Along with the “Top Legal Eagles” assignment for Long Island Pulse magazine, I was also asked to shoot the cover of the March 2012 issue. This was very exciting for me since it was the first cover that I was going to shoot and I liked the idea behind the cover image. The art director at Long Island Pulse sent me an email with a very rough sketch and some reference of what they wanted to create. The idea was to use Rene Magritte’s painting The Son of Man as the reference for a story on, basically, what has happened with our economy and what it’s like to be out of work for an extended period of time. Honestly, I’m not one to get into all the details of a story like this. I’m a visual kind of guy and like to stay positive and creative. I recommend you find a copy of Long Island Pulse and read the story though. It’s pretty interesting. Plus, you get to see more of my photos. :)
This cover photo is a composite of just two images. The first is obviously the portrait of the man holding the sign in front of his face. I shot this at Long Island Pulse’s headquarters in Patchogue, NY. A gray seamless background was used for easy compositing later in Photoshop. Lighting was a little more “complicated” than I usually use but it worked great for what I wanted to accomplish. The Elinchrom 39″ Deep Octa is flying high above and in front of the model as my key light. I then wanted to get the illusion of more daylight falling on the model’s clothing and hat. I used a bare Elinchrom Ranger Quadra high and behind the model to get some light on the hat and shoulders. Then lights were placed at almost 45 degree angles behind the model in small strip boxes for additional light. These lights were borrowed Alienbees that the art director had in the office. Finally, I used a hand held reflector just below the camera and in front of the model to fill in the shadows behind the sign. Below is a lighting diagram to give you a better idea of how this portrait was lit.
Here’s what the image looked like out of camera…
As I mentioned earlier, the composite consisted of just two images. The background landscape photo is from my personal library. I shot this landscape while on a cross country road trip with my wife a couple years ago. I honestly don’t remember exactly where we were but I’m thinking its Yellowstone National Park or in South Dakota. Here’s that background image…
After some time tweaking the two images and compositing them together in Photoshop, I was able to create the cover image. Although I don’t usually create these kinds of images, as it’s just not my typical style, I am still quite happy with the final results and honestly, how can I complain about getting my first cover?