Executive Headshots in a Crunch

More often than not, when it comes to shooting headshots of executives, time is limited and this held true for a recent shoot of the new Chairman of Arup Americas - Andy Howard. But that wasn't the only reason I was crunched for time on this particular shoot. Normally when I've been hired to shoot headshots at businesses in Manhattan, I bring a certificate of liability insurance specific to the building. But this shoot was a last minute call, a couple hours beforehand, so getting a certificate wasn't going to be possible in that timeframe. When I arrived at Arup's downtown office, it seemed that the building security might not let me in. After chatting with the building security for about 30 minutes including multiple calls between Arup and the security guard, I was finally allowed to enter, phew! 

At this point, I had about 20 minutes to scout locations and create two different lighting setups - the client wanted a headshot of the Chairman with the adjacent building in the background and then another headshot on a white background. I ended up getting both setups finished right as Andy came into the room for his shoot. At that point we had approximately 10 minutes to nail headshots at both setups before he had to attend another meeting. It was definitely a little stressful but we had fun and ended up with some great shots. Here are two of the six Arup ended up acquiring from the shoot:


The headshot above was the photograph selected by Arup for Andy's profile page and press release announcing his promotion to Chairman of the Americas.


Gravitating to Gray

Although most of my headshots are shot on white seamless backdrops, it is fun to mix it up to achieve a different look. Changing the background to gray or black gives a completely different feel to the image and can be better suited to complement certain expressions by toning down the overall mood of the image. Check out how the gray matches the quiet confidence expressed in this headshot of writer/director Jess Carson:


Now compare that image to the headshot below and you can see how the white background is more suited for her expression of playful exuberance:


Another item to note is the use of fill lighting in the two images. Although both images used essentially the same angle on the main light, the amount of fill light was reduced in the first image to further enhance the drama by deepening the shadows on her face. Stay tuned for more behind the scenes commentary in future blog posts!

6 Feet Under - Portrait of a Sculptor

Sometimes to mix it up, it is good to get out and shoot some personal work. I'd been to my friend Jean-Marie Grenier's studio before and thought that it would be an interesting place to do some experimentation and create a photo essay about him and his sculpting. He refers to his studio as being 6 feet under because it is in the basement of he and his wife's converted funeral home.

Without time constraints and with Jean-Marie keeping busy on his latest piece, I was able to shoot using the natural lights, supplementing with my strobes, and even playing around with some gels to add some color effects. I also shot a roll of black and white film and will provide a followup post when I receive the scans. 

If you are interested in his work, check out the link below:

Jean-Marie Grenier

Jean-Marie's work is inspired by dancers in motion. His studio is adorned with imagery of this elegant muse and his work is a reflection of the human body's ability to move and be shaped as such.

Future dancer/artist?

Portrait of an Engineer - Round Two

For the second part in the Doggerel Series - Profiles in Design, I had the opportunity to Sebastian Lopez who is a plumbing engineer for Arup. To get the perspective of what it is like to be a plumbing engineer in New York City, check out the link to the article below:

Profiles in Design: Plumbing Engineer Sebastian Lopez

Sebastian is one of many people that commute to work via bicycle, so for this shoot I thought it could be cool to somehow incorporate his bike into the imagery. 


For some BTS info, the lighting for this photo was done with a deep octa softbox mounted on an Elinchrom Ranger RX.  




Headshots for Gibney Dance

Actors are not the only performers that need headshots! Recently I had the pleasure of shooting headshots for eight dancers from Gibney Dance. Gibney Dance is a pretty cool nonprofit where one of their missions is uniting victims of domestic violence with dancers "to bring the possibility of self-expression where it would otherwise not exist."