Portrait 5/52 - Rick

This week I got to shoot my father-in-law, Rick. He enjoys gaming on his Xbox and has a collection of guns, so I thought it would be appropriate to take a more cinematic approach and play up his gaming alter ego Mr. Frost. I had been concocting this idea for awhile in my head and was excited to see how it played out. The basic idea for the scene is that Mr. Frost is awaiting an unknown assailant that could arrive at any moment. He knows someone is coming and so he sits, silent with guns ready, looking out the window at the moonlit landscape.


When Rick pulled out his gun with a laser sight, we switched it up a bit to take advantage of that red streak of light.




Technical Details

The main light was a good sized umbrella just outside the window to camera right. The flash was set to 1/2 power and had a mild blue gel on it to simulate moonlight. My second light was an 8x36 gridded strip box at camera left from Rick set at 1/16 power. This was positioned at an angle to light his face, arm, and hand. Finally, I had another flash set to 1/8 power pointed up at the ceiling with a blue gel to try and fill in the shadows a bit. Camera settings were 1/160s, f4.0, and ISO 200. I had to adjust a bit from my typical settings as there was less overall light to deal with.


This was a fun shoot. This was the first time I went into it with a specific idea in my mind. While it didn’t come out exactly as I envisioned it, I’m pretty happy with the result. I have found that it is harder to deal with the darker shots (Rick, Cody, and Tracie) as I have to watch out for noise and it is hard for me to leave large areas of the frame almost black. However, in this case I think it is important to leave a lot of darkness to convey the moonlit feeling. This was definitely a challenging shoot for me but I am pleased with the results and I’m glad to have expiremented.

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Reader Comments (2)

I like where this is going. I really like the idea of the story-telling. While I don't think props are always needed to allow a portrait to tell a story, I think it this case it makes a very specific point. It's interesting because although I personally have a negative association with guns, I can tell this photo has more of a 007 video game kinda feel... Nothing truley malevolent. It could be the slight color of the background or that the poses seem more cinematic than reality. My favorite is the 3rd photo with the 2 guns in hand. I find it to be the most graphic of the shots and perhaps the most posed/cinematic of the group. The collection is nice though how it goes from the assailant being outside to the viewer becoming the assailant. I'm sure those shots were a little unnerving to shoot (no pun intended)!! Good fun. I look forward to seeing how the less traditional portraits turn out... If this project ends up exploring that route...

February 20, 2014 at 12:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterGabrielle

Thanks for your comments Gabrielle. I think that every great picture tells a story (some are more literal and tangible than others). Telling a story in every frame is definitely something I'm trying to develop by doing this project.

February 20, 2014 at 8:06 PM | Registered CommenterGregory Jones

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