Nov 24, 2012

Cover Story - Kaufman County Life Winter 2012

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The winter 2012 edition of Kaufman County Life is circulating in the wild.  I can't say this was my favorite cover concept, but simplicity is often the best choice.  One thing I miss about being on staff is the day-to-day input and haggling over details and design.  Once you are out of direct contact, it is harder to have meaningful input.

The cover story involves three local musical acts who are making headway in the music biz: Chip Murrey and Texas Underground, Kimberly Torres and Swamp Love, and the Acoustic Sound Hounds.

I shot performance or practice photos of all three, but the cover needed to be inclusive of all of them.  The concept that was chosen was an iPod playlist with the three bands in it.  An old jukebox would have been more fun, but alas, the budget was closer to whatever was handy, so my iPhone got the call.
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I set up in the kitchen (The garage shooting space was not yet complete) to see what kind of light would work to show the phone and playlist well.  The key considerations were plenty of detail to read the playlist, no reflections off the glass (easy since it is flat) and a balance between the phone screen and the ambient light.  I ended up at ISO 100, 1/2 second at f10.

Here is how that breaks down.  Shutter speed really only affects the ambient light, in this case the iPhone screen.  The aperture, meanwhile, has to be closed down to make sure everything is in focus, so I balanced that with a studio flash in a small softbox that is very close to the subject.  The slow shutter speed also required that the use of a tripod and not having a person as a model.

Next, to give the shot some personality, I borrowed my wife's dress form, jeans and a shirt to put the phone with.  A plain white or other color shot similar to the test would have been interesting as well, and definitely more "Apple" looking.  We did not want it to look like an ad for phone.

Here is the setup.
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One light in a 2x2 softbox to the side and a reflector.  Simple wins the day again.  No reflections in the phone and plenty of shadow detail in the fabric.

The back pocket shot was used for the cover...  It had more room for text.
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I think the front pocket is a little better proportioned...
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That is about as simple as you can get, and now you've seen my kitchen :)

Don J.

1 comment:

  1. You are a genius! I not only loved the finished picture but loved reading how it came about! Great work!