I photographed ex England footballer Sol Campbell for the Saturday Interview in The Times – I usually get 10 or 15 minutes with the subject after an hour long interview. The interview here took place at his wife’s interior design store in London. It was a beautifully presented space, though pretty small with not too many options to set lights for a portrait. Though as I had an hour before the shoot, I found a couple of locations where I could easily and quickly adapt my two light setup, so once I started shooting we were finished within 10 minutes.
The above shot is in the basement. I’ve set a softbox with a speedlite to the left of the frame, and a bare, snooted speedlite upstairs angled to the top of Sol’s head. There were two problems here, one that I didn’t anticipate and it only became apparent in post production. The first was to light Sol sufficiently with the softbox, without overpowering the tungsten spotlight on the art work. I didn’t want to completely loose the warmth from that spotlight, but I also didn’t want the colour to affect Sol too much either. I achieved this with a grid in the softbox – the pool of light is focused on Sol, allowing the ambient light to play a significant part in the exposure as well. The second problem was the rough nature of the fabric background behind Sol – a hard light along the line of the wall cast hundreds of shadows from the tiny pieces of fabric not sitting flush to the wall. Not a major problem, but one that was a little time consuming to deal with in Photoshop.
I then used the top of that stairway for the reflection shot, simply lit with just the soft box. The beauty of the Godox speedlites that I use is that you can adjust the power of individual lights from the transmitter on the camera, so I simply turned the second flash off. Again, for the final shots on the chair, I used one softbox, bringing it in close to his face to make the most of the quick fall off for the final shots. I kept some of the ambient warmth in the shot, rather than make it look too clinical or studio shot by either colour balancing the speedlite, or overpowering the ambient.
The portrait used in The Times is below. Have a look at the rest of my editorial portfolio.