The Rhode Island Portrait Project behind the curtain with Joan Dwyer

For the camera geeks, and photographers that want to take their images to the next level

This is how I created the portrait of Joan Dwyer from “All That Matters”

1st the concept: I sat down with Joan 2 times (with multiple phone calls and texts in between) and we chatted for about an hour each time about this portrait, this time is a very important part of my process. We talked about who she is as a person, a business woman, a mother, a friend ect… And I floated ideas for how to portray her in this portrait. One thing to note is that she was very nervous about being photographed as most people are (including myself) This time we spent together is so very important to making folks feel comfortable with the idea of being photographed. My idea was that I wanted to photograph her as a Goddess at rest. I wanted to tell the story of what I think All That Matters represents and what roll it plays in our community. She was very reluctant to be portrayed as a Goddess, because, understandably, she didn’t want to give the impression she thought of herself as high and mighty…  But this is (as are all the Rhode Island Portrait Project series photographs) my conception of who she is. Who I think of her as, not who she thinks of herself as…

2nd the execution: We built this composition over time using different things that Joan had on hand at her place  I wanted it to be symmetrical and balanced visually because Yoga is all about balance. I decided to light her with candles mostly, so I went to  Job Lot and the dollar store and bought about 200 candles! We used every single one! I constructed the composition slowly, and when I had everything placed where I wanted it to go then I set the exposure for the room (see 4708) then I added the one speedlight shot through a softbox (see 4710) and last I lit the candles and made sure the light was right coming off them (see 4713) when I had everything set which took about 1.5 hours then we started taking photographs and pretty quickly we got the winner (see 4733)

Here is my exposure info: ISO 800 (thank you Nikon) Shutter 1/25th and F 4 on my 50mm lens

Set up for Portrait behind the curtain of Joan Dwyer

With a little photoshoping the portrait was complete! I removed the leg of my light stand and some debris in the back ground as well some optimizations of contrast ect…

Joan Dwyer for The Rhode Island Portrait Project

Here is a backed up shot so you can see where my light was positioned

Behind the curtain on The Rhode Island Portrait Project

About Seth Jacobson Photography

Portrait, Wedding photographer. Living in Rhode Island. A bit Obsessive about photography!!!

Posted on April 13, 2012, in behind the curtain, photo tips, portrait photography, Rhode Island Portrait Project and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the technical walkthrough! I love seeing how shots are setup like this.

  2. Love the project Seth.. very cool and inspiring!!! I just love Joan and I think the photos are
    *perfect* Keep up the great work!

  3. Great BTS, it is always great to see not just how you set it up, but also to understand what your thought process was in getting there. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Kathy DiPina (DiPaolo)

    What a creation..the thought..the execution. I suppose that the combination of a perfect photographer/subject doesn’t hurt the outcome! Thanks for sharing!

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