It's All In The Lighting....

Last weekend, I was shooting up in Payson, AZ. I was doing some group and individual photos of the the Payson Fire Department.

The individual portraits were set up as 'Line-of-Duty' portraits, the portraits of a firefighter that would be used if that firefighter loses his/her life. For these images I set up just two lights and a reflector. The background was just black muslin, and the flag was lit with the main light. I used a shoot-through umbrella as the key light, positioned high and to camera-right, with a fill reflector just our of frame on the left.

I opted for a kicker on the subject's right side, and I typically use strong lighting in my portraits, so along those lines, I wanted a REAL kick from the kicker. The kicker was about 15ft. behind and to the right of the subject, shot through a gridded softbox.

I'm very passionate about shooting LOD portraits, and I don't take their set-ups lightly. I'm pretty happy with the outcome of this lighting set-up, and already in the refining stages for the next ones.

After we finished up all the member's LOD portraits, I asked a couple to hang out, and we played around with some lighting and color gels. Out of the set we shot in this style, I ultimately like this one best, the lighting is dramatic, and with a lot of contrast. I knew expression was gonna make or break this set, and I couldn't have been happier with the expression he made.
For this image on the right, I used a shoot-through umbrella for my key light once again, though a smaller umbrella than with the LODs, and the only other light was the red-gelled kicker behind the subject and to his right. This image is about 95% straight from camera, the only adjustment I made in post was to increase the contrast.
It was a great day! The weather couldn't be better, and I walked away happy with the images we got. We are in talks to set up another day to shoot up there with them, but in the desert with their wildland gear, I'm pretty excited about that one.
A couple other big shoots coming down the pipe will be:
1). This monday, I'll be shooting Phoenix hip-hop artist Pokafase, we had a great shoot the last time we were together about a year ago, so I'm looking forward to hanging with him again.
2). I'm scheduling a date(s) to do some environmental portraits of an air-ambulance crew with their helicopter, hopefully it'll fall into place within the next couple weeks, but I still have to scout out angles and figure a time of day (or night) for the shoot - lots of planning for this one left still!
I'll be posting the results of Monday's shoot with Poke probably middle or end of this week, stay-tuned!


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