One of my specialties is photographing veterans, especially
aged veterans. I created this niche and now and again, I get
hired by companies to photograph and interview them. This
was shot for the company Front Porch for one of their senior living
communities in Palo Alto, California.
I like to light veterans in a dramatic way to showcase their wrinkles. I
used two 1600-watt White Lightning heads, one about 2 feet from the
subject’s face and just out of frame. I used a barn door with a grid to
create the shadow lines; the left horizontal barn door is covering half
the light, the right horizontal barn door is open just enough to create
that shadow line, and the vertical barn doors are pressed right up to the
horizontal doors. The second head, with a reflector on it set at f/8, was
pointed into a 46-inch Photek umbrella behind me. Most WWII veterans
are in their early 90s now—they’re not moving around too much due to
their age and most have to sit for their portrait as they can’t stand for
very long—so this stationary lighting setup actually works well for them.
I had a white backdrop and illuminated it using the heads from my
Profoto Acute 1200 Pack with 36-inch Photek umbrellas set at f/16.
The creamy tone of the portrait was done in post using Alien Skin
Exposure X2 and the 669 Creamy Highlights filter, which I reduced in
opacity to 50 percent.
What I like about this portrait is the veteran’s confident expression
and the Band-Aid on his face—to me it represents survival of the war
and the survival of old age.
CAMERA: Canon 5D MARK III LENS: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM EXPOSURE: f/11 at 1/125th of a sec.
ISO: 400 LIGHTING: White Lightning X1600 Flash Units (x2), Profoto Acute 1200 Heads (x2), Photek 36-inch
Softlighter II Umbrellas (x2) and 46-inch White Umbrella, Neewer Barn Door and Honeycomb Grid and Gel Set
FULLY LIT BY TOM SANDERS
PR E C I S I O N The lighting stories behind three technically meticulous portraits.