Wednesday, December 21, 2011
How to shoot your hero
We all grew up idolizing someone, somebody that was just bigger than life to us, but what happens when you're put in the same room with that person?
Growing up playing guitar, Slash was a hero of mine. The low-slung Les Paul and a top hat only he can pull off is an iconic image in rock history and an image that spoke to many young guitar players that came after him.
Early in October, we got the call at the RIDES office that Slash and his Aston Martin V12 Vantage would be available to be photographed later in the month. This was a dream come true for myself and RIDES Editor-in-Chief Michael Crenshaw, who is also a huge fan of Slash. With the excitement of a couple of kids, we hopped a plane to LA to meet the man himself.
We trekked our Profoto gear into the location at Galpin Aston Martin and started our setup while we waited for Slash's arrival. In as long as I've been working as a photographer I've NEVER had a celeb show up on time. Slash breezed in 20 minutes early and caught us off guard, still toying with the lighting for his jet black Aston Martin. I spent a few more minutes tweaking the lights while he made the rounds shaking hands with everyone at the location. When there was nobody left to say hello to, I was out of time and we jumped right into the shoot.
Our first shot was of Slash with the car, shot on the revolving stage in the Aston Martin vault. We had a stash of 8 heads on stands with different modifiers from bare bulb to a big 7ft octabox against the wall. I purposely brought extra gear and every different modifier because we hadn't seen the location and needed to be prepared for just abput anything. Lighting for the first shot was 3 Profoto 7a heads for the car and another 7a head with a silver beauty dish for Slash.
Our next shot was Slash in the red leather lined entrance behind the vault. These turned out some of my favorite shots from the set. Lighting in this tight spot was simple, a Profoto 7a head with a silver beauty dish and a grid up high camera right with the silver metal floor providing some bounce light back up into the shadows.
Then we moved on to the vault door. Lighting again was simple just the 7a head with a silver beauty dish above and camera left.
We were prepared for the worst with all our gear, but found the simpler setups allowed us to be quick on our feet and get the most out of the location.
I'm very happy with the results of this shoot. It was a dream come true to shoot it and I'm glad the pressure I put on myself for it is now passed and I can sit back and enjoy the images.