Bruce Johnson, a very fine attorney in Rockville, MD, came to me to create a picture that he could use for his business on his web site, business cards, business advertising, facebook etc… We spent about 30 minutes trying several different approaches with both natural light and flash, and using different natural backgrounds as well. I previously decided that I was going for more of a soft light or fashion look rather than a more dramatic rembrandt or loop shadow type lighting. We got plenty of light in his eyes and kept the shadows very light. This is just a style that I like to use sometimes and I think it is flattering to Bruce.
We used a warm 1870’s French armoire as a background in some of the shots, and for a lighter cooler background we used a hall and wall as shown below. We ended up with about 30 great shots. Below is one of our favorites. Bruce has a very natural warm and inviting look here and we really like the result. Of course, after we chose this image I did a little editing in CS5 to bring out the best in Bruce. If the background feels a little distracting it’s an easy fix, but I am liking it right now.
I like to take an artistic approach to the shoots, and experiment with different scenarios. I was using my favorite 70-200mm VR II Nikon lens at 200mm in this shot, shooting with window light, with a wide open aperture which brought the background into a soft focus. Bruce’s eyes are in focus but the surrounding areas go soft. It’s a cool look that you can’t do with flash because the aperture needs to be smaller which causes a much larger depth of field.
For flash, I was using a Profoto Acute 600B pack and Acute 600r head. Below is a shot where we mixed a hint of flash from 45 degrees camera right with window light coming from the right. I was just going for a subtle flash look here so flash is not very apparent. The below shot, with the antique armoire in the background, is also untouched and pretty much straight from the camera.