Neat Ad Campaign Built Around Photo Shoot Videos

The WSJ has a pretty cool ad campaign that uses "behind the scenes" videos of the photo shoots that created the stills for the campaign. What surprised me was just how simple the light was for such an expensive series of photos.

The shooter is UK-based "Platon," and light could not be simpler. It could be pretty much duplicated with a white wall and a single SB in a shoot-through umbrella. The guy just gets right up in there with the umbrella next to Crow and the wall and it becomes a huge, soft frontal light source.

You can see Sheryl Crow's shoot here, and there are eight others to watch, too.

The above photo contains a cleverly hidden Strobist reader, Photoplasia, who is already playing with the lighting technique.

Click on the pic to comment on how beautiful he looks next to Sheryl Crow...



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Blogger camramonky said...

How many times is that assistant gonna meter that light?

March 01, 2007 8:53 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Great find David.

March 01, 2007 9:05 PM  
Blogger stik said...

love these setup vids, but...can someone tell me why the same shot, same light, same pose needed so many light meter checks?

March 01, 2007 11:35 PM  
Blogger Joshwa said...

camramonky said...

How many times is that assistant gonna meter that light?

...until he adjusts the pack to give the f-stop the photographer has requested.

BTW, anybody else notice that they were shooting film?

(... and that the light wasn't that amazing?)

March 01, 2007 11:43 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

yeah, thanks for the link!

March 01, 2007 11:51 PM  
Blogger Clive Evans said...

It actually Platon shooting this series, vey interesting to see hi sig style [low wide angle square] at work.
Shooting film too!

March 02, 2007 4:05 AM  
Blogger Tibor said...

I was thinking the same thing camramonky

March 02, 2007 4:40 AM  
Anonymous paul said...

I was just going to say the same thing about the metering - constant light source, photog and subject in the exact same positions the whole time, so let's meter the light every few seconds! Maybe he was an intern and they wanted to make the poor kid feel useful :)

Always great to see pros using a really simple setup, but also to see that the finished photos used were no better than anything I've seen on this blog, or on a thousand other Flickr profiles. Even I would have ditched the final Crow shot they picked, because of the big ugly shadow under her right nostril...

Thanks for the link, David :)

March 02, 2007 4:55 AM  
Blogger RML said...

Interesting to see how easy the setup is. I could do that at home, except for getting Sheryl in my (bed) room. :)

March 02, 2007 6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"single SB in a shoot-through umbrella" With "SB" you mean strobe and not a SB-serie Nikon flash I presume? Great videos for a inside look! Thanks alot for sharing!!!

Owww, btw, why is the guy standing in front of the umbrella in his own light...?

March 02, 2007 7:50 AM  
Blogger Erik @ The Sand Trap said...

Anon, no, he probably means a SB-series Nikon flash.

And the guy was standing in his own light... but below the light that could possibly be hitting Sheryl Crow, so it should have no effect.

March 02, 2007 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shoot thru umbrellas are great! I have been using them for years in the studio with Dyna-Lites instead of softboxes. Now with my enlightment from "The Strobis"t, I can do this in a more portable way on location as well!

March 02, 2007 9:13 AM  
Anonymous stephen seward said...

camramonky said...

How many times is that assistant gonna meter that light?

When your light source is that close to your subject, it doesn't take much at all to change your exposure by 1/3 to 1/2 stop. There seemed to be a fair amount of changing positions and moving the light.

March 02, 2007 9:26 AM  
Blogger strict said...

Anybody recognized the brand / model of the TLR used?

March 02, 2007 11:50 AM  
Blogger Cymen said...

The resulting photos from that lighting are excellent for newsprint. I think those who are critizing it aren't looking at the whole picture (pun not really intended but I'll go with it).

March 02, 2007 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Nas said...

Can someone please show me an example of the difference between shooting through the umbrella vs bouncing the flash off of it?


March 02, 2007 2:19 PM  
Blogger QorbeQ said...

I realise Sheryl Crow is famous and all, but jheez - how many people do they need there for a simple single-light setup like that? ;-)

March 02, 2007 3:10 PM  
Blogger Klifton K said...

It's an SLR... Hasselblad 500 series looks like...

If that was my assistant I'd go bonkers... I get nervous just watching them work... :)

March 02, 2007 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not a TLR it's a medium format SLR. The chrome makes me think it's a Hasselblad (which wouldn't be surprising) but the shape makes me think it may not be. Anyone else?

March 02, 2007 3:33 PM  
Blogger Clive Evans said...

Hasselblad 500EL with 50mm [i think but could be 40mm]
TLRS have TWO lenses :-)))
For more on Platon-the "guy" taking the pix[regarded by some as a succesort to Avedon and works from Avedon's old studio................who Avedon I hear 50% of you say!]
go to

March 02, 2007 4:47 PM  
Blogger Debbi_in_California said...

Great share, thanks so much!

March 02, 2007 6:13 PM  
Anonymous shutterbug said...

If i wasn't envious when I saw that the photog was using a 'blad, I certainly was when after shooting his 12 (or 24) shots, his assistant simply handed him another camera, fully loaded and ready to go so that he could keep right on shooting.

$20k's worth of gear right there....great to see the process though....and how unintimidating that particular lighting set-up really was...

March 02, 2007 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful campaign that is very well executed. The photos are meant to mimic the WSJ image style. Mainly that of the illustrations of headshots used for the writers. The grainey simple black and white images are to remind you of their newsPRINT. Its not about the photography, its about the story. Its about the people, their lives, their sucesses and failures and their personal account via their own dialogue. Straight from the horses mouth so to speak.

March 02, 2007 9:31 PM  
Blogger Ella Rose said...

Loved watching this for the insight into the light and shoot, but also for the tidbits about all of these truly iconic and interesting people. You all ready to see 1,000 attempts at Platon's simple lighting over the next few weeks on in the Strobist pool?

March 02, 2007 10:41 PM  
Blogger Photo said...

Hey! Look at me - I'm famous!

Thanks, David. And thanks for all the great tips you've given us.

March 03, 2007 4:32 AM  
Anonymous Addison said...

Reminds me that a successful career in photography is more than the sum of my gear or a trendy technique. Some photographers are returning to film to differentiate themselves from the digital pack. Look at David Burnetts work shot with a Speed Graphic.

March 03, 2007 7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like the white foamcore panels behind the umbrella light and shooter are providing a tiny bit of fill to open up the shadows as well there may be some reflection from a light floor.

March 03, 2007 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no concrete evidence there is even film in his camera.

March 03, 2007 11:30 PM  
Blogger syd said...

Has anyone got an archive of the video that was on
The site and the video are now gone.

November 28, 2011 6:06 PM  

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