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Portrait photography, whether beauty, fashion or even head shots, can be easily complicated, and sometimes I find myself having to pull away elements to create the most impactful image. As the old adage says, “Less is More”!

Here is one of those occasions, when I was to create some publicity portraits for an actor but the demands of the agency is to make it about the talent, nothing else. The protocol is to show the subject as they are today, with a sense of a raw presence.

When I embark in creating such portraits, I still feel the need to add something special whether it be color, or lighting. This makes the image more evocative.

I chose to go with crisp commercial lighting and with a Savage Teal Seamless Paper for one, and Translum for the other. The teal added that extra touch I was looking for, as even in a small thumbnail, it still looked interesting. I learned early on when working with agents, that if it doesn’t standout as a thumbnail, casting agents will not usually open the image.

headshot on teal seamless paper

I decided to not add any light onto the background. I wanted to show the rich saturation of the teal color, which made it less distracting. Many photographers make the mistake of always lighting the background, and that doesn’t always make for a strong portrait. Again, less is more!

headshot on teal seamless paper

For the Translum, I decided to place a large 24″ x 36″ sofbox directly behind the roll to create not just a portrait on a white background, but a portrait that would have a heightened sense of image with a stark appeal. It also prevented light falloff becoming an issue, where in many cases, the background might go to a dull gray.

headshot on translum

As far as lighting goes, I created the quality of light with a beauty dish and a honeycomb grid. I used two large white parabolic umbrellas directly behind the beauty dish, for open wraparound fill. No hair light, background light or kicker light.Just clean commercial lighting on two Savage seamless rolls.

Hernan Rodriguez

Recently named Tamron Image Master, Westcott Top Elite Pro, DataColor Visionary, and Moab Image Master, Hernan has garnered over 30 international photography awards, including a prestigious Black and White Spider Award in the fashion category, as well Photography Masters Cup. Hernan Rodriguez operates a successful studio in the heart of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, specializing in commercial and Celebrity photography. He has photographed Luminaries in the music and entertainment arena in both the American and Latin market including Mario Reyes from the Gipsy Kings, Actor/Comedian Eddie Griffin and Singer/Songwriters, Nelly and Ray J. He has also photographed sports personalities including five time world champion, Evander Holyfield, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Gabe Pruitt from the Boston Celtics and DeSean Jackson from the Philidelphia Eagles. 

Hernan’s client base spans from EMI Records, Sony, Universal, CURB Records, Crane Lake, Playboy Beverage Inc., and Telemundo. Hernan has also been featured in Studio Photography, PDN, Rangefinder, and covers in both PhotoShop User, & Punto magazines as well a Light It Digital Magazine. He also has a published book, “75 Portraits by Hernan Rodriguez” through Amherst Media. Hernan has photographed ads for MensWorkout, Exercise for Men, Triathlete Magazine, and Israelli magazine, HDL. Hernan was also accredited with Westcott’s Top 15 Endorsed Elite Professional Photographers’ . 

Hernan’s outgoing personality and fresh approach to imagery, makes him a highly sought out conference speaker both nationally and Internationally including Keynote speaker in Colombia and Mexico. He has established himself in the industry as a well respected professional photographer.


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