June 8, 2012

Brent—A C&W Singer and Songwriter

I recently had a portrait session with Brent, a country & western singer and songwriter.  Brent is originally from Alabama but recently moved here to promote his career.  He is very natural in front of a camera, but became even more so when he picked-up his guitar.
This photo is a natural light photo.  There was a very small spot in the lobby of the building where the light was streaming-in.  I wanted to use that light as a spotlight on his face, but was faced with a problem—it was right in front of a pole and so I would have pole coming-out of his head.  To me, it was a no brainer—light first!
If I were going to print this, I would probably try to remove the post.
Camera settings:  Nikon D3x, 85mm f/1.4, ISO 400, f/4 at 1/60th of a second on a tripod.
Post Processing:  
Lightroom 4—set white and black point and increased contrast, increased clarity, contrast and sharpness in his eyes with adjustment brush and did some basic dodging and burning.


  1. You chose correctly. The light was more important. Not sure how I feel about the post.

  2. Lot of intensity in those eyes.

  3. I think this is an excellent portrait. I do wish that the background was not so dark.

  4. Great shot. I agree with you on the light and pole. You could remove the pole with Photoshop magic, or perhaps just crop into his head a bit.

    The bottom of the guitar is a bit too imposing for me. I don't know if you could get the same shot with the guitar pointing the opposite way but it seems to me that it would make your subject more prominent.

    Bob Dempsey

  5. I think photographers get too picky about their shots. The pole is there but because it is so much darker than his face, I do not notice it that much. As to Bob's comment about the guitar, I see it a little differently. You said that he changed when he picked up his guitar which to me means that it is very important to him, so maybe it should be large. I asked six of my friends who are not photographers about this photo what they saw when they looked at this photo. Everyone of them said a guy who has a very intense look on his face. If that is what you wanted, you got it.