Monday, January 11, 2016


The February 2016 issue of Playboy Slovenia hit the newsstands this week. It is a content packed issue featuring great models and great articles. My Nataša Naneva pictorial, shot in Republic of Macedonia and Greece, is featured in this very issue and will ring a bell with all the STC attendees who had the opportunity of attending the Santorini workshop in October 2015. Several pages from this pictorial were shot during the two weeks of the seminar when I was in beautiful Oia, the very place that hosted the Shoot The Centerfold seminar workshop, giving lectures with Jarmo Pohjaniemi on the art of becoming a successful photographer and mastering different forms of lighting.
The attendees had the opportunity of witnessing the creation of a magazine cover from the very basic idea to the final edit with the help of Capture Integration's own Dave Gallagher, who brought three Phase One cameras to the seminar. I was eager to test one of them for my cover shot. Despite being a Canon Ambassador in Slovenia, I also own several other camera brands (Hasselblad and ARRI to name a few) and am always up for a challenge with new gear that comes my way. Using two Canon bodies (the 50 megapixel 5DsR and my faithful compact G1X) for the rest of the pictorial, the mighty Phase One was a logical choice for seamlessly combining the strong mid-day Santorini sun with powerful Hensel strobes on this photo session.
I started setting set up the scene around noon, facing West towards the sea. We were tethering to a 17" MacBook Pro with the latest version of Capture One and to an iPad for instant focus confirmation. Dave Gallagher took the DIT helm for the shoot. The camera I fired up was a Phase One IQ3 60 (with 60 megapixel CCD) and I mounted the Schneider LS 240mm/4.5 lens for the lovely bokeh and compressed perspective. Such set-up needed a sturdy tripod, so I put the camera on a Gitzo Series 3 with the Really Right Stuff ball head and L-bracket.
The strobes were all from Hensel: One Expert D 1000 with a 3x4' Hensel softbox at 7.8/10 power, one Expert D 1000 with 1x3' Hensel strip for fill below at 3.8/10 power, one Expert D 1000 with a 10-degree grid on a standard reflector and 1/8 CTO at 4/10 power for the hair and silhouette and finally a Ringflash around the camera lens, connected to the versatile Porty pack for a tender fill. I put a California Sunbounce PRO white/silver three-quarters to the left side and a black Sunbounce PRO three-quarters above to shadow the harsh mid-day sunlight. The light meter showed 1/500s at f/10 and ISO 100 and this was the setting for all the shots.
I shot the cover in less than an hour and in the evening, when the hot Greek air cooled down a bit, everybody at the seminar was participating in a live Capture One edit of the shoot hosted by Dave Gallagher. Jarmo and I were talking about what makes a photograph good or bad, what makes or breaks the pose and what kinds of pictures please the editors or make them angry.

One of the shortlisted photographs from the session was published on this month's cover of Playboy Slovenia. It was a great pleasure having all the attendees involved in its process, hearing their opinions and together finding the best possible images for the cover shortlist. I can safely say now that we chose wisely.

Check out more hot images on

BONUS: check the BTS video of the pictorial shoot below:

Sunday, January 3, 2016


After 63 years, Playboy USA is about to justify the "read it for the articles" tagline by going non-nude. According to them, the charms of exposing nude celebrities and girls next door has been lost with all the selfies girls publish on Instagram and the broad availability of free internet porn.

For Playboy USA, the next step in pitching to the young urban men between 18 and 30 will be mirroring the very magazine that used to be its spin-off in the sixties and seventies - the french Lui, currently edited by the creative mind of writer Frédéric Beigbeder and back on the newsstands since 2013 with 350,000 copies and 23 editions of top models, amazing pictorials and really great literary articles.

Lui has no ambitions (and never had) of going non-nude and has been continuously publishing A-list celebrities and top models completely bare with great success. For those of you who might not know - the current edition is Lui's fourth reincarnation after 40+ years of turbulent history that also spawned German, Italian, Spanish and American international editions.
The first (and most famous) Lui edition was published with ups and downs by Filipacchi Group from 1963 to 1994, the second series (as "Le nouveau Lui") by Michael Birnbaum from 1995 to 1997, the third (as the pornographic magazine) from 2001 to 2010 and finally, in its present form after the purchase of the title by Jean-Yves Le Fur, Lui was relaunched in September 2013 as a high-end magazine for the modern man.
The creative extravaganza that was the original Lui (and its US counterpart Oui, published in America by none other than Playboy Enterprises), manifested itself in a collection of some of the most amazing and daring covers that ever adorned the French press. Here is a personal collection of my fifty all-time favorites. Enjoy.
(All images (C) LUI)