Today I had the opportunity to shoot a couple of friends for a Michigan Tech School of Business publication. Steve and Caleb started The Bike Shop just under 2 years ago. In that short amount of time they have gone from the new kid on the block to what some would say is the best bike shop in the Upper Peninsula. They work hard, treat their customers well, and they know a think or two about bikes. Hopefully they will have a long successful run here in Houghton.
Anyway, Michigan Tech’s School of Business is running a feature showcasing the different ways in which a student could use their degree from Michigan Tech. Steve and Caleb being graduates of the program who went on to start their own business were perfect candidates for the article. Once they were identified I got the call to see if I was interested in taking a couple of pictures of the two of them. How could I say no?
This was another one of those MTU assignments where I end up showing up to the site not having a good idea of what I’m after. Lynn pointed out that maybe I should be a little more proactive about finding out what they are looking for rather than complaining about it. I think she may be on to something, but on the other hand, I have tried gleaning a little more info by asking different questions about their requirements and usually we end up in the same place… “Were not really sure. Could you shoot a bit of everything.” Though this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t continue to try.
So, when I arrived UPS had actually showed up and there were quite a few bikes to unload. I shot a couple of images of the guys doing some work, and then put the camera down and helped out. Once that was all taken care of I decided to get a couple of headshots on white. This is quickly becoming a goto setup for me. It’s very quick to setup, gives good results that look great in black and white or color and the simplicity of the image highlights the subject in a way that not many other setups allow. There’s something about a simple image that can be quite powerful. I will probably continue to use this setup and keep collecting these headshots. Something cool may one day come of it.
After the headshots were out of the way we decided to setup a couple of images of the guys pretending to do what they would typically do at the shop… work on bikes. Unfortunately they had cleaned up quite a bit and some of the work areas were a little too clean. Also, the CFL’s that were lighting the shop were extremely yellow which led me to increase the power of my lights and totally overpower the ambient to keep it’s effect on the color to a minimum. For Caleb we positioned him at the truing stand and I had Steve hold my light stand with the softbox above him. For Steve we moved over to one of the bike stands and had him adjust and readjust the deraileur while Caleb held the light.
After the individual portraits we needed to get a couple of frames with the both of them. At first I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them. I had been thinking that we could position them behind the counter, or maybe on the couch they have set up for customer to hang out on. Then I remembered all the bike boxes. Steve had mentioned that they should build a fort out of them. As cool as that would have been I thought we should just stack them up and let the guys sit or stand by them. In my head I had envisioned more of a pyramid shape. Something that represented their climb to the top, their achievements over the last two years. What we ended up with was really just a pile of bike boxes, though they did have a sort of peak.
The next problem was trying to figure out what to do with the lights. This is the second time in three days that I’ve wished for a boom. Fortunately a friend/customer stopped in and we were able to convince him to hold the lightstand and softbox overhead. I also set up two strobes as rim lights and a fourth strobe slightly to camera right to provide fill. Overall I think that everything went pretty well and that we got some images that will fill my clients needs. I’d be glad to hear everyone’s thoughts on the images. Below you will also find some of the setup shots.
Until next time…