At heart, I am a minimalist. I frequently toss away things I own if I haven’t touched them in a year or longer. Too much clutter in life, as well as in the brain, is a burden a lot of people carry unknowingly. It’s important to take an honest inventory of your belongings, your gear, your life, everything. When you know what you have, you can better asses what you need.
The first thing I do before going on a shoot is figure out exactly what I need and what I don’t need. Of course it’s great to have extra lightform panels, 6 Pro-photo heads, two assistants, and all the time and gear you want. But most situations call for a limited time and haste makes waste. I think one of the best skills any photographer can learn is to make quality images with constraints. This lifestyle photo shoot I did for Pilates instructor Swantje Lyon for DA Active Wear, I limited my strobe use and mostly relied on the Sun. It’s not something I would have done at high noon. Knowing the shoot was scheduled for later in the day, I planned accordingly.
In the top photo, I shot Michelle Leonardo who is 2012 Miss New Jersey and former 2008 Miss New Jersey Teen. She and the rest of the girls I worked with on this shoot were a lot of fun. I could have easily used a beauty dish or another form of diffused light to softly illuminate her, but we decided a silhouette was the best look for this kind of stop-motion shot.
Not every subject of mine is a model, let alone a pageant winner, so it’s a nice change to have someone who knows how to work the camera. The purpose of this shoot was to show Pilates poses around not-so-obvious Boston landmarks, which will be used in promotional materials as well as the client’s blog and website.
While shooting at the Angel statue, which is located at Beacon and Arlington at the Boston Common, I knew it was going to be a challenge to work against the sun. I set up two flashes to use in a Photek Softlighter II. It’s an umbrella but has an extra white sheet for even more diffusion. Annie Liebovitz uses one all the time.
This was the last shot taken before sunset. Any photographer will tell you that sunlight from the side and near the horizon is best kind of light, and for good reason. The warm light will give a orange-y glow to your subject and is more flattering than when the sun is directly above. This portrait is of the Pilates instructor, Swantje Lyon.
Using just natural light, I wanted to show certain exercises in a juxtaposition with a semi-urban environment. With straight lines, right angles, and concrete taking up the majority of cityscapes, I found it satisfying to show human form in such an environment.