52 Project – Week 9 – @BradTrent

Background: This year, I’ve decided to do a 52 project (one photo a week), and my “theme” is that I’m going to do a self-portrait each week, where I try to mimic the Twitter picture/avatar of someone that I follow, figuring I’d be able to learn a new technique/look each week that I can apply to future projects.

This week’s subject is Brad Trent (@BradTrent).  Brad is a NYC-based photographer who has shot for Life, Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and Esquire among others.  He’s also done commercial work for IBM, GM, the NFL, Pepsi, and a host of other companies (with many other acronyms), plus a host of portrait work.  Many of his shots have a very direct, almost gritty look to them, which not only lets you know it’s one of his shots, but also goes against the typical over-airbrushed, perfect porcelain look that you see in a lot of commercial and editorial work these days. And that’s a good thing! I really like when you can look at a picture and just know who made it, and in fact that is and will be an ongoing goal of mine, to develop a “look” to my pictures. Not something manufactured in a fake way, where I’m just doing something to do it, but in the same way that Brad does, create pictures that people will know were made by me.  He calls the blog on his website “Damn Ugly Photography” – a tongue-in-cheek way to describe his look, I suppose.
To try to re-create his Twitter avatar, I used a 3 light setup with my beauty dish and 20 degree grid above my face, shooting down, and 2 Speedlights as rim lights, scrimmed to avoid lens flare, and in SU-9 mode, firing off the main flash.  Since I don’t have Brad’s hair (no wig this time), or as much character in my face, I did the best I could with the look, trying to give a serious, slightly stern look.  The rest was done in Photoshop after adjustments in Lightroom, using a couple of layers to desaturate slightly and add some “grit” to the image. This one was a little tough to get right, and I’d probably re-shoot it again if I had the time, but it was a good exercise in working the lights and using Photoshop to get the right “look”.

Brad Trent's Twitter Avatar

Me as Brad Trent

Lighting setup

2 Responses to “52 Project – Week 9 – @BradTrent”
  1. Cool…but my blog is DAMN Ugly Photography…..keep up the good work!


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