Fantomworks Key Art for Velocity

I REALLY love this photo. I love it for two reasons that I'll share with you in a bit. But first ...

I was hired recently by the Velocity Channel to shoot some key art for one of their shows, Fantomworks. Fantomworks is a garage in Norfolk, VA that does classic car restorations. The assignment was to shoot portraits of Dan, the owner, in various locations within his garage. I arrived in Norfolk the day before the shoot and met up with the Discovery Communications (parent company of Velocity) creative team to scout locations and finalize the shot list and plan. The sheer volume of beautiful classic cars sitting in Dan's garage was truly impressive. Add to that the fact that the space itself was a huge smorgasbord of visual awesomeness and it was kinda hard to go wrong here. We had a pretty significant shot list and somewhat limited time the next day to shoot so we spent the afternoon planning the locations and finalizing the schedule.

So that's the back story. Now back to the photo. Like I said, I love this photo for two main reasons.

Reason one - It wasn't planned. The Discovery creative team had a pretty specific vision for the shoot and, with the limited time we had, everything had to be planned. We spent the scout day going over the plan and deciding which cars would be featured in the shots. This car was not to be featured. At the end of the scout, I walked around snapping some photos with my phone to share on social media and whatnot. at the front of the garage next to a big roll up door sat this beautiful, dirty old car. The light from the roll up door was pretty great so I snapped a photo of it with my phone. Here's the photo:

As I looked at the photo I thought "Man, with that nice light coming in it would make for a great portrait of Dan leaning on the side of the car". It wasn't on the shot list but the car was right next to the location of our first planned shot so I figured I could do it pretty quick after we wrap the first location. The next morning as we finished up that first shot, I grabbed Dan and had him lean on the side of the car. The beautiful light shone in, Dan basked in the glory of the great business he had built, the Heavens opened up, Angels began to sing and I pressed the shutter button. Boom! Done!

Reason two - This is 100% natural light. At every one of my shoots I bring an arsenal of lights and modifiers and I use the crap out of them. I love using lights. I love it because I can control them and make them do what I want and create what I see in my mind. Sometimes though, you don't need all that extra stuff. Sometimes the natural, available light is pretty perfect. This was one of those sometimes. Natural light is not the norm for me but I stepped outside of my comfort zone and resisted the temptation to "create" light.

So there you have it. I REALLY love this photo for two reasons - It wasn't planned but I was able to pull it off on a tight schedule and I was smart enough not to screw it up by adding a bunch of lights. Maybe it's not the very best photo I've ever taken (maybe it is, I don't know. It's hard for me to be objective) but it's definitely one of my favorites. And, as it turns out, Velocity liked it too as it was one of their final selections.

Here are a few more that made the cut along with a couple of behind the scenes shots of me doin' ma thang!

Up high ...

Photo courtesy of the Discovery Communications creative team

Photo courtesy of the Discovery Communications creative team

Down low ...

Photo courtesy of Kieran Wagner

Photo courtesy of Kieran Wagner

A BIG thank you to the folks at Discovery, Velocity and Fantomworks for having me. Another BIG thank you to my awesome assistant for the day, Kieran Wagner. Until next time ...