Star Photographer Marco Grob captured by Gabriel Hill

9/21/2017 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments


Star Photographer Marco Grob captured by Gabriel Hill

I usually tend to say that I don’t get nervous anymore before a portrait sitting but the minute I got the confirmation to have a portrait sitting with world renown portrait photographer Marco Grob my hands started sweating.



I am used to shooting under high pressure and with only short amount of time and sometimes difficult subjects but my subjects aren’t usually portrait photographers so this was a new ball game.I got the chance to shoot Marco Grob during the International Photo Festival Olten, which was held from August 25-27th in Olten, Switzerland.

Star Photographer Marco Grob captured by Gabriel Hill


The IPFO was a three day photo festival with keynotes, seminars, portfolio reviews and workshops with many great photographers from all around the globe. It is not often that you get to meet people like Marco Grob, Dan Winters, Stephen Wilkes and many more of the same league at a relatively small event and can chat with them.




As for my shooting, I only knew that it will take place during one of the 3 days Marco was in Olten but as usual I didn’t know when and where. The portrait sitting with Marco was part of a personal project of mine but also for the collection of a renown Swiss Museum where I am commissioned to portray famous Swiss people.

On Saturday I got the information that I will get 10 minutes before Marcos keynote speach on the very next day. The whole event took place at 6 different locations and Marco was constantly running from one location to the next so I decided to take as little equipment as possible with me so I would be very mobile. With high profile people it is not unusual that last minute changes happen and I try to be prepared for every situation imaginable.



I always try to shoot at least two setups to have some wiggle room. For this portrait sitting, I went with a classic hand painted Oliphant backdrop for both setups. The first setup was a classical portrait setting at an old table and the second one an environmental portrait to show the location but which also fits the look of one of my personal projects.

Lighting wise I used a Broncolor Move 1200 L with two MobiLed heads, one single broncolor Siros L 800 an 150 octabox and a Para 133 umbrella.

I didn’t know what to expect at the location but this equipment allowed me to be prepared to whatever I wanted to do and it is also very portable and versatile. We found a cool location in the basement of the theater Olten and setting up the equipment was an easy job once I knew how I wanted the portraits to look like. For the environmental portrait I used the 150 Octabox on the broncolor Siros 800 L.

Almost everything is possible in post-production but I always try to have it right in camera so I used the grid on the octabox to have more control where the light was going. As we were in a more or less bad lighted room I used the Move 1200 with one MobiLed to up the ambient light. For the second setup, I used the Para 133 with the Move 1200 L kit. I wanted clean and crisp light, not too harsh but a little bit punchy.

As everything was ready we had to wait for our subject Marco. First I was told Marco will be ready a few minutes before 2 pm but this time slot got canceled and we were told to wait till he shows up. This meant for us to be ready to shoot any minute and finally, at 4:30pm he showed up and I got 10 minutes.



The whole shooting went very smooth and unspectacular. Marco is a very kind person and absolutely knows how to work the camera. Once I’ve started shooting he said, so you are really using the auto focus man?“ While I usually work with manual focus I didn’t want to ruin this shooting with having out of focus images, especially since it was really dark in the room. But he started laughing and I tried to not get out of my routine. Switching between the sets was a thing of seconds and after 7 minutes we were done.



Overall it was a great experience but also very stressful. When shooting high profile

people there is already so much that can go wrong mostly with time schedules and subjects not wanting to do something. It is a big releave that I don’t have to spend one single second thinking if my equipment is going to work or not. Before I went with Broncolor I always took backup equipment with me to be sure everything works. Now I don’t even think about lighting backup anymore.

Not once something failed on me.


You may also like: Marco Grob´s Portraits. A day at the MoMA with Bill Murray

About Gabriel Hill:

“I specialize in high profile corporate and editorial portraiture and have a highly professional production crew to fullfil every clients needs to the maximum.” Let's Get Connected: www.thegabrielhill.com


Thanks Gabriel for this amazing article | Video via broncolor


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