In May of 2009, my first project for my then new educational consulting business was doing public portfolio reviews at Hallmark Institute. I was gone for three weeks as a team of three judges reviewed each portfolio of the approximately 180 member graduation class. It was a grueling process.
Every portfolio took approximately 30-45 minutes as each judge stepped up on the stage and gave their comments on many of the images. I refer to the process/experience as "the most fun I don't ever want to do again!"
One of my partner judges on the assignment was Gregory Heisler. While we had known each other for years, going back to my Hasselblad days, we'd never had more than a few minutes to talk, let alone work together.
One night we were on our way out to dinner, and I was kidding him about it being his turn to buy since it was my birthday. Before we left the building, he said, "Come on - it's your birthday, and I need to do your portrait!" Ten minutes later we were on our way to dinner, but here's what happened in those ten minutes.
I sat down on a posing stool behind a small posing table. Gregory had his Hasselblad H1 set up about 20 inches in front of me. He had a vertical softbox close to my face on the left side. An assistant held an opaque black card in between the camera lens and the softbox to cut out any flare. He shot wide open, and that was it. Off we went for Chinese food in Turners Falls, MA.
A fun sidebar - my daughter Jaime was going to photo school at Boston University at the time and wanted to know how he did the shot. She wanted to try a similar technique in her portrait class. She called me a few days later. "Dad, I don't get it, I'm shooting wide open, and I'm frying every one of my subjects!"
Oops, remember she was a student at the time. I forgot to tell her he only used the modeling light and never turned on the strobe.
This past weekend I decided it was time to update my headshot. There's something very special about having good friends capture your portrait.
We catch up to Bryan Caporicci in Florida whenever he's down here. Bryan is one of the co-founders of SproutingPhotographer.com. Last year I got him to do a fast head shot. I wanted something that was more environmental than a traditional portrait.
I've been surprised over the number of comments and "likes" the change has received, but there's a fun sidebar to this one too.
Over the years, I've been responsible for more than just a few smart-ass comments with friends, especially on their Facebook pages. My buddy, Rick Gerrity gets the sarcasm award so far,
"Looks great Skip! Is that an oxygen mask or a microphone?"
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.