Monday, August 11, 2008

Joelle Einerson Photo Shoot

I recently had a photo shoot with Joelle Einerson. She's at the beginning of a bid on the LDS pop music scene, and is in the process of recording her first album. Prior to the shoot she expressed an interest in photographs that were "edgy." Mind you, when she played me some of her newer songs to help me get a feel for her style, she jokingly referred to the songs as her "heavy metal." Pure hyperbole. This new stuff of hers was simply a step into something fast and lively in comparison to the gentler strains of say, her song Treasure Inside, which as of this writing is the first song on her myspace page. Edgy is relative.

We talked location, scouted out some places, and two days later went to shoot.

At the start of a shoot I like to start with some ideas in mind, and allow for a lot of on the fly creativity and exploring of different ideas. A photo shoot often starts off a bit slow, a bit stiff, and loosens up after a bit. So I usually start off with simple and basic to warm up, and this shoot was no different. Especially since I was trying to capture one of the images she wanted, a simple close up shot. In the photo at left a flash in a silver umbrella was about 4 feet directly in front of her as I shot with the camera right up underneath the umbrella's edge. From this initial series of photos I think I prefer this shot better, but the expression at left might be more "edgy," if you will. But, this shot just represents the simplicity of the first series of shots, and as can be seen by her selection of photos she put up on her myspace page, it isn't a favorite. It could also use a touch of post production to make it pop a bit more, but probably not worth it, since there's so many other, better shots to choose from. (None of these photos have had anything but minor color correction or contrast adjustments.)

In lighting the entire shoot I went with anything but edgy light. Instead, I shot with a single strobe in a silver umbrella, usually placed within five or six feet of her. And sometimes I used no strobe at all, opting for the available light only. Any edge or attitude I decided should come from her expression and posture, and in some cases the camera angle and composition. I felt that too much effort at dramatic lighting might not reflect the feel of her musical style. The one light in an umbrella set-up was also a bonus because it is so simple. It's easy to control without a lot of fuss. And since we were planning on a lot of exploring without firm ideas of what images we wanted to create exactly, the umbrella was a good option for beautiful, no worry lighting. With such simple lighting, expression is key. So I tried to draw that out, sometimes actively, as I spoke with Joelle, and sometimes passively, just letting whatever she expressed to come through unbidden.

Serendipity is happily a common experience when shooting. Such unplanned for, but actively sought for bit of creativity in the process of shooting often creates the best images. Two of my favorites were such happy chances. In this first of the two, I saw the electric meters all lined up in a grid on the old building we were shooting behind. I liked the pattern and thought that if I could blur them out so they weren't quite recognizable, it might be a pretty cool shot. We were in the shade so I opted to skip out on the flash, but had my wife and lighting assistant, Karleigh, use the umbrella to shade Joelle from the sun that was just barely peeking over the roof of the building behind her.

In this second of these two serendipitous shots, I had seen the stairwell leading up into the building across the street, and noticed the wallpaper, thinking it might be a nice backdrop. After a few shots on the stairs we went up them and there was this fantastic skylight, sending gorgeous light down. Combine this with the color and symmetry of the background, Karleigh holding up a reflector on Joelle's left side, and voila, for me it was a tie for shot of the day. The photo at top being the other.

All images can be seen larger by clicking on them. For kicks, you can see the entire shoot, the good, the bad, and the ugly, by clicking here.

1 comment:

carriejamesphotography said...

Nice shots. Love the guitar. Great lighting on the last one.