A Backstage Look at The Huntington Theatre Company's "A Little Night Music"

Last weekend, I had the incredible honor of being asked to photograph a performance of The Huntington Theatre Company's stunning production of "A Little Night Music"... FROM BACKSTAGE!

The Liebeslieder Singers/Quintet live "The Glamorous Life", as seen from stage left. Canon 5DIII; 135mm f/2

So for about three hours, I made the stage managers very nervous as I snuck/ran/tiptoed through the bowels of the BU Theatre, grabbing candid moments of the actors preparing, whether just before they were about to go on: 

Lauren Weintraub prepares to enter the stage as Fredrika Armfeldt. Canon 5DIII, 85mm 1.2L II

Haydn Gwynne just before her first appearance as Desiree Armfeldt. Canon 5D III, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART. 

Or getting into their wigs, costumes, and makeup:

Aimee Doherty having her wig adjusted backstage. (Canon 5DIII, 85mm f/1.2L II)

I've been in my share of shows, so I'm no stranger to what goes on behind the scenes, but it was still a remarkable privilege to be a part of these artists' world- to watch them as they navigated the journey of their performance for perhaps the 40th time. 

Pablo Torres (Henrik Egerman), Stephen Bogardus (Fredrik Egerman) and Lauren Molina (Countess Charlotte Malcom) line up to enter the dinner scene in act II. (Canon 5DIII, 24mm f/1.4L)

Everyone involved was incredible friendly, gracious, and gave top-notch performances. I had seen the show from a regular audience seat a few weeks prior, and it was just as good from the sides or below as it had been from the front. 

Pablo Torres as Henrik Egerman in "A Little Night Music" (Canon 5D III, 85mm f/1.2L II)

Mike McGowan (Count Carl-Magnus Malcom) and Lauren Molina (Countess Charlotte Malcom) dance in the opening number of  "A Little Night Music." (Canon 5DIII, 85mm f/1.2L II)

I can't thank the folks at The Huntington Theatre enough for getting to take these photos. I am so happy with how so many of them came out, and I'm glad the theatre and artists involved will get them as an archive of the experience for years to come. "A Little Night Music" closed on Sunday, but there is still so much wonderful theatre going on- The Huntington opens "Choice" by Winnie Holzman tomorrow, and be sure to check out the first ever stage adaptation of " A Confederacy of Dunces," written by Jeffery Hatcher and starring Nick Offerman, which opens November 11th. 

Again, what a pleasure it was to photograph these amazing theatre artists from before they step on stage:

Haydn Gwinne backstage as Desiree Armfeldt (5D III, 24mm 1.4L II)

To just after their final bows: 

Lauren Molina and Mike McGowan revel in the end of their performance of "A Little Night Music." Canon 5D III, Sigma 50mm 1.4 ART


New Site, New Blog Post!

Wow! Welcome to my brand-new website! I've done a serious redesign, from the ground up, and I have to say I'm incredibly pleased and proud with what I'm showing to the world now. Squarespace has proved to be a really wonderful platform to build on, and coupled with Pixieset as a client-facing gallery system, should be awesome for me and my customers alike. 

Since the last time I posted in like, August? I've done so much! I've photographed Anthony Rapp's one man show "Without You," for Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, taken tons of headshots, and continued to hone my skills and accrue more equipment.

For today's post, we're going to look at headshots I look on Monday, for Boston-based actor Geoff Van Wyck. I met Geoff when he was an Apprentice at Commonwealth Shakespeare Company in 2014. He came to me for headshots, and we met in his hometown of Marblehead. I'd never been to Marblehead, and it was great! Lots of beautiful old homes, and a gorgeous ocean view almost everywhere we looked. 

We started at the ruins of an old fort, Fort Sewell: 

Geoff, Marblehead, MA; Canon 5DIII, 85mm 1.2L II

I love the texture and color in the old rusted door behind Geoff, and there's something really nice about the non-traditional pose we've got going on.

Next we headed to the cliffs overlooking the ocean: 

Geoff, Marblehead, MA, Canon 5DIII, 85mm 1.2L II

This shot was taken using off-camera flash to fill in some light, which I've found to be wonderful lately for outdoor shooting. It allows for photos at any time of day, and once I add high-speed sync into the mix, can even overpower things like mottled sunlight in the shade.

We walked around some more and found some great green spaces, this time with just natural reflected light: 

Geoff, Marblehead, MA, Canon 5DIII, 70-200 f/2.8L IS II

Geoff, Marblehead, MA, Canon 5DIII, 70-200 f/2.8L IS II

I really like the way the haze is working in this shot. It has lower contrast, but I think it adds a lot of great interest.

More green (looks awesome with Geoff's eyes and shirt!), this time with off-camera flash:

Geoff, Marblehead, MA; Canon 5D III, 70-200 f/2.8L IS II

That 70-200 at 200mm can make any background disappear into gorgeous abstract shapes and colors!

Finally, Geoff and I headed down to the beach, and discovered a perfect color and texture palette in the docks and rusty walls. We had a great time talking about our shared love of dinosaurs and video games and video games featuring dinosaurs. (this one's got off-camera flash as well)

Geoff, Marblehead, MA. Canon 5DIII, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II

As the hour grew more and more golden, we stopped at what may have been the perfect "headshot house"- a great color, with golden lights that turned into beautiful bokeh, and leading lines all the way down a path to an open garage door. Geoff's got kind of an Eddie Redmayne thing going on in this one:

Geoff; Canon 5DIII, 85mm f/1.2L II

Thanks for the awesome afternoon, Geoff, and for showing me around Marblehead!

It has been way too long! A new blog post about taking headshots in Boston!

I know all five of my faithful readers (hi Mom!) have been eagerly awaiting another post, and I've finally decided to deliver. I promise (more to myself than anything) to write at least two of these a week for the next six months, dammit. Not that I haven't been busy. Since last I wrote (what, May?!) I have taken dozens of headshots, shot some great events (including my sister's wedding!) and gone to Montana! I also FINALLY finished auditioning for next year's plays, and have also been working 9-5, so I have pretty good excuses for not keeping up. Anyway, I want to write about one of my latest headshot sessions with a Boston-based actor/musician/artist/singer/scholar, Vero Smith: 

(85mm f/1.2L II; 5D MK III)

Vero found me via Google, and we set up a headshot session. She brought her super cool fiance Paul, who did double duty as both laugh generator and human light stand. 

 

Vero plays guitar:

And likes to stand near ivy-covered buildings. As you can see, I've finally given in to the call of that super-trendy "crushed-blacks-split-toned-filmic" look, but I have to say I kind of love it. The above photo was taken with a 5D III and a 24mm f/1.4L II lens. 

 

Vero also plays mandolin: 

 (Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART on 5D III)

And gazes wistfully into the sunset. Yet another crushed blacks kinda deal; I do wonder if this style will be enjoyable five years from now or if we'll all be kicking ourselves for taking our amazing, high-contrast, high dynamic range, super sharp images and making them look like they were taken with a technically inferior antique. I have to admit I really enjoyed both taking and editing these photos- it is nice to not have to play by the "rules" of headshot photography for a change. We got to play with lots of fun poses and lighting situations and instruments too!

 

Vero also wants to get back into acting, so we did get plenty of those traditional headshots though: 

I just got a beauty dish, but I think this was post-beauty dish and just taken with natural light in front of my big bay windows. I love it. Thanks Vero, for a super-fun headshot session and for taking postcards and hats from Mike, and getting your guitar to line up perfectly with that octopus statue!