This weekend I had a commercial shoot for a company called Full Compass out of Madison, Wisconsin. The shoot was for a run of ads using portraits of longtime customers in their personal studios/spaces along with their endorsements of the company.
The shoot took place at Smith Lee Productions in St. Louis. I was photographing Josh Harris, a freelance audio engineer and studio tenant at Smith Lee. Josh has been in the audio business for some time. He went to school in Wisconsin and has worked in studios in Nashville, New York, and now St. Louis. Super nice guy- we clicked right away.
The shoot was fairly simple. We rearranged his workspace a bit, clearing any trash, clutter, or any other small items which wouldn't be clearly visible or helpful in the photograph. This created a lot of dead space on and around his desk, which we then decorated with keyboards, synths, and other cool, high tech-looking equipment he had in his room. We fired everything up. I told him to make the room light up like a spaceship. The ambiance from the equipment was great.
Josh had these tall pillars behind his desk, which he informed me were used for sound-proofing although they looked like big rolls of paper to the camera. I put a teal gel on a speedlight and tucked it under his desk facing upward to help define their shape and add a splash of high tech color to the scene. I used a 32" soft silver umbrella for fill, high and outside, camera right. I lit Josh with a 28" softbox, camera left, loop lighting.
Everything was shot on the Canon 5D Mark III. I floated between a 24-105mm and 50mm prime lens. The 24-105 had a Schneider (B+W) CPL filter left on it from shooting in the mountains last month. A bit of advice: if you are shooting a scene with LCD screens, know that a CPL filter will greatly affect the brightness of the display to the point of appearing completely black if not dialed in properly. I know this now...
1 of 3 images used for the ad(s). 50mm, 1/100 @ f2.8: