portrait

Eddie Hearn : Sunday Mirror

Last week I got the opportunity to shoot editorial portraits of Eddie Hearn for Focus Images Ltd for the Sunday Mirror. Tom Hopkinson from the Mirror was doing an exclusive interview with Eddie after his press conference at the Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch, where he was promoting Wednesday’s boxing night in Bethnal Green.

I knew I won’t have much time with Eddie, so I made sure to show up early and find a good spot for a range of portraits. The Courthouse Hotel has a great interior and first I was drawn to the main lobby and bar. Unfortunately by the time of our interview the bar would be open and busy. Luckily the hotel staff was really helpful and gave me access to a private bar upstairs, where I could setup and do some test shots, so by the time Eddie would be in front of my lens I would need less then five minutes to get all the shots. Also it was really helpful for Tom to interview Eddie there, away from the busy press conference.

I decided to start with some standing portraits, lit with my new favourite softbox to bring on location, the Pixapro 90cm octagonal umbrella softbox. It’s a great modifier and so quick and easy to setup! Behind the bar I tucked away another speedlight, which I used to bounce light off a mirror to act like a fill or kicker on camera right.

For the portraits of Eddie sitting, I just needed to move around the softbox and turn off the second light. Very simple lighting, but I concentrated on the composition and especially Eddie’s expression. I was really happy to see that the Sunday Mirror also used my favourite frame to go with their story:

As the interview took place before the photo shoot and I had already setup for the portraits, I actually used the same lighting (just had to move the key light a bit) to take some photos of the interview. As there was literally no ambient light in the background from this angle, I just added another speedlight to lighten up the wall behind Eddie!

Looking forward to shooting more editorial portraits like this. Even though there is a lot of pressure to get the shot, I love the challenge of creating something in a short amount of time. Actually, it is all about preparation and being able to deliver when the subject is ready!

Beauty Shoot with Colour Gels

Here are some more images from a recent shoot. The plan was to have very colourful images, regarding lighting, hair and makeup.

Three setups, one for each model and one for the images of both of them.

As you can see we were shooting just around the time in spring when the bluebells come out. Credit to the Make Up Artist Farzana Rahman and Hair Stylist Aieasha Paul for the idea of using the bluebells and dandy lions they just found outside the studio in the garden!

Shooting both of them, I tried to keep the coloured lighting less obvious and saturated, so it won't compete too much with their different makeup and hair:

Thanks to the whole team, it was amazing to collaborate together!

Model 1: Rufaro (IAM Castings)

Model 2: Andra Vlad

MUA: Farzana Rahman

Hair: Aieasha Paul

HEADSHOTS : Stuntman & Acrobat Conor

Headshot session with Stuntman and Acrobat (and in his own words “Performing Monkey”) Conor Kenny.  Conor is a great and fun guy, so make sure to check out his website and Youtube channel.

Colours are very important and I usually stay away from red tops in headshots, as they can distract from the subject. Clothes should rather supplement the look.

Here with Conor I shot him in his red t-shirt anyway, just to see how it works.

I knew I can adjust the colours slightly in post processing. In this case I just decreased the t-shirts saturation and changed the hue of the grey background a bit to make the overall look more cohesive. 

In my opinion the headshot with the red t-shirt really works in this case.

In contrast to this we also took headshots with a blue top, which rather complements Conor’s eye colour. There I was happy with the cooler hue of the grey background and didn’t have to change it.

As you can see in the last picture Conor was very, very excited about his new headshots :)

Portrait Photography : Beard & Tattoo

I was very fortunate that my friend Dawid, who not only has an awesome beard, but also a great work of art as a tattoo on his back, agreed to sit for some portraits for my portfolio. (Btw, I’m not sure if I could ever grow such a beard, even if it would literally take me years, haha).

My plan for this session was to shoot just in my 5m x 5m living room, which also serves as my headshot studio with a grey seamless background. Furthermore I limited myself to using just one light and modifier and decided to go with my beauty dish. The goal was to get a range of different images within these limitations and a rather short time frame.

My first thought was to incorporate the windows in the composition and use the available light coming in from the outside to my advantage. The only artificial light source is the beauty dish with a grid high on camera left to create this dramatic portrait.

As mentioned before I have a grey seamless setup in my studio, but for the next six images instead of the paper background I used a simple old IKEA duvet cover :-) It actually looks like a wallpaper!

For the next few photos I made an exception and used a second light, but not on my subject, just behind the background to make it brighter and change the colour with some gels.

Dawid’s tattoo was the subject of the last few images. As you can see the tattoo is really a great piece of art, made by Mike from Tattoo-Bar-M13 in Brighton.

I wanted more of a fine art feel for these portraits and chose to shoot on the grey paper background and again just using the beauty dish with the grid. Colour grading was done in post in Capture One.

It is great to work within limitations and practicing with just one light, finding out how much you can actually do with it. Not having to worry about the gear also frees your mind to become more creative!

H2Open Magazine

Angela (also see post about Swimming Times Magazine) wrote another article about stunt training, this time for H2Open magazine. As stunt training involves also swimming in clothes, her idea was to get some portraits of her in a dress in open water. I loved the idea, as it gave me a lot of creative freedom, and immediately one picture of Joe McNally came to my mind, where the model is in the water at sunset with just the head, or actually eyes, above water level.

As location for the shoot we chose a nice rocky beach in Dorset and started in the late afternoon, beginning next to the water with a dry dress and slowly getting further and further into the water. This time I also spent some time in the water, sometimes with the camera just inches above sea level. Luckily it was July now and the water not too cold.

I couldn’t have done it without my girlfriend, who was a great assistant. Firstly on the rocky beach there was no chance to put a light stand down, secondly she was a great help checking details in the makeup and the dress, and the posing of the subject.

I wanted a cooler look, with a dark blue sky, so I chose to start with my camera set to tungsten white balance, which gave the sky a darker and more saturated blue look, while I put some CTO gel on my flash, to get some more neutral light on to my subject. In the first three pictures we used a small lumiquest softbox, which was still a hard light, but more directional. It was a great spot for Angela, and as the waves were coming in and pushing water up behind her, I was able to catch a few good moments.

For the rest of the shoot we just used my normal big softbox for a better quality of light. Angela is a passionate open water swimmer, so she was up for going all the way into the water, even though it was getting quite cold throughout the evening.

 

The days are quite long in July and we kept shooting until about 10pm and got back to London at around 1am, very knackered. But it was a great collaboration and teamwork and it has been one of my favorite shoots so far!