Taking the Digett Team Photos
For quite some time now I've been a photographer, we'll call it 10 years. Most of that time I've spent learning—learning by doing, a trial-and-error approach. I've never found it to be boring; it's usually a challenge to present the ordinary in a new, interesting way.
Over the years, I've put my spin on a number of different subjects, from nature, to architecture, to sporting events. However, on the subject of people, I've always been a little apprehensive. In my experience, photographing people is time-consuming, at times quite awkward, and, too often, not worth the trouble. It didn't take me long to realize that portrait photography is an uphill battle because of a simple truth: People don't like pictures of themselves.
Recently, I had a change of heart. Like I said, I've always found photography interesting because it presents a challenge. And I can't think of a greater challenge as a photographer than to take a picture of somebody that they actually like.
So, I bought some studio lighting and a portrait lens and, as always, I started learning by doing—taking pictures of myself to get the hang of strobes, umbrellas, and reflectors. Once I had a fundamental understanding of the equipment, I tasked myself with taking individual portraits of our team here at Digett.
My goal was to put together a gallery of images that would really do justice to the level of talent and character we have here at the office, both as individuals and as a team.
After weeks of studio madness, I've put together a photo gallery for Team Digett. I must say, we're a pretty good-looking group of people. A special thanks goes out to Zach for penning the bios—well done, sir. And my thanks to all who participated, for your patience and your beautiful mugs. I hope you like your pictures as much as I do.
For those of you interested in the nuts and bolts of how these pictures were taken, I've put together some images that diagram how I set them up. Take a few minutes to check out the setup and compare it to the finished product.
I'll give a shout out to ma for pointing out this old 'SQUIRT' sign painted on the side of an abandoned building. The key to this picture was the time of day, "The Golden Hour" they call it. With the wall in complete shade, I bounced the setting sunlight off a gold reflector to highlight the subject (me).
Diffused sunlight through a large window served as the main light for Cindy's portrait. A silver reflector opposite the main light filled in the shadows, creating soft, well-balanced light. It was coupled with a wide-open aperture (f/1.4) to blur the background, and the result speaks for itself.
This idea I've had for a long time; I've just been waiting on little cat feet for the fog to come. And when it did, I hit it with high beams and set Dr. Drupal halfway between my truck and my camera. Silhouettes are a great way to hide the true identity of your subject, which was a must for this picture.
To achieve this effect, I needed to blow out the background. I stood KC in front of a large window, and the late-afternoon sun did the rest. Exposing for the light outside left my subject in the dark, so I set up a fill flash to balance out the exposure. Instructions to the subject were to stand there and look good. Well done.
The backdrop for this photo was a row of shrubs along the back fence of our office parking lot. In order to blur the background and ensure the subject would be in sharp focus, I panned the camera in unison with Mark as he rode by. The closer you match the subject's motion by physically moving the camera, the better the result.
This setup was a total experiment. The success (or failure) of this picture depended on how well the strobe would light the umbrella from behind. The yellow umbrella diffused the light perfectly and, as an added bonus, lit her hair quite nicely. A fill flash was used to balance the light in front. Check out the the real deal, courtesy of Mark.
I knew someone's portrait would have to be against our Digett Red wall, and Zach was the man for the job. My main light was a strobe from the left, and a silver reflector from the right balanced the light on the subject. A second strobe was used to light the wall in the foreground—an elaborate setup, but a simple, effective result.