Flatlanders is a distillery in Grand Rapids and a great one at that. I was able to photograph them for Rapid Growth Media recently and see their facility.
One thing I love about Miranda is her style. She has a very particular way she dresses that I’ve never seen anyone else around the West Michigan area dress.
One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had recently was photographing the cover for the February 2014 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine.
The staff at GRM are absolutely fantastic, not only to work for, but as colleagues and creative collaborators. When they asked me if I could photograph 5 creative couples in Grand Rapids - I was ecstatic. And, I was given the freedom to work with my subjects in a number of different environments.
My project manger and I planned out 5 different shoots in locations centric to each couple.
Process of the Cover Photo
This photo was shot very carefully, to keep the available light of the theater behind my subjects, and still work flattering lighting on my subjects standing on stage. Since Amy is a dancer and Erin is the husband of a dancer, I was able to drag the shutter more than usual, making this sort of like the old school shoots where people stand very formally for portraits. These two stood very still very well. The main light was an octobox in a boom just above their heads. The power on that light was very low, but it kicked out just enough to create contrast between them and the background of Wealthy Theatre.
More of from the shoot with Amy and Erin
Other Creative Couples Featured in the Magazine Spread
John and Serita
Erin and Aaron
Peter and Jason
Light frames our subjects. Light emphasizes our intentions. Light creates a mood to our photographs.
A photographer cannot take a photograph without considering the lighting whether that decision is consciously or subconsciously made.
To better explain my point, I’ll use photographs to coincide with my words.
In the above photograph, I chose to use only available light. I wanted to emphasize the size of the windows and the scene outside. The people serving themselves at the buffet acted as secondary subjects to the main intention of the photograph, to build a sense of place and space.
Light off camera
In this photograph I used a light off camera on camera left. I wanted to emphasize the amount of glasses that were being shown by the booth at this trade show, and the people interacting with the vendors.
Two different narratives, with different lighting approaches. Look around you. What kind of light do you work in? What kind of light do you live with?
Tune in next month for more photos and a continuation on Why Light matters.
Back in March of 2013, I had the privilege of being one of the photographers on Cooley Law School’s annual report. We haven’t spent much time sharing the technical side of things, so I’ll let this post go a bit further into what we used and why.
Our equipment we used for the all-day commercial photo shoot
There’s a lot to work with. We had solid location scouting to work with, so we knew where we would be shooting, and what kind of gear we needed. This is particularly important since we needed to use a generator on one of the locations to run lights and the laptop (for tethering).
Our set up
All of the pictures needed to fit into a narrative, environmental structure so meet the needs of the law school. The subjects are all people who were present for the founding of the school, and play key roles in it’s continuing operation.
For the above shot, we set up four lamps to light up the entire room including the stairwell. This was to flatter the subject, and also to build some context for where we were shooting.
Our set up
This was a really really big room, with lots of reflective surfaces, windows, and really poor ambient light. So we opted to overpower both the windows and the ambient lights, and as with the last photograph, light the entire room. Doing a whole room is more effort that just lighting a single person, but it gives greater flexibility for framing, and this can pay off well with the clients when it comes time to select proofs.
To see more of the images, check out Cooley’s annual report or quarterly magazine.
Online PDF of the magazine and photographs
One of the most interesting people I’ve met through Rapid Growth has been Sin Chun of Sin Republic. He just opened his salon to Grand Rapids - right in the heart of downtown. His studio is elegant in design.
Obviously, Sin is a colorful character, so we put him in the primary public space of his salon, and gave him a chance to simply be himself, and the picture does the rest. We actually wound up with a quite complicated lighting set up, given how big the room was, with mirrors everywhere. We used 8 lamps in all.