Mentality of a Portrait Session

They say the best camera is the one that’s with you. Sometimes that’s just your smartphone, but in this case, I happened to have my Fuji X100s and Canon 5DMKIII with me.

Andy’s a music producer and has a production studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Andy recorded and mixed all of the records I did with my former band, Second Dan, as well as the theme music for my YouTube videos. We also happen to be neighbors in Williamsburg.

I ran into Andy and he offered to show me his new production studio. Of course I looked at this as a photographic opportunity. This is what I mean about mentality. When I have a chance to create some new work, whether it be editorial or portrait, I always game – especially when it involves interesting people! Andy’s got a look and a thing about him that is very photogenic.

I knew I’d be in a small dark space, so I visualized how I’d shoot him in the space. I also took into account that he only had a little time for me in there and I had to go off to another shoot, so pre-visualizing the shoot, my camera settings and what I wanted to achieve was important.

Armed with my X100s and Canon, we went to his studio which is a really tiny space but outfitted with his big mixing board, racks of analog compressors, multiple sets of speakers and the usual bits and bobs in a studio. I knew I wanted to get some portraits of him in action, some detail shots and hopefully a wide shot of the space.

I also knew I wanted to shoot wide open in order to get selective focus and a shallow depth of field to isolate Andy and not be distracted from all the stuff in his space. I had the 50mm f/1.2 on the Canon and the X100s (35mm equivalent). I shot mostly with the Canon at f/1.8 for the narrow depth of field for portraits, and used the X100s to get the wide shot of him in the space. The Canon’s a bit sharper wide open, but the Fuji is no slacker.

Andy played me some new stuff he’s working on while I took candid portraits and then we went about our day. I love with these type of unexpected shoots come up. It’s great fun and good exercise.

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