I’m not a studio photographer. I prefer to get out into the field (or crawl around a stage) and find great photographs. Studio photography is about having the control of lighting and the subjects to create compelling images. I’m envious of those with that talent and I consider myself a dabbler at best.
That said, if someone asks I tell them the truth and we get on with business. Ricky Berger asked me to take some photographs of him and his long-time musical partner, Mick Fridley, for some promotional materials they are putting together. I converted our living room into a studio (which is utterly not up to the job), added some lights, and the guys came over and we had a blast for a couple of hours.
What follows are a few selects from the evening with what I would consider to be “lite” post-processing. Just some minor exposure tweaks for the most part. The final images will clean up the clutter in and tone of the backgrounds and there will be all of the usual final tweaking that portraiture tends to require.
They brought a bunch of great guitars and we tried to include them in a few of the setups. Here I took the photo at 24mm and then used Lightroom 3′s new lens correction capabilities to clean up the perspective and vignetting. Way cool.
After the posed shots were out of the way I just had them play and I began to search for more images. Like I said, I’m envious of those talented photographers that can direct a person into creating a feeling of energy or emotion — for me, I prefer to have the person do what they do and then get myself into a position to capture the moment.
From a customer perspective capturing both is important to me. The posed pictures will end up as the features at the top of a web site or on a poster. But the candids can be sprinkled liberally in copy, articles, and just decorations on web pages and other promotional material, and lend their power in subtle ways.
I had the camera connected to my MacBook Pro running Lightroom 3 and enabled tethered shooting. What this did was provide a running preview of the shots for both myself and Ricky and Mick. They could see if they liked the pose and think about other variations. Giving your subjects that kind of instant feedback, and control, can cut both ways. In this case, with these great guys, it worked very well.
When Ricky and Mick make their final selections and I finish the processing of them, I’ll be sure to post that here as well — but I thought it might be fun to document the beginning of the process as well.
I had a great time and while I’m certainly no Zack Arias, the results were pretty satisfying for an ad hoc “studio” setup.
All photographs taken with a Canon 5D Mark II, 24-70mm f/2.8L and 70-200mm f/2.8L lenses. ISO 400, 1/125 second, f/stop varies between 2.8 and 5.6.
Lighting/Strobist: 550EX strobe into a 40 inch umbrella set at just above eye level to image right. 1/8 to 1/16 power most of the time. Wireless trigger (Cactus PovertyWizard) – which worked most of the time. DIY Spiderlight (18×18) set at just above eye level on image right, feathered. This was there mostly for fill of the duo shots — I turned it off for the single person portraits. Two CFL lights in cans on floor illuminating the lower backdrop. I also used a LitePanels Micro for a fill light (but only for a set of shots not shown here).
Lightroom: exposure tweaks, white balance set to 5300K, bit of clarity and vibrance. Some B&W conversion (tinkering). More to come. Client review is via web (TTG Highslide Gallery Pro 2.0).