Blue Monk shoot

Shooting in bars can be very challenging but so worth the effort when you come away with an image you are proud of. This shot is one of my favorite images in my portfolio. Taken at a PDX Strobist meetup in December 2009, the group had permission to shoot at a cool restaurant/bar called the Blue Monk in the Belmont district in Portland. I can’t think of any other session that I had spent so much time experimenting with the lighting scheme to get it right before putting the model into the shot. I think I got like eight shots total with the model before he had to go some where else. There was an old piano downstairs in the jazz bar sitting in the corner next to the stage. When I saw the piano I just felt something interesting can be lit with a model playing the piano. Everyone has shot that image of a musician playing on stage but I wanted to light it like no other. I decided instead of lighting the whole dang scene why not constrict the light and make it moody. I started first with the Canon Speedlight gelled with 1/4 CTO inside the piano to light the inside of the piano. What I didn’t expect was that this same light inside the piano put light on the front side of the model and also splashed a little light onto the keyboard. The second Canon Speedlight was setup to the model’s right about four feet away from his face for that soft rim light on the face and hat. The third light was another Canon speedlight boomed above the model’s head and shoulder to light the model. This shoot has reinforced to always bring grids, a boom, gaff tape, flash light, and whiskey to all indoor shoots.
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