Category Archives: Portrait

Shooting a voice over villain

I recently had the pleasure, and fun, of photographing voice over artist Kevin Powe. Kevin was after some headshots that could illustrate his ability to play the bad guy. Apparently being a villain is something he specialises in.

First we set up some artificial setting sun and a blue background light in a stairwell, then moved to a basic one light plus reflector lighting setup for a more traditional look.

Kevin PoweKevin PoweKevin PoweKevin PoweKevin PoweKevin PoweKevin PoweKevin Powe

But he really is a nice guy, really he is.

Head Shot

My good friend Ben McKenzie and I were discussing some photos that Ben could use for publicity. We decided to start with a traditional black and white head shot that could be used as an avatar for Twitter (@labcoatman) and other online uses, and could also be printed and handed out when needed.

Ben McKenzie

The aim of the photo was to let Ben’s personality come to the fore, so I decided to use the classic Hollywood-style clam shell lighting. One umbrella is placed directly in front and slightly above the victim’s eyeline with a second umbrella lower down and set two stops below the main light to fill in the shadows and put light in the eyes. The white back drop is a piece of foamcore clamped to a stand.

It is a simple setup and one that gives very even results. The rest I left up to Ben.

Ben McKenzie

And yet again…

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How I Shot the Labcoatman

Ben McKenzie is a friend and mild-mannered work colleague, but in reality, he is the Man in the Lab Coat.

Ben McKenzie

Apart from working with me, Ben is an actor, comedian, writer and improviser who specialises in science comedy, and therefore usually describes himself as a “scientician”.

Ben has written, performed and produced a series of comedy science lectures as “The Man in the Lab Coat” since 2004. His shows have appeared in both the Adelaide and Melbourne Fringe Festivals, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and as part of the National Science Week programme.

Ben and friend

A trained public speaker, Ben has made numerous appearances for schools, corporations, scientific institutions, charity events and art gallery openings, always able to find a unique scientific angle on proceedings.

The aim of this series of shots was to provide Ben with several images with a plain white background that could be used for promotional purposes.

Have I got a deal for you

The set up was simple. The white backdrop is the wall of the living room in my house. The main light is a Nikon SB-28 speedlight fired through a white umbrella at the left of camera to produce a large, soft light. At the right of the image was a large sheet of white foam core acting as a reflector. There is another SB-28 directly behind Ben aimed at the wall to make it white. The flashes were triggered by Cybersyncs.The rest of the work was left to Ben.

This was a very enjoyable shoot. Ben is an experienced public speaker and actor and is very relaxed in front of a camera. All I had to do was stand there and press the shutter button.

Ben, the Man in the Lab Coat

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How I Shot a Volunteer

Sharon Carpenter, St John Ambulance

Sharon, Volunteer

Sharon and I work for the same organisation. The organisation’s internal website regularly features profiles of staff, showing what they do outside of work. And it was Sharon’s turn to be featured.

Amongst her many other interests and activities (she is also a medical guinea pig, read her story over at her blog), Sharon is a volunteer emergency worker with St John Ambulance.

We decided that apart from the uniform and tools of the trade, we would only hint at the work she does, rather than try to show her in a dramatic setting. The photo was first and foremost a portrait of Sharon. We wanted anyone who saw the photo to recognise a colleague in an unfamiliar setting.

For our backdrop we chose the interior of an ambulance. I didn’t want to show it in detail, but dimly lit and out of focus. I used a Nikon SB-28 speedlight to put some light in the ambulance interior. I also put a blue gel on it, partly to contrast with the green uniform and warm main light I was planning to use and partly to echo the blue emergency light of the ambulance.

Sharon, Volunteer

The main light is from a Westcott Apollo 28 inch softbox with a Nikon SB-28 speedlight. I was also using a Rosco 08 gold gel on the speedlight to simulate warm evening light. The speedlights were fired using Paul Buff Cybersync remote triggers.

To get the light as soft as possible, the softbox was placed at left of frame as close to Sharon as I could get it without being it in the shot. The 200mm lens I used gave me an out of focus background and kept the focus on Sharon.

Sharon, Volunteer

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