Right! Firstly an admission. I am the worst at doing ‘the Instagram thing’. Yes, I have a page but I don’t habitually record my life in the modern style. And! I’m not very good with my phone camera. So, I often fail to record what goes into shoots that I have done, but sometimes I will at least do a phone grab of the setup. Many of the top photographers from the 60s and 70s diligently recorded their shoot setups, old skool, in notebooks with sketches and notes about the light power output. In truth nowadays digital camera settings are embedded into the file but with lit photography they only tell a bit of the story.

Yellowtail Financial had asked me to update the headshots of Dennis and Sarah, maintaining the 2022 look, as well as an update of their image bank to support their very popular podcast. A while ago when I photographed a similar set of images for Yellowtail, I’d been very pleased when Sarah expressed a desire to shoot the company headshots in a new, relaxed 3/4 style at their offices.

I love cinematography and one of the main differences with that and photography in that the former is generally about photographing (and lighting) scenes rather than objects. There is a known technique in cinematography, a booklight, basically bouncing light of a reflective surface back through a diffusion material. It creates a pool of soft, flattering light that is big enough for people not to look ‘lit’. The scrim that I’d had for this is nothing other than a sheet of unbleached muslin that I had machined to hang from a stand.

Fortunately, whilst I’d broadly remembered what I did in 2022, I had on this occasion snapped the setup, meaning that it was easy to replicate it. I had forgotten the fill light bounced off the ceiling.

With a commission such as this I normally test the lighting on myself, get the lighting into the ballpark before asking the client to step in front of the lens. It’s difficult to explain that whilst most rooms are lit well enough to live and work in the light that a photographer brings will be enough to make a photo. Without the lighting the camera would record pretty much a black frame (as shown).

After the standing headshots were done it was time to take the podcast and conversation shots, some might say ‘basically manage Dennis’ but I couldn’t possibly comment. Again the process is similar, I test the lighting on myself first and then it’s “Action!”

We achieved a great set of podcast shots and I’m really pleased that the new 3/4 portraits were so similar in style to the previous ones.