As some of you know, I work for Grace Magazine creating portrait style covers for them as well as editorial features inside. Grace is getting a new look as well as an expanded mission. Asking the readers to “Read Deeper” check out the most recent cover I made, I love it, and hope you do to!
Here is a link to Grace’s homepage go check out some of the compelling stories Grace tells here!
Special thanks to Jeanne, Steve, and Mark at The Garde Arts Center for their help and kindness in creating this portrait!
Here I am lying down on the job again on the stage of the beautiful and historic Garde Arts Center
People often comment on the strange positions I put my body in while taking photos. For me it’s kind of and unconscious maneuvering. I just move my body until the composition looks correct through lens. After I’m done, if someone has snapped a photo of the moment, I am usually as surprised as everyone else at the way I look…
We were creating the next cover photo for Grace Magazine This one is going to be really FUN, can’t wait for it to go to print!
This is a very complicated photo I pieced together from 3 separate images. I took all of the photos in the same session with all the participants on hand the whole time. But I simply didn’t have enough lights to adequately cover everyone in my composition. So what I did was place my camera on a tripod and move the lights around to where I needed them for each grouping and then blended it all together in Photoshop later on.
The Roller-rink was closed and quite dark (if you look in the back you can see the concession stand is closed and dark looking something I wish I had seen when I was shooting)
Here are 2 set up shots
Once I got my Composition figured out, what I needed to do was light each group but make it look like they were all lit the same way even thought they all had completely different lighting. I placed one of my lights right in the photo (top left hand corner) on purpose this gave the illusion of a unified lighting scheme. Your eye automatically wants to believe photos and this helps inform the lighting so you can believe what you are seeing.
You can see here I had 3 lights on this 1st photo. A 7′ reflective umbrella, a bare bulb light and on the right hand side in the back a gridded light just on the Ref. who was showing up too dark in test shots.
The Next photo was taken with a very similar lighting set up just moved closer toward these ladies the 7′ umbrella is off camera here but still in use and the gridded light was set behind them exactly to give a little back light in addition to the back light you can see on the top left.
The last photo was shot using 2 lights a smaller shoot through umbrella up and over the subjects the spot gridded light creating the shadow on the wall. With all the photos taken all I had to do was stitch them together in Photoshop Here is how it appeared in the magazine.
I photographed Kelsey Kaiser for the Cover of Grace Magazine recently. Here is the cover image and inside spread as well
This was a fairly complicated photo to produce, with multiple conversations and meetings to discuss the photo with Kelsey and the folks that run the Gym where she practices. From the very 1st time I walked into the Gym which is located in New London CT I saw this image in my head. They have a large Flag on the wall next to the ring in the gym and I knew that was the shot. As some of you might know the only formal training I have in photography was from a class I took in highschool. I was lucky enough to have a great photography teacher that taught me some very important fundamentals for creating beautiful images. One of those lessons that Mr. Z imprinted on me was that a photo starts in your mind’s eye. If you can’t see the image before it’s created then how are you going to make it happen? That vision is very important to making beautiful photos but I am getting off topic here.
SO Here is a few photos showing the place and what it looked like with and without my lights
The main photo was taken on my Nikon D700 ISO 560 with a 50 mm lens set at F/5 and a shutter of 1/125th I wanted to get some of the ambient light of the gym to show up so that we could see the flag behind her but I wanted that to be a little dimmer than her. So I set my exposure for that background first and then added lights to create a dramatic feeling photo. You can see I had a large Octabox set up high above Kelsey to drop that sweet soft light down on her this is the main light working on her. From behind her I set 2 lights at 45 degrees pointing at the camera crossing her on either side this light you can see on her shoulders and the side of her face. They were all triggered at the same time using Pocket wizards. Also I wiped her down with baby oil to give her skin a little extra shine. Now that it is over and done I am very proud of the portrait.
Here is the finished photo and another that I really liked that didn’t make the magazine
This was a fairly involved portrait to create with a many meetings/phone conversations/and text messaging to talk about the concept and feeling that we wanted to create and capture. We created this cover shot of Theresa in what is the oldest working court room in the United States. Below are some iPhone photos I took for reference in advance of the portrait as well as set up photos in process of creating the portrait.
I wanted to have a very dark portrait but the room was filled with light so I set my camera to way underexpose the photo and added light to that dark exposure using my flashes. The photo was shot with an 85mm lens ISO 100 shutter 1/200 Aperture 5.6 The main light on her face up and camera left I wanted to be kind of harsh and I wanted the light to be only on her not the back ground, so I put a spot grid on it. I didn’t want the shadows to be too dark though so I put a ring flash on my camera at a very low setting this just nudges the shadows up a little but doesn’t get rid of them all together. And the 3rd light I added was shot through a soft box with a strip modifier on it I used this modifier because I wanted the light coming from behind her to be soft and just kiss her cheek and hair.
Here is the final portrait
I am proud of this very special portrait that I created for Grace Magazine of Theresa Ferryman. I sat down with Theresa to talk with her and was immediately struck by her warmth and intelligence. I was also struck by the gravity of her job. Theresa is a Prosecutor for CT Superior Court and she particularly deals with child sex abuse cases and she is very good at what she does. I knew that I wanted create a portrait that told a story about who is and what she does. I felt like the darkness of what she deals with everyday was in direct opposition to the lovely woman who I was getting to know. How to show both things in one portrait? What I settled on was a portrait in which she was lit in a very dark space, with the darkness being a metaphor for her work. I wanted the darkness to be all around her but to have her still feel friendly and thoughtful, but in charge, direct and unflinching.
What are your thoughts?
I photographed Jeanne Sigel at The Garde Theater in New London CT for Grace Magazine. After meeting with Jeanne and seeing this spectacular venue, the photo became clear in my mind. We needed to have this be not only a photograph of Jeanne, but a portrait of The Garde itself as well. After some test shots I realized that I needed to get up higher so that the photo had even edges and wasn’t so tilted up looking. I also wanted the photo to have the color more balanced as it was heavy on the orange and red tones, so working with the lighting designer at The Theater I had him put two blue spot lights right on Jeanne. This created almost a face as if Jeanne was looking at the Theater and the Theater was looking back at her. They had a lift there that I set up my tripod on and climbed a ladder to get up next to the camera (as there wasn’t enough room on the lift for me and the tripod) after composing the photo and getting my exposure correct (ISO 560, 20mm lens, 1.6 seconds shutter, and F9 aperture) I tripped the shutter using a cable release cord because the lift was very wobbly. Here is the final photo as it appeared in the magazine as well as some set up shots.