Guest Photographer: Get behind the scenes on USA TODAY's biggest celebrity shoots with Robert Hanashiro
Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY's west coast staff photographer, talks about getting up close and personal with some of 2015's biggest stars in movies, television and music:
I wanted this to be a little different so it opens with some wide frames showing the setup for a few of the included portraits. There are also a lot of outtakes (images not published originally with the story) included, so you can see how some of the shoots progressed.
The lighting for most of the images was my trusty Dynalite Uni400 Jr. for the main light and a mix of several Nikon SB-800 Speedlights. As you can see from some of the overall photos at the front of the video, I use the Photek Softlighter II quite a bit as a main light. And Honl Photo grids are an essential part of my lighting kit. I use PocketWizard MutliMAX transceivers to trigger the strobes. Cameras I use are a Nikon D810 and a Nikon D4. Lenses are Nikkor 24-70mm, 70-200mm and a 105mm.
People always asked me how much time we get for these portrait shoots. Because we now have to shoot a video interview with the celebrity in addition to a portrait, we will be given anywhere from 10 - 30 minutes to get both done. That really isn't a lot of time and usually it's the still portraits that get short changed time-wise. Most of these portrait shoots were 10-12 minutes and several lasted 5 - 6 minutes. For instance the portrait shoot of Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo last all of 7 minutes.
In the past year I have come up with some shortcuts to maximize our time, like using shotgun mics for the video interview versus wireless lav mics which I had been using for years. By using the shotgun mics we cutout time we used to spend getting the wireless transmitter and lav mic placed and adjusting audio input levels.
Here's a frame from a recent portrait shoot with Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchette, the stars of the film 'Carole' opening today. It was the second time this year I had the pleasure of photographing Cate and it was the first time meeting and photographing Rooney. The main light was my old tired-and-true Dynalite Uni400 Jr. with a 64-inch Softliter II. Two Nikon SB-800 Speedlights were used with Honl Photo grid spots for hair lights. The shutter speed was dropped down to 1/15th of a second to pick up some of the daylight filtering through the windows of the ballroom at the Four Seasons Hotel. The camera was a Nikon D810, lens was a Nikkor 70-200mm zoom. The stobes were triggered by PocketWizards. #pocketwizard #dynalite #usatodaystaffphoto #usatodaystaff #nikon #USATODAY
Do I get a little nervous when I am assigned to make a portrait of one of the word's most beautiful women? Just a little. But photographing someone like Kerry Washington, star of the hot series "Scandal" is actually pretty easy. Keep It Simpe Stupid: You don't over-light and let her just be ... beautiful. Tech note: Nikon D810; lens - 105mm Nikkor; Main light: My trusty Dynalite Uni 400jr. into a Photek Softliter II. Two Nikon SB800 Speedlights were used to light up the background in the first two portraits here. I moved the collapsible white backdrop and Speedlights and used the beige wall for a "second look.' #usatodayphoto #nikon #usatodaystaff #usatodaystaffphoto #dynalite #pocketwizard #USATODAY
One of my all-time faves is Bruce Campbell. And to meet and photograph Bruce ... along with Lucy Lawless was beyond being a treat. It was a ton of fun! Bruce returns to series TV with a reincarnation of his low-budget horror film cult classic 'Evil Dead' on the Starz network. Tech Note: Camera - Nikon D810; Lens - Nikkor 24-70mm; ligting was with my trusty Dynalite Uni 400jr into a Photek Softliter II. #nikon #usatstaff #dynalite #pocketwizard #USATODAYphoto #usatodaystaff #nikkor #usatoday
We often don't get a lot of time to produce a good portrait AND a video interview. Rob Lowe and Fred Savage were very comfortable in front of the camera, marks of real pros which makes my job so much easier. Rob and Fred star in the new sitcom "Grinder." (It's a heck of a lot better than the title.) Check out the fun interview here: http://www.usatoday.com/videos/life/2015/09/28/72808850/ #usatodaystaff #USATODAY #usatodayphoto
Always a fun time photographing Ken Jeong. He has new TV series "Dr. Ken" premiering tonight on ABC. We did a quick portrait in the examining room set, after handing him the model of the heart, it didn't take long to get a fun this funny frame. Check out the video and interview here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2015/09/30/ken-jeong-talks-turning-his-life-into-dr-ken/72931282/
A quick portrait of Matt Damon, star of the upcoming film "The Martian." As always, Matt was gracious, funny and easy to work with. Here's a link to the video interview I produced: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2015/09/24/matt-damon-is-the-martian/72486124/ #usatoday #themartian #mattdamon #kahunabert #usatodayphoto #usatstaffphoto #mattdamon
Text, images and video via Robert Hanashiro | Instagram