I created these portraits of Alyssa Sullivan owner of Synergy Power Yoga in Barrington RI for her social media and for new marketing material to help promote her business. With all business portraiture that I do, I had a couple of objectives. These are different for every business that I work with, but for this one I wanted the photos to not only get across the love and joy that Alyssa brings to the Yoga she teaches, but her showcase her incredible talent and beauty as well.
Below I will be sharing exactly how I created these portraits that I am super proud of! Tell me what you think in the comments!
I wanted these photos to have a very clean and pristine look about them, so I put her on a solid white background and lit the whole scene with 4 separate speed lights. My ISO was set at 320 with a shutter speed varied from 1/125 to 1/200 with an aperture of either 6.3 or 7.1
The speed lights were shot though 3 octaboxes from behind up and behind right and left. With one big one from the front right. You can see below my light placement. The three smaller lights from behind her were set to 1/16th power and the big light off to the right was set to 1/4 power.
I co-hosted yet another “Light The Way” photographic workshop with my friend and fellow photographer Brad Smith this past weekend. This one took place at Manic Training Which by the way is an EXCELLENT place to workout!
We had a blast with lots of photos created and lots of learning happening I LOVE to teach what I love… I believe we had about 15 photographers in the room with 5 models and 2 hair and make up professionals. Thanks also to Trevor Holden and Matt Jacobsen for some behind the scenes photography and assistance in setting up and breaking down the piles of gear we brought with us, as well as taking some participants under their wing as needed.
Check out this really fun video we made of the event!
Thank you very much to Lynda Williams of Formal Hair Design her hair styles keep getting better and better! Check out these ladies!
And Thank you to Jennifer Hodge of Spectrum Make up Artistry Always does just the right amount of makeup so the ladies look their best!
Here are some photos that I created
A big THANK YOU to our Models who really stepped up to the plate!
This portrait was created as a part of a series of photos I am calling the Rhode Island Portrait Project. You can see some of the other photos in this project here
I created this portrait with the intention of showing Bethany’s ability to transform herself as an actress. We chose 3 vastly different women from different time periods as our characters for this portrait rather than Bethany herself.. Going as far as to give them names, back stories and motivations for what was happening for them in these moments. I shot 3 photos with my camera on a Tripod to keep the same position and then photoshopped them all together later. We shot the Gibson Girl 1st (her name is Edith) here are some set up shots. The costumes, hair and make up were pretty extensive Than you Becky! We put a lot of time into making the details just right! Thank you to The beautiful Stadium Theater for letting us use their space to work in. Visit their website here and you can visit Bethany’s website here
Here is the photo we did of Bethany as the Gibson girl pre photoshop. You can see my Octabox in the photo which was later taken out in addition to this light I also had a light up the stairs camera left shining down. You can see that light on her face and arm. And one big 7′ umbrella camera left out of the frame feathered across her front to just fill in gently. You can see the 7′ umbrella in another frame below.
The next shot was our 50’s lady named Audrey here is a set up shot.
I used a very similar lighting set up for this lady as for the 1st shot. We had Becky stand in to give Bethany someone to interact with where our Edith character would have been standing. You can just barely see a light camera left if you look close. Also of note thank you to Faye for holding the christmas stuff out of my frame 🙂 we shot this just after Christmas so the place was decorated for the Holiday and we had to take it apart and put it all back together for our shot…
last we made the Courtney character shot. For this one I just used 2 lights on her right and left you can see both here if you look close on camera right you can just see my octabox our of frame.
This portrait was created as a part of a series of photo I am calling the Rhode Island Portrait Project. You can see some of the other photo in this project here
I created this portrait with the intention of showing off John Ford’s incredible physical presence mixed with the feeling of aspiration, determination, and hope. I wanted the focus to be entirely on John for this so I went with a studio background instead of working in the “real world” the setting for my camera were:
ISO 141 Shutter 1/160th aperture F 4.5 with 3 light sources shown here
I used a bare bulb flash no modifications set camera right about 1/32nd power results shown here
Then I added another bare bulb flash about 1/8th power pointed at John from the back and very much toward my camera this added some wonderful back light and beautiful lens flare shown here
I used an Octabox up and camera left about 1/8th power. After a little photoshopping (I cleaned up the background and made the portrait a little more punchy but that is it)
here is the final photo
Some other tricks we did:
Baby oil smeared all over John to give him a nice sheen, and I sprayed him down with water to make it look like he was sweating. Open the photo to see it at a proper size
I photographed Daphne Martin for the cover of Grace Magazine. Daphne is a wonderful musician and song writer, and I met her in her home to photograph this portrait. The photo came together sort of organically after looking at the space and seeing the clothes she had picked out for the shoot. Being a big fan of thematic colors, when I saw the red hat, red dress and red walls, I immediately saw the photo in my head.
Here is our finished portrait
I created this portrait using 2 lights one up and camera left with a spot grid on the flash, creating a very harsh light that shone down mostly on her head and shoulders, and a Ring flash to fill in the shadows a little so the dark parts of the portrait weren’t SUPER dark. I positioned her just off the wall and the ring flash made a wonderful shadow all around her body which looks super cool too!
The technical info on the photo for those of you that are interested was
Nikon D700 ISO 100 F5.6 shutter 1/200th
Here are some set up shots to show you the scene I changed my lens to a wide lens which allows you to see the ring flash on the camera itself and the other photo you can see that there is an umbrella which I tried but ended up not using in the final shot.
I am proud of this portrait of Ed Tarbox taken for The Rhode Island Portrait Project. I sat down with Ed to talk about creating this portrait and was struck right off the bat 1st by his genuine energy and friendliness and second by his true LOVE of cars. It became clear that I needed to photograph him with one of his personal cars. My 1st idea was to photograph him like a racer from the 30’s you know with the goggles and a scarf but after he showed me his vintage 1963 Corvette I knew we had a winner. The concept shifted and we started talking about James Dean and Marlon Brando from the late 50’s early 60’s and Wammo I could see it in my mind! I love it when that happens!
Here is the technical info on our portrait
Taken on a Nikon D700 ISO 800 as it was getting close to dark. 5 light sources if you include the ambient light from the sky (all shown below) the shutter was 1/60th at F4
I am very proud to announce the 2nd lighting workshop I am putting on with the talented Brad Smith! Here is the info on how to sign up if you want to take your photography to the next level. We will have models that will be done up professionally by the lovely and talented Lynda Williams of Formal Hair Design and make up by the beautiful Jennifer Hodge of Spectrum Make up Artistry
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
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…
Here is a backed up shot so you can see where my light was positioned
I get asked all the time what amount of photoshopping I do to my images and the truth is not very much. Most of the time I prefer to do my work before hand using good composition, good lighting, and just generally get the fundamentals of photography “right” in camera. But sometimes I do take extra time and really tweak and tweeze a photo in the computer to push it to another level. Also let me be clear I have NO problem AT ALL with using the computer to enhance, change or manipulate a photo. There is an erroneous idea out there that with the invention of Photoshop so came the invention of the manipulated image. This is simply NOT SO. Here two examples of people using the dark room, airbrushing, and other techniques to manipulate enhance or just change an image…
And Joseph Stalin not only wiped people out with guns, but in photos too…
But I am getting a little off topic here, I love the computer and Photoshop, and have no problem using them to execute my vision of what a photograph should look like. Maybe on another day I will spend some time writing about this and going into in with more detail, but for now I want to show you what I have done with this image of a beautiful woman who I photographed this week. This 1st shot is straight out of the camera no changes at all to the image. Pretty good ha?
This 2nd version has been adjusted in Adobe Lighroom 3
I added just a tiny bit of green and yellow to the white balance of the photo, removed the mole from her chest and brightened the shadow on her face just a little. It’s getting better…
This finished version was exported into Adobe Photoshop CS5 and changed a little more there.
I added a little more yellow to the photo softened just a tiny bit, and cleaned up the stray hairs on her head, and last softened the shadow on her chest. So this is my vision of what this photo should look like as realized by the computer. I hope this helps illustrate to those of you who are interested what can happen behind the scenes on an image. As I said at the beginning of this post, I mostly don’t do this much work on my photos. Because there is something to be said for a more “natural” look. But sometimes I feel the desire to push an image to that next level…
I created some cool photos today. As with all great endeavors this wasn’t done alone. I had the help of some very talented people.
Lynda Williams of Formal hair design did the hair styling and wasn’t it super cool!!! Here is her website
Jennifer Hodge from Spectrum Makeup Artistry did the make up. I am always amazed at what make up does to create a look and she did a wonderful job!
And Brad Smith another photographer was there. We helped each other out and bounced ideas and light around together. Just a fun playful day creating cool images. Also thanks to our model Cory for being so great! Digem!!!
I don’t do a lot of “commercial” work, but today I photographed for the #8 rugby shirt company and had a BLAST!!! What fun we had. Our models were a real joy to work with and everyone was totally relaxed and comfortable! I think we ended up with great photos, don’t you?
Here is a link to the #8 Rugby website
Steve Riley is one of the worlds best Cajun musician’s and a musical hero of mine. Steve and his wife Katie asked me to photograph them and their son recently. Here are the results.
and here is a little about Steve
First and foremost a good portrait comes from 2 main places in my opinion. 1st understanding photography, the fundamentals of light and composition has to be in place. But then you have to understand people and how to make them feel comfortable… I am writing about the 1st part. If you need help with the people part, I can’t help you. But if you can’t get someone to relax in front of the camera 99% of the time it is the photographers fault… not the subject
The photo you see here was taken in a hotel room. I was standing on a chair with a large window to my left. I had one of the brides maids hold up the brides dress high behind her to make a pleasing background and to bounce a little light back at her. This is all natural light. ISO 100 1/90th shutter and 1.8 Aperature on a 50mm lens. Here is a photo of me taking this photo to give you a perspective