25 Apr Washington DC Executive Portrait | Marillyn Hewson for Forbes Magazine
How cool, I got my very first cover assignment for Forbes Magazine. The job was an executive portrait of Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin, for the cover. As with most of these CEO portrait shoots this one involved a bit of logistics, but the nice thing here was they owned their own building so getting in with gear was hopefully not going to be a big hassle. Normally bringing any photo equipment into a high security office space is an exercise in learning about freight elevators, loading docks and security clearances plus more. This one was the same, however like I had hoped they were very accommodating and nice, as it was their CEO. The day before the shoot I picked up a van in Woodstock and loaded all my gear and drove down to the NYC to pick up Sean Moser who was my assistant/second in command on this job. The drive down was uneventful and we checked into a hotel near the Lockheed offices. That morning early we headed over to the location. We were checked in by the front gate people and told that we could actually park in the loading dock area and use the freight elevator. This is so sweet, I can’t begin to tell you how much stress this reduces. So the next issue we have to face is whether or not the space they are providing is adequate for our needs. Bingo! We get lucky again. The room is 30 x 30 feet! With 10-11 foot ceilings. I mean really what more can a location portrait photographer ask for? Sean and I quickly set up the shot and started testing. A problem! We notice that there is a hot spot in the middle of the background. So we check all the lights to see which one is casting this bit of trouble. All the lights are set up properly, none are leaking light, so whats happening? After a few minutes of investigating we got it, in the ceiling there were recessed lighting fixtures that have these stainless steel curved panels to focus the light downward, one of our strobe lights is catching this panel and redirecting it back onto the seamless paper. Crazy stuff. So we sail a black card on a c-stand arm up towards the fixture to block it off, that does the trick. Ok the cover shot is set and ready to go, now I take the camera off the tripod and go into the conference room next door where we will do our 2nd shot. This room has a long table, and I mean really long, set against the backdrop of a massive company logo. Cool shot! To the left of where Mrs. Hewson is to stand is a bank of windows, great I think, we can use some of the ambient daylight to help out. No such luck, once Sean figures out how to operate the crazy, complex, and unmarked light control panel, and signals the device to open the shades we are presented with tinted windows! No daylight to mention. Ok Plan-B, re-lower the shades and bring in flash units to bounce off of the shades to fake the daylight. Looks good, but a bit one sided, so we add a few more heads on the right side as fill. I end up during the shoot adding another head with a grid spot aiming directly at Marillyn to fill in her eyes a wee bit. The shot feels large and very cleanly lit. This image took minor cleanup as it was 99% done in camera. After a quick 45 minutes of shooting time we thanked Marillyn for her time and we packed up. She was a very easy going subject and looked great in front of the camera. Sean and I head back down to the van, load it up and head back to NYC. In and out. Shoot went really well, photo editor was happy, as was I. Only one negative to worth mentioning. Donald Trump made some remark regarding Lockheed in the following days and the story gets slated for internet publication right away. NO COVER for me.. Damn, well these things happen often so no use getting upset about it. Anyway enjoy the shots, I will tell you soon about my second cover shoot for Forbes and hopefully this one will see the light of print. Till next time.