Category: photo geekery

The Box

I have decided to try and do some behind the scenes kind of stuff for the one or two people who may actually be reading this and I figured this series was a pretty good place to start.  This is mainly for photographers or those that are into photography or photoshop.  If your not, this will pretty much just seem like a “nerd rant”.  These photos were shot for Amarillo Magazine’s March cover story featuring local radio personalities.  I pitched the idea of a “hollywood squares kind of shoot with each DJ (I think that is what you still call them) having their own space.  They liked the idea, so we went to work.  I recruited a good friend, Scott Houdashell to help me build the set.  It’s only going to take a few sentences to describe here, but this turned out to be a pretty huge project.  I just needed a box.  A perfectly (kinda) square box open in the front with a small hole in the top to mount a strobe to pose as a light fixture.  I don’t remember the exact dimensions, but I believe it was about 6ft x 6ft.  We used some scrap 2×4′s along with some trim and paneling purchased from a local recycling and liquidating store.  All the seams were cleaned up with a little dry wall mud and the whole thing was painted flat white.  Luckily, my friend is very handy and was able to throw a desk together in about the time it takes to make a sandwich (ridiculous exaggeration, but you get the idea).  With that we were ready to shoot.

photo-1 photo-2 photo
As everybody arrived we begin to shoot the individual photos first.  These would be featured in the final composite as well as individual shots for inside the magazine.  For the composite shots there was just a little bit of “trickery”.  In order to compile the shot, I needed to ensure that the camera angles would work in the final image.  For example:  To shoot the DJ featured on the top right side of the final image I had to shoot low (floor level) from the left side.  For the bottom left DJ, I had to shoot high (about 6ft or roof line of box) and from the right.  This way when all the shots were merged in photoshop the angles would be consistent with a single point of view.  All of the shots were mapped out ahead of time to help prevent confusion.  For the rope shot, the box was marked with two small pieces of tape and the rope was held over the tape throughout the different photos to ensure alignment in the final image.  The lighting was pretty simple with the strobe mounted in top of the box acting as a room light and two soft boxes outside pointing in to keep the lighting pretty flat.  We used a lot of props that were swapped out between each individuals shoot.  The cover photo was lit identically, although I shot it at a little wider angle along with the individual shots that would be featured inside.  Below is a behind the scenes video shot by the magazine.

Well, that is how all the raw data came together. The rest is photoshop. Luckily, since everything was mapped out ahead of time this came together pretty easy.