I was asked to shoot the members of a board of a company called Pentair. They are a very large multinational US firm who deal with many different areas, oil, construction etc. They were in the uk and I had a fifteen minute window in which to shoot them for a group shot. Now, there were eleven of them and this is too many to shoot in one go on a white 9ft colorama (side by side anyway). I decided to break the group up and shoot them in four sections and fit them together in post. In order to do this you have to mock up what the final image will look like in your head so it will look seamless. It’s easy shooting four small groups but sticking them together so it looks like they were all shot in one go is quite tricky. Lighting wise; I had two large boom arms with my elinchrom heads with silver brollies above camera and angled sown slightly with a head on the floor with a softbox attached to act as a fill light to clear away any unwanted shadows etc. The colorama was lit cleanly so they could be cut out at later stage with relative ease. I did my usual tweaks in post and gave them the contrasty and de-saturated look i do to most of my work. The result was great and the client was happy. Pleas feel free to comment!
I have been (half way through the job) asked to shoot portraits of all the members of a large investment house in london(about 90 in total). It was the usual white background type affair, but I could light it and tweak it in post to my own specifications. I chose to light the portraits with a soft covered beauty dish above camera and straight on with a silver reflector under the light at about waist height and a silver reflector to the side kicking in a bit of light to the side of the face. I wanted the end result of the portraits to be quite contrasty and punchy so in order to achieve this you can go one of two ways.
Firstly; shoot it contrasty with the lights coming in from the side at 30 degrees keeping it soft yet still giving a nice gentle fall off of light, which is usually enough for portraits of this kind.
Secondly; shoot it flat and push the contrast in post production, but to do this I aways find it easier to slightly under expose and use reflectors to create lighter areas or slightly darker areas, (remembering that a slight shadow on the face once pushed in post becomes main shadow area so cant be too dark beforehand otherwise it will limit just how far it can be pushed afterwards).
I chose the second route….
The results of this are below, although the client wanted them in colour I have added some black and white ones as well. I also slightly desaturated the image and took a touch of green out too. I think they look a little different to most run of the mill work and somehow seems to really work well, giving them really good depth and quality of character.
I got asked by a regular client of mine if I could shoot portraits of all of their staff.
The brief was to make sure they were natural and injected some of their personality into the images and were not forced or awkward looking. The Pr agency as a whole are a fun and dynamic one so after a bit of deliberations, we (the client and i) opted to use a background wall which was really bright and colourful (this colour scheme also was used on their business cards too so it would tie in quite well with that). Lighting wise, I kept it quite simple, I did not have too much room to play with with so it was important that I controlled the light as I did not want backlights spilling onto the subjects like a cut light might. I used a gridded head for the background which channelled the light onto the wall and away from the sides of the face. The front light was a small soft box, (ungridded, so if any light did spill onto the back it would smooth out the light on the background cast by the gridded dish). I used a silver reflector under the front light to clear up any shadows in the eyes or under the chin… the rest was trying to make the subjects as relaxed as possible, smiling and generally making it a pleasant experience! The end result was great, a really good set off natural portraits. Hope you like them!
A recent trip to California meant I was fortunate enough to go to Yosemite, one of the most stunning places in the world and if (like me) you are a fan of landscape photography then its a veritable mecca. I tried to do justice to one of the most famous landscape photographers who have gone before me, Ansel Adams. For this shot it was all split really, between what was going on above the water and what as going on in the reflections. I shot this image as two separate exposures and spliced them together. The water itself was quite murky so the exposure would have naturally been darker so by doing a few brackets I got the right exposure for the image. Whenever I try and shoot a landscape I try and make it as three dimensional as possible, for black and white images this is done by trying to build up the tonality of the image. Like the master printers gone before me, you dodge and burn areas to enhance the image and for me this shot was no different. I worked on the lighter and darker areas till i was satisfied the print was enhanced to the point where it was visually more impressive yet didn’t have a overly worked feel to it. Hope you like the results..
This was a shoot for a new Client, they wanted to convey the sense of freedom associated with new software that meant large volumes of ring binders could be a thing of the past as it was all accessible on the iPad. The ideas was a simple one, to convey this visually in still life format as well as a shot with a “model” posing with it (model1b). The light for this was relatively straight forward, a soft light at the front and a couple of heads to clean up the background to free up shadows. The still life (Image1a), was just a little flash to clean up the front and a soft light at the back to balance the light from the front and back. The screen was included in the background so the client could drop in a screen shot onto the iPad as well as the TV to convey the usability of the product.
A couple of weeks ago saw me shooting for the lovely folks at AXA Rosenburg, a San Francisco based company started by a hippy over 20 years ago. Like a lot of start ups in that era it has done rather well… in the same ilk as Apple, Microsoft etc. The shoot was 6 portraits of high flying employees. The style that they wanted was very much a shallow depth of field with a blown out background. For a shoot like this I try and shoot on F2.8 on a long lens (between 160mm to 200mm), This allows me to get a maximum (or should that be minimum) depth of field. For the majority of the portraits I tried to balance the daylight with the flash which was positioned above the camera on a boom (see image 1) and a reflector below the camera out of shot to try and flick some light up into the eyes as well as under the chin. There were two locations for the shoot and due to a bizarre and overly sophisticated fire alarm system I could not use flash, so daylight it was. There was a lot of green flying around so there was a bit of post to do on the image by removing green from it, but the end result was great, a nice portrait that wasn’t too corporate. (See image2). Sometimes shooting in a room with lots of glass can be tricky due to the reflections you can get but as long as you use egg crates in the soft box, a polarising filter or you simply burn out the window light this usually isn’t a problem.