Shooting a magazine feature

Jezebel Magazine Most Eligible Lyndsay Wrensen

Every summer for the last ten years, Jezebel magazine features Atlanta’s most eligible singles.

Traditionally several photographers create portraits in order to meet the demanding deadlines. This year Jezebel’s editor-in-chief, Beth Weitzman, decided to have me shoot all sixteen of the “Most Eligibles.” Even though the shoot spanned four days in the middle of July, the photos were embargoed until the magazine was on the newsstands which is why I’m writing about it now.

The challenge was to make every one of the “Mosts” look like the individuals they are while holding a cohesive look that didn’t require massive set changes. The set itself was really simple, two 4 by 8 foot by 3/4 inch pieces of plywood on top of a dozen 11-inch high milk crates formed the base. It was topped with two 3/16 inch sheets of glossy black plexiglass.

The set is 15 feet in front of a seamless cyc wall. The cyc can be made pure white by adding about three stops more light than the exposure set on the camera. It becomes very dark, almost black when the backlights are off.

The lights illuminating the “Mosts” are flagged so they don’t spill onto the cyc. That keeps the dark background dark. Lighting the background (or not) makes a big difference in the look. And it’s fast and easy.

The monitor on a camera is to review work not to compose a shot unless the camera is on a tripod
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