Last month I photographed about 350 business professionals attending the 2015 Oracle HCM World Conference at the National Harbor, near Washington, DC. The professional head shots, a benefit for folks attending the conference that needed a new profile photo, were done on-location at the Gaylord National Convention Center.
The headshot experience, or “professional portrait gallery,” was sponsored by Deloitte. Individuals attending the conference first were given the opportunity to have their makeup done by Bobbi Brown Cosmetics before making their way over to me to have their headshot captured.
During the conference, participants provided their contact information via a form on my iPad. Immediately following the conference, I directly emailed each individual their edited headshot. Anyone planning a corporate conference, convention, or meeting should consider doing this. With the rise of LinkedIn and other social media in business, this is a great idea to give something back to your attendees!
Below are a few images of the conference headshot portable setup and final head shots:
It’s spring again in DC and the Cherry Blossoms reached full bloom yesterday! With a busy weekend ahead photographing clients at the iconic Tidal Basin, I thought I’d take this opportunity to preview some photos from this morning’s shoot with Stephanie. She’s terrific in front of the camera, and we had an absolutely amazing time making these images.
The Cherry Blossoms are only in bloom for a few more days (hard to know when they’re going to wilt, and it’s driven mostly by the weather). Anyone interested in setting up a session with me can reach out through the contact page on my portfolio site before the blossoms are gone!.
Last year I was hired by Chief Learning Officer Magazine to photograph for their cover story on Thom Terwilliger, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp’s (FDIC) top learning executive.
The shoot took place at FDIC’s facility in Arlington, VA. Thom and his staff were wonderful to work with, and we created a number of terrific images both in front of their building and inside the office where they work to provide for the agency’s learning needs and strengthen its corporate university. Here’s a couple shots from the shoot that were published:
This year has been busy for me with photography, and I’m grateful for all the people who’ve helped me advance both in skill and opportunity. One of the coolest people I’ve had the pleasure to collaborate with over the last few months is Sascha Hughes-Caley, a talented actress/artist/model who provides not only a fabulous boho-chic aesthetic, but also a savvy creative eye to our shoots.
The photos from the below set were taken in Great Falls, VA (a location that Sascha found). Essential to tying together the look was the makeup done by the skillful Libby Nye. Both Sascha and Libby styled the shoot and provided terrific artistic perspective.
Model: Sascha Hughes-Caley
Makeup: Libby Nye
Photography: Jason Dixson
Last month I teamed up with Sascha, a fun and energetic actress and model, for an outdoor shoot on the C&O Canal in Georgetown. I’ve always wanted to do a shoot on the C&O at sunset, and Sascha was the perfect person to collaborate with on this! Shooting with her was a blast (except for the mosquito attacks), and she even did her own hair, makeup, and wardrobe!
In the shots below I was going for a more “commercial” look, while still maintaining a natural vibe. The warm sunlight filtering through Sascha’s curly, blonde hair helped create this feel. To balance the luminance, I lit Sascha with a 50-inch softbox (without it, she’d just be a silhouette).
There’s something about beauty shots that cuts through all the stuff that can over-complicate a portrait. Don’t get me wrong, working with a team to put together intricate themes and stories is fun and often has it’s purpose, but sometimes it’s just not necessary. Depending on the shoot, simply having a model in front of the camera without factors that may distract, like intricate backgrounds or flashy clothing and accessories, can intensify the connection between the model and someone reading a magazine, glancing at an advertisement, or browsing a blog. The model and her characteristics that are meant to be distinguished, in this case her makeup, become the story.
Goal of this Shoot: I teamed up the talented makeup artist Jenny Rostami to photograph samples of her work. One of the main goals of the shoot was to exhibit Jenny’s “nude makeup” work (for those of you like me who don’t wear makeup, this is makeup with a natural look). Beyond this Jenny worked in a couple other modifications of the makeup. Our goals for the photos were: simple, clean, and tack sharp. Jenny was an absolute joy to work with and her makeup work is truly amazing!
Model: Jenny and I had the pleasure of working with Lea, a stunning model from Germany who’s natural charisma and piercing gaze made every photo look practically flawless, making it insanely difficult to choose among the final shots!
Lighting Setup: I used a 36-inch Westcott Apollo softbox with a Canon 580EX II speedlite as the key light, softening the short light shadows with a white reflector. We threw in a simple paper background from Calumet Photo (smoke gray), we were ready to go! The initial shots put the softbox at 45 degrees to Lea’s right, but at some point I repositioned the key light to be directly in front and slightly above Lea, positioning the reflector under her chin to soften the shadow.
The aim of the setup was to evenly light Lea from the shoulders up, highlighting Jenny’s terrific makeup artistry as well as Lea’s natural beauty. To avoid harsh shadows, I put the key light as close to Lea as possible. This makes the light source larger relative to Lea, “wrapping her in light” to reduce harsh shadows, and lets me dial back the speedlight so that I don’t over expose areas of her face and create “hot spots.” One of the the hardest things about this setup is getting myself close enough to get the shot without blocking the light coming from the softbox. In the next photo you can see me leaning in under the softbox and above the reflector to get the angle I want.
The entire shoot lasted about two hours, including Jenny’s makeup time and the actual shots. We were both really pleased with the final shots, even before going into post-processing.
Post-Processing: In my experience, post-processing beauty and fashion photos takes a lot more time than other types of photography (events, landscape, travel) because of the meticulous attention to detail that goes into the final product. My workflow goes something like this:
The camera is tethered to my laptop throughout the shoot, downloading the photos directly to Lightroom 4.
After the shoot, I adjust the color temperature and even out the lighting in Lightroom.
The photo is exported into to Photoshop to correct for blemishes and any anomalies in the shot.
The cleaned-up photo is exported back into Lightroom. We’ll call this the “clean edit.” A copy of the “clean edit” is exported to one of the Nik Software suite applications, depending on the look I’m going for. For this shoot I relied heavily on Nik Color EFEX Pro and Silver EFEX Pro.
The photo exported from Nik is brought back into Photoshop, along with the “clean edit.” The two photos are blended together using layers, bringing the best qualities from the stylized photo exported from Nik and the clean edit.
Okay, enough talk (that last part is for all the photo geeks out there, and to remind me what I did when I forget in a couple weeks)! Here are a few of the finished photos. The first two I consider “clean” in that they have been edited to look natural and are without any stylized edits. The second two are a bit edgier, and use the details of Lea’s skin and natural beauty to create texture and contrast.
A few weeks ago I photographed my friend Manny in my “outdoor studio,” a nearby driveway with a brick wall covered in ivy. The area has plenty of privacy and aside from freaking out the neighbors with the flash going off (when its dark out they think it’s a lightning storm), it’s a pretty convenient place to shoot.
I usually don’t do a lot of nighttime portraits, since the lack of available light can make it difficult to illuminate the area surrounding the subject. But for this shoot I decided to shoot in the dark, especially since I had just received a Westcott Apollo 50″ soft box. The rig uses a pair of two Canon 580ex II speedlights, which are attached to a pair of Cowboy Studio wireless triggers, to increase the output of the light from the softbox.
In the above photo you can see the lighting setup. Below are two of the finished shots: