Behind The Scenes For American Lawyer


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Maggie Soladay, Photo Editor at American Lawyer, recently had us shoot the cover feature for their annual Associates Survey. The cover image had to convey the rather subtle idea that female associates gave their firms lower marks than the male associates did in many areas on the survey. Here’s a little taste of how it went…

For the cover, I wanted to use a color that immediately grabbed the reader’s attention and Art Director Morris Stubbs was on board, especially after seeing what I did with Bill O’Reilly a few months ago…so we pulled out the orange seamless and went to work.



As you can see in the lighting diagram, I kept things fairly simple, but I wanted to light our models (Jo Quiles and Johnny Tyrone) with two separate main lights…20″ Profoto Beauty dishes with 25 degree grids…in such a way to add to the drama. The male associate had to be in a hero light…something that would make him more prominent in the photo, while the female associate was lit slightly from below to give off a more menacing vibe. Not exactly ‘monster lighting’, but just enough to not come off as a wash of soft light. Other than the dish reflectors, I added a ringlight with the soft reflector to give a sheen to their suits.

American Lawyer - Associates

Then we backed up the orange set with a similar look on blue…

American Lawyer - Associates

Next, we moved on to the inside look…

American Lawyer - Associates


To illustrate the idea of a law associate moving out of the shadows and stepping into the spotlight, I literally pulled out my modified Desisti spotlight for the task…



I positioned the Desisti directly behind and above my camera and cut the light with two cards on either side that gave me a exact slash of light I wanted. A little pop from the ringlight filled in the shadows just enough without throwing a ringlight-effect shadow…

American Lawyer - Associates

The resulting image opened the story…


…and all was right with the World…

American Lawyer - Associates

7 thoughts on “Behind The Scenes For American Lawyer

  1. Very creative and well done. I learned.

    On the 1st setup, did you also flag the beautydishes so it won’t effect the bg or were they gridded?

    Thank you

    “…20″ Profoto Beauty dishes with 25 degree grids…” BT

  2. I really like your use of the ringlight for fill … it seems to allow a contrasty ratio (if you choose) from your key light(s) while being able to control the ratio subtly with the power level of the discreet ringlight. Are there any tricks and pitfalls to using the ring like this? Do you use the ringlight as your key very often and if not, why. Thanks!

  3. It’s rare to walk into a photo shoot and see that the photographer has really done his or her homework. Brad took our concept to another level, great work, enjoyed working with you and we should do it again sometime. thx morris

  4. Hey Brad! Just wanted to say that your blog has been one of my inspirations for keeping up the battle with my photography business. Your words and photographs recharge my vision every time I read them. Thank you for the great posts and hope you keep it up!

  5. Fine work.
    Looking through your blog i think your strength as a photographer (other than technically great imges) is in the expressions of your models. You seem to geat away with looks that would not work otherwise. And it ads meaning to images that would easily be a bit boring – and even do it in just a few minutes.

    I would love to read a little on how you work on a more person-to-person level: How do you instruct your models? Is it werry controlled or more loose? Do you joke around or say nothing? How do you deal with CEO´s that is used to be the boss? And so on..

    Looks forward to read more!

  6. Hi, I am a friend of Jo Quiles from Paris. I have been trying to reconnect. would you mind giving her my email , please?

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