Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Meet Russell Stall...

35mm :: 1/200 @f/4.5, ISO 100

One of the things I love about this job, location portraiture, is the challenge... seems cliche, I know, but that's one of those things about cliches: they are often true. I get to shoot a lot of "everyday people"... not rockstars or movie actresses, but folks like Russell Stall who run Greenville Forward... Folks with an office, a cluttered desk, an assistant, and something a little different about what they do so as to warrant their portrait being made.

The challenge for me is showing up and making something out of nothing. In essence, I don't have an empty canvas, I've got one already cluttered... In the case of Russell, one filled with filing cabinets, computer printers, papers, desks, books, and a pretty nifty poster of Einstein on the wall. I enjoy the fact that I've got to take all these elements, sculpt them into something framable, then add light and paint something intriguing. It ain't always easy, but it is usually fun.

I chose an exposure dark enough to overpower the ambient light: 1/200 @ f/4.5, ISO 100. I used a white reflective umbrella as key and placed two Speedstrips as kickers (yes, build demo coming soon... probably the next post). I started with a ringlight as my fill, but I had to give it up because I needed to use that Speedlite with a snoot to illuminate the painting, so I used specular reflective fill under the camera instead.

(I start the timelapse after I've already cleaned up the place).

I'm currently working on a series of portraits (still and motion) of emerging artists... They won't be published for another month or so, but they are going to make for a neat set of posts... lots of behind-the-camera-timelapses and some portfolio worthy shots. Fun stuff.... stay tuned... and check back for the Speedstrip build demo coming soon.

Patrick Cavan Brown :: Editorial and Commercial Photographer :: Asheville, North Carolina


eip said...

Location portraiture is my favorite. I enjoy the challenge of not know what I'm up against. Thanks for the time lapse video.

Nice job!

Patrick Cavan Brown said...

eip... yeah, I've only been doing it for about 18 months now, but it has grown to become one of my favorites too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the new timelapse, love this stuff! Looking forward to the speedstrip demo.

Kenny Theysen said...

Nice one!!! Like how you have a timelapse for these shoot, helps a lot.

Btw what brand are you using for the strip lights?



John Leach said...

I'm interested in the strip lights also. Haven't been able to locate that size for a speedlight. Obviously I'm looking in the wrong place.


Lee said...

Great photo, great timelapse and an incredible portfolio you have! I was just curious to understand your choice to use the umbrella in it's reflective vs shoot through config?

Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!

H.C. Williams said...

Nice panic going on in the background. :)

Patrick Cavan Brown said...


I used the umbrella in its reflective mode in this scenario to control the amount if light... in other words, if I had used it in its shoot-thru mode, it would have bounced more light all around the room contaminating the scene... make sense?

Anonymous said...

I'm anonymous above - still anxiously awaiting the info on DIY strip boxes. :)