You Can Shoot Here, Or You Can Shoot There…

Click on any image for full-size
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I know how much some of you like seeing the behind-the-scenes stuff on my shoots, so as my tour of the Nation’s boardrooms and office spaces progresses, I offer to you my recent session with Gordon Fowler, the President and Chief Investment Officer of Glenmede. What follows is part lighting tutorial, part manipulating reality, but mostly it shows what can be done when you only have ten minutes to photograph a high profile subject and still come away with unexpected, arresting images.

On the location scout I did a couple of days before the shoot I was presented with two things. First, Gordon was extremely busy and wasn’t going to be able to devote a lot of time to a photo session, and second, there were really only two areas that would work as possible locations…

The ‘Art Wall’…

…and the ‘Wood Wall’…

The two spots were literally side-by-side, so by setting up both shots beforehand it would make it easier on Gordon’s time limitations…

We began with the portrait in front of the ‘Art Wall’…

It’s pretty obvious that I changed the overall look and feel by adding some moody blue drama to the scene, but the shot was actually pretty easy to light. Gordon was lit by a fresnel spot (with a full CTO gel) that was almost directly overhead and a second light with a 7″-40 degree grid skimming the wall behind him. The final light was a ringlight (with a full CTB gel) filling in the overall scene. After five minutes of Gordon in the chair, we went around the corner to the wood-paneled wall…

For this shot I wanted to keep things simple and just focus on his expressions, so I kept the lighting pretty open with a gridded beauty dish up high above his face, a couple of skim lights on either side of him and another ringlight adding not only fill, but a nice reflection highlight on the wood that separated him from the background. But the real beauty of the shot was the unexpected caught moment of him just enjoying his coffee and having a laugh before we actually got under way. I finished things off with that tight portrait at the top of the page, but the magazine went straight to Gordon and his coffee cup…

Two setups…ten minutes total shoot time…done!

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5 thoughts on “You Can Shoot Here, Or You Can Shoot There…

  1. I love the pose with the coffee cup and can see why they went with that. I am not sure I like the lighting though:-( The reflection on the wood is distracting to me and it looks over exposed on his face. Notwithstanding style I don’t think I like it.

    I really like what you did with the sitting pose. The blue gel effect is awesome.

  2. Hello Brad! For this first portrait, to achieve the ability to see every pore on his face, was this much more the angle of lighting, both on the sides and up front? Has post-processing accentuated this too? Thanks!

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