I have been having an absolute blast shooting these portraits on the road. You can check out my previous portrait shoot here. I had been meaning to tackle a portrait series for awhile, something had been holding me back. I finally figured out what it was- my lighting was too complicated. If it takes longer than a few minutes to set up, how will I do it on the fly? How will I replicate it in multiple areas?
On Warped Tour I wanted to do this with people outside, but it just took too long to prepare and for my subjects to have some time, not to mention my giant octabox blowing away a few times. With this setup I can easily recreate it at any venue and get very similar looking images – only one thing is required, a white-walled room with a decent ceiling height.
Lighting for this is so simple. Same as the last shoot I did this way. One 580EX shooting at the ceiling and a LED light on my camera aiming at the subject’s eyes for catchlight. I guess the only difference is I used that big metal thing on left as a third white wall, it was 100% white on the side you can’t see. We had to move it later to block the windows of the dressing rooms because kids were leaving the show and peeking in. Ahhh they ruined my lighting! But it still looked solid.
I like that it doesn’t take too much gear to get these images shot. I am happy I figured out that gear doesn’t really matter too much in the grand scheme of things. I mean it does to an extent, but not entirely. You don’t need top of the line gear to get the best look, you just need something that works. I find it’s best to start with what you know and you can afford, and learn it inside and out. From there shoot what you enjoy, and as a problem arises, figure out how you can fix it with your current gear. Keep doing that over and over and eventually you will figure out what to get next. Little by little.
If you have to save up for it, you probably shouldn’t be getting it. Meaning, if you aren’t making enough money to easily afford your gear, then you probably shouldn’t buy it. I did make a mistake one time and I purchased a light meter per the advice of a local wedding photographer… worthless for me. I never use one, just take pictures until everything looks good and move on. If I was having trouble with lighting everything, then maybe I would go out and get a meter- but instead I tried to fix something that wasn’t broken and all it did was slow make me sign up for eBay.
Some examples of why I purchased the gear I now own:
- I couldn’t reach high enough angles at a show with my arm, so I purchased a monopod for my camera.
- I couldn’t keep putting my camera on a timed shutter, so I purchased a remote shutter.
- My flashes kept falling all over stage, so I purchased a super clamp.
All my gear has been a accumulated at a steady rate as a direct result of problem solving, I seldom just go out and buy gear cause I want it- I only buy gear as I need it.
I give you backstage portraits, round two! You can buy prints of all the Of Mice & Men portraits here. Oh, but first, a behind the scenes video. Enjoy!
over and out