Updating my website made me think I need a new Self Portrait for my “About” page, but also for my social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. (these are all linked in the social media buttons on the bottom of the page). I think it’s very important to show yourself as a real person on all this accounts, so people know who they are following, messaging or talking to. The idea was to obviously get some kind of headshot of myself, but I wanted to add something original to it. On the one hand I wanted to add some colour, similar to the colour theme on my twitter account, on the other hand I wanted to incorporate my logo into the shot. BUT, not as a watermark or in any way through photoshop, what if I could add it as a shadow?
I got the inspiration from the Golf Photo Plus Pop up event in London, a weekend of workshops with Joe McNally, Gregory Heisler, David Hobby and Zack Arias. It was by far the best workshop I have ever attended and really makes me want to go to the Golf Photo Plus in Dubai one day!
Heisler mentiones in his book “50 Portraits” on page 129 about his portrait of Michael Phelps, that he prefers “to get it right in the camera whenever possible. (I may be fooling myself, but I believe there is an organic rightness when the image is achieved in camera.) More important, it’s simply a different creative process.” So my plan was to get my logo into the picture in camera. But how? That’s were I got the idea from Zack Arias. His workshop was about “Gear Hacking” and how to use a lot of DIY techniques. One of them was simply using a mirror, covering some parts of it with gaffer tape, shooting a flash into it and illuminating the subject or background with some interesting patterns.
So I printed my logo, cut the letters out and stuck them onto the mirror, to be able to reflect a shadow on to the wall. Remember that the shadow will be a mirror image of the logo,…so I actually had to change it around after my first try ;-) Then it was a lot of trial and error, to get the right size, shape and angle of the logo and the right luminosity and colour of the rest of the background. That was achieved by adding a colour gel to my flash and adjusting the power and angle of it and getting the mirror into the right position.
The rest was just adding a softbox as mainlight, feathering it to just get soft light on my face and not hitting the background. The background light also worked like a gelled kicker on my left cheek, which I actually liked, but to be honest that was just a happy accident :-)
Here are some photos of the preparation and the setup:
The final image: