My friends at Profoto posted this short video clip of my talk on ‘Iconic Portrait Lighting’ at their booth at WPPI 2016. If you’re attending WPPI 2017, be sure to check out my full platform talk TONIGHT at 6:30PM!
Our latest celebrity portrait shoot for the cover of Haute Living Magazine features Philippe Starck & Sam Nazarian photographed at SLS Brickell Hotel in downtown Miami. With all due respect to Apple’s Jony Ive, Starck is THE God of Design. The last time I photographed Starck, was on a beach in Puerto Vallarta. This time, it was opening night at the SLS Brickell
Like many celebrity photo shoots, time is at a premium. We’d have 30 minutes to shoot three portraits. A cover shot of Philippe & Sam together, a full page opener of Philippe alone and a full page portrait of Sam. When faced with little time to shoot. You show up early. Scout the Place. And pick your spots.
When you’ve got lots of set-up time and a short time to shoot, there’s a tendency to “over-think” the location and keep changing right up the the shoot. Often you’re better off to stick with the first thing that catches your eye.
The spot in the hotel that jumped out at me was Jean Philippe Hazard’s art piece â€œPurseâ€. I decided it was the background for Starck. Rather than removing the velvet rope encircling the piece during final prep for the party, I decided to keep the velvet robe so Starck would appear to be on display.
Next, for a totally different look, we moved down the hall to photograph Sam Nazarian in the hallway against the vertical stripe wallpaper.
We headed down to shoot the cover shot in the lobby and everything’s going smoothly…until the elevator I was riding in with Haute Living CEO and Publisher Kamal Hotchandani dropped a floor and came to a crashing stop. I guess even elevators get opening night jitters…Always expect the unexpected whenever you’re on a celebrity photo shoot!
The original plan was to shoot the cover on seamless, but I’ll take a textured wall over background paper any day. HUGE THANKS to Hadley, my wonderful editor at Haute Living, and to our team for another great cover shoot! Cheers!!! Click here to check out the Cover Story at Haute Living
Camera: Sony a7RII camera
Lens: Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens
Lens: Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens
Lighting: Profoto Air Remote TTL-S for Sony
Lighting: Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash
Lighting: Profoto Acute2 2400 Pack + Profoto Acute2 Head
Modifier: Profoto Softlight Reflector White
Modifier: Elinchrom Octabank (modified to Profoto)
Grip: Avenger 9.8′ Baby Alu Stand 30 with Leveling Leg
Grip: Kupo 40″ Hex Grip Arm with Big Handle
Grip: Oben CT-3581 Carbon Fiber Tripod with BE-126T Ball Head
The latest issue of Draft Magazine features my celebrity portrait cover shoot of funny and fabulous actor Ty Burrell of ‘Modern Family’ photographed at his Beer Bar in Salt Lake City. Huge thanks as always to Draft Magazine Art Director Kevin Robie for another great looking cover!
Camera: Sony a7RII
Lens: Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM
Lighting: Profoto Acute 2R 2400
Lighting: Profoto Acute 2-D4 Flash Heads
Modifier: Elinchrom Octabank (modified for Profoto)
Grip: Avenger 11.5′ Baby Alu Stand 35 with Leveling Leg
Jimmy Smits photographed at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Camera: Sony a900
Lens: Sony 24-70mm F2.8 ZA Lens
Lighting: (2) Profoto Acute 2 2400 Packs
(2) Profoto Acute 2 Heads
Profoto Softlight Reflector White
Profoto Honeycomb Grid for Softlight Reflector
Elinchrom Octabank 74″
Clearing out all the distractions from a photo is often more important than what you put in. Remove everything that draws your eye away from the essence of the image.
Clear the clutter. Eliminate the extraneous. Keep It Simple Stupid!
When Forbes assigned me to shoot Don King, art director Bob Mansfield’s directions consisted of two words: “Think cover.”
I knew I had to bring back a bold, eye-catching image if I wanted to land the cover and figured that nothing could be more eye-catching on the cover of a business magazine than King’s signature hair.
We kept the shot simple. With Don sitting in profile, I back-lit him from both sides with a pair of Profoto Acute 2 strobe heads fitted with Profoto 12″ Magnum reflectors to rim light his face and make his hair glow. (Click to Enlarge)
Right before we shot, Don did his part, combing through his hair to make it stand up.
So… Did Don make the cover?
I love it when a great plan comes together…
(3) Profoto Acute 2 2400 Pack
(2) Profoto Acute 2 Strobe Heads
(2) Profoto 12″ Magnum reflectors
(1) Profoto Acute 2 Ring Flash
(2) Avenger 11.5′ Baby Alu Stand 35 with Leveling Leg
(4) Pocket Wizard Plus III Transceivers
Get more behind-the-scenes celebrity stories in Secrets of Great Portrait Photography: Photographs of the Famous and Infamous. The book draws upon the lessons Iâ€™ve learned over the last three decades photographing portraits of the rich and famous. The book blends lavish celebrity portraits of a coffee table book with technical how-to insights with a side dish of behind-the-scenes celebrity stories. Secrets of Great Portrait Photography takes you though all the stages of a portrait shoot from pre-production planning through posing your portrait through perfecting your shot in post-production. Loaded with details about three decades of portrait photography, each chapter is packed full of tips to successful portrait photography with lessons learned from each shoot.