour curves and Picture Styles.

Why do you shoot Canon instead of Nikon?

The Canon v Nikon debate is one that’s been going on for decades. I used to shoot Nikon film SLR’s and in fact my favourite camera of all time is the Nikon FE2, something that in my opinion is on a par with a Leica M6 or similar in pure ease of use. Unfortunately Nikon went digital and so did Canon who seemed to have a vast edge and Nikon lagged behind for a long time afterwards. Canon’s to me just feel right in the hand and seem easier to use than Nikon but the results are pretty much the same these days with Nikon getting the thumbs up in the pro sector more than Canon these days (only just). The Nikon D3 really put Nikon ahead of the race and caused the 1D some serious problems and with the D3 being a particularly good camera producing natural (non plastic digital), looking photos good flash system and superior auto focus BUT it’s just what you get on with that’s important and that’s just a personal view.

If I had the money I’d get a Nikon D3 over the Canon 1D which I’m not keen on, but in the mid range Semi Pro category the Full Frame Canon 5D Mark II or III is a tough one to beat and produces stunning images which Nikon just can’t compete with at that level on price, in the right hands the 5D II or III gives the best bang for the buck and are ideal for shooting red carpet events if it’s not raining. For sports NO.

Do you shoot video at events?

At present no because my first love is still photography, that’s my passion, video isn’t, but there may be some alternative footage from events in a video format to add a bit of variety in the future but stills will be where it’s at at Fame Fad pretty much most of the time. It’s difficult to shoot both at the same time effectively. Focus is key at these events

Do you do Paparazzi Shoots?

Paparazzi is a loose term but from time to time paparazzi style photos will appear on this website but I wouldn’t class myself as a Paparazzi Photographer. Red carpet and Celebrity sightings normally related to their work where they are expecting to be photographed is the primary focus rather than sitting outside their house for days on end. Paparazzi photography is a whole different ball game and needs different equipment and a different approach to red carpet event photography where you tend to be static and fixed to one spot whereas Paparazzi style shooting involves a lot of movement and photographing within a rugby scrum of photographers at times, which are on the move normally quite close to  the celebrity concerned..

What is your photographic style and approach?

Style is a documentary, photojournalistic style with a dash of paparazzi thrown in and all shots are normally taken from the public areas from within the crowds. Particularly keen on close ups, candids, portraits and half length shots with of course full length shots making an appearance. Photographic approach is professional, cool, calm, collected and quite mechanical really blocking out the mass hysteria that surrounds you when you are shooting from within the crowds at a red carpet event such as a film premiere or awards event. Head on but 45 degree angle shots not directly looking at the camera are my favourite, they tend to make people look more 3 dimensional and avoid that highly irritating family snap look.

Do you communicate with the stars on the red carpet?

There are many types of photographers but there are pretty much two types, the screamers and the quiet ones. I’m the latter. Apart from joining in and shouting the stars name on occassion to get them to come over from a distance generally the answer is NO verbal communication, it’s all non verbal. They basically know what you are trying to do as a photographer and they either give you an opportunity or they don’t and no amount of screaming will change that. Just give them some space and respect and I tend to find the shot is yours.

Large events will be the exception to this rule where you may have to change tactics and be more aggressive to get noticed and above the crowd chaos and get “the shot”. At these larger events, he who shouts loudest gets noticed. Also he who has the brightest flashgun also gets noticed! Obviously in a photographer/press area stars expect to be told things like “over the shoulder” and “to your right” or “to your left” and they do so

How close do you get to the stars?

Preferred distance is about 6 feet -10 feet closest but stars have been at times just 2 feet away and inside the minimum focus distance of most lenses which can be a problem. Telling a star can you move back a couple of feet is not going to cut it (one of the drawbacks of using fixed prime lenses) so this distance is quite critical but even zooms have a minimum focus distance of at least a couple of feet and this is where wide angle lenses come into their own..

How do you consistently get shots of the stars at these crowded events?

Basically arrive early, good spot (crucial), ensure cameras are working spot on and fully charged, footstool does come in handy at bigger events and a bit of push and shove and sharp elbows do help on occasion and spotting that potential shot seconds or event minutes before it actually happens is a big plus which comes with experience. You just know after a while when a decent shot is just around the corner. Patience is also something that helps as people generally don’t like being badgered. People skills are essential and you have to pick up on stars who are not so keen on being photographed and those that are. Make the star feel as if they are having THEIR photo taken rather than the shot is YOURS by right, do that and the celebs pick up on this and will oblige accordingly.

What’s the typical amount of shots you take at event and what’s the keeper rate?

Small events can be as low as say a dozen to about 50. Medium events are 50 plus to about 150 and large events tend to be 150 plus. Maximum ever shot was about 300 plus which is low. Some pros shoot 1000 or more photos at a large event. My approach is keep the shot count low and the quality high, shoot when you need too and avoid the “machine gun approach” which just succeeds in filling up your data cards, draining your batteries pronto and creating a lot more work after the event from my experience with maybe a couple of extra decent shots being the result. Shots low and quality high!

Photo keeper rate varies dramatically and is dictated primarily by position at the event. Good spot from within the crowds or in a photographers/press pen would be 85% keepers or more. Bad spot and this drops down to around 50% or even lower.Position not camera gear is vital at these events.

How do you know which is the best spot to get at a red carpet event?

Experience and normally a quick chat with security and a look at the seasoned premiere crowd goers and where they are
normally will lead you to a decent spot where the success rate for getting good celebrity photos is high. Getting to that stage takes time! Also knowing the route the stars will take and thinking like a star will get you the stars landing in your lap more times than not!

Do you shoot manual or automated flash and why?

I’m very much in the manual flash camp about 99% of the time. Manual is fiddly, slow and can be a pain in quick changing situations and you do run the risk of losing a shot or over or under exposing quite dramatically but the upside is you have complete control over the output and and you can predict the result. With experience it just comes naturally. With automated flash the flash and camera are in control and results in non standard situations can be unpredictable but the upside is speed.

With manual flash there is also no preflash which saves battery power and you can tailor the power to do rapid fire
sequence shots, something which requires an expensive battery pack with automated flash to keep recycling rates high.Having said that 99% of photographers at a red carpet event use automated flash but you can tell when it’s been used, the photos look perfectly exposed from front right through to background but lack any drama or mood. Having said that I tend to use the camera in Aperture Priority and avoid Manual exposure like the plague unless it’s daylight and using fill flash.

Iphone V Compact Camera V DLSR. Which is best for red carpet events?

It’s the million dollar question which has varying answers. For speed the DSLR is king. For compactness the Compact or
Iphone are superior. For long range shots up to 50m with flash DSLR is king. For rapid fire flash at close range again DSLR is king. For picture quality the Iphones and compacts are now incredibly close to an old DSLR like my Canon 30d but the difference in Sensor size is huge and sensor size not Megapixel size ultimately determines picture quality but they are getting closer. Interchangeable and fast high quality lenses again the DSLR rules.

Iphones are pretty fast, compact cameras you have to plan ahead and come with average zoom lenses. With a DSLR if you see the shot, you hit the button and you’ve got it with no delay and importantly it’s ready again for the next shot in an instant. Finally a DSLR can take the punishment of shooting an event and not break in a sweat and then do the whole thing all over the following day. An Iphone or Compact will eventually burn out. Batteries tend to be more heavy duty on a DSLR with 1000 shots plus being common, not sure whether a Compact or Iphone battery will last that long with the screen in live mode. Downside with a DSLR is you can’t check your Facebook or Twitter or read your emails? The Micro 4/3 cameras and Sony Nex look interesting but still come short in some areas but again that format is getting closer and i see many people use these at red carpet events and get usable results.

In summary the best camera as all photogs will say is the one you have with you at the time but position at the event will beat any camera every time.

Are you available for studio work?

At present no (early 2013) but in the future possibly. Further details at the Frank John Photography website