I was asked to give a photographic lighting class the day after the Inauguration of President Obama. The location was New York City, and the idea was to talk about lighting while giving a demonstration on how the lights worked. I wanted the class to be more than just lighting instruction so I asked my sponsor, Microsoft, to let me hire my crew and actually do a shoot in front of the class. The class had the opportunity to watch me talk the crew through a concept and see it come to life.
I am always asked what inspires me with my photography, and the answer to that is always simply the same. Life! My concept for the shoot came from being on a high from the historic day before. I told my class the concept for the shoot was "stars and stripes" and that I would do a beauty shoot in honor of the 44th President, Barack Obama. The class had the opportunity to see me speak with my crew and guide them through the process. As I shot each image was displayed on the monitor and I took questions along the way. There are only four images in this story but if I were to do this shoot in the traditional manner it would be 6 to 8 pages, but having a live audience slowed the process down considerably.
To create these images I used one main light and then just two lights in the background to make the seamless white. We tested the light between each shot to make sure we stay consistent through the entire story. I shot the story in a manner that would give me flexibility in putting the story together. Whenever I shoot for a client I try to do the same thing so the client has all the elements to make a powerful layout. The lighting gear used for this shoot was Profoto, which is all I really use in terms of strobes.
Stay tuned for more beauty in the weeks to come.
Always Dream Big,
Matthew Jordan Smith