Actor and comedian, Tommy Chong stopped in town recently to give interviews to local news stations promoting his brand, Chong’s Choice. Lucky, I know the person who owns the venue where Chong held the news conference. My friend reached out to me and asked if I could photograph the event, so that he could use the images to show the space in use. I told him we could do a trade. I’d photograph the event for free, if he could get me two minutes to photograph Chong. It ended up working out and now I have my first celebrity portrait!
Find A Photo Of Your Subject And Prep In Advance
Before most of my shoots, I try to find photos of my subject(s) online, so that I can try to determine how to best light them. After looking at photos of Chong, and considering that he was a comedian, I decided I didn’t want to create an image that was dramatic. Instead I’d create something that was clean, crisp, and all about him. I decided to do a lighting technique called “butterfly lighting”. Butterfly lighting is a reference to the shadow that forms and resembles a butterfly under the subjects nose. Read a great article on butterfly lighting I found here.
Improvising In Small Spaces
Originally I set this portrait with a small neutral gray background, but shortly after I arrived, the office space filled up with reporters and fans of Tommy. There was another photographer (now friend) there too. Our sets up being so close to each other that I was leaning on one of his c-stands during the photo shoot. Since the space was so small I decided to use a lighting technique I had once seen another photographer use. I took a large softbox, flipped it around, pointing it towards the camera. and used it as the background. It was simple and it worked great, IMO. I stuck with the butterfly lighting technique too. I’ll definitely be using this setup again.
I’m Really Happy With This Portrait
I hate talking about myself like this, but I am proud that I was able to created a high-key image in such a small space. I really love the expression I got from Tommy too. This was a great first experience creating a portrait of a celebrity, and I hope it leads to a lot more opportunities. Just maybe minus the large crowds hovering around me and my gear… : )