I recently worked with Long Island Pulse magazine, a Long Island cultural/lifestyle magazine. I was hired to photograph winners of the “Long Island’s 2011 Top Legal Eagles” (best lawyers) for the March 2012 issue. This was my first time working with the magazine, so I knew that I had to really step up my game and make their decision to work with a new photographer worth their time and money. I met with the art director at LI Pulse mid last year and was very happy to finally get a call from them a few weeks ago. After some discussion with the AD, it was decided that I would shoot environmental portraits and portraits on seamless (plain background). They wanted variety in the portraits for the final layout of the magazine, so that is why this was the plan for all the photo shoots. Below are some of my favorite portraits along with information on each shoot.
My assistant Dan and I were assigned to photograph lawyers in 7 different locations on two days of shooting. We were lucky with our scheduling on the first day of shooting as we only had two lawyers to photograph that day. We weren’t as lucky on the second day where we had the remaining 5 scheduled within 5-6 hours of each other. That’s just the way it goes I guess. Dan and I weren’t phased by it at all though…yea, right. Anyway, I’ll get into that later. Our first lawyer to photograph was Stephen Gassman (above). When Dan and I arrived at Mr. Gassman’s building in Garden City, NY I could almost immediately tell that this was going to be a fun shoot as far as the environmental portrait was concerned. Reason being that this seemed to be a very high end building (luxury offices) and I could only assume that the office we were shooting in would be equally as nice. So, we lugged all our gear up to the 8th floor (thankful for elevators) and then toured Mr. Gassman’s law firm. I was immediately interested in using Gassman’s office for the environmental portrait, mostly due to the enormous windows that wrapped around his corner office, but I ultimately decided to shoot in the conference room instead. Although the office would have made for an equally as interesting portrait, I was really interested in the frosted glass window of the conference room.
Lighting this portrait was kept pretty simple in order to keep the shoot quick and also to keep gear out of the way in the hallways. The Elincrhom 39″ Deep Octa was used for my key light, positioned high above and to camera left. An Elinchrom Ranger Quadra was positioned in the hallway, on the opposite side of the glass window, and aimed down the hallway to give a little bit of light through the unfrosted parts of the window. I used my new Phase One 645DF with a P40+ back and 80mm lens.
Above is the portrait of Mr. Gassman on a seamless background. This is another one of my favorites from this shoot. I just used the 39″ Deep Octa on the Ranger for this portrait.
Later that afternoon we headed into Patchogue, NY to photograph Ernest Wruck. We arrived pretty early which worked out great for us in figuring out how and where the portraits would be done. It actually turned out that we would have a solid half hour or so with Mr. Wruck. This extra time with him was a blessing because I was able to photograph him in 3 different scenarios in his office building. We started in the conference room. The portraits at the conference table were “ok” and were good options for the magazine to choose from but I knew that with the extra time we were given (again, this was great), that I was going to be able to create something special with Mr. Wruck. We set up the seamless in the conference room as well, so we got those portraits done immediately after the table photos. The above photo is one of my favorites.
Lighting for the above portrait is just the Elinchrom 39″ Deep Octa on the Elinchrom Ranger. I used the Phase One 645DF with a P40+ back and 150mm lens.
We then moved into Ernest’s office to photograph a few more environmental portraits. Although I shot all the typical (a.k.a. boring) portraits of him standing in front of his desk and sitting in the chair with his award in front of him (gotta give the client options) I was looking for something more interesting. As I got in close for a few shots I started to notice the reflection in the glass on top of his desk. I thought this looked pretty cool and was something different for a “corporate” style portrait. I checked the image on the back of the camera and knew that we got the shot. The shoot was a wrap immediately after a few more of these types of shots.
I did not use any lighting for this portrait above, just available light. Wruck’s office had plenty of windows and skylights to fill in the room very nicely. I used the Canon 5D Mark 2 with a 35mm lens.
The next day of shooting for LI Pulse was later in the week and brought us back into Nassau County (western Long Island) to photograph Stephen Scaring in Garden City, NY. This shoot turned out to be one of my favorites of the entire assignment, mostly due to Mr. Scaring’s interest in the shoot and his participation, even though he was scheduled to be in NYC an hour or so later for a court appearance. Dan and I arrived early for set up since we had no clue what we were walking into as far as what the office looked like, lighting conditions, and space allowance. We were pleasantly surprised with Scaring’s very large corner office with windows all around. We were able to set up the seamless and environmental portrait in his office which worked out great under our time constraints. The above portrait is one of many favorites of mine from working with Mr. Scaring. I had a hard time narrowing it down between this portrait and 4-5 others where he was looking straight into the camera with a serious face, scratching his chin with a big laugh, and a few others. I chose this one mainly because I feel it shows what I think of his personality, a kind and happy kind of guy.
The key light in this portrait above is from an Elinchrom Ranger in the 39″ Deep Octa positioned high above and to camera right. There’s some fill coming in from available light. This portrait was created at 12:15pm and it was fairly bright in the room. I wanted to make it seem a little more like evening light in this portrait, which was no problem with the P40+ at ISO100. This was shot at 1/30th which forced me to use a tripod. I’m not a huge fan of using a tripod but you do what ya gotta do. I used the 80mm Schneider lens at f/16.
This particular shoot with Andrew Thaler turned out to be also be one of my favorites from the assignment. We were scheduled to meet with Mr. Thaler later in the afternoon after a mid day shoot about 10 minutes or so away. We were definitely lucky with the close proximity of all the shoots. As usual, Dan and I arrived early to the shoot to do some location scouting. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to work with inside Thaler’s office except for the conference room where the seamless background was set up. We decided to go down to the main lobby which had plenty more options to work with such as the elevators area, a few meeting areas, marble walls, and enormous windows. I chose to photograph Thaler in the elevator area and the meeting area since they were only about 20 or so feet away from each other. We started by the elevators and got some nice portraits in there. I then asked Mr. Thaler to take a seat in the bright red chairs of the lobby and began shooting a few frames. What I liked most about this set up was the simplicity of the shot and the red chair contrasting against Thaler’s suit. Below is another favorite from this set up where we added in a few more chairs and removed the table in front of him.
As with almost all of the portraits on this assignment, I was using the 39″ Deep Octa with the Elinchrom Ranger. Dan was holding the light on a C-Stand column high above in slightly in front of Mr. Thaler. Both of these portraits were shot with the Canon 5D Mark 2 with the 50mm 1.2L lens.
IVONE, JENSEN, & DEVINE
This was my last shoot for the assignment. I was working with another assistant, Luke, on this shoot. As always, we arrived early to look around and figure out the best way to photograph the three lawyers in this firm. As we walked around their office, I realized there really wasn’t much that I could work with so Luke and I began scouting the building’s hallways, lobby and cafeteria. We decided that we’d try to create an interesting portrait of the three men standing in front of their firm’s front door in the building with some very interesting sculptures that were handing from the ceiling of the 5 story building. This proved to be very difficult, lighting-wise, due to not have enough power from the Elinchrom Ranger Quadras. We tried to get this lighting scenario perfected for approximately 20 minutes or so and decided that we had to move on to Plan B, which was downstairs in the building’s cafeteria. We began to set up our lighting around one of the tables in front of a nice dark wood wall. I wanted to create a light set up here that would give a moody kind of feel. Unfortunately, we were asked to leave the cafeteria since we did not have permission from the building’s management before hand. Oh well, lesson learned. So, after 2 failed attempts for an interesting environmental portrait of the three men, I decided my last option was to shoot on the seamless background and possibly composite three portraits together, similar to my Dream Theater portrait. Although LI Pulse decided not to go with the composite idea I am very happy with many of the portraits that were created here.
All three of these portraits were shot with the Phase One 645DF P40+ and 80mm lens. Lighting was my standard light set up with the 39″ Deep Octa on the Elinchrom Ranger.