BTS: Portraits In The Lab

Gary Chapman_Japan2016_DSCF0959

Around this date in 2016, Gary S. Chapman and I were in Japan, doing some corporate photography at labs in Nagaizumi, Japan.

I was thinking about this shoot, and many that I’ve been on with Gary, after seeing this beautiful portrait that Cris Crisman posted to his Instagram account this week.

He also posted the behind-the-scenes of this portrait, too. And the BTS is a really cool look into Cris’ process.

I love that Cris (and other photographers) now post their BTS, especially their lighting set ups. It helps me learn.

And it also shows me there are more than one way to do something.

See, Gary likes to use natural light. In all the shoots I’ve been on with him, he’s never pulled out an Octo. A speedlight once or twice, but not often.

But the environmental portraits we do don’t really need the big lights. I guess we could use them if we had to…but it would also take the scientist (in this case) out of the flow of their day.

All that set up, all that lighting test time, all the shoot time, all the breakdown time. It adds up.

And that’s all time we don’t really have in a day of normal shooting. It all does take time believe me. Usually more time than we can spare. We usually have a lot of ground to cover in short amount of time.

Here’s the final image of Gary’s that we went with (almost exactly like the BTS shot, but we switched out what the scientist was holding.) And I love this one too.


Super clean, nice and bright, having the other scientist in the background give layered depth, enough room to crop.

I love Cris’s work.  A lot. And I love his scientist shot. Plus he’s a Philly guy. I’d love to work with him sometime, and to especially see how he works on set.

And granted his portrait was for a different purpose than ours. But he could have shot his like ours and we could have shot ours like his.

But there are different ways to get a great portrait. One isn’t necessarily better than the next.

Two styles, two great portraits. Which do you prefer?

PS: If you don’t already, follow both Gary and Cris on IG. I’m sure you’ll love their body of work.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2018

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