Legendary Lensman Arny Freytag Reveals Centerfold Techniques at Exclusive Workshop in Las Vegas June 4-5

Arny Freytag is a legend in the photography industry. He has worked for the last 35 years as one of Playboy’s exclusive Centerfold shooters, and his reputation precedes him among the artistic community. Now he is going to share his wealth of experience — as well as his memorable experiences — at the “Shoot The Centerfold” event in Las Vegas.

Presented with his colleagues David Mecey and Jarmo Pohjaniemi (OMP Member #68348), Arny will be leading the seminar, which will be held at the Tropicana Hotel on June 4-5, 2011. The weekend promises attending models and photographers an exciting mix of workshops, photo shoots, Q and A sessions, model competitions, VIP parties, and poolside photo shoots. To sign up for this exclusive event, go to www.ShootTheCenterfold.com for all the details.

Arny’s creative interests began as a child. “I have been studying painting and drawing since I was five years old. My mother was a commercial artist, and as mothers so lovingly do, she nurtured my creativity.”

He first developed an interest in photography while he was in art school at The Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. “When I had to choose a minor, I picked photography. After my first roll of film was shot and developed, I immediately brought it into the darkroom to print. After the paper was exposed and dipped through a series of chemical baths until the final rinse, I brought my first print out into the light. Once my pupils adjusted to the high contrast change in lighting environments, I stared down into a physical reproduction of a moment in time, since past, that only I had witnessed. In this almost surreal moment, it was love at first sight!”

After graduating from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, Arny then decided to attend Brooks Institute of Photography, where a challenging school assignment led to his working for Playboy magazine.  “My last assignment at Brooks was to shoot anything we wanted, no rules. At the time, it was strictly forbidden by the university’s policy to shoot nudes; but given the no-holds-barred terms of the assignment, I decided to turn in a nude image. Being so close to graduation, my stomach sank to the floor when my teacher summoned me to his office after our critique. I thought I was going to get expelled, but to my surprise, he asked to see more! On my own time, I had been shooting a fair amount of nude photography and developing the prints while the lab was free and clear of any administrators or other prying eyes. After critiquing my images, he said I should work at Playboy! I thought, ‘Wow, are you kidding?’  He was dead serious. So serious, in fact, that he set up an internship for me with Ken Marcus at the magazine. The rest is history.”

Arny started off shooting pictorials for Playboy, and then graduated to shooting Centerfolds. “I now have over 150 of them… and still counting!” He describes the process of planning and creating a centerfold image. “First I look at the bio sheet models are required to fill out before an official Playmate test. From there, I then try to come up with a concept that somehow reflects the girl’s personality. For instance:  if she is a small town girl from a rural part of Middle America, we build a farm set. If she is from New York City, I may incorporate a taxicab into the pictorial. After deciding upon a concept for the shoot, I then go back and review the test shoot to see what poses best accentuate her finest attributes. From there, I design the set and arrange the lights around that.”

The photographer gives us some insight into his personal approach to lighting his sets and models. “Lighting is so important in photography. Not only does it separate a good image from a great one, but it is also the key element in the advent of photography. I choose light according to the mood I want to create and the narrative I’d like to illustrate. When working in a studio, you have total control of the elements; therefore you are able to ‘paint’ with light so to speak, with a pitch-black room as your canvas. If I want a nighttime scene, I design the lighting to be dark and moody. If it is a daytime scene, crank up the power to make your lighting high-key and bright. It all depends on the story you are trying to tell with your photograph.”

His contribution to creating and developing the “Shoot the Centerfold” workshops has been integral. “Jarmo and David approached me while I was already considering running my own workshops. Like they say, there’s power in numbers. Our general philosophy and approach to teaching gives our clients, who range from the beginner to seasoned professionals wishing to learn a new style, a wide range of approaches to lighting, posing, and other elements of production that other educational programs seem to overlook.”

The talented STC team also includes experts Ric Moore and Byron Newman. “Having shot for Playboy Magazine, and with nearly a century of experience between us, all of us come with our own unique approaches. Although we share the same aesthetic tradition that Playboy has come to represent, our photographers are also well-known in the worlds of fashion, fine art, portrait, editorial, and even concert photography. Combined with a talented in-house production team behind the creation of our forthcoming educational products such as DVDs, iPad Apps, print booklets, and many more, ‘Shoot The Centerfold’ is the cutting edge of photographic education.“

Arny recommends that attendees prepare ahead of time for the “Shoot the Centerfold” event and photo shoot. “Have some poses in mind so when it is your turn to shoot, you’ll will be ready. I don’t want to see everyone shoot my poses. That is one of many elements we teach that help you stand out from your peers as a photographer. Be sure to take notes, whether on a laptop, iPad, or good old-fashioned pen and paper. There will be so much information covered that will be difficult to retain unless you take notes to remind yourself of the concepts and technical aspects that we will be covering.”

He also gives three suggestions for photographers to remember while they are attending the workshop. “First, remember to always respect the model — she is your best friend while you are shooting! Also, be prepared for your turn to shoot. After Saturday’s seminar and on-set lighting demonstrations conclude for the day, review your notes! And finally, pay attention to the details of lighting. They are complicated! Remember: It’s the commonly overlooked details that make a world of difference. Luckily for our attendees, we explain the how, where, and why of lighting placement, intensity, direction, modification, color temperature, and everything in-between. So I can’t stress enough: take notes!”

Arny’s advice for the models who will be attending the “Shoot the Centerfold” weekend and Top Model Search includes working on facial expressions. “This is the area where most models and photographers run into problems. Without an expression, there is no life or emotion in the photo! Be aware of your body position as well — look in a mirror and learn what your best and worst angles are. Study fashion and glamour magazines and, again in the mirror, practice the poses you see! Pay attention to hands, feet, fingers, toes, etc. It’s all about the details.”

Personally, Arny is very excited about the weekend workshop in Vegas. “I am looking forward to being surrounded by people that have a strong passion for learning to master their photography. There is such an abundance of examples of bad lighting and posing out there, from Facebook to published magazines. Here is a chance to learn from some of the best in the industry.”

Arny invites everyone to come and have the weekend of your lifetime in Las Vegas on June 4-5. “Never before have Centerfold photographers given up their secrets. This is the only workshop of its kind in the world!”

“Shoot the Centerfold” is set to be one of the first major events held at the new Nikki Beach Club at the Tropicana, and will feature appearances by Playmates Shauna Marie McLaughlin, Ashley Hobbs and Kassie Lyn Logsdon, as well as DJ Tamera Sky. The exclusive event is set for June 4-5 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. For all the details and to register for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, visit the official website at www.ShootTheCenterfold.com.

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