Atlanta musician, Jeff Paige came to me with his challenge of rebranding his look for his online presence as well as for upcoming releases of his work. The process always begins with planning. I met with his team to discuss his look, style, accessories, wardrobe and a lot of other details including props, colors and effects. Almost a year before that Jeff and I spent time talking about the look of his hair. Hair? Oh yes, the hair. It’s important.
Looks over time
These four photographs chronicle Jeff’s hair styles over nine years. Somewhere between the third picture and the current one, I recommended he spend some time with a truly great hair stylist here in Atlanta, John Teitter of Bang! Salon. John astonished Jeff by telling him to “wait ten months then come back.” Looks take time to evolve. During the interim, Jeff and I would meet periodically to talk about how to execute the photography. We thought “long lens, dusk, fog or mist, back light, maybe coming from headlights and a spot light of some sort.”
Jeff, his stylist, Jypsy Nichols, an assistant, Bri Randall met at the studio a couple of Thursdays ago to commit photography. While Jeff was in makeup, the set came together.
The background anchors the photograph for me so it’s the first part of the set. Photofocus readers know how much I love painted canvas or muslin backdrops. I use them all the time. Thing is, I don’t rely on the background itself to set the mood. Sometimes I crumple it or introduce wrinkles or draping. I color them with light. I cast shadows on them. This time I wanted some lines that curved a bit to project a sense of subtle motion onto the drop. The result on the left shows the shadows. While they look like wrinkles in the drop they are really only shadows. Originally the shoot was to be outside at dusk. That meant the background would be cool. A Rosco #72 Azure Blue gel over the Dynalite location flash head tuned it blue.
Casting shadow lines
The lines were made by shining the gelled head at a three foot by eight foot Rosco Slit Drape (silver / iridescent / gold) suspended from a boom. The head is a good distance from the slit drape making it small and harsh. Harsh light renders shadows with sharper edges as shown by the booms shadow just in front of the gridded strip light. I planned on using a long focal length lens. Its narrow angle of view revealed only the thin darker lines on the drop,
Building the look required light coming through Jeff’s new super full hairstyle. This would separate his hair from the background and draw attention to it too. Another Dynalite location head with a grid adapter holding a Rosco 25 orange-red gel cut to fit its opening is placed directly behind his head. The gel is held in my mini A-clamps from Home Depot or Ace Hardware. They make it easy to change the gel color or remove it entirely.
Variations on the backlight
The behind the scene elements are in place. The next post details the lighting, the mist / fog effects, music and the final picks.