Editorial Portrait Photography of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist

Posted by Scott Holstein on June 27, 2010 in On Assignment, Published Photography
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A sepia-toned portrait of Florida Governor Charlie Crist graces the cover of 850 business magazine.

The portrait of Florida Governor Charlie Crist on the cover of the inaugural issue of 850 business magazine.

When Rowland Publishing launched its newest title, 850 Business Magazine, a feature on Florida’s governor, Charlie Crist, “The CEO of Florida,” was the cover story in the inaugural issue of the new magazine and I was to shoot the portraits.

On the day of the photo shoot, I arrived at the governor’s office in the Capitol and waited to get set up. I had never been in the his office and never seen the layout nor the décor. I was not granted access to the office ahead of time to scout my location and set up, so I asked his assistant to draw me a map of the room to give me a head start on planning.

The writer was to do the interview at the same time as the photography so we had to split our time. Due to Governor Crist’s hectic schedule (wildfires had recently broken out in the state), our time was cut from an hour to 30 minutes total.

When the governor was ready, the writer began the interview and I had 15 minutes to look around, plan my shots, haul in the camera and lighting equipment, and get set up while a second photographer covered the interview. I needed to get a portrait for the cover and one for the opening spread inside the magazine.

I began with a curtained window for the backdrop (unfortunately, it was an interior wall so there was no sunlight coming through the window and backlighting the curtains). The governor finished the interview and came over just as I was finishing setting up. I directed him where to stand and took several photos. Problem was, I wasn’t feeling it. The curtains were rather bland as the backdrop, so I took it in another direction.

A dramatic portrait of Florida Governor Charlie Crist in the opening spread in 850 business magazine.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s portrait in the opening spread in the inaugural issue of 850 business magazine.

We moved to his desk and I quickly readjusted my lighting, using the same setup. I shot for several more minutes, taking a variety of angles so the design team had options. Once I had what I needed, we wrapped.

In the end, I had him for less than 7 minutes. While I would have loved to have been able to spend more time on this photo shoot and to scout and set up beforehand, we worked with the limitations, got the governor out a few minutes ahead of schedule, and I walked away with images that met the magazine’s needs.

The key to working quickly in portrait photography, especially with a subject who has tight time constraints, is to get setup in advance whenever possible so you’re ready to go and during the photo shoot you can turn your attention to interacting with the subject and capturing, and improving, your preconceived vision.

Setup info:
Both shots of Governor Charlie Crist were lit with a Profoto 7b power pack and a Profoto  2×2’ softbox at camera left, close to and slightly above the subject.

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