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When you love what you do, it's not really work.
Every time we get hired, it’s an opportunity to build lifelong clients, fans and new opportunities. When you treat your subjects like superstars and include them in your process, magic happens
This week I was on assignment shooting biggest job of my career so far. 4 days of both stills and video for adverts, my subjects were all non models, and had never been in front of a camera before.
One of the main ideas for this project was this macro eye photograph. I created this image several times all week with almost everyone. Because the eye was so close in the frame, eye tracking on my R5 couldn’t grab. I decided focusing manually on all these eye macros in both stills and video was the way to go.
Shooting these natural light macros was amazing. You can see how close I need to be in order to get an eyeball so full in the frame. I did the majority of this session natural light, we had amazing weather everyday this week except for one. I had 2 softboxes for this project, one massive 1.4m across and one smaller more focused softbox with grid to focus that soft light even further.
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I also brought both continuous video light and studio strobes. I knew I would be shooting video and stills with the same Art Direction, so I wanted to keep the light super consistent. I also found an adapter that will allow me to put Bowens mount modifiers on my Elinchrom lights. You can see the black adapter between the softbox and the lock ring on my ELC 500 in the photo below.
We scouted the entire location and decided on day 1 that we would use this space as a studio. I had 3 areas to shoot in this small space, a black set, a coloured seamless / white set as well as the window set. I rotated these sets for all the plain background photographs.
I like the Rembrandt lighting in this frame, this lighting style is something that i’ve been doing since the first years in business. This is another artificial light photograph using my small focused softbox in order to create super black shadows on the non light side. It’s quite an extreme look for the client work that I’m doing here but with my clients on set, they encouraged me to push my light and create something that would really stand out for this campaign.
The photograph above really shows the softbox and my placement for Rembrandt light. I jumped between tripod and no tripod, I needed to create these images quickly, I had several subjects to shoot and they all came at the same time. There was a massive que of subjects there daily at call time to execute these portraits with.
The natural light black idea above was also one of my favourite looks. It’s as if “Out of the darkness, there came a great light”. I use this natural light indoor technique often. the black background that you see below is the set that creates this background. This piece of velveteen I’ve had for about 5 years now but looking how it’s rendering in the iPhone images, I’d say it needs a brush. The pile has been flattened down from being packed away for over a year. but still renders a perfect jet black. It’ll come right back to life with a fabric brush. I had this made. It’s 10x10ft black velveteen. I’ve been shooting to black using velveteen for over 35 years. (Have a look at my archives)
There is just too much material for me to share here, the work will be on billboards, transit, magazine advertising as well as pre-roll ads on YouTube and in Canadian movie theatres. It’s a huge media buy, I’m looking forward to seeing this work in the wild. As it starts to roll out, I’ll make sure I make a post about it.
The biggest compliments I got during this shoot were all about how I quickly related to my subjects, how I made everyone feel comfortable and how they all left feeling like rockstars. That’s the only goal when it comes to shooting portraits, make it an experience for the subject. Everyone that I photographed this week will remember this experience, like I will, forever. This one is in the books for this year but I’ll be in post processing and editing for the next few weeks.
Everytime we get hired, it’s an opportunity to build lifelong clients, fans and new opportunities. Every one of us is a star. When you treat your subjects like superstars and include them in your process, it makes the experience for them a memorable one. Show your best photographs, bring your best energy and remember, we’re only as good as our last session.
Thanks for making it to the end of this post, if you found me from my latest YouTube video, make sure you drop a hello in comments. Glad you’re on board. More inspiration next week, big podcast on YouTube tomorrow.
We get better every time we look through that little window. Know that showing up is the hardest part. Make something amazing this week.