For many photogs, it’s all about the new face, especially, for instance, in the fashion world. I get it. The new “It” young person, a hot new look, the brand new designs. All good.
Me, I love to work with people I know and love. Tried and true. Find a new angle in a return visit. Build trust. Settle in behind the camera with someone who is amazing in front of it. Wonderful.
I went to Bedford Camera’s PhotoCon in 2017, and met Darrin Davis, an experienced police officer and a truly affable soul. He was providing security for the conference, and when I walked in, my head swiveled, and I thought, “I’m not leaving without that man’s photo.”
As opposed to the formidable look he casts in the above photo (which I coached him into) Darrin is one of the warmest, most friendly people I’ve ever encountered. And the lens finds him imposing, indeed. We did this shot in the hotel lobby, surrounded by the class, turning the outer doors blue via incandescent WB, gelling on the light, etc. Simple.
Fast forward to 2022, and he was up for another portrait! We stayed in class this time, on a black background, and used some gels and sidelight to create the below. The lighting grid for below was two Profoto B10X Plus strobes, gelled, fired through RFI 1×3 strip soft boxes, behind Darrin, off to the sides. Front light was a Profoto A2, fitted with one of their ingenious Pro-Clic soft boxes, with a fabric grid front diffuser. Square format on a Nikon Z 9 with a 50mm f1.2
Switching back to a vertical FX format on the Z 9, with a 24-70mm f2.8 at f/8, we tried another pose. Additional DOF needed for the lead arm. Same light grid, with the addition of an A2 fired down into the floor and bouncing off a silver Halo reflector, laying flat on the ground. This small amount of fill light opens his face up a bit, and scoots some light under the brim of his cap.
Then, I asked Darrin to give me the look as if he had pulled me over, and he’s arrested me before, and he knows me, and here I go again, getting into trouble. You know, the “Seriously?” look.
We closed off our session with the Eric Williams, one of the managers of Bedford Camera, doing his best impersonation of a Crazy Eddie commercial from the 70’s, seen up top as the banner. Eric’s tall, so I was lucky to have an apple box on the set!