If you’ve heard Ryan’s name before, it could be because you read this blog often (bless your heart) or you have impeccable taste in music. He’s quite a talented fellow, and I’m not just saying that because he recently commissioned a fresh set of portraits for promo use.
Being the laid back, slightly off-center guy that Mr. Spearman is, he was totally cool with the idea of shooting in his home–a classic bungalow in south St. Louis. The house is filled with a charming mix of ephemera including a vast array of books, records, musical instruments and more so it fulfilled the requirement of being visually interesting plus it had an added bonus of containing Ryan’s wardrobe and his lovely wife, Kelly. Both of those last two things made the shoot immensely more enjoyable.
We started with some straightforward seated portraits but quickly moved to the stranger stuff that always makes for good photos. Like dressing Ryan in a suit and standing in the bathtub with a briefcase and hat. When I asked him if he was down with the idea he simply said, “absolutely”. It’s always nice when the client is on board for some of my nuttier ideas.
Once we fished Ryan out of the tub (I had to resist running the water, he had a gig right after the shoot) I fired some more stuff as he played some records and fiddled around (literally). We were going for a casual vibe and I think we pulled it off.
NERD NOTES: I made a concerted effort on this shoot not to get caught up in overly complex lighting schemes. I have a bad habit of doing that at the expense of eliciting genuine responses from my subjects and going overboard with the lighting might have compromised the simple vibe we were after anyway. It’s something I am trying to do on more shoots, because I think that just setting up a scene and working the hell out of that setup is the key to better photos. Plus, it’s a more efficient use of the clients’ (frequently limited) time. Therefore, all of these shots were done with a single light, except one. And the doorway shot below (which is an outtake, along with the others below) was shot with natural light. Yeah, you heard me.
Ryan loved the shots. What do YOU think? Fire away in the comments section below.