Welcome to the first post of the G+L Studio blog! Before we get started, we’re going to be upfront with you: While it’s true that, yes, we are photographers, you won’t find a lot of technical information in our posts. If you’re looking for insights into where we set up our lights (if we even did break out the strobes) or what camera body or lens we used to get a certain shot, chances are you’re going to be disappointed. The truth is, those things don’t really matter. At all. And worrying about them won’t make your images better. What matters is your vision. And with that in mind, we’re going to share how we take an image that pops up into our brains and makes us want to run out and grab a camera and turn it into a reality.
We thought there’d be no better place to start than with a recent portrait session. The shoot was with an amazing model named Mason Williams, and the first thing we did when we were all settled in the studio was just … talk. It can be easy to forget in the rush of a shoot as things are getting set up that all of us are just people, whether we’re behind the camera or in front of it. And so we just took 15 minutes to talk about our vision for the shoot with Mason. We were going for a mood that combined detached and almost forlorn poses and expressions with a soft, clean touch of post processing. We didn’t get too heavy handed with the direction at first. Mason was quickly on the same page with the vibe we were going for, but we wanted to give him room to interpret the mood in his own unique way and truly work with us rather than simply mimic poses we had come up with.
Right away Mason was giving us great stuff, but something wasn’t quite clicking. The way we work in the studio is that we typically have a camera set up on a tripod and tethered, so either of us can grab it and shoot while the other is looking back at the monitor and assessing the images closely. It’s a back and forth that focuses more on the whole picture rather than who’s pressing the shutter. We noticed right away that our studio settings were coming back a bit too … crisp. The mystery to go along with the poses and expressions Mason was creating was lacking. So we floated the idea of really opening up the aperture while shooting at the long end of our 70-200, something that could be hit and miss thanks to the thin depth of field and a model who was constantly moving. It can be like trying to hit a moving target, but we wanted Mason to keep his energy going.
We both knew it immediately worked. For the studio shots, the soft transition of focus gave his eyes and his expression the soft yet intense impact we had envisioned, and it also worked well for classic outdoor portraits. And with a bit of desaturation and brightening in post, we had the shot we had seen in our minds.
All photos copyright G+L Studio