Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Cherie Steinberg & Hedley Jones: Synergy
The creative partnership struck up by Cherie Steinberg and Hedley Jones has proven to be a match that makes for stunning photography and a thriving business
Steinberg: We love that camera. I’ve kind of taken over the D700, and Hedley is shooting with the D3, which is a little heavy for me. The D700 is the closest thing to a D3 without the weight. I can take the bottom part off, and it’s like I have a little D300, but it’s a full-frame camera. The quality is amazing. For the Nikon brochure, we used multiple Nikon Speedlights—the creative lighting system. We actually had Mike Corrado with us on one of those shoots. He’s an expert with the Speedlights.
Jones: I like the things the Nikon D3 can do, like having 16 gigs of memory when I use 8-gig cards in the two slots. And the shutter is to die for. It feels so solid. When we light on location, we use a series of SB-800s. We sometimes use them with PocketWizards. You can fire them off from another room. We have softboxes and the Cheriefoto modifiers that we’ve created as a lighting accessory.
Steinberg: We’re constantly experimenting. We also have a studio so we can run there in the middle of the night if we come up with an idea or a piece of equipment we want to test.
Jones: We have Dynalites in the studio, and we often use what we call Cheriefoto boxes, which are 8x4-foot lightboxes we created using movie silk. Sometimes for a commercial job, we’ll get an assistant and Profotos.
DPP: What goal do you strive for with your lighting?
Steinberg: It depends on the project and what the client is trying to get. If they leave it to me, I look at the person and I figure out what I see for them and start with that. I really love the old Masters paintings, so I like that feel.
Jones: Most often we’re trying to re-create window light—a very natural, soft, flattering light.
DPP: You shoot a wide variety of subject matter these days, but the common thread seems to be a focus on people.
Jones: We’re interested in life. When Cherie and I first started working together five or six years ago, we were doing mostly weddings. Because we photograph people, we’ve allowed ourselves to be freethinking about how we approach it.
Steinberg: We like humor, we like to laugh, we like people to feel good about themselves.
Jones: When Cherie is art-directing a project, we really get to put our vision into it. Clients usually come to us for our vision. We bring in makeup and hair people and sometimes a stylist, though we do much of that aspect of the shoot ourselves.
Steinberg: There’s enough work on our website that people know when they come to us what to expect. We’re not for everybody, and the people we end up working with have a deep connection with us because they really like what we do. About a year ago, Hedley and I decided we wanted to get more into the corporate world and to be a bit more choosey on weddings.
DPP: Did you start out as a wedding photographer?
Jones: I started out photographing for the Toronto Sun when I was a cocky 20-year-old. There was something in the Toronto paper called the Sunshine Girls, kind of like Page 3 girls in England. They’ve had it for years. I walked into the Toronto Sun and said, “I think you need to have 'Sunshine Boys.'" To my surprise, they said, “Okay.” So I started to shoot “Sunshine Boys” for them. They still have that section! To be in my early 20s, it was kind of a nice license to have!
I went to York University where I studied Fine Art. I was taking painting and drawing and dance. There was a class offered in photography, so I thought I would try it; I was curious about the camera. The minute I went in the darkroom, it was all over. That was it. I quit school the next day. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a photographer. I decided I wanted to learn the field by going out and apprenticing. I worked in a studio with a product photographer who used an 8x10 camera. We had a fabulous studio with all this great gear, and he let me use everything.