It's been a while since I last talked about one of my shoots. We've been busy with shooting, traveling, and just life in general. I've taken somewhat of a hiatus from the internet socially, but this was such a great shoot that I thought it was worth sharing.
As you can see from the images below, this shoot was a fun one. It was shot at The Hay Adams Hotel in Washington D.C. From the beginning, there were conversations with the photo editors at The Hollywood Reporter about doing a shoot that was fun, light, clean, and had somewhat of a summer feel. I knew that we were going to have limited time with the subjects, probably 15 minutes. I also knew that this was going to be shot in a hotel meeting room. The Hay Adams is a very nice hotel with an old school luxury feel. Although I love that feel, I knew it was not going to work for this particular shoot. I had been wanting the opportunity to shoot on white while using hard lighting for a while. After more conversations with the team at Hollywood Reporter, we decided to move forward with an all white background. Up until this point in my career, when I wanted to shoot on white, I usually just used a white seamless paper. The only problem with doing that is that unless you gaff tape it to a wall, the subjects cannot lean and get relaxed on the paper. So even though it might sound ridiculous we had a set designer build a 9x9' white wall and floor. In my opinion, it changed the whole shoot. It was now a set. It was almost as if it was the stage for these actors to perform for me and my camera. I had also brought some white cubes and stools for posing options.
To go along with the summer feel, I decided to use a very hard and warm light source. I wanted the light to resemble the sun. I achieved this by using the Profoto Magnum reflector as my key light with some added CTO to give the light warmth. Directly behind the magnum, I placed a small octabank to give a wider spread of light. To open up the shadows I used a big octabank directly behind me and the camera. The more and more I shoot, I realize that lighting is all about tweaking. I know that sounds like a pretty obvious statement, but it was really apparent on this shoot. I knew exactly what kind of light I wanted and I knew how to set it up. But, the magic really happened when we started making tiny little adjustments to what we had going. Just making tiny changes to the angle and feathering of the light can make a huge difference. That's when it started to get that sunlight quality feel.
I had already photographed Jamie before. You can read about that shoot here. I didn't know if Jamie was going to remember me or not. I knew I had limited time with him and Channing and I needed to get the most out of it. I decided to make Jamie a print from when I photographed him a few months earlier with Quentin Tarantino. I brought this to the shoot and gave it to Jamie before we got started. He really loved the print, that caused him to remember me, and it really helped the shoot get started off right. From then on, the shoot was in my hands and he was up for pretty much anything. As far as Channing goes, I knew he was from Alabama, the same state that I'm from. So we talked about the south and going home for our mom's cooking. I made sure to connect with both subjects in some sort of way. Doing this, whether it is a celebrity or not, will usually give you an advantage and your subjects are much more likely to give you what you need.
You can pretty much see the entire shoot in this awesome BTS video from The Hollywood Reporter. A very big thank goes out to my team and the girls at THR.