Thursday, 10 March 2011

Jon Franks...

Throughout the duration of my time on flickr many members constantly ask about tips and tricks in order to improve their own photography. Within this post i'll run through how i shot my latest promo shoot with Jon Franks.

I shot Jon almost a year ago now, but this time a different set of images were needed. Jon loved the style before, but there wasn't much he managed to do with them in terms of promo use. With this shoot the aim was to tweak the style before and move into the studio in order to get some universal images for his portfolio.

First location...

First location we decided to shoot at an abandoned petrol station. I've wanted to shoot here for quite some time and it worked perfectly for the style of Jon.

Camera & Lighting Info :

The aim of the shot was to incorporate Jon with the location, but lift him slightly so the attention is drawn to him. I originally wanted to use a very shallow depth of field, but the sun was just too bright, so i tackled it with the lighting. I shot with the ambient light around 1 stop under exposed the used the shoot through umbrella to fill Jon from the right. This helped to bring him out of the shot, but he blended in towards the left. I added a bare 430ex II in order to give a slight rim light. This really helped to lift him completely from the darker background.

Canon 5D mkII - Canon 50mm f/1.2 L _ Shutter : 1/200    F/Stop : 5.6    ISO : 50
Canon 580ex II - Right of subject - Shoot through umbrella @ full power
Canon 430ex II - Left of subject - 1/4 power @ 105mm
Pocket wizard Mini TT1 & Flex TT5

Second location...

We moved onto the studio in order to get some simple neutral shots for his portfolio.

For this shot we needed to keep with the clean style. We begun by shooting with a correctly exposed white background, but it just didn't suit Jon, so we quickly moved onto the light grey. I used two reflective umbrellas in order to give a very nice continuous rim light around the edge, them fill with a slightly over exposed beauty dish from above. The beauty dish allowed me to get a much deeper contrast that the softbox just doesn't offer. Also placed it as close to Jon as possible so we got some stronger shadows.

After I felt we had managed to get the shot needed, i constantly download the images onto the iPad so Jon knows what we've got and that he's 100% happy. It's always easy to change something when your there, not so easy when sat in front of the computer.

Canon 5D mkII - Canon 50mm f/1.2 L _ Shutter : 1/160    F/Stop : 6.3    ISO : 50
Elinchrom RX500 - Above subject - Beauty Dish - 1/4 power
Elinchrom RX500 - Right of subject - Reflective umbrella @ 1/3 power
Elinchrom RX500 - Left of subject - Reflective umbrella @ 1/3 power
Pocket wizard Mini TT1 & Flex TT5

Third location...

When we'd finished up at the studio we had some spare time and headed to a forest in the middle of being cut down. Perfect location to suit the jacket Jon wanted to be shot in.

For this shot I borrowed one of Elinchrom's new Quadra kits. I'm not a fan of these little things, but i'll do a review at a later date. I needed them for the power, they pack a little more power than the Canon 580ex II. The sun dropped slightly from the shoot at the station, so i was able to shoot on a slightly larger aperture, really focusing the shot on Jon. This also meant i was able to use just the one strobe, I needed this shot to look much more natural. You don't tend to get a rim light from anywhere in the wild.

Canon 5D mkII - Canon 24-70mm L _ Shutter : 1/50    F/Stop : 4    ISO : 125
Elinchrom Quadra - Right of subject - Shoot through umbrella - 1/4 power
Pocket wizard Mini TT1 & Flex TT5

And thats pretty much it for the shoot. Any questions don't hesitate to ask in the comments.
More images to see in next post...


  1. Love your work Ben, have followed you on flickr for quite a while and have been meaning to try out a few ideas you have given me. Just picked up my second strobe so I've been re-inspired to get creative. I love that you post lighting info on most shots. Keep it up! Do you mind if I post a link to your site on my blog?

  2. Hey Benen, thanks and i'm glad my work has inspired you. Feel free to share my site on your blog, much appreciated!