Miami is a Mecca for Latin music stars. I was commissioned by David Baratz picture of USA Today Weekend to shoot a portrait of Enrique Iglesias who was about to drop a new album for the cover. Glad to share a few workflow tips and BTS photographs.
For cover shoots I normally use my Phase One IQ260 medium format digital back on a DF+ camera body. The capture size is 60 megapixels. Looking beyond that huge file that when opened up in photoshop is 256 megabytes you will see great tonal range and detail. Skin looks great. Ninety five percent of the photography I do are portraits so that is very important. The tripod used is made in California by Really Right Stuff it’s a RRS TVC-24L is made of carbon fiber, light as a feather and stiff as a board and a joy to use. Definitely slows down the shoot in regards to setting it up and such, but the quality gain in having a steady base for the camera is worth it. I never was a big user of tripods before and frankly my old one was made of steel, heavy and a pain in the backside, I can’t count the number times it pinched my fingers…. It’s definitely a different mindset when you switch to tripod mode from handholding, meaning you need to really pre-visualize and know the angle you want rather then finding a nice angle on the fly. A great ballhead for fluid adjustments is the Arca-Swiss Z1. My camera has a quick release plate which allows me to quickly go between handholding and tripod use.
Behind me is a Elinchrom 74″ Octa bank it’s not a “Key” light but an provides a nice fill for shadows, think of it as a huge window with soft light adding just a touch of life to the shadows. My photo assistants hold shiny reflector boards and black flags to shape the light a bit more. I call that putting a bit of english on the light. Anyone can purchase a soft box or umbrella or any of the tons of light modifiers sold, but it’s important that a photographer takes control of his tools which will lead to developing personal style. I call this “layering or building light”.
I use Capture One for consistent and reliable tethering on location or in the studio. In this shoot I was capturing to a 15 inch Apple MacBook Pro. Those bright blue bands on the digital back and lens hood are bumpers, a low cost way to keep your gear looking crisp, available at any sporting goods store usually near the cashier.
For the second set-up I went in close for a tight headshot. When you only have a limited amount of time for a shoot it works well to have several sets built and pre-lit. My goal for this shoot was to shoot against a crimson seamless, then on a black backdrop and finally finish with a wooden plywood set. Each set had it’s own lighting design. On the black I used a single profoto magnum reflector inches from Enrique’s face with a two reflectors for fill.
For the final set-up I used a 36 inch Profoto Octa bank as my key light with a 1 stop net bring down the tones on the plywood background above Enrique’s head. A 4 x 8 white foam core bounced in a bit of light for fill. On the floor I have a small Profoto strip bank to kick a little fill into Enrique’s eyes. You may notice a red table on a 20″ c-stand, its a simply beautiful and function laptop tray made of 1/4 aluminum. I got it from Backstage equipment , they are an equipment company in Hollywood, Ca.
If you have any questions about the shoot feel free to drop me a comment. Thank you for reading.