Monday, January 11, 2010

TV Star Portraits

Dear El Nino,

Bugger Off.


New Zealand.

I mean it. This has to be one of the dreariest summers in living memory here in Dunedin. It doesn't bode well for my upcoming camping holiday or the wedding I'll be shooting in a couple of weeks. Never mind. Life and work go on regardless.

With the launch of my business, I've had to think pretty hard about copyright of my images and what they're worth to me. I just turned down a lovely request from an American artist to use one of my portraits as the basis of one of her works. It was flattering, but since she sells her work, I had to decline unless she made me some kind of offer. From now on, I'll be slapping watermarks on some of my work here. Not just to protect my work from being used without permission, but also to protect the interests of my paying clients.

Mike Leahy-1

Speaking of which, my last assignment of 2009 was tres cool and as always, a learning experience: Portraits of international TV presenter Mike Leahy, for a local production outfit. I had some external locations in mind, and planned to do some cross-lit shots using the sun, but the overcast, drizzly conditions blew that idea out of the water. My alternate location was the Otago Museum, so off we went, with NHNZ's Giles Pike working as Voice Activated Lightstand. There are plenty of pictures of Mike in action hero mode, so I decided to try for something a little edgier, suitable for something like a pitch for a hard science series. After knocking off a couple of simple portraits with the shoot-thru umbrella, background and rim light, I decided to try for a cool wraparound look.

Mike Leahy-5

Mike Leahy-4 Mike Leahy-3 Mike Leahy-2

I like the 3-D look this wraparound light scheme gives. I basically used a bare flash behind each of Mike's shoulders, one on the background, and my Orbis ringflash adapter on the lens for fill. That done, we moved into the museum's tropical forest exhibit for some greenery. I was a little concerned that the temperature and humidity would be too much to cope with without a lenghty acclimatisation for my camera and lenses, and I was right. The lens was just too fogged and none of us wanted to hang around in there waiting for my gear to come right. I knocked off a quick few shots in there, though, figuring the fogging would lend a usable soft look, which it did, but nothing we wanted to stick around for.

Mike Leahy-6

Happily, by now the rain had stopped and we headed to a local park for some more outdoor work. I took a few shots of Mike under the trees, balanced for cloudy conditions, then some sitting on a bench while Giles held my gold reflector down low.

Mike Leahy-8 Mike Leahy-7

Mike Leahy-10

The reflector worked nicely to warm Mike up just a little. Pity it can't work for the rest of the city. Australia's going to be really mad when they figure out we've got all their rain!

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