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
Cooley Law School’s annual report is now available online here.
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.
Check out his story here on Rapid Growth Media.
One of the privileges of shooting for Rapid Growth Media is the chance to meet and learn about the army of people volunteering and working to make our community a better place. These are people who have decided that if you don’t like something, change it. And so they do.
The Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan is one of those quiet non-profits that has a huge impact on the kids that they help. Rather than simply punishing children for inter-personal conflict, they engage in helping kids talk through their differences, without having to resort to violence.
This is kind of a big deal.
Engaging in conflict resolution as an alternative to fighting is one of those ideas that will change the kinds of lives that these kids will have.
In many cases these kids can take the ideas learned at school with the Dispute Resolution Center, and share them with their families and friends. And even though it won’t make headlines, it will certainly make a difference.
I had the pleasure of photographing the lovely Gia when she was visiting the Grand Rapids area from Los Angeles. We experimented with a gray background and some strip box modifiers as a lighting strategy.
Testing with models is always fun, it’s the time that we have to experiment with new things, new ideas, for both myself and the model.
A model should be comfortable with her/his body. The more comfortable one is with their body, the easier it is to feel and look comfortable in front of a camera.
This might seem a little obvious but, Posture. It’s amazing how once in front of the camera models, and most subjects in general, forget about posture. It’s easy to do when you are trying to be strong in your facial expressions, remembering what you’re wearing, and interacting with the environment. Remembering the basics of posture is key, from good posture gomes good form for the rest of the body.
Knowing what each model is strongest at is poignant to picking the right one for the right campaign. Often it’s not just the right look, but the right attitude as well. If a model has a naturally energetic and bubbly personality, he or she may be suited well with a campaign that wants that type of branding. But casting for campaigns is another blog post entirely.
On assignment again for Rapid Growth Media, I was sent to photograph a plethora of Cider operations in the West Michigan area. I already knew several of them, but this was a great introduction to Virtue and Sistemas.
Virtue, founder Gregory Hall
Hall’s mission for Virtue was to create a locally-based, cidery. In Rapid Growth’s recent article Hall describes that “the industry has experienced two years in a row of 100 percent year-over-year growth.” This is great news considering 2012 had an incredibly terrible apple crop.
Barrels at Virtue
Sistema is another family-run cider distillery. I was able to see a different part to the cider making process as Andy ran the machine. And his massive collection of cider bottles from, well, everywhere.
Seeing the process in different areas at each distillery gave me a bigger appreciation for the creation from start to finish. If you haven’t enjoyed a taste of cider from either of these two distilleries, it’s time that you try a little Michigan in a bottle.
Recently, I photographed three west michigan lawyers for Rapid Growth Media. While each person was a lawyer, each individual practiced their own specific disciple within law. It can be difficult to create individual portraits for multiple people from the same discipline. It can be tempting to photograph all three subjects at the time to make studio scheduling easier. However, that can take away from each individual and their specialty within that discipline. I chose the more time extensive route and photographed each lawyer in a different environment reflective of their different personalities.
George Storms, Willison + Hellman PC
Brent Thomas Geers, Geers Law Office
Lou Danner, Cooley Law School Mock Courtroom