Hey everyone, meet Annabel Lukins. I had to do photography of her for a profile piece that was going on the cover. She is an organizer of major music festivals around the country and her energy is contagious. I got to read the story about her before I called her to set up the photos which is always a good thing. The story focuses on her tenacity and positive attitude. She had a hard time being in the music industry since it's not only a man's world but it's often a mean world too. Well she hit her stride, even winning a major award for her work, and things are dandy in Annabel's world.
After reading the story I thought "She works in Colorado for a company in Florida that does big events around the country. What the heck am I going to photograph?" No location, no "product", can't show her at work, her family isn't a part of the story. Duh! Shoot her.
As I mentioned the other day, even in my portraiture I want the image to be about the subject and that as a photographer I'm not getting in the way with my techniques, tools, toys and big ideas. So with Annabel I didn't want to anything that would get in the way of her and her effervencence. Simple was the key. I decided to use one light for everything. Yeah, no grids, no multiple lighting setups sculpting the subject, no softboxes. I wanted it natural, open and free … just like her. Oh and everything ended up being shot with my 50mm. Yeah, no joke.
For the intended cover shots I set up a white seamless in her living room and a monolight going into my big 5 foot shoot
through umbrella. I saw a little beat up kids seat that had faded
bunnies as legs and had Annabel sit on it. I sat on the floor and we
talked about music and things and just let her be herself.
The above shots were done with my Nikon D700, ISO 200, custom WB and a Nikon AF-D 50mm f/1.4 1/125th sec @ F/11. Alien Bee AB800 monolight into a Wescott 5 foot transparent umbrella and triggered via Pocket Wizard.
Next I got her outside for a change of pace. We had gotten a light snow fall the day before so we went to the local park and played around on the jungle gym.
Here she's technically backlit but I used the wireless high speed sync of my Nikon SB-800 to let me shoot her @ f/2.0 with a shutter speed of 1/8000th to under expose the ambient light by about 1 1/2 stops. Again this is my Nikon AF-D 50mm f/1.4.
That done we headded back to her place. Her husband was finishing remodeling their kitchen and I loved the look of it. A rough but elegant work in progress. I saw it as a metaphor for Annabel. I'm serious here so stop giggling.
Still only one light brought into the scene. The neat-o lights over the counter are giving her hair that red separartion and the rest is my SB-800 with the dome diffuser over on camera right high up near the ceiling. Still the 50mm lens. I had her just jump up and asked her to peel me a clementine as I was getting hungry. Everything else is just her.
Moral of my story: if you have a great subject you don't need to do much to bring them out. If anything you need to stay out of the way of the photographs that are in front of you. One light, one fixed lens and a spectacular gal with boundless energy.