Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Brian Smith: Art & Soul
Brian Smith crafts a series of celebrity portraits for a cause that’s close to home
“The key light on most of the shots is a Profoto Beauty Dish and Grid,” Smith continues. “We kept that throughout. There’s a second light—in some cases, it’s the only light—a giant wall of light coming straight on. That’s what’s providing the fill. I always start with a single light source and then only add a second or third if I feel like I need it because I want to concentrate on that main light. I think a lot of times that’s one of the keys: not to get bogged down where it’s all about the equipment and all about cross shadows and backlights.”
By all accounts, Smith is accustomed to landing assignments in which he’s shooting in a colorful South Florida style, so confining himself and his subjects to a tiny black box with a single light source was atypical. Perhaps that slight discomfort was partly why he was able to craft such sublime portraits.
Obviously, his efforts were spot on. Not only did Smith create photographs that his team and The Creative Coalition couldn’t be happier with, but the subjects had a great time working on the project, as well—a true testament to the photographer, no doubt.
“One of the greatest compliments I had from the people I was photographing,” Smith explains, “as they’d get ready to leave, they were like, ‘That was the easiest shoot we’ve ever done.’ That was great, and I think that was one thing I learned from, as well. If you keep things a little bit simpler, what can be an arduous process for a lot of people becomes a pleasure. The best thing in the world is having someone go up to their publicists and say, ‘This was great. I wish all photo shoots were like that.’”
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