Ummmm…Does That Come In Horizontal?!!

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(Click on any image to see a full-size version)

Normally with my environmental portraits, I don’t hafta mess with the ‘environment’ too much, but on occasion the ability to move pixels around in Photoshop can come in handy. Today’s post is brought to by Adobe®…..

A while back, Barron’s Photo Editor Adrian Delucca asked me to shoot Fund Manager Jim Melcher of Balestra Capital for the magazine’s Hedge Fund Report section. Now, I’ve shot businessmen in business situations for a couple of decades, so I’m used to heading into yet another office and making ‘art’ where no art can be found, but the offices at Balestra were especially challenging…yes, they were extremely small and of course they were hardly pretty…some might say they were utilitarian at best…but even worse, the company was packing up to move into fancier digs so there was really nothing there that would lend itself to photography, let alone ‘ART’

The only possible option was to use the small conference room (that doubled as their lunch room) which had a frosted-glass window dividing it from another office. I dunno, maybe the reflection on the glass table would spice up the shot….the room was barely 8 feet wide with a heavy glass table taking up every square inch of space, but it was better than slapping him up against a beige wall and whacking him with the ringlight! So we lit the High-Holy-Hell outta the place and walked away with a nice portrait. I sent my selects (including this one) off to Adrian…..

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…and he sent back this…..

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…and asked if I had any horizontals…or…could we make a horizontal as he had done. Normally I’m pretty good about covering all the angles…horizontal & vertical are kinda standard…but in this case, because the shot seemed so obviously vertical, I didn’t do a single horizontal option. But Adrian was right. Looking at his mocked-up version, I could see it was much more powerful without the busy reflection in the table. So I told him, “Sure! I can do anything…”, and he chose another frame as his select…

james_melcher_046

…and I went to work! Besides getting rid of the lights in the right side of the frame, I added a lotta window panes as well as extend the table and wall at the bottom/right. Because of the heavy split-lighting on his upper body, I also had to clean up the shadows on his neck because it sort of looked like a tree trunk in a horror movie. And finally I cleaned up his reflection in the glass table and desaturated the whole shot…the blue was a bit much, even for me. My final cloned & retouched image looked like this…..

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…and here it is, in today’s copy of Barron’s…..

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3 thoughts on “Ummmm…Does That Come In Horizontal?!!

  1. Great work on everything!
    I’m a (new) huge fan of your images!

    How did you create the blue background? Gelled? Or white balance in camera and gelled strobes?

    Thanks a lot!

    Both…used full CTB’s on the lights behind the ‘window’ and a 1/4 CTO on the main grid on his face…then I purposely grey-balanced somewhere in the 4400-4600K range…..BT

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