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Double take: Andrew H. Walker captures actors two ways

March 2017 issue

Double take: Andrew H. Walker captures actors two ways

Having made portraits of celebrities at numerous film festivals, Shutterstock staff photographer Andrew H. Walker was beginning to feel his results were dull. “It was more, Here is this celebrity and this is what his face looks like in this time in history,” he says. “It had no soul.”

So for the Shutterstock portrait studio at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival, he decided to try something different. Knowing actors are trained (and love) to take artistic direction, he asked each of them to do two quick poses representing opposing states of mind. “I wanted to see if they would show me duality: public/private, happy/sad, light/dark, inward/outward. I left the choice up to them. This was a rare opportunity for these actors to show themselves as they choose to show themselves, not as directed characters in a film. I wanted to give the audience something more than just a photo of a famous person.”

Camera and lens: Pentax 645D medium-format camera, Pentax-D FA 645 55mm F2.8 AL[IF] SDM AW lens

Lighting: Three Profoto lights with power packs, a large beauty dish to the left, a gridded hair light, and a bounce fill light to the right.

Post-production: Walker opened raw files in Lightroom, tweaked the exposure, added clarity and sharpening, and did a round of color correction. The files were then opened in Photoshop for compositing, where he matched up the lighting and color in both photos, flattened them into one single image, and then returned that image to Lightroom for final toning.  

Amanda Arnold is associate editor of Professional Photographer. 

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