Alright! Time to get back to posting some editorial. I get to shoot a lot of these CEO-type portraits and the challenge in these situations is to get an eye-catching, interesting shot within a limited timeframe and no prior knowledge of the location. A lot of the time it’s possible to shoot something good with available elements but sometimes those elements jump out at you and form a picture in your head that you can’t shake. Such as in the case of Akoni CEO Rob van Nylen, where the coolest room in the building happened to be the tiny smoking room / broom closet on the top floor. After moving everything out and arranging everything the way I wanted we shot this photo:
This was done with two lights: an Eintsein with a reflector + 30 degree grid boomed over my left shoulder, and an SB-900 in an Orbis ring flash, on-axis. If this confuses you, check out the MS Paint-inspired lighting diagram above. If it still confuses you, go look at Lighting 101 at Strobist.com and come back in a week.
Now, the above photo looks fine SOOC but I wanted to include some of the original lighting atmosphere that made me want to shoot in the room in the first place. Given that Rob had to go and there was very little space to hide strobes, I decided to light the scene separately and composite them all together after the fact.
First thing to do was recreate the down-lights in the ceiling with an SB unit and a Lumiquest softbox III – you can see my intrepid assistant Mijonju Jones doing a great job as usual in his Buy Film Not Megapixels T-shirt (kids and their fads these days).
Once that’s done it’s time to light the top of the filing cabinet the way it would have looked in the available down lighting. All of this with the same SB and Lumiquest softbox III combo. Oh, and I forgot to mention a full CTO gel (laymans terms: orange cellophane).
Lastly I tilted the camera up slightly and got a shot with the down lights in the photo, so I could move them into the final image later.
Once this is all done it’s time to take it all into photoshop and start putting the whole thing together. I pasted the down lights into the top of the frame and then added the light on the wall by using the Screen blending mode and brushing out the unneeded bits with a soft brush. The filing cabinet I simply overlaid on the original photo and masked out the unnecessary bits. Pretty simple, no special techniques needed and I ended up with the image I had in my head from the start, which is always good.
As always, thanks for checking out the blog, and if you have any questions or comments, leave them below!