The process of making portraits is the most fun part. Getting to talk to someone talented, interesting and engaging is such a wonderful job perquisite.

Vincent Hooper. Actor. Austin, Texas

I'd seen Vincent Hooper in several good productions at Zach Theatre over the last year; most recently in "In the Heights." He's a talented actor and he's got that special stage presence that seems to be something you either have or you never get. It's become a habit for me to reach out to people I find interesting and ask them if they'll collaborate with me and make some portraits. 

When I reached out to Vincent he was enthusiastic and ready. We met here at the studio yesterday afternoon and got busy shooting. I was using the shoot to test out a lighting design that revolved around the new Neewer Vision Four monolight flash, firing into a big, umbrella and the Godox AD200 doing service as a background light into the Steel Gray seamless paper background. Most of the images were augmented by fill light from a 50 inch, round, pop-up reflector.

We shot tight head shots, looser portraits and even some full length images. I worked mostly with what has become my favorite studio portrait combination, the Sony A7ii coupled with the 70-200mm f4.0.

At the end of an almost two hour session I turned off the strobes and used only the window light coming in directly behind me, filtered by a 4x6 foot Lastolite diffuser spread across their solid, aluminum frame. I switched out the lens I'd been using for the 85mm f1.8 FE lens so I could shoot at a wider aperture; f2.5.  

This is an untouched image from the camera, converted from a raw. I'm not sure if it will be a favorite of mine from this project yet but I put it here as a reminder that experimenting during a session can give you a different look or change your mind about how to light or how to photograph entirely.

Impressed by Vincent's ease in front of the camera, and remembering his solid, sometimes inspired performances on the stage, I asked him his age. I was stunned when he told me, "22." 

I can only imagine how far he'll go...

progress report on the lights. They work well together. They triggered flawlessly with the Newer trigger. I ran the Neewer Vision Four at 1/4 to 1/8th power, shot over 600 images and still have a full battery indicator on the flash's info panel. Using the bare bulb head on the AD200 with the standard reflector and the diffusion disk over the end of the reflector I was able to get the power I needed at 1/16 -2/3 setting. Again, the battery indication on the AD200 also shows as full. A nice performance. 

I have come to rely on manual focusing with the 70-200mm. No worries about the camera selecting a different focusing point than the one I intended. With the EVF and the automatic punch in when turning the focusing ring, it couldn't be easier --- or more accurate.

I'll post more when Vincent and I narrow down our choices and I get to retouch a few images.