Behind The Image – Doug Rubin

Doug Rubin

If you haven’t tried the Profoto Fresnel Small then you are missing out. When I was putting in the equipment order at the studio we were shooting at last month, I noticed they had a couple of them in house. Having never worked with them before and knowing I wanted to get a tight portrait to accompany the opener for the feature I was doing on political campaign manager, Doug Rubin, I figured why not? The great thing about these is that you can zoom and focus the light all in the same modifier, which allowed me to get the exact lighting patterns that I wanted on Doug’s face. I also added a couple CT filters to give it just a hint of color to go with the opener.

 

Since Doug had a winning record of all the campaigns he has run, we had this idea to shoot a horizontal opener with confetti in the air surrounding him like the rallies after an election. We put out the search for a confetti machine and were able to get an industrial one that filled the whole studio in a single burst. The thing was so powerful that a few weeks later when I went back to the place you could still find random pieces of confetti everywhere you looked. The shot we ended up using was as we were sweeping the confetti up and got an idea to have Doug sweep it himself – cleaning up after another winner, last man in the room.

Doug Rubin Tear

RubinLightingSetup

Damien Echols – West Memphis Three

Damien Echols

Damien Echols is one of the West Memphis Three who was tried and convicted as a teenager in 1994 of the 1993 murders of three boys and put on Death Row. A number of documentaries have been based on the case, and celebrities like Johnny Depp, Peter Jackson and Henry Rollins have held fund raisers in the belief that they are innocent. After serving 18 years in prison he was released after the case was finally reopened.

Damien Echols

Behind The Image – John Malkovich

John Malkovich

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of photographing John Malkovich in New York. We were able to work out shooting in a hotel suite right above his own. We wanted to make sure we had enough time to do two different set ups so we would have to prelight both of them in the early morning so we could swing him from set to set. The environmental setup was shot with a hand held soft-lighter as the main. A gridded dish with a straw filter on it to mimic light coming from the lamp and a 5’octa to provide the overall fill. The other setup was similar, minus the dish and an addition of a beautiful backdrop from Oliphant. This was also the first time I got to try out the new Profoto B4’s. These things are a game changer, they recycle so quick and recharge in like 45mins. Which really helps not having to carry around a case full of batteries. I will be asking Santa for a few of these.

John Malkovich

John Malkovich

The view was a lot better then my Double Tree broom closet down the street.

NY_view

Lighting Diagram/Gear Light

5 Profoto B4’s
5 Heads
1 Beautydish w/grid
1 Softlighter
2 5′ Octa’s

LightingSetup

WEEI Mike Salk

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The last thing you want to take is a picture that has already been done to death. That was my first reaction to shooting WEEI’s new sports personality, Mike Salk, at Fenway. We shot some stuff around the ballpark but it looked too forced and like it had been done before. This is also true of taking a shot of the subject in the stands, so I thought I’d put a spin on it and lighten it up with a beer. This is pretty much what you do the whole time at the ballpark anyway. That and, I guess, watch the game. It also gave me an excuse to grab one for myself.

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Behind The Image – Top Chef Seattle Kristen Kish

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I was pretty excited when I got the chance to shoot Top Chef’s winner, Kristen Kish. Having been in the Menton kitchen before, I had a good idea of what the shot should look like before I got there. The tricky part with this place is that there is glass and steel everywhere, so watching out for all of those reflections from the light was important. This was shot with a softlighter as the main and a magnums and 3×4 softbox behind her to illuminate the room and provide a little edge light. I tried to keep the edge light to a minimum since I am not really fond of the overexposed side light on the face unless its an athlete. Sometimes it just ends up looking cheap to me. Kristen is pretty use to having her picture taken from being on the show and a former model so there wasn’t too much needed for direction which is sometimes nice. I always try and let the subject do their own thing at first before I start giving them direction. Even though we shot for 45 mins with a couple of different set-ups, we got the shot on the 3rd frame. It’s nice when you have the vision of what you are looking for and can get it right off the bat. Everything else ends up just being a bonus.

Gear List:
2 – Profoto 8a packs
3 – Heads
1 – 3×4 Softbox
1 – Magnums
1 – Softlighter
Canon 5d Mark III
24-105L

KristenKishLightingSetup

Behind The Image: Philanthropy Cover

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I have been meaning to put this one up for about a month now. It’s a cover shot I did for Boston Magazine of some of the top philanthropists in Massachusetts. A lot of pre-production went into this shot. First, the location needed to be scouted to see how many people we could fit in it. We also knew we wanted to showcase the whole staircase with the people at the bottom of the frame. That way it would be more about the space, as well as leave room for some custom font work. I hate using a wide lens for group shots, and would normally have shot with a longer one and then stitched the frames together. This shot was way too tall to do that since the perspective needed to be precise. Instead, I was able to get the library to remove all of the metal detectors and shoot with a longer lens from an adjacent room. Since we were shooting in the early morning the sun was not out yet so I shot some plates for the window lights to be burnt in in post and strobed the rest of the back light to mimic the sun. There were these great lion statues at the top of the staircase that couldn’t be seen from the angle we were at, so they were also shot separately and dropped down in post. This was easier said then done but the lions really did make the shot. In the end, we used 10 strobes to light the space correctly. Two magnums were set up on each side shooting down the staircase mimicking the sunlight and acting as a rim light on the subjects to separate them from the background. Another magnum was set up on each side to light the lions. I wanted a softer light on the subjects so I used two 5′ octas to light the whole group. We feathered the light and fiddled with the output on both of them so each person was correctly exposed. The shadows were filled in with two more magnum heads. Finally, one whole day in front of the computer doing the post work and the shot was complete.

A production like this takes a whole team to pull it off. Many thanks to the art director, stylist, hair and makeup artists, assistants, interns and the Boston Public Library.

 

Gear List:
4 – Profoto 8a packs
2 – Profoto 7b packs
10 – Heads
8 – Magnums
2 – 5′ Octas
Canon 5d Mark III
50L 1.2

LightingSetup

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Robert Kraft – NFL Owner

Robert Kraft II

This shot was part of a feature on Boston’s top philanthropists. When you photograph a billionaire you can usually expect that you aren’t going to be granted much time with him/her. We had about 30 minutes to set-up and 10 minutes to shoot, so I knew we would have to work fast. This is why I am a big fan of having the key light on wheels or a human boom. It allows my assistant to move the light when the subject’s head turns so I can keep the lighting pattern on the face the way I want it. The main light on the subject was a gridded beauty dish with a sock attached. I wanted the light to come in as a low-key style even though it would not be complete blackness due to the fill light. You would think the sock would make the grid irrelevant but it still focuses the light, and the combo of the sock and grid give a nice, soft directional light. I sometimes like using a strong hair light on someone with salt-and-pepper hair; it really pops and gives a sophisticated look. Now, I always preach that you need to pack beforehand and make sure you have everything, but even that doesn’t help if you leave a roll of seamless by the door when you’re loading the car. Instead of panicking (since I knew I didn’t have enough time to go back and get it), I had to make it work. There was a black velvet cloth hanging that the TV department used to block out light, so I figured I could use this and just tint it to blue in post. I have to say, I loved the way this looked and think it was a lot better then the original backdrop.

Robert Kraft I

3 – Profoto 8a packs
3 – Heads
1 – Beautydish w/grid & sock
1 – Zoom Reflector
1 – 3×4 Softbox
Canon 5d Mark III
50L 1.2

Robert Kraft Lighting Diagram

Fashion Icon Marilyn Riseman

Marilyn Riseman I

I have taken a lot of portraits over the last year and Marilyn Riseman has been one of my favorite. She captivates the room and I just love they way she puts herself together. Another great thing is there is no need for hair/makeup or a stylist, she comes good to go. What you see is what you get.

2 – Profoto 8a packs
2 – Heads
1 – Ringlight
1 – 5′ Octa
1 – Softlighter
Canon 5d Mark III
50L 1.2
Oliphant Backdrop

Marilyn Riseman III