I (Paul) was approached by the Village Journal to photograph local author Autumn Doughton for the cover story in the summer issue. The location was a vintage library in downtown Gainesville, and I had been warned that the vintage theme of the library included a 70’s feel and no air conditioning. So I donned my standard black on black outfit (note: photographers wear black to hide sweat and dirt. And to look really cool) and loaded up the truck. Alyson (my assistant) and I arrived bright and early to load in, and sure enough, it was pretty warm in there. With a promise to get warmer. The feel of the shoot was to be rooted in a 70’s vibe to correspond with the library, while the clothing would add a modern touch. Channing and Kilty, the force behind the Village Journal, had sourced clothing, Kara Winslow as MUA extraordinaire, Donnie Lancaster was hair master. This is my kind of shoot. Sometimes the importance of the team is overlooked in commercial photography, but it takes a team, and we had a good one.
Now I’m going to get technical for a minute, for any nerdy photographers out there. This first scene was lit with a beauty dish as the backlight, and I believe a 4×6 softbox as front fill. I use Paul C. Buff lighting and RadioPoppers as triggers. This combo gives me complete freedom to adjust light output on the fly, so my assistant can stay comfy in her chair. Just kidding, I actually have her running around moving c-stands and reflectors on a consistent basis.
And she models for me…
I tried to keep the warm yellowish tint from the tungsten lights in the foreground and background to keep up the vintage look.
After the first clothing change, I decided I wanted to get Autumn talking. She had never been in front of the camera like this, but she was already rocking it. I put her in front of a book case, lit her with a 4’x6’ softbox, and she took it from there. Her energy was natural and contagious.
The next set was tricky. How do I photograph her from directly overhead without risking crushing her? Well, that was a risk we would just have to take. It wasn’t that bad, but it was precarious. Definitely worth it.
This clothing change allowed me to dig a little deeper into the 70’s vibe. I shot 2 softboxes through the bookcase to mimic sunlight shining through.
I used natural light coming in the front window, which was only partially blocked by patrons of the library peering in wondering why they weren’t open yet…
Just for fun we went outside and took a few.
I had a blast with this shoot, had a great team, looking forward to the next time. Oh, and as we were loading out, ready to leave, one of the employees walked in and said, “Wow, you guys didn’t turn on the AC?”